Like all great cities, Spain
exhibits both street
and highbrow culture masterfully. The local football team is pretty handy too – Barca’s home ground Camp Nou
is intimidating for visiting teams but great for spectators. However it was another sporting event, the 1992 Olympics which brought widespread recogition of the Catalan capital as one of Europe’s most engaging city break destinations.
[/center]The waterfront architecture is a spectacular reminder of that great occasion (unblighted by politically-motivated boycotts) but it should also be noted that where there are hordes of dumbass tourists there is opportunist crime. The police patrol night and day, but pickpockets, muggers and hookers target the unwary and lustful alike in Barcelona centro.
Undeterred foreigners have poured into the city, and now one in in eight residents is from another country, with Ecudorians, Colombians and Moroccans the most represented. There are 154 nationalities which number 1,000 or more.
We pass thru Barcelona
regularly, and took the opportunity to stop off at the Stomp Recording
studios, home to Tania Vulkano
, Jose de Divina
. The last three of these noted beat technicians gave us a short tour and told us a little bit of what they’re about. The combined energy and dj earning power created a €100,000+ studio in just 4 months. Supplying djs like Ibiza dons Timo Maas
and Deep Dish
, they disseminate their handiwork personally – they know Europe’s club scene from the inside.
Lima: So we have this studio for one years and half. Stomp Recordings the label is just eight months, from last June.
Where might one hear your records?
Normally all the parties, all the djs play our records.
Elias: John Digweed, Deep Dish, Behrouz, I think Timo Maas.
Lima: Asfor the promotion, the first thing we do is send out our stuff to all the big names you know.
What are the hot clubs in Barcelona?
Lima: Danzatoria, Discoteque, Republica, then they have special small clubs. The most significant they have here in Barcelona is these three. Discoteca is about 2,000 people, 3,000 people. And Danzatoria is about 2,000 people.
Barcelona it’s a city really strange you know. In two or three months is gonna be so big or so down. You never know what’s gonna happen. About the music the house music they gonna make a lot of changes. A lot of mixes up about the music. I think in the future house, tribal, all this are gonna be fused. I think so there’s gonna be a lot of evolution about the house music. One thing, next year to come, we have a new label. It’s calld Boa Vista, it’s another type of house we gonna make. More instrumental, you know. It is totally different than Stomp Recordings.
DANZATORIA YOUR ASS OFF[/center]
groover with a sustained Ibiza
connection is Tony Hannan
, who has recently crossed the water to join the management tribe of the disco-on-a-hill Danzatoria
. He’s happy about his move to the big smoke, where the arts can play a greater role in one’s children’s education than on the White Isle
. He's from Leeds
's chilly north but likes Barcelona because it makes him feel young again.
How's it going?
Tony: All good. I moved to Barcelona from Ibiza in December and have now started to get to know the area and the good clubs and bars and also what makes Barcelona people tick. It's a great city, busy and more importantly its 12 months of the year, you can build things better here than in Ibiza as the pressure here is not like in Ibiza where last year you had 7 weeks to do well. Here in Barcelona the emphasis is on quality that will make people come back week after week. You are not grabbing them like in Ibiza so the atmosphere is more relaxed and you get to know people as you have more time to spend getting to know them. I have got to know some great people from all genres of life.
What's on this weekend at Danzatoria?
We are changing things bringing in some fantastic djs from Barcelona like Joe Moreno from Tishomingo Records which is a new label here that is making superb quality house music. Joe is playing on Friday with a fantastic dj called Annemiek who is the resident at CDLC another cool venue in the city, we have a trumpet player who is one of the best I have ever heard called Jonathan Bidichi and it's my birthday so this Friday will be a good night!! Fridays are on a tribal deep and dirty tip.
Saturday Joe Moreno is our new resident and mixes up the styles playing house, tribal etc. He really takes people on a journey, playing for 5 hours and carrying the night through until 6.00am. Joe Moreno is a dj and producer that is definitely on the way up, watch this space.
How big is the club?
1000 capacity - the perfect size. It is situated in the Pueblo Espanyol in two castle turrets, the roof terrace looks over the entire city and when the warmer weather arrives will be the best vip in Barcelona.
Saturdays is full of the chic Barcelona fashion crowd who all love Danzatoria. Fridays is the Tribally night and we are speaking to the Radio stations here to organise Outside Broadcasts every week. The opening party is this Friday so it should be really good.
Do you use local djs or imports?
