We get technical in this week's column, as we take a look at the island's main soundsystems.
For all the talk of DJs, clubs and parties, nothing is as integral to the Ibiza nightlife experience as its soundsystems. Below, we round-up six of the island's most iconic.
"We have been working with Amnesia since 2008. Our soundsystems, the V-Prof, are totally custom built from the best materials available on the market. The speakers at Amnesia are the product of 12 years of intensive research into audio systems specifically designed to cater for the groove of electronic music. In the Terrace we have the V4, which has 80,000 watts, while in the Main Room, the newer V6, you're talking about 150,000. We're always tinkering away and altering things—when Marco Carola plays at Music On, for example, we apply a specific adjustment to the system to cater for his tastes and his computer. Amnesia is our laboratory" - Rafael Vaello, owner and chief engineer at V-Prof.
Spec: 12x V-6 (Main Room)
Frequency Response: 63-31.5Hz *1+1- LOW *2+2-HI
Efficiency: 101 dB 1w1m
Maximum Output: 138 dB SPL
Dimensions: 70cm x 70cm x78 cm
Weight: Approx. 49 kg
Spec: Loud Professional, 8x VH Layer112H+EMD (Terrace)
Frequency Response: 60Hz-21kHz (+/-3dB)
Power Handling: 1300/720/480 Watts RMS (LM/MF/HF)
Sensitivity: 104/109/116.5dB [email protected]
Nominal Impedance: 8/8/5.7 ohms (LM/MF/HF)
Nominal Coverage: 90deg. H, 10deg. V @-6dB Point
Spec: 8x D&B V8 (Main Room)
Frequency response: 67/1002 Hz - 18 kHz (-5 dB)
Maximum output: 139 dB SPL
Power Handling: 500 / 2000 Watts RMS LF
Dimensions: 31cm x 70cm x 46cm
Weight: 34 kg
Spec: 20x Funktion One Resolution 5 - Driver: 12", 8", 1" (Main Room)
Frequency Response: 114Hz - 18kHz (Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â± 3dB)
Sensitivity (1W at 1M): 105db/111db/113db
Power Handling: 300/200/50 W
Nominal Impedance: 8/16/16 ohms.
Weight: 49 kg
"In Manchester we had a Phazon system, designed by Steve Dash, which was pretty bespoke, but for Ibiza we opted for the Void. They really suited what the new club was about, as much in terms of sound as the design, look and feel of the venue. We actually had Loco Dice's guy come over from Timewarp to tune the whole system. I'll admit it's not perfect yet: we've had a few issues with the neighbours and with speakers not being delivered on time, but regardless, I still think the Basement is currently the best sounding room in Ibiza" - David Vincent, Owner of Sankeys.
Spec: 8x Air Motion V2 (Basement and The LAB)
Frequency Response: 140 Hz - 20 KHz -3dB
Efficiency:LF : 106 dB 1w/1m MHF : 108 dB 1w/1m
Maximum Output: 134 dB cont 138 dB peak
Dimensions: 84.2cm x 85cm x 76cm
Weight: 35.4 kg
"The soundsystem across the whole club was exclusively designed and installed by Tony Andrews, the founder of Funktion One, in 2011. The Discoteca is a very difficult space sound-wise, because of the narrowness of the stage. As a result, you need a lot of power in what is quite a slim space, so we designed a system that itself was very narrow. Unlike a lot of the clubs in Ibiza, the majority of the highs, mids and bass hit you from the stage, giving you that real sensation that the sound is arriving directly from the artist" - Gonzalo, technical manager at Space.
Spec: 4 x DS15 Mid-bass/low mid (Discoteca)
Frequency Response: 90Hz - 270Hz (Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â± 3dB)
Power Handling: 400W RMS
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 109 dB
Weight: 49 kg
4 x Resolution 3SH (Driver: 10", 1") (Discoteca)
Frequency Response: 170Hz - 18kHz (+/-3dB)
Sensitivity (1W at 1M): 108dB/109dB
Power Handling: 250/50W
Nominal Impedance: 16/16 ohms.
Weight: 17 kg
Belonging to a band of second-tier artists strongly vying for a spot among the heavyweights, Andrea Oliva is 2013's man of the moment. A resident at three parties on the island-Luciano & Friends, Vagabundos and ANTS-everything is perfectly placed to make this summer the Swiss jock's most memorable yet. We caught up with Oliva to see what he makes of being at the centre of the Ibiza hype machine.
Start by telling us about your relationship with Ibiza. How far back does it stretch?
I used to have a residency at In Bed With Space about ten years ago, which I held for two seasons. After that I didn't play in Ibiza for a few years, and it wasn't until I got involved with Cadenza that I started playing on the island again.
As well as the Luciano parties, you're resident at Ushuaia's new in-house venture ANTS. Were you at all involved in the creation of the concept?
Yes, they asked my advice with regards to the lineups and sound of the party. When Yann [Pissenem], the owner of Ushuaia, came up with the idea he phoned me up, asking if I wanted to be involved. I really feel like a big part of ANTS-they've pushed me a lot and it really suits the way I play and the music I make. If someone came to Ibiza for the first time now it might seem a lot like the second Miami, everything is very clean and commercial. With ANTS we tried to show people another path; that it's possible to do parties in a location like Ushuaia, but playing proper house and techno. It's important to show the younger generations an alternative away from the huge powerhouse names.
With three residencies, it feels like you've made sure you're playing as much on the island as possible this season. Would you agree?
