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HE.SHE.THEY's Sophia and Steven chat Ibiza moments

A trio of inclusive, polysexual, sex-positive parties launches Friday 29 July at Amnesia.

Fashion house, record label, party series (and equality freedom-fighter) HE.SHE.THEY. makes a statement when it takes over Amnesia on three key Fridays this summer. The all-encompassing club brand not only embodies the culture of dance music, but holds the ideals of expressionism, experimentation, individuality and inclusiveness most dearly to its heart.

Most importantly, it endeavours to be a safe-space where trans and non-binary people can be themselves, although all are welcomed.

HE.SHE.THEY. | fabriclondon | by Omar Gaash

It's a party for everybody, so long as you're open-minded, free of prejudice and accepting of all - regardless of appearance or lifestyle. Nobody is judged at HE.SHE.THEY.

Clubs should be places where people from all backgrounds can create shared experiences, away from the judgmental and scornful eyes of an all-too-often invasive society.

Asking about their Ibiza journey, as well as the party itself, we spoke to creators Sophia Kearney and Steven Braines ahead of the opening. The creative tandem give us the low down on what to expect, their ethos and Ibiza's status as a destination for LGBTQIA people.

First memories of Ibiza

Sophia Kearney (SK): "I didn't get to visit Ibiza till I was 25. I was working with Swedish House Mafia at the time and went for a walk along the beach in Playa d'en Bossa before their Ushuaïa show."

Swedish House Mafia | Ushuaïa | by Neil Davis (2012)

The Swedes first took over Ushuaïa in summer 2012 - and Sophia worked behind the scenes

"Seeing the planes coming into land and the sun going down, the colours of the sky, music coming from the beach bars, sound of the sea and everyone laughing, having fun I just felt so happy and content, like I was at home. That day, I vowed I'd live here one day.

That came true in 2018 when I worked a season. When the first HE.SHE.THEY. party happened in Ibiza, that felt super crazy."

Steven Braines (SB): "For me, it has to be watching the sunset next to Café Mambo and Café Del Mar. I just absolutely fell head over heels with the island. The beats we're so chilled and you could hear the wash of the sea on the shore.

I think the instrumental of Slip Into Something More Comfortable by Kinobe was playing and I just thought, 'it doesn't get any better than this'.

I found the Dalt Vila old town and its castle really intoxicating too. My mother was agoraphobic when I was young, so I hadn't really gone to many places. I've been to over 40 countries now around the world and Ibiza is the place I go back to every year without fail."

"Old Town" Dalt Vila - a beautiful 16th century fortification from which Ibiza Town sprung

Fondest party memories

SK: "I love Pikes. I've had so many good nights there. I love the history of the place, the rooms are all individual, how it's a hotel, but also a club and a bar. You can go any time and dip in and out of the dancefloor for lots of Fanta limon!" (laughs)

SB: "HE.SHE.THEY. has inspiration from my first days of clubbing at MANUMISSION in Privilege. It blew my mind. I ended up dancing for them a few times, which was mega. I had never felt freedom like that. Claire Davies and Dawn Hindle were just so welcoming and kind."

"I remember once dancing to Santos' Camels when the light came over the dancefloor. I think it was Alfredo playing and I teared-up, smudging my make up.

Ed and another guy took us to the Manumission Motel. It really struck me how this young Geordie goth who went on sunbeds was rubbing shoulders with everyone from Grace Jones to Elle McPherson. It made no sense. I truly had to pinch myself.

I had sooo many good nights at Amnesia: La Troya, because it was so wild and free and Cocoon, as the music was always incredible. HE.SHE.THEY. had to be at Amnesia. It's just undoubtedly, its natural home."

Favourite places to hang out

SK: "Catching an incredible sunrise at Aguas Blancas (Aigües Blanques), then driving to San Joan for the Sunday market and brunch is amazing. I saw the best sunrise of my entire life in November 2018.

I also love Cala Gracioneta for some food, cocktails and a little swim. Cala Tarida is another of my favourite beaches and, of course, watching the sun set behind Es Vedra should not be missed."

