Simon Dunmore: We want people to walk away from our parties being really wowed

Words by: Lena Kochetkova
Posted: 19/6/14 12:37

Interview with Defected head honcho Simon DunmoreDefected, one of the most emblematic party brands in Ibiza, celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2014. Not only have they been making extremely popular events in different venues across the island, but also as a label they seem to have a real knack for finding a record that really resonates in Ibiza.

Their tracks regularly become anthems of the season, be it TensnakeComa Cat”, Soul CentralStrings Of Life” or Banda SonoraGuitarra G”. Defected are constantly evolving in all possible aspects: a couple of years ago they made a shift from funky and soulful to slightly deeper and more, if we can say so, underground sound.

In 2013 they left their longtime home of Pacha Ibiza for the sake of brand new BoOom – the club whose destiny turned out to be quite an adventure. For 2014 Defected are staying in Booom, but migrated from Saturday, the night they have been traditionally associated with for quite a time, to Tuesday.

However, Saturdays aren’t simply abandoned – for this night a new concept called Glitterbox was elaborated and debuted on June 7. Among all these innovations Defected always stay true to themselves and remain highly recognizable both in terms of sound and visual experience.

We met the label’s owner and founder Simon Dunmore to discuss the philosophy of their events, the new 3CD compilation Defected In The House Ibiza 2014 and the milestones of their glorious history on the White Island.

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Why is your newest compilation Defected In The House Ibiza 2014 so big? Wasn’t just 1 CD enough for it?
House Music is so broad these days, there are different environments it can work in and different experiences connected with it. We like to reflect everything that people can experience when they come to Ibiza. There is chill-out daytime, when the sun is out and you are just relaxing by the pool with a glass of sangria and some good food. There are lots of daytime parties. And of course, there is the experience of going to clubs at night. We believe that people come to Ibiza for lots of different reasons, and the album just reflects them all.

So it reflects not the sound of your label, not the music that is played at Defected parties, but the spirit of Ibiza first and foremost?
Well, it also reflects the music that we play at the parties. Defected is very eclectic as a label, we don’t believe in having one sound. Some people reside in techno, or tech-house, or deep house. We believe that house music is just one genre – if people wish to subcategorize it, that’s their choice. The album reflects our vision, it reflects house music across the board.

Glitterbox - Saturday @ BoOom! Ibiza 2014 When I compared the line-ups of your new Glitterbox party on Saturdays with those of Defected on Tuesdays I first thought I mixed them up. It seems that Glitterbox nights will have that classical Defected sound, and Defected events will be slightly more forward-thinking, right?
The island has shaped the musical influences of generations and we now have both past and present generations looking to party on the island and revisit the nostalgia of previous decades. They don’t want to necessarily listen to EDM or techno, they want to listen to the music that they love, some of which is new tracks, but some can be nostalgic and classics from back in the day. We identify that we fill the gap in the market. That’s why the line-ups are a little more retrospective to match the environment we are trying to create.

BoOom is a new place that can’t be associated with the previous eras though…
BoOom is a great club. It’s a small venue for Ibiza with a capacity of 1500, which is probably half the size of a club like Pacha and certainly less than that of Space. The music that we are going to play and the people who we’d like to see there would prefer a slightly smaller intimate place, that’s why I think it’s the ideal venue.

Why did you decide to move Defected to another night rather than Saturdays? And why did you choose Tuesdays?
We moved from Saturdays because the festival circuit in Europe is really extensive now and it was difficult for us to book the talents we wanted. They all would be playing at festivals in Holland, in Belgium, in the UK etc., and I understand why: festivals create opportunities, they probably pay very well. So for us to be able to get the talent that we really wanted we knew we had to move away from the weekend.

Then it was just the case of selecting the right night, and we saw that Tuesday was probably the best for us. Whatever night you choose, there always will be strong competition in Ibiza. People say “Carl Cox is a massive night, you are going up against Carl Cox”, but Carl Cox is more techno, and we are more house, so I think we offer a different proposition. I don’t think we will affect him and he will affect us.

Defected In The House Ibiza Opening Party 20.05.14
But are you sure that Booom will be able to last till the end of the season? Won’t it have any legal issues, won’t it be evicted from the premises?

I’m very sure everything will be fine. Unfortunately, Ibiza is full of mischief, people are trying to cause troubles to other venues. I think they should all just try to live in a harmony.

BoOom is a great club, and this year they don’t have problems they suffered from last season. Suara did their opening there, and it was better attended that many of the nights BoOom had last summer. Giuseppe Cipriani, who owns the club, is very ambitious about becoming a big player on the island. He really wants to be involved in Ibiza nightlife, you can clearly see his passion when you talk to him. He’s at the club every night, sometimes you see him on the dancefloor. I believe in him, he’s someone I want to support.

