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Secret boat party with Loco Dice by BURN Residency on Ibiza

The X Factor of DJs brings it down to three living out their dream.

When you're at work covering a press day and you end up on a catamaran boat party with secret guest Loco Dice, you know that you've hit one of the peaks of the entire summer season. Work days rarely get better than this, even on Ibiza. Actually, the press day was simply the middle of boot camp for the BURN Residency 2017, a dream experience for any aspiring DJ.

Much like an X Factor for DJs, the BURN Residency seeks out the best talent around the world. Their adventure started in February when 32 aspiring DJs were selected. Ever since then, they have been competing putting together sets, producing music and even performing at festivals around the world in Italy, Turkey, Russia and Romania for DJs on Tour.

Last year's mentors and judges included Carl Cox and John Digweed. This year saw contestants on the island of Ibiza with Pete Tong, Seth Troxler and Luciano, as well as last year's winner Lollino. The winner will receive a €100,000 contract.

The press day started off tamely enough, with a bus driving us to a secret villa location where this year's BURN Residency contestants had been battling it out to be cut from 16 to eight. The DJs had been selected from all over the world and it all came down to those past few weeks.

At the villa, we were pampered to a poolside buffet lunch prepared by the villa chef and, of course, lots of BURN cocktails ahead of the official press conference.

Given this year's instalment of the Residency Stories series, Residency Stories: The Underground, the press conference started by asking the panel to define the underground. During the conference, panel members were also asked the three main skills a DJ needs to become successful.

While there is obviously not an exact formula, for Luciano it's about having a musical skill, of course, while not looking for fame, constantly listening and learning about music as well as staying humble. Pete Tong advised to really get inside and love music, learn the craft of DJs, and, yes, stay humble and never stop learning. Lollino added to try to make something new rather than copying, creating your own style and sound out of the passion. For Philipp Straub, the head mentor for BURN residency, there is no recipe for success, but the key ingredients would actually be four: "talent, social skills, commitment and charisma."

We then had a chance to speak with Pete Tong, Luciano and Lollino individually. Pete views the talent pool as having grown and offering chances not only for the winner. In his words, the contestants are "the real thing and increasingly strong. BURN has worked really hard to make sure that the people who come out of this competition actually do something, not only the winner."

For Lollino, last year's victory has indeed been the big break he had been working toward for close to a decade. He came across the BURN Residency selections one night in February 2016 as he was looking for music. To his own surprise, he was selected and went all the way. His life has turned around completely now, as he plays all over the world, including the IMS Dalt Vila party and Amnesia Ibiza, and works with his idols.

Speaking with Luciano, we harked back to his beginnings, the days he had streaks of pink in his hair. As one who loves changes and experimenting, Luciano sees it all as a journey. In regards to the changes on the island, he does not see them as good or bad. Every generation loves the island as it is. Regarding his collaboration with Hï Ibiza, he sees it as "the new baby of the island, part of the evolution, part of the change."

After the individual interviews, we all got put back in the coach and chartered off to an unknown destination. The surprise turned out to be Marina Botafoch where a catamaran was waiting for a sunset boat party.

An open bar, tapas and a proper BBQ dinner were accompanied by a remarkable set by Lollino. As the remaining contestants, the press and the BURN staff enjoyed every second of the dreamy afternoon, we could not have asked for much more, that is until a small boat pulled up to the catamaran.

From it, Loco Dice and Luciano casually disembarked and joined the party. Turning it up a notch, Loco Dice took to the turntables and had us shaking it into the sunset until well after dark.

Since this magical day, the final three have been selected Lorenzo De Blanck from Italy, Dualitic from France and Furkan Kurt from Turkey. They are spending the next few weeks playing at various residencies around the island, such as Café Mambo. Check them out when you're around, and if DJing is what you want to do, keep an eye open for the next round of selections this autumn.

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