Wow – what a summer! The 18 weeks that the Ibiza Rocks Bar has been open so far have zipped by quicker than anyone could ever have imagined; was it really that long ago Johnny Borrell was teasing the crowd with those famous Razorlight numbers for his live acoustic set at the opening party? It seems like only yesterday!
Where do we start with the DJ’s that have played here, too? It’s not really a question of who has had a mix here this summer, more a question of who hasn’t spun some tunes behind our DJ booth over the season?!?! Calvin Harris absolutely tore up the bar in August to one of the busiest crowds we’ve ever had, Annie Mac loves the venue so much she played here 4 times(!!!) over the course of the season, Zane Lowe rocked it back-to-back with Doorly in June, and Eddie Halliwell smashed the place up twice with his live shows. Who else? Skream, Skrillex, Jack Beats, Roska, Diplo, Kissy Sell Out, Riva Starr, and Rusko, to pluck just a few more from the top of my head. Every single DJ event has been free entry too!
A special mention must also go out to Ibiza Rocks superstar resident DJ Doorly, who, after delivering consistently brilliant sets and stoking the crowd to the max between acts at the hotel gig, headed straight down to the Ibiza Rocks Bar every single week to continue the party, spinning on 3 CDJ’s, and cutting and scratching everything from dubstep, d’n’b, house, rock, techno, and electro with his hands, nose and teeth!
Before we all jettison off to far-away lands to hibernate for the winter months, I managed to sit down over a cocktail with the other two Ibiza Rocks Bar residents, Mak and Grainger, to argue the toss over what the best records and parties at the bar have been this summer.
Q: How have you found the summer on the White Isle this year?
Mak: Yeah it’s been amazing. I introduced dubstep to Ibiza Sonica and have built on what I achieved last year.
Grainger: It’s been a great summer full of music and marathon DJ sets!
Adam: Really good, a lot more chilled than last year for me personally, but still very enjoyable. It’s felt a lot more like home this season, as opposed to a four-month holiday in the sun.
Q: How many years have you been coming to Ibiza?
Mak: I’ve been on holiday a few times but this is only my second year as a working entity.
Grainger: This is my third season in Ibiza.
Adam: This is my second season. I had never been to Ibiza before the start of June last year and I was beginning to think I had missed the boat!
Q: You’re a resident DJ at the Ibiza Rocks Bar. How did this residency come about?
Mak: I started out last year as a resident for Reclaim The Dance Floor at Eden, which was heavily involved with Ibiza Rocks. I played at pre-parties for them on a weekly basis down here, struck up an affinity with the bar and the people that worked there, and decided to take up a residency here this season.
Grainger: In 2009 I somehow managed to blag myself a set at the Ibiza Rocks end of season workers party and, to be honest, I was awful! In 2010 the bar had been renovated and was in need of a new resident DJ. When I heard of the vacancy I was determined to get the slot but because of my terrible ‘09 performance it took some persuading for Griff and Stu to entrust me with the job. After a lot of pestering I finally got a phone call the day of the bar opening to warm up for Pete Doherty and Colin Peters. Luckily I impressed the right people and have been a resident ever since.
Adam: I originally came out to Ibiza in June last year for a residency at another night that never really got off the ground. Penniless after six weeks with no work, I was just about to call it a day and head back home when, thanks to friends and contacts I had made through work and DJ’ing in the UK, I managed to get a trial at the Ibiza Rocks Bar for a Hed Kandi pre-party. The trial went well enough and I was then asked to play the following night at the Judgement Sundays pre-party. Things continued in a similar fashion for the rest of the summer and I was lucky enough to be invited back again this year.
Q: What else do you do in the Balearics over the summer?
Mak: I’m resident for ‘Tonight’ at Amnesia on a Tuesday night. They mainly play dubstep and bass music in my room with Annie Mac as the main resident. Eric Prydz heads things up in the other room.
I also put together mixes that go out on Ibiza Sonica. As well as this, they sometimes broadcast my sets live from Amnesia out on the radio. I also play at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel pool parties during the week.
Grainger: Apart from my bar residency I’ve gained a weekly main room spot at the Es Paradis official Ibiza Rocks after show. I play a no holds barred, genre weaving back-to-back set with Nicola Bear every Wednesday on the Ibiza Rocks boat party, and I also managed to squeeze in a gig on the sunset terrace at the We Love opening at Space.
