We profile three of the island's top rave vessels.
Week eight is a mixed bag. First, RA takes to the open seas, sampling three of the island's best boat parties. Next, as part of our Ibiza Histories feature, we speak to Circoloco resident of 14 years, Andrew Grant. Finally, we wrap up with our take on the last of the opening parties, as well as one very special birthday.
For everything you need to know about the island in 2014, take a look at our comprehensive Ibiza guide.
There's nothing not to like about a boat party. In Ibiza, dancing in the open-air, out at sea, is as much a part of the essential experience as a night at Space or Amnesia. With that in mind, we boarded three boat parties in as many days to test out some of the options on offer in 2014.
Thank God We Are Rebels
When: Every Tuesday and Friday until September 19th
Meet: Tantra in Playa d'en Bossa (4 PM) / Opposite Hotel Corso, Marina Botafoch (4:45 PM)
Music: Deep house, tech house, minimal
Setting off every Tuesday and Friday at 5 PM from Hotel Corso in Marina Botafoch, Thank God We Are Rebels is aimed primarily at young clubbers. Everything about the party screams youth, from the super-friendly floor and bar staff to the initial hour-long refills of cava, beer and sangria. At over five hours, it's also one of the longer rides, due to the fact it drops anchor for two hours to give customers the chance to dive, bomb or simply descend into the clear blue Mediterranean. Also, the course the boat takes is directly in line with the magnificent Es Vedrà, perfect for those classic sunset snaps.
Musically, it's focused on house and techno. Tuesday started with a seamless set of pulsating modern club jams from a local resident, before Chad Andrew and Fuse's Archie Hamilton span dubby, energetic fare for the duration of the ride home. tINI & the gang affiliate Randall M is another regular, and it has been known for representatives from the likes of Minus, Desolat and Moon Harbour to all jump on board. From start to finish, the atmosphere on the catamaran was charged with enthusiasm and feel-good vibes. For those especially taken with the ambience, the party continues on land every Sunday night at Sankeys, where TGWAR host the Spektrum at VIVa Warriors.
Lost In Ibiza
When: Every Wednesday until September 24th
Meet: Backyard Bar (behind Itaca), San Antonio (5:30 PM)
Cost: €49 (boat only), €69 (boat + Paradise at DC-10)
Music: House, disco
This San Antonio staple is in its fourth year and looking healthier than ever. After a 5:30 PM meet at Backyard Bar, the young, mostly British crowd are led onto a double-decker boat and greeted with two complimentary cups of sangria. The crowd are what makes this party, and as soon as the music started on Wednesday everyone was up and dancing, making the most of the allotted three-and-a-half hour journey. Drinks are reasonably priced (€5-7) and the staff can be found having as much fun as anyone on board. The only drawback is that a dip in the ocean is not permitted.
In keeping with San Antonio's strict sunset tradition, disco and house are the only sounds you'll hear at Lost In Ibiza. Danielle Moore of Crazy P fame did a sterling job of soundtracking the baking-hot afternoon. Keeping the music upbeat, though never too clubby, she sang over her own records, blending them with some newer favourites (Ron Basejam's remix of The White Lamp's "It's You"). Her constant, warm-hearted interaction with the floor spoke volumes for how much she as a DJ enjoyed the experience. Mr. C, Patrick Topping and Richy Ahmed are all still to come in the season. The party continues later that night at DC-10 for Jamie Jones' Paradise residency, which, at €69 for both boat party and club entry, is as good a deal as you'll find anywhere on the island.
Captain H.O.S.H. - Forever Young boat party
When: Thursday (July 31st, August 14th, August 28th, September 11th)
Meet: Backstage (opposite Sankeys), Playa d'en Bossa (12 PM) / Opposite Hotel Corso, Marina Botafoch (13:30 PM)
Music: House, tech house
There's a story behind the name Captain H.O.S.H. In 2013, the Diynamic man was DJing on a boat that hit rough seas. As three-metre waves crashed against the deck, H.O.S.H. never once left his post from behind the decks, nor did the music, or the party, ever stop. From that day forth, he became Captain H.O.S.H. This summer, he returns with a five-party series, playing every second Thursday from July 17th. Run in conjunction with seasoned Ibiza voyagers Cirque de la Nuit, the events will take place on one of their five-star catamarans. The crowd for the opening was generally more mature than other parties, though there was still plenty of younger faces.