Joe Moreno is Canadian and ran his own club in Shanghai for 2 years, he is also part of the new label Tishomingo which will be bringing out its first release in March. We are planning on bringing in some up and coming djs towards the summer but at the moment we are promoting the Barcelona residents as they move the crowds and are very good.
Is February a busy time of year in Barcelona?
January and February are not the busiest in Barcelona but it is a good time now to set your still out before the summer. March brings the good weather and people and tourists start to go out.
What are your busiest nights?
We opened in December and with internal promotion to our database we have a packed Saturday night. Friday is picking up every week, we will be opening Thursdays and Sundays at the end of March.
How old are you?
Still 21... Joking unfortunately:-)
How did you get your job?
I knew a girl her in the sponsorship department and mentioned to her I would like to work on some projects in Barcelona and the next thing I am here and getting on with things.
How's your hearing?
My hearing is fine, a few years ago I stopped going out to clubs as a conscious effort to have a normal life as I am married to a beautiful girl and have two wonderful boys so your approach to life changes, for the better, I worry about my family now and not the stupid things I did before.
Do you get to Ibiza much?
My wife and boys lived in Ibiza, and go to school there and I have spent the last two years living there full time. Ibiza will always have a special place in my heart but I think that moving to Barcelona is the best thing I have done. From a family perspective my wife and the boys will develop more as their is so much to do and see, arts galleries, museums etc...
What did you do in Ibiza?
I was one of the first British promoters to host an event at Space in 1993 with Sasha and Erick Morillo and that first event opened up the door to all the other promoters who are hosting parties at Space now. It was the best party of my career, over 4000 people went on all day. We had a powercut in the afternoon, Sasha played a monster set for 8 hours inside. It was brilliant.
I have also promoted the largest events in Ibiza with the M People concert at Ku and the first MTV festival in 1999 with Faithless and Orbital, Paul Oakenfold and many more, this was my creation of which I am very proud, it brought the island so much publicity worldwide. The government could not have paid for this, it was priceless. What they did to MTV was not only disgusting but how the people in charge could turn away this promotion for the island is totally unbelievable.
Which is better – Barcelona or Ibiza?
They are different, Ibiza is too full in the summer and if you work there it takes a lot out of you. 7 days a week for 6 months and then nothing. It’s an island of two extremes, the summer is too busy and the winter too quiet.
If you are a millionaire, over 40 and like to read the paper and have coffee then Ibiza is perfect for you in the winter, for me I wanted to experience a city again, 12 months of the year, meeting people, creating new things which I have done and wanted to feel young again.
In Barcelona you have outstanding clubs, fantastic restaurants cheaper prices than in Ibiza. You can ski the mountains in Andorra which are only 2 hours away. It is a city that has everything, I think one of the best in Europe. For me Barcelona is now my home and I love it.
Who is your competition for customers in Barcelona?
Their are many clubs like Discotheque, the Loft, Razamataz, Pacha, Matinee, CDLC... too many to mention. They are all busy.
Why has the scene got such a good reputation? Was it always like this? When did you first get to Barcelona?
I first went to Barcelona 10 years ago to arrange my night at Amnesia, the reputation has always been good but over the last 2 years the city has exploded for many reasons. You can fly to Barca from over 10 airports in the UK and from all major cities in Europe. It’s cheap to get here. The Olympics in 1992 put the city on the map. There are a lot fo people moving from Ibiza to Barcelona and a good crowd already here working in the winter.
What exciting events have you got coming up?
I am meeting up with the Space posse this week and want to host a monthly Space party at the club. We are talking to Weekend Records and Stereo who will be hosting monthly's and towards April will be booking some of the up and coming djs.
SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT
co-founder Albert Tió
is the mover and shaker behind important local institutions Discothèque
and La Terrrazza
, and underground grower Cube
, among others. His organisation has been collaborating with the might Sónar
culture quake since its inception, and also finds time to pump out a mag (Mono Cläb
) and organise a festival of their own (B-Parade
How’s it going?
Pretty busy with all the projects, but happy with the results, though it’s not easy at all.
What’s on this weekend at Discothèque? What could someone who has never been to your club expect?
We’ve just had Andy B and Sarah Main last Friday and Wally López on Saturday, and we’re having Flamenco Trash with dj Oliver from Amnesia next Friday and a party called Forbidden with Luca G singing with our residents Sergio Patricio and Xavi VII. Someone coming to Discothèque for the first time would feel part of the show, find a pumping crowd, a glamorous club, high quality music, good looking people and lots of fun around.
