IMS Engage, the annual electronic music conference hosted by the International Music Summit, will return to Hollywood for its third year on April 15. The event pairs together buzzworthy artists and executives who participate in un-moderated conversations. And sometimes, those conversations get heated: At last year's event, a fistfight broke out between Diplo's manager Kevin Kusatsu and representatives from Hashtag Management.
It appears the conference's founders are looking to keep things interesting. IMS will today announce that this year's event will feature discussions betwen Public Enemy's Chuck D and Detroit techno producer Seth Troxler, and veteran record label executive Lyor Cohen with Th3rd Brain's Jake Udell, who manages the EDM acts Krewella and Zhu. IMS co-founder Ben Turner said all four men are "renowned for not holding back."
"We expect intelligent, intense and humorous debates," he said. "More great pairings are set to follow."
Troxler, in particular, is one to watch. In addition to operating three record labels and playing upwards of 150 gigs each year, the producer is seen as a leader of dance music's underground and often speaks out about the genre's issues with race and authenticity. (At last year's IMS Ibiza, he called Steve Aoki a 'c--t' and Avicii a 'modern day Milli Vanili.') In a release about IMS Engage, Troxler said he's excited to talk with Chuck D, one of hip hop's "true pioneers" and an industry rebel.
"Back in the day, artists like Chuck had the balls and vision to thrust hip-hop into the political domain and form a bridge between music and politics that I personally feel very strongly about," he said. "It's going to be an interesting debate."
Turner founded IMS Engage with dance music icon Pete Tong and Danny Whittle. The conference's first installment featured Russell Simmons in conversation with Ultra Music's Patrick Moxey, as well as Skrillex, Diplo, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, and Amy Thomson, the woman behind dance music sensation Swedish House Mafia. Last year's event was equally star-studded and featured Moby in conversation with David Lynch.
This year's summit has expanded to 350 delegates, and tickets are available starting at $220.