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Go BackRULES IS RULES – Space Controller Fritz Pangratz on vexed ViPs and other quintessential conundrums

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Average ravers often see themselves in an oppositional relationship with club security, a situation thrown into stark relief in a brightly lit venue such as Space. However recreational environments can be very vulnerable, as the recent bombings in Spanish resort town Benidorm this year, outside a Pacha in Tel Aviv in 2001 and another popular nightclub in Bali last year demonstrated.
In such situations a publicly proclaimed policy of thorough door searches becomes an asset not a liability. Does the end justify the means? Modern club exec Fritz Pangratz would probably think so. In zis candid interview Mr Pangratz talks about a possible big change for the club’s approach to VIPs next year, and saving Sven Vath’s face.

How’s the 2003 Ibiza season going for you?
The season is almost finished. I am happy also because the season takes a lot of hours we stay in the club. Some pleasure, but more pressure. Is a hard business because people always think you do something four months and then you forget again, but is not like it sounds because you start already minimum two months before with normal preparations, the club new design and things. I work the whole year long.

How long have you been with Space?
I am here now twelve years. I dropped in as a waiter first season. Also I had no plan to stay in Spain for the time I am here now. It was an accident. I grow up here with the club and I get this position. After study I was thinking ok go for a while in a foreign country and then go back and start your normal life.

Where are you from?
South of Germany, near by Munich, very Catholic area, very conservative area, country style. I was not grown up in the city, I was grown up in the country which I am quite happy about because it gives you quite sense of establishment I think.

How did you get your job - did you just knock on the door?
Is normal like everybody here during the season. In the club we have a lot of foreign people working which had the same idea as I had to spend a few months out the country. And the same case was with me. I liked the work here, I liked Ibiza and I looked for something more serious as I did not want to work behind the bar. I had a good friendship with Pepe and he looked for somebody here in the office. The study I did was also economic and he looked for somebody who speaks English. Since this time I worked in the office and I grow I grow I grow and now I am running the club.

How many people work at Space?
In high season are working between 280 and 300 people.

Which parties do you enjoy the most?
My favourite party is the closing party I have to say. First of all is really the best party from Space. Is something which you cannot explain, I do not know why but is a kind feeling here with the people, with the djs, with the atmosphere. Is something really special, and of course it goes all away the pressure what you really had during the season. You step in another period of life.
Especially also since we do now the carpark which gives also big hype. People have enough space in Space again. Before it was very tense and very crowded. People did not enjoy any more. We have obligation to get all the people in because there is also a lot of people from the island which visit the club. It’s not good for us also if these people stay outside. So with the carpark we have possibility to let all these people in and it’s a really nice atmosphere.
Personally I enjoy this party and of course you have personal taste of the promoters of the parties. Now for me difficult to say which party I like most and not, because every party works really hard. It would not fair for me to say I like this party more than the other one. I have my personal taste on music so I can say which dj you enjoy more or not but which party is better than the other one I will not say.

What is your personal taste in music?
For inside I enjoy Carl Cox. Carl is a very nice person to work with. Outside on the terrace I go a lot for the residents like Tania Vulkano, Jose de Divina and then I have to say Steve Lawler did also very very good work this season. And then something really really special is when Erick Morillo plays here. I think is one of the type of djs who really knows how to move the terrace. But these are more or less personal taste, and have nothing to do with quality of the other djs.

What’s the worst thing about your job?
I am not in the position to enjoy the whole style of the club because I stay here in the office. I am not a public relations or whatever around the club. This means you are behind everything. I am not in the middle. First of all I have no time and is not my position. And is about credibility of the person. I think is wrong to be always in the middle or to do too much partying. And also because you have the people who are working for you, you have to be respected. If they see you go on partying or do this in the club, this would not be good for my person.
But it is also is my obligation to know what is going on in music, in style, if sound system is good, if lighting system is good, if projections is good, if organisation is fine and of course also to see the reactions about the people about the music we do. Because there I may have to change something during the season or for next season. To see also what people like to hear and to see what atmosphere they expect, this is also my job.
You have to say also because it’s also a business, you have to think sometimes also commercial, what can make you income. Is a business is not only pleasure. Sometimes you have to say no to things you think sometimes would be good for the atmosphere or the music style because it brings not enough people.

What criteria are used to judge guest list enquiries?
First of all is press. Second of all are people which you know from the business. And third of all are people who collaborate here on the island with you. That means people who make promotion with you, bars, other clubs and these kind of people.

Given there was a bombing recently in the Spanish resort town of Benidorm, what precautions do Space take to ensure the same thing does not happen at the club?
This is always the kind of stuff you think about but you hope always that never will happen. Ibiza is a very safe place, Spain is a very safe place in politics, even though there are some problems is the north of the country. We think about and we do everything to give security to people in the club. We have controls on the door.

Why is there no VIP room?
Personally I have to say from my own I like to be in a club where I have access to each area in the club. I think people feel more equal, and the roots from where Space comes was always very music orientated. We never were all this glamour and rich people. This was never the line how we worked the club. Now some people ask for that. Some people like to pay more money to have more room, to have another service. We have also people are growing older from industry but still are very interested to come to Space. This is also what we have to think about. What to not to offer, what to offer. Because is extra service and this means is extra price. And we are asked more and more why we do not offer this service. And this is a thing I think about for next year - to offer on the main room and the terrace a part as a VIP.

Why is Space so expensive?
You think we are expensive? Only on a Sunday is 50 euros, during the week we are on 35 euros, but there are different possibilities to come in cheaper during the week. You can get a special ticket until 10 o’clock in the morning from the outlet shop for 15 euros. You have possibility with flyer, you have the possibility also on Sunday with pre-sale. And on a Sunday ok is 50 euros – but we are as cheap as any other club on big nights on the island. The music lineup we offer, we can concurate with each other club and we have a drink included which other places here on the island do not have. And then I have to say we offer 22 hour music, we have one pass out and on the drink prices again we are as cheap as other clubs. And the drinks prices in the clubs are not any more big differences to the bars. You have a look in the harbours in the harbour in Ibiza Town the difference from a club to a bar is not very high.
You can discuss this is too expensive or not too expensive but as we are only having ninety days or three months to run the business. We have expenses the whole year long. We are a holiday resort, we cannot open up the whole year long. I know is not very nice for somebody to pay 30, 40, 50, maybe 60 euros on entry, but people have also to see what they get. Clubs are really nice in Ibiza, the djs are a high level.

In whose face, sunshine?[/center]
What happened with Sven Vath?
I apologise what happened to Sven. I also have to say is an individual reaction from somebody which was completely wrong from our side. Sometimes with individual persons, you can talk to them very often, and then the reaction goes in the completely other direction. This happen and of course this guy doesn’t work anymore for Space.
But they are to listen how came it to this situation. There are two versions how it came to this situation and everything was not correct from both sides. Is not nice this thing happened. But we spoke between us and things are clear between this organisation, my person and Sven.

What do you do when you’re not here?
I sleep.

Words by Mike Stuart