For our final issue before the closing parties kick in, we go back in time with Sven Väth and co.
For everything you need to know about the island in 2014, take a look at our comprehensive Ibiza guide.
Cocoon 15 in pictures
It's been well documented, but in 1999 Sven Väth and his Cocoon clan started a party that would change Ibiza forever. As the only techno party on the island, not only did Cocoon redefine the underground, it also nurtured many of the current crop of island superstars. To commemorate the 15th anniversary, we sifted through the archives and dug out a selection of shots that we feel best captured Cocoon. We then asked several members of the Ibiza team to share their most prized party memories, using the photos as inspiration.
"I vividly remember the outstanding weekly performances from Rose the body contortionist who got carried into the club in a silver cocoon. Crawling out she became a techno tinkerbell each and every Monday. Maybe the best character we ever created—Sven and I were gobsmacked every week. And then the afterhours were becoming bigger and bigger, from 100 to 1,000-plus down at S'estanyol. Beautiful chaos."
- Johannes Goller, head of Cocoon
"The breakthrough year. Cocoon was not just the alternative anymore, we became the night, the place to be. Sven smashed the main room into pieces each Monday, while Ricardo set quite a distinct tone on the terrace as his masterpiece, Alcachofa, emerged. They were a devastating combination. I remember the closing so well. We had a 100 international artists coming to party with us on the dance floor, just to be part of the experience." - JG
"This was a staggeringly great night. Perhaps it is an illusion but there never seemed to be politics in those days. The photo: Mr C sits next to Ricardo with Tobi Neumann adjacent. I had only just wormed into this world, this Cocoon family, blinking and blagging my way. This was not the sort of thing that happened in Camden Town after you unpeeled your soles from the floor of the Dublin Castle after witnessing the new a) shittest band ever or b) potential saviours of rock and roll. As for Ricardo, I ended up with my name on one of his tracks after muttering a few words into a microphone on a dreamy day in Berlin. I am still boasting about it now."
- Andrew Gillings, press and communications
"We had to close the doors at 6 AM on the night of our closing and send everyone out, but we kept them entertained outside via a radio set from Sven and Richie, which they all tuned into in the car park. We opened the doors again at 8 AM…5,000 ravers just stormed the dance floor and witnessed the most special party in our 15 years history. Some of us refused to leave the club so we all sat down killing the time with hierbas and laughter. The photo really tells the story… What a morning." - JG
"After an amazing year in 2011, the Cocoon Heroes theme continues! The fun all started at Time Warp, where pictures were taken by Daniel Woeller backstage. Anybody who was even the slightest bit involved in the scene could get flashed. I remember all the Cocoon Heroes pictures that were proudly circling social media—it was an honour to be part of it. The campaign was so strong that it even got copied by a band in Japan! The FLASH became a Cocoon symbol from that day forward."
- Yuridia Arkensteijn, international events manager
"What a party. No one really expected it to turn out that way. Sven played for 12 hours! It was simply magic, and after all my travels around the world, I still believe something like this can only happen in ibiza. That is why we are all here doing what we are doing and loving what we are loving." - JG
Interview: Joseph Capriati
Joseph Capriati has had a summer to remember. Alongside first-time slots at Paradise and Carl Cox, the Neapolitan has continued to work his magic in the Main Room at Music On, cementing himself as Marco Carola's second in command. When the latter suddenly fell ill in late July, Capriati stepped in and by all accounts did a sterling job. Discussing all this and more, we sat down with Capriati several weeks ago in the foyer of the Ibiza Gran.
This summer has been your busiest yet. How do you reflect back over the last few months?
This summer for me has been key. Especially in Ibiza, where it's been, you know, my first proper summer here. Some people have told me, "this was your consecration in Ibiza." Because I remember after a gig in Argentina, it was like in May, at Time Warp. I remember from that day, I came out with another view of what I played. Before I was playing techno. I've been playing techno since 2001, up to 131 or 132 bpm sometimes. But since May I've got a new slogan: groove is the key. For me that means techno but with this special kind of groove that is unique to Ibiza.
