Native of the world famous party capital, Ibiza, Manu Gonzalez’ upbringing is, unsurprisingly, steeped in dance music and revelry. His thirst for electronic music really took form at the tender age of 15 during his employment at Delta Discos, one of Ibiza’s longest serving and top record shops for electronic music. It was here that his tastes became refined, and his youthful enthusiasm led him to become a renowned DJ on the island, with regular slots at Sankeys, Space, Pacha, Privilege and all over the world.
I'm lucky to be born and bred in Ibiza, for me it's the best place in the world, being surrounded by the energy of the island, the music, the beaches...Given the vast amount of exposure Gonzalez has experienced throughout his life, it was only matter of time before he started producing music like the material he so dearly loved to play out.
His first release arrived on Natural Rhythm in 2012, and since then he’s exhibited a string of releases on other lauded labels such as Baumhaus, Isgud Records, Knee Deep In Sound and now Oblack’s vinyl only series.
What was it like growing up in a party island like Ibiza?
It was the best thing that could have happened to me in my life. I'm lucky to be born and bred in Ibiza, for me it's the best place in the world, being surrounded by the energy of the island, the music, the beaches... I had a really beautiful childhood and I still continue to have a really beautiful life here, traveling around the world with my music but coming back always to my home - Ibiza.
Have many of your friends growing up adopted careers in music too? Is it common in Ibiza?
Not really, to be honest I’m the only one from my school friends who chose a career in music. Most of my friends are now studying or finishing their masters (I'm 25) in banking careers, law, medicine or directorship of hotels.
I love to be surrounded with people from all over the world - that’s when you start to think big...All my friends left Ibiza after studying to go to private universities, I was the only one who started working at a record store - they thought I was crazy! However, they all knew music was my passion and they always supported me.
Now they see me growing and doing all that I have loved since day one. Following my decision to leave school to sell records at the vinyl store and then to go out of Ibiza to study music production at college, they were and still are really proud of all that I have achieved. They love to go out and party but they are not involved in the music industry themselves.
Are their tensions between natives and tourists? How did you cope with the disparity growing up, if indeed there was any?
I don't like tensions. I love natives and tourists and the intelligent ones. I don't care about the ones who have tensions. I don't like people who catalogue other people for coming to your place. We are all the same and respect is everything to me. I'm lucky to be Ibicencan and born in Ibiza with my 2 brothers and sister but I also have African blood and family all around the world (Paris/Madrid/Sevilla) I love to be surrounded with people from all over the world - that’s when you start to think big. The problem with some people is that they are too closed and if you are closed you never grow. I love everybody and I love the tourists coming to the island. We live from the tourists and that’s the reality.
Could you tell us a little bit about your release on Oblack? How did this come about?
I did the release exclusively for Oblack on Vinyl and I'm really happy with it. I really like the label and there are many underground artists working with them. The fact that they only release their music on Vinyl and the quality they spend on it (180gr vinyl) is amazing. The release is already sold out on decks but more copies are to come. The remixes from Philip Bader, Los Pastores and Italoboyz are super good. The release is supported by Loco Dice, Pete Tong BBC1, Paco Osuna, Joseph Capriati & many other biggies. Thanks Oblack and everybody involved for such good work!
I remember going to the shop and calling to the record companies to order vinyls, they were playing me the vinyl over the phone and then I would say which ones I wanted for the shop...Is it your first full vinyl release? Do you collect and play vinyl? What are your thoughts on the vinyl revival?
This is not my first vinyl release; we have around 2/3 vinyl releases a year. I collect and play vinyl, not every time but I do play it. As I mentioned earlier I used to work at one of the best record stores in the world "Discos Delta Ibiza" Ricardo Villalobos, Sven Vath, Loco Dice, and everybody used to go to the shop to buy music.
I started working there when I was really young, it was such an inspiration for me and I was influenced by lots of genres of music. I remember going to the shop and calling to the record companies to order vinyls, they were playing me the vinyl over the phone and then I would say which ones I wanted for the shop.
At that stage the vinyl was going down to the point that the shop sadly closed. Now it looks like the vinyl is making a comeback and I believe and support this fully and I will continue to do this always. I love to release on vinyl it’s really so special.
You’ve obviously been influenced heavily by DJs playing in Ibiza as you grew up, who in particular really influenced you at the beginning?
I used to go Amnesia a lot. All my friends were going to Pacha but I was always asking my brother and his friends if I could go with them to party, and I started to really love the sound of the Amnesia Terrace; Marco Carola, Loco Dice, Richie Hawtin, Sven, Luciano, I loved to follow those artists.
I remember receiving all the vinyl’s and just checking which artists were playing on the island so I could go to see them play...I started to work on the record store when I was 16 and I started to go to clubs when I was just 15 (early clubbing!) once I had started to work at the shop I really began to enjoy going out to really cool parties. I remember going on Mondays to Cocoon and then straight back to the shop to work drinking orange juice and waters, it was all about the music.
I remember receiving all the vinyl’s and just checking which artists were playing on the island so I could go to see them play. Some of them were coming to the shop after their gigs. I was just a kid but people really liked me. It was amazing to see the poster people fighting to have their space to put up their flyers or posters on the shop windows. I was always looking who was playing on the same day, as Facebook was not the main thing as it is now. Nowadays you know who plays each day and whereabouts just by joining Facebook.
I have a powerful residency this year every Saturday at Sankeys Ibiza with Tribal Sessions sharing the booth with some of the biggest names of the underground scene...During that year 2006 I will always remember looking at the posters. I also remember some events at a club called “Blue”. They were doing some special events with the likes of Zip, Loco Dice and Marco Carola, only 300 pax! I loved it there.
Anything planned for 2016 that you’d like to fill us in on? Festivals? Residencies? Releases?
2016 is gonna be incredible. Last year was amazing I received my first award at the DJ Awards and had many releases out.
This year we have already booked twice the amount of shows I did last year. I have a powerful residency this year every Saturday at Sankeys Ibiza with Tribal Sessions sharing the booth with some of the biggest names of the underground scene.
I’ll also be playing in some of the best clubs off the island. In terms of releases this vinyl only release for Oblack is the first of 2016 but there will be 5 or 6 more happening throughout the year to be announced soon. You can get updated about all of this info here: www.facebook.com/manugonzalezibiza