Match report of The Tech Off: Soundclash! @ London Tech Week

Match report of The Tech Off: Soundclash! @ London Tech Week

We were honoured to be asked by the team at London Tech Week to co-produce a new annual event. The Tech Off: Soundclash will bring together London’s world class music and tech scenes.

Held on Wednesday 14th June at Cargo nightclub in Shoreditch, we had an amazing line up of speakers including artists such as DJ Yoda and ThePETEBOX, as well as entrepreneurs, innovators and marketers.

It was a balmy summer evening and yet the pundits left the lush beer gardens of London to enter the back cavern at Cargo to be witness to some of the best speakers in their fields.

(For more photos, check out the Techdept Facebook photo album)

As ever, MC Danimal took control of the night, proving again that he’s the host with the most.

As it was a music-themed event, we were more than happy to have DJ Beefcake at the helm of the decks!

And, of course, we had The Fabulous Bakewell Boys on hand to sort out any trouble…

The Rules…

For those uninitiated, the rules are simple; each speaker has a strict limit of FIVE minutes to present their spiel to the adoring and hungry crowd. Their talk can be about anything tech-related, but in this instance it had the added caveat of being music-related too. If anyone goes over the allocated time, the Fabulous Bakewell Boys are there to drag the offender off stage.

The crowd then decide who is the champion of the evening. It’s a nail-biting smackdown of a contest.

Ding ding…

Round One

Our previous winner (from the Streetfight in Austin, Texas at SXSW) Fred Schmidt was first to grace the stage. It was rather a lap of honour for this MBE!

Fred talked about Austin Hackney United – An example of how the creative and tech industries are bringing us closer together by building global bridges, not walls, through citizen diplomacy.

“The seeds were planted between 1978-82 through the universal language of music…when, during a London show, Texas roots rocker Joe Ely and his band were befriended by British musicians and fans, Joe Strummer and The Clash.  They hung out together in the pubs of East London, then went on to tour and record together in both the UK and USA while becoming lifelong pals. 

Now fast forward 30 years – to a 2012 Digital Trade Mission of Austin’s Mayor and group of tech execs to the London Borough of Hackney. The visit concluded in the signing of a Sister Cities agreement that twinned two of the world’s hottest tech and creative economies.

Over the five years since, passionate and engaged citizen diplomacy, combined with today’s acceleration capabilities of tech…have resulted in hundreds of active participants in year-round exchanges between the two cities, dubbed Austin Hackney United.”

Following that wild opener was Lydia Gregory from Jukedeck. Lydia talked about how A.I. helps us to understand the nature of human creativity and the implications for our creative futures.

“A.I. will democratise creativity and augment our creative potential”

Next was Craig Haynes from Vinylised who, after falling in love with Dubstep and desiring a long sold-out release, realised that the crowd-funding model could be applied to vinyl to help get new digital releases pressed or out-of-print records repressed without risk for the label, giving dedicated record-buyers the chance to get the music they love on their favourite format.

“To get going in music tech you don’t have to be first, have a perfect product or up-front investment. What’s more important is to provide value to the labels (they are the ones with the raw material, the music!) and to find those passionate fans!”

Helen (AKA Androdes) was next to brave the stage to give us a look into the effect streaming services and track-skipping has had on the way popular music is being written – in particular the loss of long instrumental intros. It’s such a shame art is being compromised because of impatience!

“F*** the 4 bar intro! Say no to Skips!”

Find more about Androdes here!

Astonishingly talented beat-box artist THePETEBOX brought round One to a close with a rather impressive display of his talents – in particular showing how he can use tech to record and loop his own voice and become a one man band.

Find out more about THePETEBOX here.

Witness ThePETEBOX create a song live – just using his looped voice!

A post shared by Dan Kirby (@thedankirby) on


Round Two

DJ Yoda kicked off Round Two and gave a brief rundown of his history of DJing from a technical perspective – and how he ended up using video as part of his DJ set, giving examples along the way.

“I’m always looking to add more to a DJ set than just playing records, one after the other – it’s all about keeping things moving and interesting.”

Check out his website here.

Clambering up to the stage next was Diluk Dias from AEI; he was sporting a brutal leg brace – probably to elicit the sympathy vote from the audience. He spoke about how he blagged it in music and tech over the past 20 years, and what he has learned from that.

“The activity is the reward! Being able to work on something I’m passionate about, with people I respect, in a great environment is the motivation.”

Emily Scoggins from O2 was next. Emily’s fascinating spiel was about how the music industry is watching everything you do, buy, or listen to. Live dynamic ads are created and influenced by the online data trail you leave behind. The music industry knows what you buy, and where you’ve been. They know that you’ve seen Iron Maiden, and they know that you have seen Disney on Ice and by God, you’ll be first in line for messaging if Iron Maiden on Ice ever comes to town.3

“The music industry is watching you…we all know that, but just how much do they know about every breath you take, every move you make?”

You can check out Emily’s music blog here.

Finally, we had Pru Ashby from London and Partners as our ‘Wild Card’. Pru talked about the British Invasion and the artists who have sold more than 250 million records of which Beatles, Elton John, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are in the top ten. Music technology in London is booming with companies such as Shazam, Songkick, Mixcloud, Roli and Dice born and built here. Plus Spotify came from Sweden and expanded globally from London. Hackney is also on the music map with a number or artists recording songs on the streets around us. These include Spice Girls, Black Eyed Peas, Prince, Primal Scream and White Stripes.

“London is in my heart; Music is in my heart; What is in yours?”

The Results!

It was now time for the audience to whoop, cheer, whistle, and basically raise the roof to determine the champion of the night. The Fabulous Bakewell Boys brought the stupendous Techometer onto the stage and MC Danimal stirred up the noise…

As the crowd whistled, cheered and applauded, the Techometer (with its highly advanced crowd-monitoring frequency devices) reacts to the decibels and the scores are recorded – it’s a science!


The winner (with a top score of 11.5!) was Pru Ashby! The Wild Card scores with a passionate speech about the thriving music industry in London.


We also spent some time asking for donations for the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund: Grenfell Tower Fire. We are so pleased to announce that we raised over £600 on that night. Thank you to everyone for such generosity! If you would like to donate, please check out this link.

The Party’s Over… for now.

The Tech Off: Soundclash, our inaugural annual music-tech event for London Tech Week, ends with a bang. We’ll be back next year for the highly anticipated ‘second album’. In the meantime, The Tech Off crew will be back later in the year at a venue near you. Bring it on!

For a full set of photos from the night, check out the Techdept Facebook photo album!

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