How was Defected opening?
We had a most amazing opening, the best way for us to start the season! There was a queue of 800 people waiting down the road, who couldn’t get in because of the limited capacity of the club. Next week predictably dropped a little bit, because it was the day after DC10 opening, just preceded by Space and Ushuaia openings. Everybody was a little jaded after three massive parties. But the week 3 that we did with Nic Fanciulli, Andrea Oliva and Oliver $ had absolutely amazing vibe, the club was full again. I’m also very optimistic about Glitterbox, I believe they will do very well.

You always have to look to progress. If we were still putting on the same Defected In The House parties with the same line-ups we did five years ago, it wouldn’t be exciting, people would be bored. It’s younger audience who brings the vibe and the atmosphere to the dancefloor...Would you like to make some daytime parties on the island?
We are looking for a couple of opportunities. But we want to be sure that all the correct licenses are implied, because so many daytime parties are getting shut down… I don’t want to let the public down by being shut in the middle of the day, when everything suddenly stops. As soon as we have all the right permissions secured, we will do some daytime parties for sure.

Tell us please about the milestones of the long history of Defected in Ibiza…
During our first season on the island we did parties at Pacha. Actually, we curated the night for Ministry Of Sound who used to do Friday at Pacha, which was incredibly successful. At that time we had a no.1 record in the UK with Roger SanchezAnother Chance”. When Roger played for us, Pacha was absolutely rammed: I can still visualize him playing “Another Chance” and the crowd going crazy…  This was our first real introduction to Ibiza. The label was only two years old at that time, and to do a night in Ibiza that early was something I was really proud and excited about.

Then we were offered a residency in El Divino which we did for two years. A little like BoOom, people thought it would be difficult for us. It was a real challenge, but we made it work. Our parties there must have been definitely good, because after two seasons we were approached by Pacha, and that was another milestone.  We did Pacha on Tuesday night – you see, it always worked for us on Tuesdays. We didn’t have to compete with any other night on the island, we just offered what we felt the fans of house music and the fans of Defected would want, and we proved to be very successful.

But after three or four seasons we went to Saturdays, because at that time there was little going on in Ibiza and there was no festival circuit in Europe. We felt it would be a chance for us to really grow. We did that for five years, I think, and then there was time to move on. There was a change of regime at Pacha, they wanted to try different things. We felt it was a good time for us to maybe leave and challenge ourselves by doing another club – which was BoOom, that had its problems in the beginning. But we had a great season last year. And all of these clubs are really important for our history.

Simon Dunmore @ Defected In The House at Booom Ibiza 10.05.14A bit naïve question: is it more difficult to make parties in Ibiza now than, let’s say, 10 years ago?
It’s more competitive now. There are many more parties, and a lot of clubs work hard to protect their line-ups, booking DJs exclusively for themselves. But in some respects it has become easier: for example, with the help of social media you can promote your parties way before people decide to come to the island. They look at the line-ups well ahead and think: “That’s the DJ I want to see” or “That’s the party I want to attend”.

You always have to look to progress. If we were still putting on the same Defected In The House parties with the same line-ups we did five years ago, it wouldn’t be exciting, people would be bored. It’s younger audience who brings the vibe and the atmosphere to the dancefloor, that’s why you always need a line-up which is evolving, moving forward, working with new exciting producers. Now we are putting lots of effort into production of Glitterbox parties, which we want it to be a real visual and audial experience. We want it to be decadent, flamboyant, we want people to walk away being really wowed.

Do you have exclusivity with Defected artists?
No, because I don’t believe in exclusivity. Artists should be free to play wherever they want to play. If my artists play at Pacha, Space or Amnesia, and people are having a great time there, the next time they play for us, people will come to Defected In The House.  I think it’s a really good way of spreading the awareness of what we do, the music that we release and the artists we promote. We have an open relationship with our artists. Other people don’t have that philosophy, that’s obviously their choice. The only thing that we ask our artists for is that when we need them to play for us, they play for us.

Frankie Knuckles with David Morales @ Defected In The HouseFrankie Knuckles used to play for Defected in Ibiza. What do you think, are there today any figures on the island who can be as époque-defining for house music as Frankie was?
I don’t believe so. There are lots of creative people around who are incredible at what they do, but if it wasn’t for someone creating an environment for them, they might not be there. Frankie Knuckles was there from the very beginning, he was part of the group who threw parties in Chicago and produced original house records. His remixes on Inner City and Alison Limerick, “Tears” with Robert Owens, his remix on "The Pressure" by Sounds of Blackness, – if that music didn’t exist, maybe I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. It was not just house music – it was music with soul that still sounds great today.