After that gig, I said to myself, "OK, now is the time." I went back to Ibiza and just played and played and played, focusing more on the groove and trying to work towards achieving the perfect set. And it happened; it's happening. The pivotal moment this summer came when Marco Carola was sick with an ear infection, and they put me in the terrace to take his place. That was a really big step.
Was that decided very last minute?
You cannot imagine. That Friday I was off. I was off! Unbelievable. Everybody was saying that somebody from the sky wanted me to play there. A lot of my friends were always asking me, "Why you don't play the terrace?" I was supposed to play back-to-back on August 15th with Marco [Carola] but he cancelled it, you know why? Because he wasn't sure how it would turn out. And I respected Marco's decision. Maybe he was right, maybe I was not 100% ready for the Terrace. But somebody up there above wanted me to play, twice!
So it was Marco's decision?
Yeah. Everyone at Music On was worried. Marco is the king of the terrace, it's his party. I've done a good job in the Main Room these past two years because I've managed to fill the space. But the move to the Terrace is a big one. And I was there like, "Wow, what to do tonight."
Did you feel outside of your comfort zone? Were you nervous?
I was very nervous to be honest. Maybe I've never been so nervous, you know. Before every gig I used to shake a lot. I'm an anxious guy naturally. But that night I remember I didn't feel excited at the start. I remember arriving at the club, making my way to the booth and everyone saying, "Hey, Joseph, how are you?" and expecting a hug, but I didn't reciprocate. For the first half an hour I asked everyone to leave me alone, to just let me concentrate. At the end of the night, I was very happy. Nobody expected me to be able to play for five, six hours.
And then you were given the second week off the back of that?
Yeah, but originally for the second week they'd planned to book somebody else. Someone big. But they were intelligent, they realised why pay for someone else when they could just use someone from the family. I had proven I could do it, and they gave me the second shot.
It also said a lot about Music On as well. People have sometimes criticised it for being overly-reliant on Marco, but this showed otherwise. The place was still packed both weeks.
That's why I was proud. I proved myself in front of the whole club. Even the VIP crowd, who love Marco, were asking, "Who is this guy?" They'd never even noticed me in the Main Room before but now they were paying attention. Being able to win over this kind of non-musical crowd, as well as the die-hard fans, that meant a lot. It's not easy I don't think.
Manning the Main Room these past three years must have taught you so much about the craft of DJing. What have you taken from the experience?
Yes, I've learnt a lot. Music On was not the first time I played Ibiza, that was for Mauro Picotto's party Meganite in 2008. I came to Ibiza then without knowing anything about it.
So Ibiza wasn't somewhere you visited when you were younger.
No, because I didn't have the money. My family is very humble. All my friends wanted to bring me to Ibiza. All my friends like, "Oh, we're going to Ibiza," you know, like 2002, 2003. They came back to Caserta, my city. They tell me like, "Oh Joseph, DC10, Marco Carola playing Terrace, Ricardo Villalobos!" I was like, "Oh guys, please don't tell me this," you know what I mean?
The first time I played I just did my thing and it was amazing, but that was it. Really you have to feel the power of the island to really get it. Then step by step I tried to get this groove, it's almost like growing up as well, growing up as a DJ and as a man. 'Cause when I was younger, you know I was like, "OK, play straight and rock it, destroy the place and go home." Now, I can play sets of 12 hours with different flavours. That's what Ibiza gave to me. This, for me, is the most important thing. It's still always techno, but more varied. If Ibiza has been like a school then the Main Room has been my classroom.
I remember when I started to play in the Main Room. The first night there were like 200 people in front of me. 150 people. Because Music On was new and, you know, everyone come for Marco. But Marco called me one day and told me, like, "Joseph, I'm doing this project" And he said, "Do you want to be part of this?" Before then, we never collaborated. He wasn't even playing my tracks, you know. He told me, "Joseph, it's going to be hard, because the Main Room is going to be the second room, the techno room. And the most important thing is to not play the same music as me." You know, this is the secret. That was really great advice.