Customers are entitled to a free glass of sangria and homemade canapés as they take up position on one of the boat's many comfy loungers. Powered by Void, the system on-board is weighty but not too loud, and it did a good job of getting people dancing from the first beat. An hour or so in, the boat stopped for people to have swim. In the booth, H.O.S.H. span back-to-back with Miss Kittin, perfectly judging the mood with slice after slice of melodically rich house and techno. Perhaps it was because of the peak-time sun, but the covered dance floor was animated right until the very end. Food is served (Paella), and drinks are standard prices (€5-8). H.O.S.H. will be joined by one guest each week, with Andhim, Tiefschwarz and Anja Schneider all to come.
Ibiza Histories: Andrew Grant
Andrew Grant is part of the furniture at DC-10. He first arrived on the island in April 2001, and was DJing at Circoloco that same summer. As resident, he witnessed first-hand the party's transformation from a 200-capacity afterhours into one of the world's most identifiable clubbing brands. We sat down with Grant over tea in Jesús earlier this week as he led us through his history with the famed Monday outfit.
So you arrived in 2001 and what was your first impression of the island? Was it love as first sight, as the myth dictates?
It was desolate. It was very empty and lonely because it was April, there was nothing going on. I walked a lot of places because there wasn't so much infrastructure, like buses and stuff like that. I mean there were buses, but time schedules weren't so good.
Were you familiar with what Ibiza was about and what it was like?
Yeah I had been living in England actually, in Sheffield for a year. I was teaching there. So everything I heard on the radio was Pete Tong and BBC Radio One and all that was Ibiza, Ibiza, Ibiza. And Rui da Silva’s "Touch Me" was the bomb that year. So it was on the radio all the time and all they talked about was Ibiza. That's why I decided to come here.
Did you plan to come for a whole season. Or was it just…
I didn't plan anything. I bought this Thomson one-way flight. I think it was £40. I found a hostel and started doing it.
Were there any other Americans on the island at all?
I'm sure there were I didn't know them or meet them. There was tourists. I had friends that came out from New York to visit. People that I connected with through friends of a friend. There were some people working in the port, because the port was busy back then. That's where people went before the clubs.
And so you just dived head first into the scene?
I just started walking around meeting people. And I went to a record store and I met the girl who was running the record store she was like, "my boyfriend is a DJ" and I was like, "yeah okay lets hang out, lets talk music." They invited me to a party, where Sankeys is now. It was packed when we got there at 4 or 5 AM. It was all people from the island: Ibicencos. And I thought, this is the place where I want to be.
Were they playing house music?
It was a Spanish tribal sound back then. That was kind of the popular flavour of ice-cream for that year.
Were you heading out to any of the major clubs, Amnesia, Space?
I was going around handing out my demos to all these places. Places like Space and all that were closed but I would just put it underneath the backdoor or whatever. I remember I went to Amnesia and I had like my little Spanish dictionary and there was construction work being done and I was like "Jefe, dónde está jefe?" Asking where the boss was. But Pacha was kind to me, they accepted the demo and they invited me in one time to talk with them. They gave me a free pass for that night or the next night to come and check out as well. And it was Jason Bye playing I think.
When did Circoloco first enter your radar?
Circoloco was all luck. This same girl I met at the record store, her boyfriend happened to be one of the resident DJs at the time of Circoloco. And I was looking for a place to rent. I think it might have cost me maybe $200 per month. It was very comfortable and he was kind with me.
Literally five minutes after I went in the house I met one of the owners of Circoloco, Antonio. And some other people were staying in the house that were also connected with Circoloco. And Antonio brought me to the club one day, in the morning, and there were still people cleaning and working. I was impressed because I hadn’t seen anything like this before.
And there was no Main Room by then?
There was a Main Room. It used to be half of a fuse lodge because it was all a plane hangar. So they had like, well there was a bar, then there was a foosball table and bunker tables for pool. That was the Main Room. And there was still a DJ. And the dance floor was all there. The DJ booth was actually upstairs with lights on, where the technicians works now.
