It's a tough job in Ibiza, but someone's got to do it
Spending the summer on a party island taking in the rays and talking to superstar DJs may not seem like work to some people, but let me explain . . ., writes STEPHEN FLYNN
DEPENDING ON WHO you’re talking to, you get a very different reaction when you tell people you’re spending the summer working in Ibiza. Some seem genuinely fascinated, others are bemused – and a considerable percentage don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re appalled. Everyone, though, seems puzzled, as if they’re unable to comprehend the concept of “work” on an island better known for letting your hair down than a hard day’s graft.
Since the tail-end of May though, work is exactly what I’ve been doing. As the editor of DJMag’s Ibiza edition, I’ve produced two magazines, and have quizzed a number of diverse and prominent dance-music figures, such as Nile Rodgers, Pete Tong and Richie Hawtin.
Along with days of constant typing, I’ve interviewed Tiesto in a car, visited Carl Cox in his sprawling countryside villa, and watched The Chemical Brothers from the comfort of Space’s backstage area.
While the majority of the DJs, producers and industry bigwigs I’ve met have proved relaxed, professional and good company, others seem bored and jaded, as though the trappings of the scene have taken their toll on the verve and enthusiasm they (presumably) once possessed. Every one, however, has their own story to tell, and they’re all equally indebted to the island in some shape or form.
The industry side of the island has provided another eye-opener, with the now annual International Music Summit (IMS). This is a dual conference and gig designed to facilitate networking in the industry, and kicked off the season in late May, with guests from YouTube, Google, Nokia and Twitter all speaking about the growing importance of social media to electronic music.
The three-day spectacle is the purest expression of the capacity of the island to make money hand-over-fist for those at the top. It provided a fascinating insight into the business aspects of electronic music. Encouraged by the success of artists such as David Guetta, the dance-music scene now has no shortage of commercial suitors.
Dance music has been kind to Ibiza. While the rest of Spain suffered double-digit recession turmoil, the financial sun continues to shine here. Clubs in Ibiza, are as busy (and expensive) as they’ve ever been. Entry to any of the island’s four super-clubs (Pacha, Privilege, Amnesia and Space) will cost up to €80, while patrons can also expect to fork out up to €17 for a vodka and coke, and a minimum of €10 for a bottle of water.
Musical offerings are increasingly diverse, ensuring the island is catering to an even wider cast than ever before. A glance at the wide-ranging, weekly line-ups emphasises this fact, with nearly every genre now represented in some shape or form.
Ibiza, then, is an undoubtedly expensive place to spend a summer. So why does it cast such a spell? Well, for a start, there are few other similar musical alternatives. Berlin and London have healthy clubbing scenes, but the majority of all that’s happening in both cities is, by and large, restricted to weekend activity. Croatia has been touted as the “new Ibiza”, but it’s still relatively inaccessible, it is also expensive, and its musical quality isn’t half as consistent as Ibiza’s.