On May 29th until May 31st 2015 Rotterdam invites you to the largest international Hiphop and R&B conference in Europe: New Skool Rules! It’s a 3-day international conference that offers workshops, demo sessions, auditions, performance, concerts, afterparties, seminars and panels for new talent and established Movers & Shakers. It’s the 4th edition already. The thought behind this concept is Sharing and Gaining Knowledge, Networking, Doing Business and Having Fun! Bringing international and national keynote speakers and visitors together to this years locations Bilderberg Park Hotel, WORM, De Unie, Number Fourteen and for the first time the outside stage at Eendrachtsplein, you can easily describe it as a “business to business to talent event”. We spoke to the founder of New Skool Rules, Henca Maduro, to give us the 411 about helping artists’ careers, volunteer recruitment and the whole New Skool Rules experience.

My name is Henca Maduro and together with my partner Gregory Struiken, I own Epitome Entertainment. Since 1998 we organize a diversity of events in and around the Netherlands to upgrade and expand the urban and culture artistry and talent we saw. This year we proudly present the 4th edition of NSR, a reshaped edition from the other years.

What was your inspiration behind NSR?
My inspiration behind NSR is that we want to open up our network we have built in de last 15 years. We want to connect the movers and shakers we’ve met all around the world, to people who normally don’t have access to these Movers and Shakers. Because they didn’t get a chance to build the network we did and can’t get the knowledge we get from these industry cats. That’s why we came up with the idea to make it accessible, affordable and help people to network, gain knowledge and hopefully do business in the future.

It’s the 4th edition of NSR. How did you recruit the right and fresh volunteers to be part of the production?
The process of finding volunteers is always challenging, because obviously the most important thing about NSR is the people behind it. It’s very important that they are excited, flexible, focused and know what they are doing. We do the recruitment in different ways, such as volunteers from past editions who come and help out, we go to INHolland Media & Entertainment Management studies to do a masterclass, by posting recruit video’s of some of our current volunteers and that’s how we get new volunteers. So if people still want to sign-up to volunteer during the 4th edition of NSR in Rotterdam during the 29th till the 31st of May send an email to crew@newskoolrules.com.

One of the main issues in Hiphop is the presence, influence and dominance of men. That’s why we are pleased to see more female movers and shakers and artist programmed this year. As a woman and executive of NSR how do you respond to that and how are you to emphasize the presence of women during NSR?
I think it’s a difficult industry to be in regardless if you are a man or a woman. So like any other person in this industry, you have to work super hard in order to try to outwork others in this industry. Put more dedication, be more focused and put more passion into it. Obviously people want to do business with you because you are good at what you do and not because you’re a woman or whatever. They want to do business with you, because you bring something extra to the table. I always tell women who want to work in the entertainment industry: “Don’t use your sexuality, use your strength.” Don’t put that on the table, but make sure you are taken seriously. This accounts for men, but is more applicable towards women.

What is your affiliation with UCWB? And what kind of roll does it play during NSR?
I’ve met the founder of Urban Chicks With Brains while working at hiphop and R&B radiostation Juize.fm, where she worked as my producer. I got to know the brand during the last edition of New Skool Rules where they had a stand selling sweaters. They were branding their brand. I thought it was very important for this brand to get a lot of exposure and international attention, so that is why we want them to facilitate a small fashion show this time.

What are your biggest challenges preparing for NSR 2015?
The biggest challenge for prepping for NSR is always getting it done in time and getting the finances together. And try to give as many people as possible a great NSR experience.

We read a lot of well-known names for this year’s festival line-up, such as Atozzio, Rass Motivates, DJ Trauma, iLLvibe, Rich Kidd, Blaxtar Raen and DJ Melody Kane. To what are you looking forward this year?
I’m looking forward hearing the newest and fresh panel members sharing a lot of their knowledge. I’m very excited about the outside stage and the stage at the conference, because we are creating this for the first time. We have moved the conference location to the centre of Rotterdam, so everything is very close together. This is to create more of a festival atmosphere than before. It is the 4th edition of NSR so hopefully this is going to be a better and more improved edition than the previous ones.

How challenging is it to create a 2-yearly edition of NSR?
It actually is easier than doing it annually, because it gives you more time to get your finances and partnerships together. It would be too much for our small organization to do one every year.

What do you want visitors to learn when they visit NSR?
I want the visitors to learn that Hiphop, R&B and all the other genres that are close to it are interesting, very diverse and have a different interpretation in every county. To me it’s important that the conference visitors gain knowledge and are able to network. The visitors can learn about their craft, get better at their craft and everything surrounding their craft.

To buy tickets and learn more about which international and national keynote speakers, from panel members, artists, executives, producers to DJ’s, will be attending go to www.newskoolrules.com! For more information about Epitome Entertainment go to www.ee2.nl.