Was it a real challenge tailoring your sound to the room? Did you have to alter your style at all?
That's a good question. My sound never changed, but I remember the first year I just played my techno. I didn't even care. I maybe lowered the bpm a bit, that's all. But little by little I started to experiment, I wanted to feel something more. A friend of mine told me, "Joseph, do groove, do groove," but I didn't want to. I'm stubborn like that. But then slowly, I started to work the groove in a little more. Not because anyone told me but because I really felt it was right.
How do you see the party evolving in years to come?
I feel the Main Room is my baby. I've created something of my own there. So maybe next year, I'm going to start booking some of the artists. Maybe next year—not for sure—I'll do some shows on the Terrace. Maybe a back-to-back with Marco. But the Main Room is where I want to focus my energies. The owner of Amnesia, Martin [Ferrer], said to me, "Joseph, the Main Room used to be like the Terrace is now. For many years the Terrace was always empty, but then Marco, Ricardo [Villalobos], Richie [Hawtin], they really transformed it. You are doing something similar for us in the Main Room, something special, returning it to how things used to be."
Tell me about growing up in Naples, because it seems such a fierce part of your identity.
Napoli, I have my heart over there. They show love until the end. It's like wherever I am, they are there with flags, they scream my name. Maybe it's too much, but that's just what they're like. Even if I was to go and play in India, there would be one Neapolitan in the crowd. It's unbelievable. They are everywhere! Growing up it was all about Old River Park, which was this summer venue where everybody would come and play. I started playing there myself in 2001with DJs like Jeff Mills, Adam Beyer and Neapolitan legends like Rino Cerrone, Markantonio, Marco Carola. That's where I heard techno for the first time, played by Dave Clarke. I couldn't believe it. From that point on I was totally hooked. I was playing house at the time, but hearing a DJ play with no vocals, no lights, no dancers, it was something else.
Are you still involved in the electronic scene over there?
Well, I do my own party every year. I do normally 12 hours, because there I can show my best without being nervous. Okay, I'm still a bit nervous, but they are so supportive and so open to my sessions that I feel comfortable. Last year I went back-to-back with Adam Beyer who is one of my real best friends in the scene. I never usually invite people to play with me there but Adam really deserved it because he feels Napoli almost like I feel it. He loves it.
That's interesting, because he's another one who's started bringing more of the groove into his sets, after years of playing pretty hard. He played the Terrace at Cocoon for the first time this season, for example.
Yeah. With my house background, it's natural for me to play more groove but Adam is also playing more this way for a few years and it is really working and I am happy for him. He's an amazing person, and I will never forget all the things we did together, and Drumcode really supported me early in my career. When I went my own way he was so supportive and there were no negative feelings at all. [Wells up.] It makes me emotional.
Going back to Naples and the scene there. It's obviously got such a rich music history, but do you think that the scene is underrepresented? Does it get as much attention as it deserves?
I said in an interview a few years ago that Napoli was on a par with Berlin and Detroit. Okay, so that was too extreme. But there is something very underground about our scene. We have many studios, for example. The first thing you do when you're growing up is to build your studio. This whole notion that you pay somebody else to make your track: never! Nobody in Napoli would want to own music that wasn't theirs. It annoys me when somebody today says, "Yeah, you know, I pay an engineer to make my tracks." Like, what is this? That is the culture. I am proud to be a part of it and will forever support the scene.
This week on the island
Kehakuma + Elrow at Space
Every season in Ibiza throws up a handful of particularly eye-catching dates. So far, Kehakuma + Elrow have been responsible for more than their fair share, hosting rare Space sets from Seth Troxler, Matthew Herbert and Marcel Dettmann. None of those, though, quite matched up to the hype surrounding the DJ Harvey double-header, scheduled across two weeks in September. Following a headline slot at Kehakuma last Saturday, the maverick Brit switched sides a week later and performed in the Discoteca for Elrow. Personally, I was excited about his set for two reasons: first, I can think of few better settings for DJ Harvey's rich, kaleidoscopic sound; and second, given Elrow's loyal fanbase, the room was more than likely to be full.
