Alfredo tells the story of how a chance game of rugby lead to one of the most pivotal residencies in the history of house music.
Imagine for a moment, a rave time machine that could transport you back to dance music’s most pivotal moments. For most dance music historians, two clubs in their 1980s prime would be the key destinations. Paradise Garage in New York and Amnesia in Ibiza. It’s crazy to think that the huge, sprawling, global scene that is dance music in 2017 owes it’s existence to the actions of Amnesia’s most important resident, Alfredo. A resident of Amnesia in the mid 1980s, Alfredo was the key to unlocking dance music in Europe. A conduit through which house music from the United States mixed with eclectic sounds from disco, to nu wave all the while inspiring young DJs on the Amnesia dancefloor like Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway, or Sven Väth to take the blueprint back to their respective corners of the continent. His style of eclectic mixing inadvertently invented the Balearic genre and his sets were the seeds for an acid house revolution that would change the world.
Ibiza Voice: What's new with you?
Alfredo: This year, I started a residency at Hostal La Torre in San Antonio where I play at sunset, something I quite enjoy. Also during August, I play at Pikes for the Generations parties, another great residency. In Ibiza this Summer, I also played for different events at Pacha, Sankeys, Destino, Zoo Project and private parties. I’ve been travelling quite a lot to the UK, Italy, mainland Spain, Germany and France. It’s been a busy year.
Where do you get your music in 2017?
I find music online on Bandcamp, Beatport, Traxsourse and Whatpeopleplay. And occasionally on Phonica (probably the best vinyl record shop for me) and Decks. I also get tracks from friends and yes, check promos on a weekly basis.
Tell us about your record collection? It must be quite a treasure trove. Have you kept everything from over the years?
My collection is quite big. I keep it in storage, apart from the ones I use at the moment. I had to sell many of them as it is difficult to keep them all. There is never enough space. I think I still have around 7,000 records and some CDs. And yes, there are a few gems in there.
Do any of these records tell a story about you?
I started collecting records back in Argentina in the 60s and 70s. From the ones that I lost, I remember Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', The Led Zeppelin collection and 'Thick As a Brick' by Jethro Tull to name a few. They bring me such fond memories.
As a DJ during my Amnesia period, I travelled around Europe to find records. Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich and Düsseldorf were the places I bought vinyl and [which lead to the] eclecticism of my collection. Buying records in these cities was the main reason my sets sounded different. I bought my first house record in Madrid in 1985, and of course it blew my mind!
Elkin & Nelson [the duo behind classic 70s disco track Jibaro] used to live in Ibiza at the beginning of the 70s and I used to listen to them playing in parties on the island and sometimes, in clubs and bars. Over the years, I found a German edition of [Jibaro] that became an anthem for what later became known as Balearic. When I found The Pink Panther Theme, I thought: this will be great to finish a set! I have so many memories with so many records!
Tell us about the scene in Argentina that you started out in?
I was a journalist and a rock concert producer in Argentina. I used to go to clubs [there] but never thought to be a DJ, even if I loved [the music] and used to know everyone that played in my town, Rosario. I liked rock and pop music, Argentinian rock and latin music. And jazz, influenced by my father.
It was in Ibiza that I developed the love and passion for DJing. The island opened my mind as she does with every artist that visits this land. When I first went to a club called Lola`s in Ibiza that is now closed down, I danced all night long to funk, soul, reggae, pop, disco and rock. It was fun and I loved it.
In 1982, I was part of a rugby team, the Ibiza Rugby Club. It was a very cosmopolitan team and we used to play in the regional championship. After one game, a guy that always came to watch us, offered me a job as a bartender in the Port, [at] the main night spot at the time. When I went to the bar for the first time, I found something magical: two turntables and a mixer, and a very good, eclectic, record collection. I played one, after another and realised that I could mix them and make my own selection. And that was it. I wanted to become a DJ. And I did it!
Then came the search for a place to play for two years, and the amazing discovery of Amnesia. [These were] great times and [it was] probably the genesis of my career. A career that taught me languages, [allowed me to meet] people from everywhere, happiness, and to travel the world.
In the early days of Amnesia: you were in the right place, at the right time, at one of the most important crossroads for electronic music ever. How do you look back on this? Was it fate or accident?
It was not accident. I just wanted to play in Amnesia. My friends and I all loved it. I never knew [it would become known as] an important crossroads for electronic music. I just knew it was a chance to make people dance and have fun.
Footage of Amnesia in the 1980s.
There are a lot of myths and legends that are attached to this time. If you were to set the history books straight, what important stories would you tell?
I think honestly that the people that lived and worked in Ibiza at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, made all of this happen. They attracted all of the people, including Sven Väth, Paul Oakenfold, Nancy Noise, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway and so many more before and after them. These people also never thought that it was a crossroads for electronic music.
It’s important also to realise that this [time] was way before the European Union or the Euro. People were together, no matter what color skin, what language they spoke, how young or old, or how much money they had. They got the chance to be together, dance together, make love, have fun and enjoy a special time, with no boundaries. It was a common space. I think that this was the most important fact. I wish we could have developed this in a more positive way than we all did.
An recording of Alfredo DJing from the late 80s.
Describe your experience of growing older as a DJ. When you started out, DJing wasn't something that lead to super stardom but gradually over time it became one of the dominant art forms of our time. At the same time, the dancefloor grows younger and younger while you carry on..
I remember that my son Jaime use to live in Germany and Switzerland when I played for Amnesia and after [that], Pacha. Every time he was asked: what does your father do as a job? It was a difficult answer for him, because nobody could believe that I played records for a living. It was a game, not a proper job!
And yes, the dancefloor grows younger and younger while I carry on! Nobody told me life would be easy. It is not easy to keep myself updated as time goes faster [with] every moment. But I do keep up with it it, and I'm still enjoying most of the times. I will carry on for a while yet, let’s see what happen!
Follow Alfredo on Facebook here.