John B’s guide to Miami
Welcome to the Miami Winter Music Conference… Home, for one week every year, to over 200+ parties and tens of thousands of music industry players. From agents to ad men, DJs to dealers, maestros to models, it’s a hotbed of hedonism and a dancehall of decadence with occasional added business potential. Whether you’re there to DJ, party your arse off or make new musical friends and opportunities, it’s an experience like no other.
But unless you’ve been, it just looks like bikini-clad chaos, right? There is a method behind the madness… Play it right and you can live the rock n’ roll dream. Play it wrong and you’ll be chasing your tail round South Beach for a week spending more dollars than you thought capable and meeting all sorts of idiots along the way. I’ve done it both ways; some mornings you go out for breakfast and meet Goldie tucking into a sarnie. Other nights you end up trying to avoid strange men who won’t leave you alone unless you promise them a four album contract deal and a night with your wife.
Don’t take my word for it, talk to John B. A card-carrying Miami regular, if anyone knows how to work Miami – and star-spangled speedos – it’s him. We sent him a bunch of questions to answer as he’s supping cocktail at yet another poolside party…
D&BA: Tell us three things everyone needs to know before they go…
John B: “Don’t think you’ll save money by getting a cheap hotel in North Miami: you’ll end up spunking away more money than you saved getting taxis to where stuff is actually happening. Not all the sexy ladies you see are actually ladies. So take it easy on the vodka… The 2-for-1 drinks deals on Ocean Drive are a scam. One drink is $25 so you’re basically paying for 2 expensive drinks. But they are nice and big ones.”
D&BA: And three items to pack…
John B: “Speedos, muscle douchebag repellent spray, iPhone dock to HDMI cable so you can avoid shit American TV commercials.”
D&BA: The conference is a facade for the extra-curricular fun. Have you ever attended it?
John B: “No. I don’t even go to the conference itself. Anyone you see wandering around with an ID badge lanyard from that you can guarantee is a super n00b. That said, Miami is a great opportunity to hang out with friends in the industry, build on existing relationships, and network a bit with the US scene folks.
John B: “There’s plenty of choice, that’s for sure. I try to pace myself sensibly, pick my battles wisely and get to bed early enough that I can still hit the beach the day after and not waste my time here being hungover. I’ve never done drugs so I’m not the kind to stay up on mad dirty drug missions so generally Miami is a nice relaxing time for me.”
D&BA: Choose the wrong party and you end up way out of town at a half-empty lamer-fest… Any tips to avoid this?
John B: “Just experience. Don’t go to shit parties or follow the drug children somewhere they say is siiiiiick. Do your research and plan what event(s) you want to hit each night. And sort out solid guest list or tix in advance…”
D&BA: Downtown parties or South Beach?
John B: “I much prefer South Beach but the Downtown ones are bigger and more popular.”
D&BA: Daytime, poolside scenarios… What’s your perfect soundtrack?
John B: “Best poolside set I’ve heard was Felix da Housecat b2b junior Sanchez, playing classic house. By P Diddy’s pool in his back garden. Lol.”
John B: “American flag speedos. Hi tops. Robo shades. Bikini girls. Standard.”
D&BA: Let’s have some business tips. I’m young producer, DJ or label owner and I’m looking to impress billy big time… What’s the best way to get talking to the right people?
John B: “Be a hot babe with nice boobies and flirt with me. Or buy me a nice glass of wine. Or both. I’m not here to talk business really – it’s cool to match a face with an internet buddy but these clubs are too loud to have anything resembling a coherent conversation really.”
D&BA: Miami is also the biggest blagger fest in the entire world with hundreds of two-bit would-be’s blowing smoke up your jacksy. What’s the best way to bid a bad egg adieu?
John B: “Firm hand on shoulder. Friendly, but solid eye contact… ‘hey man it was really nice to meet you but I haven’t seen my friends here in ages and we were just catching up on some personal stuff. Have a good night.’ If that doesn’t work do a complete freeze out.”
John B: “Say ‘sorry I don’t listen to music’. I do that one all the time. Gold.”
D&BA: You’re stuck in the lift in your hotel. Help isn’t coming for at least two hours. Who would you rather be stuck with… Two steroided up beefcakes fresh from weights on South Beach? Two drugged up promoters who can’t chat for dribble? Or two over-eager New York DJs who want basically want to be you?
John B: “Beefcakes. Then you can make them angry to smash the doors open and escape. Or trick them into climbing out into the perilous elevator shaft to get help.”
D&BA: I’ve experienced some luxurious shit in Miami. I’ve stayed in some skanky hell holes in Miami. Might I trouble you for a high… and a low?
John B: “My apartment I’m renting this year for the month is piiiiimp! Got a jakuzzi. They filmed the chainsaw scene from Scarface in one of the bathrooms here! No personal lows here really but I’ve seen some skanky hotels that friends ended up in. Oh and I saw a hooker fight in the street once.”
D&BA: A lot of people say it wasn’t as good as ‘back in the day’. I’ve always considered that bollocks… it’s what you make of it. Am I right?
John B: “You are right. With anything like this it’s about your own attitude to the situation. Sun, beach, boobies, clubs, great restaurants – what’s not to like? If you plan your stuff properly it’s great. If you book your hotel too late and end up miles away, or don’t do your research and end up somewhere crap it’s your own fault. As is wasting days on drug-finding missions and staying up for 48 hours at dirty after parties with a bunch of weirdos you just met, or following around skanky drugravergirls who’ve been up that long and not showered in three days WMC hobos stylee. Not the one.”
D&BA: And finally… You’re a Miami regular. What keeps taking you back there?
John B: “Sunbathing, long runs on the boardwalk, all my friends here, the locals, the Delano hotel, karaoke at the Shelbourne, pool at Chalk, Kill Your Idol, Sushi Rock, boobies.”
John B’s new album ‘Light Speed‘ out now!