El Olivio Mio (left), Aguas Blancas (top-centre), Cala Gracioneta (top-right), Cala Tarida (bottom-centre), Es Cavallet (bottom-right)

SB: "I love my super-clubs, but if I'm not clubbing, I love Es Cavallet. I love the freedom of being able to be naked there. To me, nudity is the most natural state. I like fashion obviously, but I think it's weird that humans are obliged to wear clothes.

I have very fond memories from Pikes and I always seem to end up eating at El Olivo Mio in Dalt Vila."

HE.SHE.THEY.'s first party on Ibiza

SB: "Pacha was fun in 2019. Jessica, the booker there, has become a friend. She was really supportive. It was only our third ever party since launching the event series, so it was quite intense. Honey Dijon had the set of the night.

We brought a load of our dancers from the UK and it was amazing to see dancers in all different shapes and sizes, genders and races."

SK: "As Braines says, it was amazing to have all different dancers at that show, something we are repeating at Amnesia. It really helps people let loose on the dancefloor to see people with varied types of bodies losing themselves on the podiums. It changes everything.

I was outside greeting people and I walked back into the club just as Honey Dijon had been on 20 minutes or so, smashing out The Story Continues by Marco Lys and everyone going wild actually took my breath away. It was such a moment."

The importance of Ibiza as a destination for LGBTQIA people

SB: "It was the first place I started to realise that I might be queer. I loved that gay couples held hands and kissed in the street and it felt safe. I feel like it was a more tolerant when I first went to Ibiza 20 years ago than it does now and that's sad.

Nights like La Troya at Octan and Flash at Pikes still fly the flag, but Anfora closed down afters 30 years. Of course, there are many nights both straight and LGBTQIA people party together on the island, but still I feel a bit like the LGBTQIA community has been pushed out."

La Troya (left) and Guy Williams' Flash (right) fly the flag for LGBTQIA parties on Ibiza

"You don't see as many people in harnesses or drag on the dancefloor or dressed as club kids, because it doesn't fit with this uber affluent, aggressively heterosexual image that has become prevalent, which I think Ibiza is worse of for.

Ibiza is at its best when it celebrates the weird and wonderful. Ibiza in the '60s and '70s was literally a place for people to escape fascism of Franco and be hippies so that sense of freedom, equality for everyone and good music should be at Ibiza's core."

What can people expect from HE.SHE.THEY. at Amnesia?

SK: "I hope we can play a part in bringing inclusivity for ALL genders, ALL races and ALL sexualities. I'd rather have five people who were open-minded at our party, than five thousand who aren't.

I also think our ticket price being half the price of the other Friday night parties on the island shows that we're there for culture. That's why it's half-price drinks before 23:30 and a free drink with your ticket in advance."

HE.SHE.THEY. | fabriclondon | by Omar Gaash

"We want to make sure good music from people like Maya Jane Coles, Derrick Carter, Horse Meat Disco is affordable and not just for the super rich. Plus we're really excited that artists like Juliana Huxtable, LSDXOXO, Freddy K and VTSS who don't normally play in Ibiza.

We want to make people sweat and dance, not just pose for selfies. One day we'll get to a place where we can ban cameras here like we do elsewhere in the world. We're one of a few parties with a 50/50 gender split too."

SB: "HE.SHE.THEY. works best in two rooms with both the House and the Techno element, hence why we moved to Amnesia. Martin Ferrer Jnr (Amnesia owner) has been asking us to go over for years and this year we finally got brave enough to say yes!

It still doesn't feel real that I co-founded a night that is at Amnesia. It proves anything is possible if you work hard, treat people nicely and are passionate about the music."

HE.SHE.THEY. boots off in typically individual fashion tonight, 29 July, with a line-up stacked in House and Techno talent. Anastasia Kristensen, Cassy, Chaos in the CBD, Effy, Horse Meat Disco, Mall Grab, Wax Wings and Willow all are set to play.

Following next month and September, the likes of Derrick Carter, Cinthie, Ben Klock, Maze & Masters, Midland, Syreeta, Jennifer Cardini and Kittin are all locked-in.

Head below to find those inclusively-priced tickets including first drink on arrival - and remember, there's half-priced drinks until 23:30.

IMAGES from fabriclondon | by Omar Gaash
IMAGE from Swedish House Mafia | by Neil Davis

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