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New festival and conference names for the fifth MENT

MENT Ljubljana is announcing 26 new acts that will help turn Ljubljana into a mecca for music between 30 January and 1 February. The current holder of the title of Best Indoors and Best Small European Festival will feature Iranian-Dutch musician Sevdaliza, whose 2017 LP “ISON” has received praise from basically all global media and saw her performing at festivals such as Primavera Sound, Bad Bonn Kilbi, Lowlands, Melt!, EXIT and Open’er. Less internationally recognised but no less exciting are the dream pop of Serbians Bitipatibi, the electronic pop noise of Swiss musician Camilla Sparksss, the excellent electronics of Poland’s Hatti Vatti, the eclecticism of Luxembourgian project KLΞIИ, the dance madness of art-pop duo Mickey from Austria, the shoegazey sound of Croatian post-rockers Tús Nua, and the playful electronica of Polish duo JANKA.

Hungarian singer-songwriters Papaver Cousins explore new sonic dimensions, the French Rendez-Vous leave a sonic tornado in their wake, Belgian artist Slumberland is devoted to musical experimentation – discarded sewing machines included –, Austrians Tents sound like the best hybrid of post-punk and indie rock, Lithuanians Timid Kooky are the proud bearers of the titles Best Young Band of 2017 in Lithuania and Best New Baltic Band, and Slovakian post-industrial producer Isama Zinghas been described as a wunderkind. The Slovenian acts are characterised by a breadth of genre derivatives, whether it’s the dreamy trip-hop of JUNEsHELEN, the electro rock of Kontradikshn, the doom and black metal of The Canyon Observer, the experimental electronica of Warrego Valles or the progressive pop of КУКЛА. Balans will offer original trendy music, and Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl will provide something simply beautiful.

Friday night craziness will be left to the Russians for an evening focused on the Hyperboloid Records electronic labelA.Fruit, Bad Zu, Raumskaya, Saburov and Summer of Haze will present a sonic palette of dark trap, wild juke, colourful synths twisting among IDM beats, and club mutations. The story of the label itself will be included in the conference programme as well.

MENT music conference programme
In its fifth year, MENT will host its first think-tank, clearly titled “Making Music Conferences Great Again“, with a group of music professionals looking for ideas on how to improve and innovate music conferences, presenting the results at the conclusion of the conference programme. As an extension of this consulting group, the roundtable discussion “How to Escape the Showcase Bubble” will question the role of showcase festivals, their many focuses, and especially the role of creators in this increasingly popular event discipline.

At the introductory roundtable discussion, the listeners, who often remain just a statistic at such events, will take centre stage. We’ll discover a new – regional! – network of publishers, learn about sync in Europe, and discuss mental health in the music industry, whose inhumane hours, pressures and instability take their toll on even the sturdiest of us.

We’re also announcing the first two keynote interview guests. Claire O’Neill is the cofounder of the non-profit company A Greener Festival, which awards the A Greener Festival Award, while Natasha Padabed is the owner of the More Zvukov agency, which represents a number of exciting, primarily Eastern European acts, who play all over Europe and further abroad. Natasha is also known for being an exceptional curator of the Russian SKIF, Ethnomechanica and Electro-mechanica festivals.

In seeking innovative music conference content, which has become the main orientation of the fifth MENT, the conference is surprising with a fresh selection of ideas about what else to offer the professional music audience. Led by Wesley A’Harrah(Music Ally), we’ll witness the live launch of a new single by a selected Slovenian MENT band. You’ll get to meet Bob van Heur, the founder of one of the most esteemed European festivals, Le Guess Who? from Utrecht, who also works with Ariel Pink and Iceage as part of Belmont Booking. The organizers of the Spring Break festival, who are also key players on the Polish concert scene and the owners of the Go Ahead major promotional agency, will also present their activities in Ljubljana.

An upgrade to one of the annual conference topics, a roundtable discussion on sync, is in the making, and those who wanted even more speed networking sessions will have their fill, as the fifth edition of MENT will include no fewer than five: the Czech live market, Croatian festivals, Slovenian festivals, Austrian all-in-ones and the INES network festivals. After the extremely well-received viewing in 2018, we’ll again watch the best music videos from all over the world, courtesy of Beehype.

In addition to Kerstin Saathoff (Google), who will moderate the “Making Music Conferences Great Again” think tank session, MENT will also host Lina Ugrinovska (Password Production), an ambassador for the initiative for mental health in the music industry and one of the “10 New Bosses of 2016” according to ILMC London and IQ Magazine. The editor of the latter esteemed British medium, Gordon Mason, is also coming to Ljubljana, along with Stefan Reichmann (Haldern Pop Festival), Nis Bøgvad (Copenhagen Film Music), Ross Miles (Scorched Asia), Rod Jones (Idlewild, The Fruit Tree Foundation), Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival), Natasha Padabed (More Zvukov Agency), Didier Gosset (IMPALA), Marcus Linde (Thag’s Agent), Laura Hofman (King Sepi, Roodkapje), Urszula Andruszko (Radio Wroclaw) and many others.

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