Yes, and those weren't the only offers I had. As a DJ, I'd love to take everything on board and play as much as possible, but it's not really the way to go about cultivating something more substantial. It was important to me to choose my residencies carefully, to work closely with those brands and concepts and develop them. I think these are the kinds of relationships that can one day spawn your own parties, so it's vital you feel comfortable. This season I'm playing for Luciano whenever I'm needed, then ANTS and then two or three other separate shows. Ibiza is very important for an artist like me: I've spent the winter putting out tons of records and now that I've got a bit of a buzz around me, it's crucial that I play as much as possible on the island-in the scene it's the best publicity you can get.
Playing so much in one place, it must be a challenge to keep your sets consistently fresh and vibrant?
Yeah, but the thing is I've been DJing since I was 12-that's 20 years. I used to work in record stores and for record distributors, so I've been around and working with music my whole life. In Switzerland I used to DJ at very underground parties but also for more commercial events, so I've spent many years learning about the dancefloor and about the kind of music you can play without compromising your style and where you come from. Playing in Ibiza actually allows me to explore the full range of my tastes. If I'm warming up at Luciano & Friends or Vagabundos then I can play deeper house sounds, and if I'm closing at ANTS then I have to pull out all the bangers. I'm not a stage in my career where I'm only given the final slot, so I enjoy mixing it up and keeping the crowds guessing.
So you approach each residency very differently?
Of course. I really study the lineup beforehand. If I'm playing before or after a big name I'll try and look into what they've been playing recently. Playing after Luciano is especially tough as you really have to give people what they want, there's a lot of expectation there.
Indeed the Cadenza residency at Booom! starts on Sunday. How are you feeling about the move?
In Ibiza you have a lot of clubs and lot of different situations within which to enjoy music. However, I find that that doesn't so much define the party as the sound and the crowd that follows you. I could throw a party in the toilet of my hotel room and as long as people were feeling it, it would work. When Luciano moved from Cocoon to Pacha he had a lot of critics-people were calling him a sell-out-but ultimately he proved them all wrong. To progress you have to take chances and show that you can take your sound from DC-10 to Cocoon to Pacha and still keep things real. Booom! has had some issues with opening and no-one really knows what's going on, but I'm really excited to play a new venue and I hope we can continue the success of Vagabundos.
Speaking to people in Ibiza, a lot of them are billing you as Luciano's protégé and the next big thing. How do you react to such speculation?
Let me tell you a story. When I first played at Panorama Bar, I was in the queue with my friend and we were talking very passionately about football, so passionately that I didn't even notice when we got to the door. The bouncer thought we were just two Italian tourists and made us stand apart from the line to question us. I told him I was DJing that night and he asked me who I was. I told him and he asked me where and what time I was playing. I told him and eventually he let us in. These kinds of experiences make you remember that no matter how many gigs you play or how many records you make, there will always be people who have no idea who you are. That said, I do feel it's important to be aware of when people in the scene are talking about you, so as to capitalise and make the most of it. It's important to know that if people are coming to the club to see you, then you have to perform. Before, no-one had a clue who I was, so I felt no pressure when spinning. Now there is a bit more pressure on my shoulders, but I actually feel very relaxed and just try to enjoy the moment as much as I can.
This week on the island
The crowd seemed older and more European than Sankeys' habitual dwellers, giving off a real sense that those that had made it were here for the right reasons. As Craig closed with his refix of Tom Trago's "Use Me," the audience responded with unfeigned rallies of cries and whistles. Starting later than scheduled in the LAB were dOP, who performed their ardent live show to enthusiastic, if paltry, numbers. Vocalist JAW, though sitting down for large parts of the set, was as charismatic as ever, chain-smoking between James Brown-esque catcalls, while swigging intermittently from a bottle of dark rum. Back in the basement, SIS threw down a live set of idiosyncratic ethnic beats to close, providing the ever-faithful floor with the energy they craved. Despite the poor showing, the tight, close-knit community of attendees lent the party a collective vibe that is rarely experienced on the island. Everyone that was there, was there for the music. Hopefully, word will spread.
Going head-to-head for the early morning peak-time slot were Tale Of Us and Dixon, two of the scene's most in-form acts. Opting for the latter to see how he would take to the Main Room, the Innervisions chief began spiritedly, taking care to keep the transition from Art Department's full-bodied fare as seamless as possible. Once he had the crowd on his terms, Dixon moved markedly deeper, lacing his selections with a darkish quiver. Using Jimmy Edgar's "Strike" to resurface, he saw out his rich 90-minute set with a medley of tougher, more dancefloor selections. With Boddika billed for his debut Circoloco show next Monday, get ready for a slew of jaw-dropping lineups once the island starts to near its sweaty capacity.
Due to unforeseen complications, headline act Session Victim remained in the US, unable to join Jimpster at the now-iconic seal pit. As a result, the Freerange boss was allotted an extended three-hour set, aligning his sound with the setting sun. Starting off with the agile brand of deep house that he and his label are famous for, he rapidly moved to duskier terrain, dropping Levon Vincent's serrated "Late Nite Jam" to dramatic effect. Accompanied by not only smoke machines and dancers, but jugglers, pandas, break-dancers and ballerinas, Jimpster found his way back to more ecstatic climes, indulging in his own remix of Osunlade's "Momma's Groove" before signing off with Lone's "Airglow Fires" on R&S.
Andrea Oliva - Ushuaia
Solomun +1 - Anselm Woesler
Channel Zoo - Igor Ribnik
ANTS - Roberto Castano
All others - Tasya Menaker