Ibiza is the place that partly saves Spanish economy, cherishes DJ egos and supplies the world with celebrity scandals and tons of gossip. Last week Canadian artist Grimes became the queen of music hype – she dared to play Taylor Swift and Britney Spears at Richie Hawtin’s party. And what a party it was: a special Boiler Room villa gathering streamed live to approximately half a million online viewers! Grimes deny the fact of trolling, but does she really think Vengaboys and Mariah Carey are good for warming up before Nina Kraviz and Richie Hawtin?
Boiler Room, a project for streaming clubbing events live from invite-only secret locations, arrived in Ibiza this summer to make three exclusive villa parties. The one that happened on Richie Hawtin’s villa took place on August 14 with Grimes, Nina Kraviz, Azari & III and Hawtin himself on the line-up. Grimes’ selection of tunes caused an uproar of amazement, indignation and aversion among the audience – she played Taylor Swift, Daddy Yankee, Skrillex, Vengaboys’ We're Going to Ibiza and even Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, just in case Christmas might occur in August. During her set she was chatting, texting and behaving not like a rigorous techno artist should, especially with a Boiler Room camera targeted on her.
Grimes is known for her love for pop, and it might have been that she really thought Vengaboys would suit a daytime poolside gathering more than the dark, tense, acid sounds by Nina Kraviz. Or she might have as well been trolling the so called intelligent clubbing community, the Boiler Room concept and Ibiza as a whole, even if Grimes herself denies trolling. Defending her position on Twitter she said: “I don’t think there is a DJ rule book” and then stated: “Nothing about anything I do is ironic”.
Neither do we see any irony in the fact that Ibiza has become so commercial that it’s almost by chance that true house and techno are still played here. All the entourage, the glitz, the visual part of Ibiza life belongs to the VIP-soaked culture of showing off, while the music is probably the last element that still remains raw and true. Invite a deaf person on a tour around Ibiza clubs and bars, show them the public, the drinks prices, the VIP areas and the backstages and then ask them: “Can you guess what kind of music is played here?” Bet they will be staggered to get to know that no venue plays Beyonce or Nicki Minaj, none at all, even though some look 100% as if they do.
Judging by their music policy, Boiler Room are pretty much underground, they book cool and respected artists with no axes to grind. But, music aside for a moment, their social approach is rather elitist, because only the selected few have a chance to get to the party and to dance so close to the DJ that they can almost touch him. Isn’t it the principle of VIP areas in clubs? In Boiler Room’s case instead of a “dancefloor for the mere mortals” there is a huge audience that is not physically present at the party and is watching the online stream as if it were a reality show.
Keeping up with the rules of the game, the DJ on duty tries to seem as credible and confident as possible, realizing what a great promotional tool Boiler Room is and how special, exclusive, in vogue the gig is. Just as Paris Hilton must smile and dance and cheer during her set, a techno DJ must be focused and valiant while playing.
Come on, having rules and sticking to an accepted code of behavior is a bit too serious for a party! Underground culture is not about proving to the world that you are cool, confident, experienced, advanced or whatever – it’s about proving nothing. All of us, DJs included, come here to have fun and not to perform a protocolled rite. We can’t be sure that this was the message that Grimes wanted to convey to us, but at least she triggered the discussion and the re-evaluation of the scene.
From her part it was a conscious and preplanned action – a few days before Grimes twitted: “Preparing my Ibiza DJ sets for Boiler Room and Enter. Definitely some of this” – and the link to M.I.A.’s Bring The Noise. Or “Another hit for my Ibiza DJ set”, with the link to We’re Going To Ibiza by Vengaboys. When Hawtin supported her at Boiler Room by playing Nicki Minaj, it caused a further split of opinions: was it a sign of true unanimity with Grimes or was the Enter. boss just trying to put a brave face on a sorry business? The greatest thing about it is that Grimes was not pushed out from the decks for being too poppy, which happened to DJ Shadow or Dennis Ferrer in Miami for being too brainy.
Boiler Room are big and popular, but they are not the only ones who marry clubbing to virtual reality. From September 11 Hed Kandi in collaboration with Sony will stream their Es Paradis parties via PlayStation Home as a fully interactive visual rave with free and exclusive content, customizable avatars and virtual merchandising. This will mark the first anniversary of the deal according to which Hed Kandi music became available on streaming services through Sony’s Music Unlimited subscription. Unlike Boiler Room, the real event will be much more accessible in this case; you just need to buy a ticket to Es Paradis.
Now to the news section that has gone regular this summer – party cancellations. Booom bid farewell to one more promoter, Be Crazy on Fridays. Fortunately, the flagship evenings of the same name on Wednesdays at Ushuaia are very much alive, so no reason to worry.
Our House with David Morales (Wednesdays at Eden) didn’t have a backup or a second venue, so they just closed down giving way to a new Feed The Greed concept. Apart from the matter-of-fact name the new Wednesday nights have a line-up that after the classical Morales should seem more appealing to a younger audience – Breach, Duke Dumont… Time will show what their closing date will be.
However, young target audience isn’t a guaranteed way to success: Ushuaia boat parties are also cancelled. They used to serve as a sea preparty for Avicii and provide San Antonio revelers with free transport and entry to Ushuaia. Taking into account that only two Avicii parties are left for this season, we might put up with the loss.
Another regular feature of this summer news are licensing games. The ecological group GEN-GOB complained of the illegal works being carried out at the old Toromar premises located not far from DC10 and purchased by Pacha group last winter. A parking space was about to appear there and lights were being put on the façade, but the process had to stop for the lack of license for any works and any commercial activities. The thing is that Toromar sits on the territory of ses Salines natural park. People, cars, music and lights would disturb coursers, lovely birds who are proclaimed protected species and are very sensitive to human pressure. In order to protect them, party people should keep away from the area.
Pacha were very much aware of the situation when buying the premises. In an interview to Diario de Ibiza right after the purchase Ricardo Urgell mentioned that DC10 and La Escollera restaurant are also located on the territory of the natural park which doesn’t prevent them from being open and popular. Although the level of permissiveness on the island is rather high, this times the Urgells find themselves in a tricky situation and will need to find a solution that satisfies both people and birds. During the interview Ricardo cracked a joke that he might make a country house out of Toromar and come there on Sundays to eat paella. Eventually this might turn to be not a joke – in case the coursers aren’t allergic to rice.