It was different then. There were some windows where the light would just creep in a little bit. We used to open at 6 AM. It was a true afterhours. People would just carry on from Space, which was open 22 hours on Sunday. As soon as we would open up 6 AM we would have this line outside of faithful marchers. And yeah it was rocking. The vibe was a little bit different because it wasn't so well known. 200 or 300 people.
So the first time it got on your radar was through these people?
Well yeah, it kind of got on the map because of people like Pete Tong and bigger DJs that were going down there and just asking to play. They would just say "I have my records if there is a chance for me to play these. That's how I got on, I would just wait until nobody wanted to play. And then I was there with my records playing all the A-sides and all the B-sides for four or six hours.
Do you remember your first set?
I do remember it actually. Because I train-wrecked one of the records, right in front of Antonio. I thought I was never going to play again. But whatever, it happens you know? And you grow from it.
So this demo CD you were handing out, what was on there?
I remember it was around 120 BPM, filled with stuff that wasn't so mainstream, not so much what they played on the radio. Just a deeper sound in general. Prog was big back then so there might have been a little of that in there as well.
And what was the crowd like back then?
DC-10 I would say it was very down to earth. Everyone was the same. There was no VIP back then. You'd have football stars dancing next to other clubbers.
Was it very multi-national?
Yeah it was, but you also had people from the island coming down. They added to the vibe because they had that hippie mystique about them, that aura that was always important to making the island what it is today.
So was that a weekly residency?
Actually they let me become resident of a Thursday party, which they used to run as an afters. I started playing that and slowly they let me play the Mondays. Like I said I would just wait with my records until no-one wanted to play.
Who were your fellow residents at the time?
Tania [Vulcano] has always been there. She's the face of the club, she's the queen. Loco Dice was there when I came in, I think 2001 was one of his first years. Ar:pi:ar was a little bit after that. Sossa, Rene, System Of Survival, Fabrizio, Cirillo of course.
Were the parties advertised much?
Not really. Nothing was really set in stone. There were less DJs but more hours for each DJ. There was no Facebook or any of that, so the night before if you were lucky you'd get a text message. Or you'd just roll down there and Andrea would say, "okay, you, 4-7:30 AM." It was not about big names, it was just about putting your head down and dancing. It would always stay really deep, 120-122 BPM. In the Main Room it was a little more aggressive but the Terrace would stay at that pace from start to finish. It was warm and inviting, there was no roof.
I remember at the first IMS conference they invited the local government to speak and one of them said: "We went to an island in Greece for the European Union convention and there was a train there that had all the names of the clubs in Ibiza painted on it. What was that doing in Greece?" That was the first time the government realised that Ibiza was a brand outside of the island, that there was serious money to be made from all the clubbing and the tourism. Shutting the day parties down was a way to move Ibiza towards more of a St. Tropez, away from the clubbers.
How rapid was the rise in Circoloco's popularity?
There was a big boom the first time Pete Tong mentioned it on his radio show around 2003 or 2004. That brought a lot of English people to the party. And then Tania [Vulcano] and Loco Dice did a BBC Essential Mix on the Terrace in 2005 which really took off.
Looking back over the years, what do you view as Circoloco's heyday?
The golden period was 2003 to 2006. I mean, even when I got to Ibiza people kept telling me it's not like it used to be.
It must be mad standing back and looking at it now.
Totally, I'm very happy for them. And I'm sure there's plenty more still to come. Hey, perhaps the heyday in terms of, like, sound quality, is still to come. They created a beast.
Are you still as involved in music today as you were back then?
Yes, completely. Mainly I run EDEC Music alongside John Hester, and I've actually got a debut album coming out this fall, dropping on My Favorite Robot Records.
This week on the island
Flying Circus opening at Sankeys
It may have surprised some to see Flying Circus back at Sankeys in 2014. The Audiofly-run outfit endured a difficult debut season last summer, never quite managing to get enough people through the door. For this season, Sankeys have upped their involvement in the Friday night venture, taking all promotion in-house. Unfortunately, the impact of this shift wasn't entirely visible at last week's opening party, as the likes of Daniel Bortz, Audiofly and Robag Wruhme played to a noticeably small crowd. That aside, the vibe across the night was a buoyant one.
