By E.R. Pulgar
The two founders and directors of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, Katie Longmyer (Good Peoples) and Jen Lyon (MeanRed), spoke with WSN to discuss the Brooklyn club scene, the origins of BEMF, and where they see electronic music heading.
WSN: When and why did you two start working on BEMF?
KL: There was a clear place for this festival to live in Brooklyn nightlife. We were always producing fun underground and club shows, but a celebration of Brooklyn’s role in global dance music deserved a spotlight.
JL: Our friends started BEMF at a venue we owned called BKLYN Yard and then a few years later we ended up taking it over!
WSN: Why are you passionate about electronic dance music? In what direction do you see it taking music as a whole?
KL: Growing up classically trained, I think one of the main elements that drew me to dance music was how orchestral it is. The layered sounds come together to create a larger, powerful sonic experience is something I love. It’s a community based uplifting and positive environment. Dance music had to survive on its own for a long time, and that’s because the people in the scene were so connected to each other, and were always open to share the music and the experience.
JL: It’s a rare joy in life to be able lose and find yourself in the same moment – in nightclubs and on dance floors with a great DJ you can do both. The dance music community has always been strong and dynamic; the artists and DJs are loyal to their fans. It’s a much misunderstood part of our culture. It’s a true pleasure to be a part of supporting electronic music.
WSN: Tell us about your companies and how your experience in them has helped in planning and putting on BEMF.
KL: Good Peoples is a creative hub and partnership agency. It’s rooted in serving the artist first. We connect artists with brands and projects to help their visions be realized and get as much visibility as possible. This is the cornerstone of the communication around BEMF- connectivity, partnership and artistic collaboration.
JL: Mean Red started as a DIY concert promotions company eight years ago. Throwing rooftop shows in Bushwick, opening up the venue BKLYN Yard and ultimately producing shows in venues all over Brooklyn and NYC.
WSN: Tell us about what makes the music and club scene in Brooklyn different from the rest of NYC.
KL and JL: Brooklyn is fierce. The creators are passionate, the promoters are tough as nails, and the fans are smarter than us all. When you are juxtaposed next to a mammoth of a cultural entity like NYC, in some ways you have even more freedom. You can’t compete with Manhattan, but you can strike a different path.
WSN: Any closing remarks for our readers?
KL: Download our app and learn more about the lineup, build your own schedule and get alerts before their sets and hear from us throughout festival weekend!
JL: Come to Brooklyn for the weekend, bring your best pair of sneakers, try to flirt with at least two strangers, and lose track of time on the dance floor.
E.R. Pulgar is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org