How big is it?
Two floors make it comfortable for 1.500 people but some nights can be more packed.
How important is the look of a club? What’s more important to people in Barcelona, the decor or the music?
The look is important, but I think the music’s always more. You’re more likely to leave a club if you hear awful music, even if it’s very well decorated, than to leave because you don’t like what you see but the music doesn’t let you stop dancing. What is truth is that nothing works for itself alone. The music, the people, the decor, the visuals, animation, workers... everything has to be considered to have a satisfactory global result.
How good are Barcelona djs compared to the guests?
Nothing to envy. We have very good Djs either technically, as selectors and also as producers. A lot of them are travelling abroad but they are not so known around, so maybe it’s more a question of marketing and self confidence.
Is Barcelona becoming too tourist orientated? Why is the city so popular now?
It’s truth that it’s becoming more a city of services paying a lot of attention to the cultural offer, but the visits we have are more of people who stay for a long period, rather than people coming for a short one. We hear a lot of cases of Djs, artists, designers and other professionals moving to Barcelona to stay. The weather helps but not only that. The location, the culture, the cultural offer...
What are your busiest nights?
New Years Eve, opening and closing and special parties like La Troya Asesina or Roger Sanchez residency.
How long have you been with them?
From the beginning. I’m one of the founders of Night Sun Group. That was 8 years ago. We’ve been through a lot.
How did you start ?
I started organising small size parties mixing music, games and exhibitions. I was asked to join a project to create a group of club promotion by renting a club and we went for it and created Night Sun Group.
I take part of the programming, publicity, public relations, press and coordination of other projects as our magazine Mono Cläb, or the B-Parade festival.
What age are you?
What time do you usually get to bed? Do you stay the whole night in the club?
During the week I go to bed at a reasonable time though once you’ve changed your timetable from the weekend, is difficult to fall asleep soon. The weekend is a different story. Normally I don’t stay in the club from the beginning as the people is not arriving before 2 am, but I do stay until the end because I like to see the whole evolution of the night and congratulate the dj if it’s the case. Normally it is.
Do you get to Ibiza much?
Every year I try to go once or twice. Pleasure and business are really together in our job, so I can’t say that I’m not working when I go out, specially in Ibiza. You have to pay attention to everything happening and we are having very similar programming as on the island.
How do you handle it?
It’s normally a non stop week or two, but I try to keep and enjoy some relaxed moments as well. But sometimes we have also organised some nights there occasionally, something which I hope it’s going to be more often from now on.
Do you think club tourism has had a positive or negative effect on the island?
Any tourism should be always welcome, specially when local economies are based on it. Another thing is how people behave, or respect nature, for instance.
Does Barcelona compete with Ibiza for club tourists?
On the contrary, I think our location is just on the way to the island so lots of clubbers coming from everywhere make a stop in Barcelona before or after they travel to Ibiza, in that way we get a lot of inputs from their visits, their opinions and sometimes the comparisons between both scenes.
Which is better?
I wouldn’t say it’s a question of better or worse, it’s completely different. We have a very nice mix of club tourism mixed with local clubbers either foreign or national. Ibiza is holiday time in a holiday island. Here we work all year in a big urban metropolis. In Ibiza everything is huge but not so many places, here we have to deal with a bigger offer and keep the level really high.
Who do you compete with for custom in Barcelona?
When we started we were nearly the only ones doing what we’re doing and now we see a club birth every month, so we always have to try to go further in our offer.
Why has the Barcelona scene got such a good reputation? Was it always like this? When did you first get to Barcelona?
I hope we have contributed to that. A lot of different factors have influenced. Also some annual festivals like sonar have collaborated. But normally we get that opinion from the outside. Here we’re fighting hard to be where we are. It’s some years this has been like this. Maybe when we have seen that we can have really good products and not always we have to import them. Taking care of a combination of inside and outside production, their interactivity, and being very receptive to all tendencies. I was born here but have travelled a lot too.
What exciting events have you got coming up at Discothèque?
Fuck Me I’m Famous, La Troya Asesina, Francesco Farfa, the closing weekend (May 21th & 22th) and a solitary Fashion & Friends weekend to collect funds for the victims of Madrid bombings on 11-M, next Easter weekend.
How much fun is the Terrrazza summer tour? Do they just travel around and party? How can I get a job there?