Bortz span first, laying down a danceable blend of swirling house and stormy techno, punctuated by the odd popular remix (a tough take on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Games," Ame's refix of Dan Croll's "From Nowhere.") Audiofly followed, initially dropping the pace a little before finding form with a strong final hour of dark, groove-centric club music. Last Friday, like all of last season, there was a real close-knit, family energy about Flying Circus. They bring their own, more European crowd and the vibe as a result is always pleasant. Jamie Jones' appearance at Music On may have had something to do with the poor showing at the opening, but for the rest of the season to work out, they simply need to find a way to widen the party's appeal.
Space 25th birthday at Space
Last Sunday was a big day in Ibiza for two reasons: the World Cup final and Space's 25th birthday. Unfortunately, in keeping with We Love...'s day-party tradition, the two clashed, meaning the anniversary never quite hit top gear until the Germans were in safe possession of the trophy. Tasked with closing the ever-impressive outdoor Flight Area, Carl Craig span a medley of razor-sharp techno hits, including an edit of Inner City's "Good Life." To finish, Craig handed over control to venue owner Pepe Rosello, who followed a short, heartfelt speech with renditions of "Happy Birthday," Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" and John Lennon's "Imagine." As the 2000-strong crowd joined in, sparklers in hand, it was a touching moment.
With all five rooms operating at full tilt, the party continued inside. In the Discoteca, Agoria dropped last year's smash "Scala" to thunderous cheers, while Nina Kraviz followed with a slinky set of hard, melodic techno. Hearing Joey Anderson's "Press Play" on the impeccable sound system proved one of the night's defining highlights. In the Terrazza, Jimmy Edgar worked the crowd with his patchwork, percussive sound, followed by trademark big room house from Tensnake and a markedly dark back-to-back performance from Skream and Route 94. Erick Morillo, back after a period in rehab, was the chosen headliner, treating the energetic floor to a full-throttle three-hour mash-up of old school house and newer bits. The atmosphere on the night was electric from start to finish. So much so that by the time most people left, the celebrations had all but flushed the football from their minds.
Mobilee Pool Ibiza opening at Santos
Despite their standings as respective dance music Meccas, Berlin and Ibiza don't really mix. In island conversation, the two are frequently held up as opposites, placed at polar ends of the underground spectrum. As a result, Berlin parties or labels have never had much of a place in Ibiza. Get Physical, for example, tried and failed last year. That, however, hasn't put off Anja Schneider's Mobilee Records, who earlier this week launched their debut six-date residency at Santos in Playa d'en Bossa. The opening was a homegrown affair, kicking off poolside at 3 PM. However, it wasn't until several hours later that the party really got going.
Trouw staple William Kouam Djoko was the first to get people dancing. Moving progressively more boisterous, his set spanned the loopy techno of Nina Kraviz's "Desire" right the way through to swinging house cuts. By the time Rodriguez Jr. took over around 8:30 PM, there was a fully-fledged dance floor. The French artist performed live using a Maschine, a mixer, an iPad and a keyboard, starting slow before building to a rollicking crescendo. As well as tracks new ("Persistence Of Vision") and old ("Piña Colada"), he found time for a well-worked rendition of Rhythm Is Rhythm's "Strings Of Life." Just before the sun set, Schneider jumped on the decks, seeing out the party with a progressive-tinged set of deep tech house. Everything about Monday suggests that Mobilee will buck the trend and thoroughly enjoy their time in Ibiza.
Skrillex joins Claude VonStroke for an impromptu back-to-back session at last week's ENTER. View gallery
Jamie Jones surveys his surroundings during the first of two dates playing for Marco Carola. View gallery
Gerd Janson steps up to the platters during a tag-team performance alongside Robert Dietz at Space. View gallery
In a week of back-to-backs, Steve Lawler and Hot Since 82 tear the roof off the Sankeys Basement. View gallery
The Martinez Brothers do their thing in the Garden at DC-10. View gallery
Magda brings in her next track during her slot at Paradise on Wednesday. View gallery
Lost In Ibiza - Ryland Pearson
ENTER. - Igor Ribnik
Music On - David Pareja
Elrow + Kehakuma - Ana Ruiz De Villota
VIVa Warriors - Justin Gardner
All others - Tasya Menaker
For more information on what's happening on the island in 2014, check out our comprehensive Ibiza guide below.