I like to go to the clubs too but I’m very selective of what nights I visit. Ibiza town is nice to do the culture thing but most of my days off are spent catching up on sleep.
Adam: Workwise, I also DJ at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel pool parties twice a week, write a column for the weekly Ibiza Rocks fanzine about the goings-on at the bar, and help out with the social networking/blogging/online media side of things too. Other than that I try to keep fit and eat well enough to negate the effects of living in Ibiza for the summer!
Q: What has been your favourite DJ set at the Ibiza Rocks Bar this summer and why?
Mak: Skream, for bringing heavyweight dubstep to the bar for the Come Together pre-party. I also really enjoyed Leon’s set; he brought some of the best deep house music I have heard all summer on the island.
Grainger: There have almost been too many great nights to mention! Annie Mac’s sets were always good. The Calvin Harris nights were really special; it felt as though a super star was in the building every time he played and the atmosphere matched. Skream’s disco to dubstep mix is definitely up there as one of my highlights of the season too.
Adam: I also really enjoyed the Come Together pre-party when Diplo and Skream were on the bill. Diplo played some wicked future garage, cool dubstep and techno’y bits, and then Skream surprised everyone by dropping thirty minutes of old school disco, which was amazing. Zane Lowe and Doorly back-to-back was really good back in June too – the place was heaving and the two of them trying to out-do each other created an electric atmosphere.
Q: What has been your favourite DJ set elsewhere on the island this season?
Mak: Probably Sub Focus for ‘Tonight’ at Amnesia with MC IC3. Really good party vibes, and the crowd’s response was amazing. He tore up the main room.
Grainger: Elsewhere, Dixon and the Innervisions’ crew were incredible at We Love, as was Villalobos at Cocoon. Jaymo And Andy George did a great job of warming up the Space terrace for Greg Wilson and Nicola Bear’s Ibiza Rocks gigs warm up, boat party and after show sets are always spot on!
Adam: I’ve not gone out nearly half as much as I did last year so I don’t I have that much too choose from – I think maybe only six or seven times over the entire season! I thought DC10 was wicked again; for me, it’s the best club on the island. To pick out individual DJ sets there is hard as they always have loads of people on the bill playing for a shorter than usual time period. I don’t think it matters at all though because the whole vibe of the place is so special. Midland’s set in the Red Room at Space for Kehakuma in July was one of the best I have heard in a long, long time – utterly brilliant deep and emotive music.
Q: Name your top three Ibiza Rocks bar tracks of the summer…
Mak: In no particular order, Chase & Status ‘Flashing Lights’, Pig Bag – ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag’, and my tune, Mak – ‘Bhasa’. You can listen to a sample of this on http://www.soundcloud.com/makstep.
Grainger: These are the three main tracks that I have been driving the bar staff mad with! 1. Breakbot – ‘Fantasy’ (Jacques Renault remix) 2. Lykee Li – ‘I Will Follow’ (The Magician Remix) 3. Social Disco Club – Daft Funk.
Adam: Like Grainger, I’m going to go with the Magician remix of Lykee Li – ‘I Will Follow’. Also, the Shadow Dancer remix of Chilly Gonzalez’s ‘You Can Dance’, and Roger Seventy Two’s ‘You Take Me Higher’, on A-Trak’s Fools Gold label have been doing the business down here.
Q: What do the winter months hold for you?
Mak: Residencies for both Metropolis and Wax:On in Leeds. I’ll be playing around the UK as part of the Sound of Sumo records tour, and I’ll be spending plenty of time in the studio working on my album for Shifting Peaks.
Grainger: More Dj’ing, a part-time day job and the real world. Ugh.
Adam: DJ gigs here and there, a bit of freelance writing and a day job! My biggest aim is to get my arse into gear and start taking production a bit more seriously, rather than playing around with it for a couple of weeks then putting it to one side like I normally do!
Q: Will we see you back again next year?
Mak: Yes, definitely. I love the lifestyle out here, I’ve made a lot of good connections this year and I am looking forward to taking my career further in Ibiza. I’ll be rejoining ‘Tonight’ at Amnesia, and expect some more crazy nights down at the Ibiza Rocks Bar.
Grainger: I think so, yes…
Adam: Watch this space (or blog!)…