We have started this year with the tour and we have a monthly residency at Queen in Paris, and have visited club Q at Zürich, Bazar at Marseille, Mas at Glasgow, and soon we’re visiting Gusto at Gothenborg, Sage at Berlin and D Club at Laussanne, soon in Moscow as well. We travel with our residents and occasionally some animation, live acts and singers. The response is really good and we’re happy about it. We can say we’re exporting now. What kind of job are you looking for? Maybe you can sell some parties for us around.
When does La Terrrazza open?
It’s normally the last weekend in May. May 28th is this year.
Why do the English like Spain so much? Do you get many coming to Discothèque? Do you mind if they do?
I imagine good weather and a holiday destination make it attractive for them. We get some in the club, but mostly in summer in La Terrrazza, that’s where we get more foreign visitors. Of course we don’t mind, they’re always welcome and it’s a good sign for us if they do come, that means we’re offering a good product and the information arrives to destination even abroad. We get a lot of emails from all over the world.
What effect has the Sonar festival had on Barcelona’s electronic music reputation? Are you planning to go?
We’ve been collaborating with Sonar festival since it was born. We have a presence there in the Professional Area. It’s very good for Barcelona as a city and for the scene in particular. It’s a good opportunity for professional exchange in all fields. It’s also a weekend where lots of labels and artists want to be present and show their work, so they all want to have a night in any of the clubs, it’s like the festival has exceeded the physical limits and has extended to the whole city. The exposition is really innovative and not at all commercial so that makes it highly interesting. It’s not only about music but a lot more. It’s about contemporary culture.
How long has the Night Sun Group been operating? Are they planning to buy any more venues in Barcelona?
It’s the 9th year now. It’s not so much about buying venues but about making them work with a high level. It may seem we have a lot but you should consider Discothèque and La Terrrazza as the same one as they are season venues which never work together, except in New Year’s Eve.
Is there a lot of money in clubs?
There’s a lot of people to share any benefits so I’m sure there’s much less money than it is thought. We don’t always own the club, so we have to negotiate also with club owners.
How much is a beer in Discothèque?
3 euros there, it’s a more alternative club where we’re trying to introduce different music styles such as drum’n’bass or hip-hop, which has been difficult until now.
How much does it cost to get in?
In La Terrrazza and Discothèque it’s 15 euros with discount, 18 without, at Cube it’s 9 and 12. But we have to learn from you not to have such big guest lists as we do. Maybe that’s why we’re not richer now.
Imported but at home in this city is Manumission
resident Colin Peters
. He was gigging all over Europe in the last part of 2003, but has nailed down a regular slot at Republica
. Here he answers a few questions about Barcelona clubs from his cockpit vantage point, and tells us which drugs are popular in Poland
How’s it going? How’s your day been?
Today’s been very eventful, I’ve started to take Spanish classes again to get my level up from what it is (i.e. intermediate for 2 years). Also practicing for my weekly residency at Republica in Barcelona. I’ve also managed to avoid watching any Spanish tv which I am happy about because it is full of programmes about Z list celebrities and their partners.
How did you get entangled with the Manumission crew? Have they ever made you do anything you regret?
I got introduced to Mike Manumission through Vaughan who runs the Funky room in Pacha. I gave Mike my mix tape of funk, disco and house and he liked the mix tape so much he asked me to be resident DJ in the toilets of Manumission. Over the past six years I´ve progressed from the toilets to the back room and then to the Coco Loco and last year I played the Coco Loco, Music Box and the terrace at Space. I don´t think they made me do anything I regret although I my memory is quite hazy by the time we get to Bora Bora.
You are re-located in Barcelona for the winter, how did your gig at Republica go? When are you next playing?
Republica is going well. The club has three rooms and they wanted to change the music in one of the rooms which is why I’ve been drafted in. It’s going to take a couple of weeks to get it really firing because it’s a sudden change from the dj that played before me. I’m going to be playing there every Saturday until the end of May when I jet off to Ibiza.
What were the most popular drugs on your recent trip to Poland?.
From what the natives told me, Maria was very popular followed by an extremely strong local variant of amphetamine.
Is Berlin cooler that Ibiza? Describe again that crazy club you went to.
To be honest I wouldn’t really call Ibiza cool, I’m not slagging it off but it’s just different. Berlin, London, Paris, New York, Barcelona etc are places that are on all year round and they attract a different crowd in each place. Usually the people go to a certain place because it has a certain music policy. Ibiza attracts all types of people from all around the world and they can either be people who like music or people who just want to go out and get off their nut. Ibiza for me is in a category by itself and it is impossible to compare it with anything else. It’s unique.
