In this week's column we visit two of the biggest radio stations on the island and head to Pacha and Space. As always, for more White Isle coverage, head over to our comprehensive Ibiza microsite.
In a modest building on top of a hill that overlooks San Rafael sits the studios of Ibiza Sonica Radio. Once inside, you'll pass a small recording studio and several computers, leading to a stairwell that will take you up a narrow corridor. At the top, the main attraction: the DJ booth, facing a large, sliding glass window, which when opened, lets in the sound of the wind and the birds, as well as the warmth of the Ibiza sun.
The feeling is electric. So electric, in fact, that Ibiza Sonica Radio founder Igor Marijuan said that most artists who come to the DJ studio for the first time completely deviate from their club routine—Sasha went full Balearic, which Marijuan said helped lead to his Ushuaia party series, 2ManyDJs played "'80s yacht music" and Carl Cox spun deep house for the first time in years.
Ibiza Sonica began in earnest in 2006, but it was the advent of Internet broadcasting around four years ago that took things to the next level. "We were a local radio station, but once we realized that our audience figures were bigger on the Internet," says Marijuan. "We just kept FM for the romantic side." Now the station has nine other outlets, including Amnesia Radio, and boasts up to five million monthly listeners worldwide.
"Germany has the most listeners, but South America has the most interaction," Marijuan explains. "They are rabid fans...They send letters, emails, Twitter, Facebook. But they don't ask us to put this or that song on, we ask what they are doing when they listen to Ibiza Sonica, because when we pick the music, we are thinking about people watching the sunset in a really quiet atmosphere, making love to your girlfriend in an outdoor place, driving a car in Ibiza. The kinds of different places or situations where they fell in love with the music. [That's] what we want to know from our audience. This is our gasoline."
Like many radio stations these days, Ibiza Sonica broadcasts live from various locations. For Sonica, though, that can mean some pretty heady situations: Aboard a sailboat with Christian Varela, Carl Cox's kitchen, the middle of the jungle in South America. "We learned that we didn't need big trucks with five engineers. Just a few laptops, a sound card and some good software, and we can broadcast from all types of crazy places," Marijuan said. "Really, we broadcast emotion."
This season, the station has adopted the motto, "This is Ibiza, be unpunctual," which you can see all over their program schedule. "We don't wear watches [in Ibiza]. It's just sunrise, sunset and time for a beer," Marijuan chuckles. That means that you're just as likely to tune in and hear Carl Cox playing soul and funk at Sands as you are syndicated weekly radios shows from Cox, Adam Beyer, Josh Wink, John Digweed and more.
Just down the road from Sonica heading into Ibiza Town are the studios of Ibiza's other major electronic station, Ibiza Global Radio. We met up with Jose Maria Ramon, resident DJ and Head of Programming for the station. Surrounded by colorful walls, stacks of vinyl, desks and a few awards, Ramon explained Global Radio was born eight years ago after a collective of DJs heard calls for a better station on the island from his fellow Ibiza locals.
"Other stations do electronic, but commercial electronic music. We are just serious electronic music. The top 40, the top 100 stations, the promoters have to pay to get their promos played," says Ramon. "Here it's free. If you send us your promo and we like it, we will play it. I have a trick. When I listen, if my hair (stands up), I will play it."
Unique as the selection process may be, like Sonica, both help to promote various big name acts when they come to the island. "Before we might see the posters or adverts (around town), and we would ask the promoters, 'hey, can the DJ come play here?' But from two years ago to now, the promoters or artists want to come here," Ramon said. Even the likes of Sasha write to them asking to come play before a show.
They even stream at events too. This year, they've teamed up with Richie Hawtin to present his new Space night, ENTER., along with regular shows from CLR, Systematic and more.
All Gone Pete Tong
Heading back to the clubs, on Friday we ventured to All Gone Pete Tong. This week, the BBC radio host welcomed Laurent Garnier presents L.B.S., Garnier's live group made up of himself, Benjamin Rippert and Scan X, AKA Stephane Dri. Rippert was missing in action due to a recent operation, but the remaining duo did fine without him, manning MIDI controllers, laptops and keyboards to weave in and out of dark, energetic acid house to a totally packed main room.
Later on, Tong got the crowd bouncing along to his upbeat tech house, keeping things lively and fun. Needing to take a mid-set bathroom break, Tong scampered off, being "replaced" by a dancer, who began fooling around, pretending to play for Tong, getting a good laugh from everyone who noticed. Photos: All Gone Pete Tong
On Sunday we headed to We Love... at Space. Over in the main room, crowd favorite Claude VonStroke mixed his usual brand of jacking house, even dropping in some hip-hop, like Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" to a hands-in-the-air crowd. He was followed by Foamo, who began with the ubiquitous "Amame" by Intruder, and finished things out to a mostly packed room. Over in the main terrace Innervisions was back once again. Label founder Dixon kept things deep and melodic, with tracks like the Michael Mayer remix of "Song Of Los" by Apparat, and later took things into darker, techier territory with Roman Flugel's "Rude Awakening," before bringing things to a head with a tough remix of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," which took the room by storm. Photos: We Love...