We recap on the Ibiza season just gone in the first in a new series of interview roundups to find out what really went down on the island this Summer. Black Coffee, Solardo and the promoters behind Pure Carl Cox kick things off.
The end of Space. The advent of Hï Ibiza. Carl Cox and his Game Over crew conjure up two very special mega raves. The launch of Resistance. The death of live music. The resurrection of Privilege. The increasing popularity of the island's offbeat venues. WooMooN. Elrow. Camelphat, Detlef, Solardo and their stomping tech-house sound, and don't forget Black Coffee's sonically inspiring Saturday night recitals in Playa d'en Bossa, which shifted in musical diversity from week to week, as South Africa's greatest dance music export dug much deeper than most, fusing African beats with tribal house, esoteric techno and educated bursts of James Brown and Michael Jackson. Those were just a few of the cornerstone stories of Ibiza 2017. Now, in the first of a new four part series of interview roundups, it's time to talk to the key players who made things happen.
Black Coffee, DJ: "For me, Ibiza 2017 was a massive situation - taking over Space, the name change to Hï Ibiza - but in the end, every night was a busy night. To be able to have such a large audience every Saturday was one of the highlights of my summer. I was talking to some of the guys from the club towards the end of the season and we were all very excited because we were starting to see more and more locals on the dancefloor. In Ibiza, the locals are like the root. The tourists come and go, but if you start attracting the island locals to your party, it's a big blessing for what you're trying to do.
I also learnt so much in the booth. Obviously it was my residency, which meant I played long hours. When you play an extended set you have to learn to work on the colour of your music - where the journey starts, when to switch it, when to take it darker. I wasn't entirely used to these things. I'm accustomed to playing in clubs when I have two or three hours; I play and then I leave. But Hï became something more than that. It became a home, a place where I could experiment with new tracks and see what really worked. Whatever it was - switching up the mix, adding an acapella - I had an opportunity to try all of these things, which made Hï a great place for me to grow as a DJ."
Eoin Smyth and Dave Browning, Pure Carl Cox promoters: "Ibiza 2017 was better than we could have hoped for. We won the Best Ibiza Event award at the Ibiza DJ Awards at the end of the summer for our Pure Carl Cox parties at Privilege. Considering it was our first time on the road producing the show, we were really happy with that.
Privilege's reputation wasn't that great for ten years, so some people thought we were mad going there. But we were well aware of what the venue used to be like and what could be achieved. When we sat down and spoke to Carl and the rest of the team over the Winter we knew it was the right decision. What we created was absolutely bang on what we wanted to create. An event that was the antithesis to what people are doing and planning to do in Ibiza. In hindsight, I think we've opened everyone's eyes to how good the venue can be. The idea now is to take Pure to the next level.
Next season, we're certainly not planning more production. We're about minimal production, a big soundsystem, great DJs and ravers getting sweaty. That's the blueprint. In terms of the number of events we do next summer, it's still up in the air at this stage. We'd also like to do something at Benimussa Park again next season. We really like the venue. It has huge potential.
But in terms of promotion, trying to plan for places like Ibiza, it's not like planning for anywhere else in the world. The island is constantly changing. Of course, we'll do our best to keep our ears to the ground so we know which direction it's heading in, but ultimately we are going to stick to our guns, keep it simple, which means throwing the best rave parties we possibly can. This summer was a transitional time for Ibiza. Hopefully the island is heading in the right direction, but at the moment that isn't clear. It's a very difficult time to be a promoter at the moment."
Solardo, DJs: "Ibiza 2017 exceeded our expectations. We got to play the biggest clubs and filled them all. At Sankeys, the crowd was more British based, especially compared to Hï where the crowd are more international. That meant we were performing for clubbers who wouldn't necessarily have seen us play before. Ushuaïa was the same - we still drew our own crowd, but there was also a strong international market partying there. It was really cool for us, because the added exposure opened us up to new fans in new territories.
When it comes to aiming ourselves at certain markets, it’s definitely something we speak about. This season, for instance, we were consciously choosing to play gigs in Ibiza. Ushuaïa and Hï were perfect for us to open up our fan base. But we don't follow what is being played in certain clubs. We always go out and do our own thing. We definitely don't change our style just to fit a certain brand. I think that's why people like us.
So, yeah, the business side of Ibiza can't be denied. It's a great platform to play to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to you in their country. But it's also cool as fuck to play on the island and party in the sun. At Sankeys, this summer we were the highest ticket sellers in the last two years, which was amazing. Right now, judging by the offers we've got on the table, I just know next summer is going to be even bigger."