The pandemic changed some things for the better. Founder Henca Maduro and partner Gregory Struiken are hopeful that their festival and music conference New Skool Rules is proof of this. The three-day international creative explosion goes down in Rotterdam, The Netherlands this week. As a global affair, it gives aspirants all they could want in order to be successful in the music game.
There are performance, panels, workshops, masterclasses, showcases and a lot of fun. New Skool Rules is a unique value proposition in a number of ways, but it recognizes that music is homogenized all over the world in a way we have never seen. With the amazing event turning 10, Henca and Greg talk about New Skool Rules 2022, the changes and the similarities to the past.
AllHipHop: Tell us about this new iteration of New Skool Rules and what makes it different.
For our 10th edition we decided to go hybrid, which means that we will finally have an in real life edition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands bigger than ever, but that we will also have an online world for people that can’t physically be here to experience the conference from anywhere in the world. Part of our program will be offered online. The online delegates get to ask questions and our panel members who will be physically in Rotterdam will answer theirs, just like they will answer the questions the live audience has. The online delegate get to network amongst eachother and get a little glimpse of the actual conference going on!
AllHipHop: What made you take this approach and what does a hybrid bring to the festival?
It brings the conference/festival to everybody’s living room. We realize that because of Covid regulations (that were in place until September 17th) and the prices of plane tickets being outrageous, lots of people can’t make it to the Netherlands, but they do need that knowledge and that network to take further steps into their career. This gives us a change to facilitate those people. We’re a foundation, that is set up to help as many people as humanly possible. Over these last few years, the road to success in the music industry got harder, physical performances disappeared and if you didn’t have relationships within the industry, you became further removed. In this way, we can bridge that knowledge gap for people without having to financially burden them. New Skool Rules is about to concur the world from Rotterdam!
AllHipHop: How did the global pandemic impact NSR?
It impacted us in different ways. We had to come up with inventive ways to still create the platform that is so much needed. An affordable way to gain knowledge, network and do business even if it was on line. In 2020 when the pandemic first happened we had New Skool Rules through Zoom. Crazy enough New Skool Rules started on zoom one day after George Floyd got murdered, we used the platform to come together and coop with all our emotions about life as well as talk about the music industry and everything involved.
In 2021 we decided to professionalize the digital platform and spent a lot of money to create a digital platform that represented our physical format much better. Having to do everything digital taught us a lot about streaming etc. Most importantly we saw people drifting apart because physical connections are the most important in humans lives. We saw people missed coming together and we saw are family get financially weaker across the globe. No performance money, less streaming money and no merchandise money. All the sources of income were drying up. Lots of people stopped being a creative and started finding other work to pay the bills.
We see this 10th edition of New Skool Rules as a rebirth and a rebuild edition. We’re going to help as many people as possible rebuild their confidence, their network, their relationships, their skillsets and their performance stamina. We’re going to inspire, by showing them the way the pro’s do it, but also by being 100% with people that are attending (digitally or physically)
AllHipHop: Who will be a part of the festivities and how many nations are convening?
There will be A&R’s from Def Jam, Columbia Records ,Interscope, Warner Music, Warner/ Chapell, Sony Music Publishing and more. Of course we have the festival programmers from Focus Wales, Pitch Scotland, De Doelen Studio, Get Loose Festival, Fresh Island Festival and Hip-Hop Kemp in the Building and of course AllHipHop will also be represented, but we also have experts on things like social media and streaming and Entertainment lawyer to the Stars Bob Celestin, as well as Grammy award winning producers Troy Taylor (Trey Songz, Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men), Needlz (Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Kehlani and 50 Cent) and Focus… (Dr. Dre, Anderson Paak, Eminem)
AllHipHop: How do you each feel about the current landscape of music, particularly from a global perspective?
We feel good much better about the quality of music compared to before the pandemic, it seems like a lot of people took the time to get better at their craft and more selective in what they put out. Globally Urban Music still is the Number 1 music and that will not change any time soon. We would like even more collabs on an international level. There have been a bunch of collabs over the years now between the US/Canada and African artist. We would love to see the same between European and American artists or within Europe.
AllHipHop: What about Hip-Hop specifically?
More and more Hip-Hop does what it is supposed to do, it tells the story of the person performing his/her rhymes. Instead of copying the US rappers, you see local scenes doing them. You see people using instruments that make sense for their ethnic backgrounds. People don’t talk about the trap, because there is no trap where they’re from or it’s called different. Hip-Hop is still the streets radio/newspaper and it’s becoming more and more authentic around the world.
AllHipHop: Do you feel there’s more or less collaboration with artists internationally?
In a way more, on an established artist level, but less on the level of up and coming artists. I do feel like there is much international collaboration between European producers and American artists
AllHipHop: Speaking of, do you have anything going on here in the states?
We’ve held auditions in the US this year to come to New Skool Rules and perform and we also work with artists and producers from the US all through the year doing tours etc.
AllHipHop: By the way, since I am attending NSR again this year, do you plan to stay on this schedule or resume in the spring months or stay pre-winter?
No, this 2022 date was purely because of Covid-19. We plan to be back around the same period that we normally have New Skool Rules, Around the end of May.
AllHipHop: What else do you want us to know?
This is the program for the online delegates, which they can be a part of for 20 euro’s (or about 20 dollars) during the conference Oct.7-9