Much to my surprise, that wasn't the case. Come 2 AM, Space's main room is usually a heaving mass of bouncing Spaniards, but on this occasion you could easily weave through the crowd. In keeping with the room's exuberant hippy theme, Harvey span topless from inside a huge Volkswagen Type 2. The music, too, was impeccably well-presented, as Harvey blended upfront disco with trippier, more electronic bits. A chugging rendition of Charlie's "Spacer Woman" stuck particularly fast in the memory. Sadly, this all seemed to pass the dance floor by. More perplexing still, when I returned half an hour later, Elrow regular De La Swing had the place packed, throwing down the party's signature brand of hard, faceless tech house. If you consider the fortunes of neighbouring Kehakuma this season, where the likes of Levon Vincent, Fred P and Robert Hood have all performed to paltry audiences, everything suggests that this particular, deeper strand of underground music is all but dead in Ibiza.
Carl Cox closing at Space
The arrival of Carl Cox closing is indication that another Ibizan summer is all but over. The first of many hands-in-the-air finales, the party has recently developed its own sense of tradition, mainly because since 2011 the same four artists—tINI, DJ Sneak, Yousef, Loco Dice—have been booked. While that remained as true as ever on Tuesday, there was nevertheless an air of novelty about the event: Loco Dice was playing Ibiza for only the second time this season. His full-club takeover at We Love... in August proved one of the busiest nights of the year, but it was possible that Tuesday topped it. Come 1:45 AM, a heavily-bearded Dice was already churning his way through cuts of his signature floor-shaking tech house.
Over the course of the next two hours, Dice displayed the full range of his record box, moving from bits of deeper, more percussive house through to bleepy techno. Maybe it's because he hasn't been around all summer, but his performance felt fresh and invigorating. Bang on 3:30 AM, Cox took control, leading from the front with a bubbly bass-heavy number. Barely moments into his set, a giant white sheet appeared out of nowhere, crawling rapidly across the heads of the Discoteca masses. While those beneath revelled in the experience, Cox dropped Dennis Ferrer's "Mind Ur Step," much to the delight of those dancing on the fringes. After so many years, there's something of a predetermined feel about Cox's closing, but that doesn't seem to stop 5,000-plus people from having the time of their lives.
Paradise closing at DC-10
No party this summer has exceeded its own expectations quite like Paradise. After sticking to the script for the first few weeks, Jamie Jones et al. soon spied an opportunity to widen the party's appeal, opening both rooms at DC-10 on a weekly basis. Residents were drafted in to make up the numbers and the events were by and large heaving, sweaty successes. Of all the lineups, the closing party was arguably the biggest. Deetron played early in the Terrace, treating the rainbow floor to his colourful mix of house (Henrik Schwarz's remix of Bill Withers' "Who Is He") and techno (Levon Vincent's "Man Or Mistress").
In the Main Room, KINK toed a similarly party-centric line. Splicing and scratching his way through cuts of big-room acid, the Bulgarian mashed euphoric stabs with samples from some of dance music's best loved songs (Black Box's "Ride On Time", Cajmere's "Percolator). Dixon and Âme followed, pulling and pushing each other into the darker, tougher recesses of their USBs. Paradise's head-honcho, meanwhile, was nodding his head with the usual ferocity next door, firing out an unending barrage of rolling basslines. As his four-hour set progressed, his selections gradually deepened, eventually ending up on Carl Craig's remix of Theo Parrish's "Falling Up." The closing party, much like the season at large, was a masterclass in engaging, no-frills club music.
Cocoon 15 - Phrank.net
Kehakuma + Elrow - Ana Ruiz
ENTER. - Igor Ribnik
Music On - David Pareja
We Love... - Nel G Photography
Cocoon - Phrank.net
All others - Tasya Menaker
For more information on what's happening on the island in 2014, check out our comprehensive Ibiza guide below.
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