Starting up a new and popular party is probably something most if us Ibiza lovers can only dream of. Meet Andy Young who alongside Oliver Lloyd-Taylor began the much loved original workers party, Departure. Now in its second season the party has really upped its game and brings headliners such as Alex Arnout, Wildkats and Russ Yallop to San Antonio's shores each week.
Departure usually hosts one or two parties a week and held on the Itaca rooftop the parties embrace the warm Mediterranean evenings whilst intimate sets are provided by some of the biggest names in the underground music scene. Wanting to please the crowd and throw unpredictable but much loved parties each week Andy and Oliver unleash deep, tech and underground sounds onto the dance-floor which has proved to be a winning concept. So, in true traditional Ibizan style they celebrate each week with a shot of Hierbas as the crowds come flocking in. Here we catch up with Andy himself and dig into the history of Departure and find out what future plans the party may have...
Can you tell us the story behind Departure?
I’ve been running worker's parties out in Ibiza since I arrived back in 2009. Towards the end of the 2010 season I met Oliver Lloyd-Taylor and over the winter we developed the concept of Departure. In the few months before we left for the season we held two parties at Joshua Brooks in Manchester. When we got back to Ibiza in 2011 we held two parties at Savannah and then hosted the Boutique at Sankeys Ibiza. It was that party at Sankeys with Miguel Campbell and Josh T that I feel really introduced us to the workers community last year. Following this we made the move to the intimate surroundings of the Itaca Rooftop which we’ve now held around 25 to 30 parties at over the last two seasons.
Were there times when you thought it wasn't going to work out and what kind of challenges did you face along the way?
With Departure we’ve grown organically from nothing; beginning with putting our friends on who are DJs and now we’ve progressed to the point we’re holding up to two and sometimes three parties a week with international bookings. I think for us the biggest step was getting started in Manchester. After waiting months for a date at Joshua Brooks we took the plunge and booked Burnski along with Miguel Campbell. Fortunately for us this event sold out and although we had one or two small setbacks along the way we’ve had an amazing journey to where we are now.
You have had many successful parties on both sides of the Med how do the crowds compare?
The core crowd that come week in week out to Departure are almost exactly the same people in both places, every year dozens of clubbers from the Manchester/Leeds scene up sticks and head out to Ibiza at the end of May. I've been doing it myself now for four years and it's how I’ve met, Olly Taylor and our residents Oliver Drops and Thomas Olivier.
Our resident Oliver Drops is out in New Zealand at the moment for the Ski Season. Although I won’t be able to make it out this year I’d love to see how the crowd is over there and how their taste of music compares to the other side of the world.
You brought departure to Ibiza last summer and launched it as a workers party, why did you decide to target this market?
In the beginning it was the market we knew our parties appealed to from previous years. We were aware that there was simply no way we could directly compete with the super clubs that were spending tens of thousands of Euros on their headliners. Instead we decided to target the worker market which in previous seasons had seen successful nights with parties like Jaunt and Disco Bomb. Building upon the worker party concept we set the goal of working towards attracting international headlines to a small San Antonio party with quality underground music.
With the help of our friends and regular guests like Angus Jefford & Perry Louis, Dan Wild, Will Boyd, the lads from Backwards Disco in addition to our resident Oliver Drops we developed a credible sound, attracting DJs like Miguel Campbell, Russ Yallop, Rossko and JP Chronic. Over the winter we met DJs like Wildkats, Alex Arnout, Jordan Peak, Max Chapman, and Droog and have been able to convince them to come and play for us this year.
It clearly paid off and this summer has seen you host bi and sometimes even tri weekly events for workers and tourists alike; what do you think is so appealing about Departure?
That week with three parties featuring Widlkats, Droog, and Alex Nigemann was possibly the craziest week of my life. With everyone around us enjoying the first couple of weeks in the season we had to get our heads down and deliver. We work very hard to ensure we get the best DJs we can and always work to develop the sense of community that arises at our parties. I’ve heard Departure referred to as the Ibizan version of a local pub which I like.
You have collaborated with parties such as Carnival at Sankeys where you recently took over the Spektrum, how do you transfer the party to a different venue and successfully gel it with another night?
I love the Itaca Rooftop but it’s always good to have a change of scenery. I don’t think we’d ever move sideways to a different venue in San An as Itaca is the best one there, however we were asked to be part of four Carnival line-ups at Sankeys Ibiza so we jumped at the opportunity. Sankeys Ibiza has without doubt been the success story of this season and it has been a privilege to be involved with them.
You've had some great line-ups - bagging special appearances from artists such as Wildkats for example, how do you go about choosing who's on the bill and how do you ensure something differs each time to keep the party fresh and exciting?
I’m constantly contacting DJs and their agents to find out who is on the island from week to week. I’ve not dropped the ball yet but we’ve had some close calls where I don’t even know who is playing up until the night before. Billing or DJs as “Special Guest” allows us to borrow the bookings of the super clubs for a couple of hours before they fly home. With Departure we don’t have a specific sound, I’m happy to vary the sound and incorporate many elements of the underground house spectrum with anything from deep to tech house.
This Saturday you are hosting Spektrum at Sankeys for the final time this year, what can we expect from the party?
Last month in Spektrum was for me one of the best parties I’ve been involved in, Thomas Olivier and Jordan Peak were on fire! This time Adam Shelton joins Thomas Olivier in Spektrum. In the main room its one of the biggest line-ups of the year with MK, DJ Sneak, Miguel Campbell, Shonky, Pipura, Ilario Alacante. I would definitely recommend people keep an eye out for the Sankeys closing party which will feature a ridiculous line-up.
Will you be back on the white isle next summer? If so, what will you be changing and what will be coming back to ensure you stay as popular as you are now?
I think I’m here for life! I’m not quite ready to do a winter season yet, but since the first time I came to the Island when I was 21 I’ve been in love with it. Next year we want to continue moving forward with Departure. Look out for more collaborations with the larger promoters, some secret parties around the island and hopefully a regular night slot at one of the super-clubs.
What are your plans over the winter?
We’ve not decided yet it might be Manchester, it might be the French Alps, it might even be both. I’m back in the UK for a few weeks to finish my masters off and find a new venue in Manchester for Departure to call home for six months. Oliver Drops is off for a ski season in the Alps so I’m sure we’ll get up to something out there, who knows, I might even join him for the season. Oliver Llyod-Taylor is staying in Manchester to manage his rapidly expanding clothing brand Menikmati whilst working on Departure in Manchester. We’re also taking Departure to Leeds, Birmingham and a few other English cities for collaborations with other promoters over the winter months whilst we wait to get back out to Ibiza.
What has been your most memorable Departure moment to date?
I’ve had a load of moments after close to 50 parties; whether it’s the best DJ set, the best or biggest crowd, or even just having the best party with my friends there are too choose from. If I had to chose one it would have to be selling out our opening party. Was a real shame to spend months organising it, only to spend half of it on the door taking tickets, but that is the life of a promoter.
If Departure could be compared to any drink what would it be and why?
For me it has got to be Hierbas, we go through bottles of the stuff at every party we do out in Ibiza and I hardly drink anything else at Itaca and Sankeys. We’re currently trying to figure out how to get a decent amount of the stuff to the UK for our winter parties.