Talking with Jennifer Lyon and Katie Longmyer of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival

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Brooklyn’s geography of available warehouse space and dark basements has been kind to the electronic scene. And so in an attempt to bring those who groove one last blowout before the winter comes, the brains and beauty behind Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, Jennifer Lyon and Katie Longmyer, are collaborating with Vice’s electronic hub, Thump, as their official media partner, to bring artists like DJ Shadow, Jozif, and Lee Bannon to some of Williamsburg’s favorite dance floors this weekend. We spoke with them below about what to expect this weekend and also about what’s going on in the electronic music scene.

What’s one sub-genre in electronic music you’d like to see bubble to the surface in 2015? JL: Deeper darker techno  from the likes of Blawan and labels like White Material and L.I.E.S.What are your thoughts on the feud between labels (Universal) and SoundCloud right now? Do you think it’s ultimately helping or hurting artists? KL: We have been deeply focused on the live experience with the DJs and creators. Technology like Soundcloud is great to help them get visibility on their music and its a platform that’s important for us, and fans to be able to explore new sounds. Many BEMF DJs—particularly in the past two years—have found incredible success using all of the opportunities provided by the Soundcloud platform.

How deep do you think the divide between club kid culture and festival goers runs, and why do you think it exists at all? 

KL: One of the foundations of BEMF is to bridge any perceived gap between different types of concert goers. We have everything from daytime chats, to warehouse parties, to big club rooms, to intimate indie spaces. We bring everyone together with one ticket and one experience. We all love the music; BEMF is designed to celebrate that.

JL:Those fans are cut from the same cloth, it’s just location and individual preference.

Do you see BEMF expanding to any cities where the idea of “Brooklyn Culture” is blooming, like Venice or Detroit?

JL: Brooklyn Culture is definitely translatable to an international audience, we imagine we’ll slowly move across the earth as we have slowly expanded in Brooklyn.

KL: We’d love to explore going international. Bring Brooklyn to the world.

How long have you been working together?

JL:For many many moons over a dance floor.

A lot of artists who make it big lose often their underground cred in the scene. Do you think artists or industry people will ever see the day where music lovers support the crossover? 

JL: The Underground will always remain underground on the fringe. The nature of going mainstream is making a choice to stop existing on the fringe. That’s a lifestyle choice that an artist makes. Their fans will stay with them as they stay in love with the music and the industry people will respect good music wherever it is.

Dream artist, dream venue, dream location: Go! 

JL: Too many dreams!

What do you look for when selecting the art installations to contribute to the overall vibe of BEMF?

JL:Something succinct, minimal that has a vibe you can carry with you.

KL: They inspire, they are DIY and rooted in a creator community, they are connected to the surfaces and environment they are applied on. This year we have some huge outdoor projections, chalk paint, an interactive wall, custom digital graphics, some performers walking through the streets and venues and more.

Who’s responsible for the artist roster? Is it all BEMF programming, or do you guys collaborate with the venues to bring in just the right audience?

JL:We program the festival with a broad vision and input and conversations with local artists, other bookers at venues and friends from all over.

KL: Content is curated exclusively by BEMF but we go into every room considering their vibe and taking care with their regular audience. We also talk to the DJs about who they want to play with and have them throw out ideas. Its a big collaboration and that way everyone feels great about the end result.


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