A lot of people make records that ten years later don’t sound so good, and Frankie Knuckles’ tracks from twenty years ago still sound amazing. Not only that, he was an incredible person with a most welcoming smile, one of the greatest persons I ever got to meet.

It’s sad that he died, but everybody gets to die, it’s one of the few certainties in life. What you do in your life time is what really defines you, and when you look at Frankie Knuckles’ life you see he was an influence to a lot of people. When he died Barack Obama commented on it, the mayor of Chicago attended his funeral, Wu Tang Clan tweeted about it… That’s recognition. He was an incredible guy.

 

Defected In The House - Tuesday from 20th May to 30th September @ BoOom! Ibiza 2014

Defected In The House - Tuesday @ BoOom! Ibiza 2014 - Full Line-up


Glitterbox - Saturday @ BoOom! Ibiza 2014 - Line-up
Glitterbox - Saturday @ BoOom! Ibiza 2014 - Line-up

Defected In The House Ibiza 2014 CD1
1. Chris Turner - FlyLOVE (Andrés Vocal Mix)
2. Steve Huerta - Smoky (Original Mix)
3. Phil Weeks - Live At Palladium
4. 6th Borough Project - U Know U
5. Chopstick & Johnjon - Pining Moon (Original Mix)
6. Uner featuring Kafele Bandele - Trumpets & Flowers
7. Cuebur featuring Vikter Duplaix - I See You (Andre Lodemann Remix)
8. Drew Hill - Studio 2
9. Kon - Runaway
10. Tito Wun - The Way U Do It
11. Elekfantz - Diggin' On You
12. Agoria - Dust
13. Terrence Parker - Spiritual Warfare
14. Hercules & Love Affair - Do You Feel The Same?
15. Lovebirds feat. Lisa Shaw - Holdin On (Lovebirds 808ies Matrix)
16. Daniel Steinberg - Let Me Down (Tube & Berger Remix)
17. Martina Topley Bird feat. Mark Lanegan & Warpaint - Crystalised (Directors Cut Signature Mix)
CD2
1. Wallflower - Say You Won’t Ever (Deetron Remix)
2. Cuebur feat. Marissa Guzman - No Doubt (Shlomi Aber Blacklive Version)
3. Ed Ed feat. Eric Mcbride - I’ve Got You (Deep In My Soul) (David Keno Remix)
4. Al Shaw - Lift It Up (Hollywood Hills Remix)
5. Romanthony - Trust (Audiojack Retrospective)
6. ‘House Master’ Baldwin feat. Paris Grey - Don't Lead Me (Drumapella)
7. Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On
8. Joeski & Tete De La Course - The Preacher Man
9. Catz Eats Dogz - Evil Tram (Original Mix)
10. Aaron Carl - Down
11. Coyu feat. Aaron David Frith - Salvation (Dennis Ferrer Remix)
12. J.Cub feat. Sarah Story - Give You My Love (Cristoph Remix)
13. Classixx feat. Karl Dixon - Into the Valley (Julio Bashmore Remix)
14. Seven Davis Jr. - One Jason Hates Jazz - Pray For Love (Acapella)
15. Andrea Oliva - Decomposing
16. The Black 80's - Give Me Something (Overnite Mix)
CD3
1. Magic Number featuring Angela Armstrong - Coming Back To Me (Atjazz Remix)
2. Affkt - Jakla (Gorge Remix)
3. Anja Schneider - Hey
4. Toddla T Sound - Pandoras Box
5. Guti & King Brain - Opus 2
Toddla T Sound - Acid (Accapella)
6. Patrick Chardronnet - All I Got
7. Mount Rushmore feat. Kate Cameron - You Better (Es Cavelett Mix) Zoo Brazil feat. Ursula Rucker - You Don't Know Me (Ursula Monologue)
8. Terry Brookes & Aaron Soul - City Life (Carl Craig’s Caya Dub)
9. Those Guys - Tonite (Original Colored Girls Mix)
10. James Barnsley - Want To Be (Chez Damier Dub One)
11. Man Without A Clue - When I Play This Record (Eddie Fowlkes Rub Me Mix)
12. Kiwi - Llama
13. Heiko Laux feat. Diego Hostettler - Canis Major Part 1 HNQO & Dake featuring Rai Knight - Obsessed (Accapella)
14. LaTrec - I Want To Thank You (MK Dub)
15. Supernova feat. Natalie Conway - Come With Me (Original Mix)
16. Beanfield feat. Marzenka - Alone (Original)
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