Starting at the end of this week, the Winter Music Conference descends upon Miami like a chubby kid on a double-cheese burger. DJs and partiers will be coming from across the world to get a bit of Miami EDM action. For the most part, if you want to get in on the mayhem, you're going to have to haul your ass down to Miami.
Unless, of course, you decide to check out Vibe Music Week, a week of house running alongside WMC. As part of the impressive lineup, DJ and host of the WMC's Reload Pool Parties Ollie Sanders will be heading north today to kick it all off. With that, we decided to catch up with the London native to see what he's getting up to.
A former nightclub owner in London, Sanders sold his club and properties and trekked over to sunny Miami in 2008. "The time became right," he said in his slightly softened North London accent. "I sold my house and club before the recession hit. Miami is a decent hub worldwide to expand your music career. It's a small place, but internationally, it's huge."
Music aside, Sanders felt comfortable choosing South Florida as a new base. He grew up spending ample time in Fort Lauderdale as a kid and is a massive Miami Dolphins fan. Not exactly what one would expect from someone with such an accent. But hey, it works.
Since his Miami debut, Sanders started as a resident of the Sunday Pool Party at the Shore Club and has made frequent appearances at the SLS's Hyde Beach. He just released an hourlong track called "Clubbers Guide to Miami 2013," which is available on his Soundcloud page. For WMC, he will also host the Reload Pool Party at the Shore Club. For his Vibe set, Sanders plans to play a more mainstream and progressive sound. But he acknowledges, "I specialize in tech and progressive house for pool parties to keep the women dancing. As long as the ladies are dancing, people are happy."
While Sanders has come to love his new home, he does see some distinct differences between the scenes in Miami and London. "Obviously, we don't have sunshine, so there's no such thing as a pool party in London," he said.
More than that, in terms of the club setup, it's easy to see the distinct cultural and ideological differences. The biggest differences: alcohol consumption and social interaction. "It used to be that pubs had to close at 11 p.m. England is a nation of drinkers, so everyone would go to the bars and get trashed as quickly as possible before getting to the club. It's changed to all-night licenses for pubs, but it hasn't changed the psyche of people getting smashed out of their faces as quickly as possible."
Sanders sees differences in national identities -- American individualism versus the more socialist English mentality -- in the setup of clubs. Miami has more of a focus on prestige and money, while Londoners tend to stray away from the whole VIP thing. "London doesn't do the bottle service as much as here: it's starting to catch on," said Sanders. "Here some clubs have so many tables, they don't even have dance floors, so people can't dance. In London, everyone's all about having fun."
For now, Sanders is working on getting more residencies in Miami and creating an overall name for himself. He feels fortunate to have had the opportunities to play at some of the big clubs in the area such as Mekka in downtown Miami and Hyde Beach. Ultimately, he'd love to make it to playing at Ultra. "Surely over the next few years, as people get to know my music, I'd love to play some of these events," he said. "I'm climbing the ladder, slowly but surely."
Sanders can currently be found running the Shore Club Pool Party every Sunday in addition to other special events. After Vibe, he will be making his next appearance in Fort Lauderdale for the Spring Break Pool Party at Exit 66 on March 30.