Anyway enough spiritual blah.. I went to WMF club in Berlin which was the eastern part. It was converted from a club that used to entertain the top brass of the Communist Party back in the day. The club was on three floors and they had kept all the old furnishings, i.e. there where leather sofas everywhere and wood panelled walls. Clever use of lighting made me feel like I was in a scene of Joan Collins classic film - The Stud. Music policy was superb, top floor had a live band in the style of a 30s skiffle band (think Spencer Tracy), middle floor had eighties soul classics (“N-n-n-n-n-n-n-nineteen!”) and the bottom floor had electro house (for want of a better term).
How do the observations of Ray Winstone´s cockney character in Sexy Beast (below) made about Spain compare to your own experiences as a resident of both countries? Is it too fucking hot? Do you love it?
Well both countries were too fucking hot last summer. Bless old Ray, what a geezer, classic performance. Yeah I do love living in Spain but with good old Easyjet I can get a return flight from Barca to London for the princely sum of 30 english pounds. So when I get homesick or need some banging tunes that I can´t get my hands on in Spain, I can go back for a 2 day blast of the UK. Ray also made some observations about the food and the weather. The food in Spain is (normally) very good and a damn sight cheaper than in England. A friend of mine went to lunch in Soho the other day and for 2 plates of steak and chips, half a bottle of wine and some water came to 48 quid. Absolutely ridiculous I tell you. I´d get the same in Spain for around 10! Cans of beer for about 20p and bottles of top quality wine for about 3 pounds. Can´t really argue with that can you?
Also can i just say I've had a nice winter, sunny almost every day with the daytime temperature a pleasant 14 degrees in January and February. That's another thing that Ray was spot on about. There´s nothing like a bit of sun to put a smile on your face which is a crucial difference from London on a snowy January. But at the end of the day I miss Éngland for my Mum, tv that isn´t dubbed into Spanish (The Simpsons just loses its impact) the clubs and the general buzz around the place.
Have you ever been to a Top of the Pops or other recorded tv "live" performance? If so what was it like?
As a matter a fact I have been on live tv both times in the early nineties on shows that are now defunct. The first one was on "Dance Energy" a "yoof" programme on BBC 2 hosted by Normski and featuring lots of people dancing round the studio like twats to hip house. I remember going there in my finest rave gear with a hair style which can only be described as a permed flatop. I remember seeing myself doing the running man dance when the recording was broadcast... I was so proud.
The second time I was on the tv was for a recording of "The Word" presented by Terry Christian and Amanda de Cadanet (or was it Dani Behr?) All I can remember was that the studio was hot and we were herded around like sheep to applaud people doing silly stuff.
What´s the name of the record store in this photo (right)? What's it like?
The store is called Sci-Fi and it´s close to The Ramblas. The selection is between tech house and more electro and nu wave bits, with some bootlegs and leftfield business to finish off.
Where else is good to buy records in Barcelona?
At the moment I would recommend a shop called CD Drome which has a great choice of electro and more rock based dance music. Also recommended is the only record shop in the world that is closed on saturdays - Verdes Records. This shop gets in stuff in from the UK and Germany that is hard to find in Barcelona. Special mention goes to Edison´s the best second hand record shop in Barcelona. It´s where I get all my "special" records that I play at Manumission.
Is graffiti a crime?
I´d say those little tags are a crime. If you´re going to spray something on a wall at least make it special rather than doing your signature.
In what way, if any has the Barcelona scene affected your dj style?
I think it has affected my style in my appreciation of older records that were hard to find England but easy to find there.
Why are their openings and closings so utterly mental? Will you make it to this year´s on time?
I know the openings and closings are legendary aren´t they? I guess it because of the whole scale of the club and that it´s the premiere of the new theme of the season. The closing because it's the last time you´re going to see that theme.
Will the world be plunged over the abyss if George W Bush wins the upcoming US election?
I don´t think so but I am going to be rooting for Senator John Kerry in November (presuming he wins the nomination). We need more liberty and fewer global policemen in the White House.
What will Colin Peters be doing in 5 years time?
Still DJing but in a reduced capacity. Moving into making music for films and fashion shows. Writing articles. Hopefully happy.
Anything else you´d like to add?