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The Great Ibiza Debate at IMS

Industry movers and shakers discuss summer 2016

Everything from the current situation in San Antonio, to residencies, to competition from techno havens like Berlin was discussed at the Great Ibiza Debate this morning, on day three of the International Music Summit. Hosted by Spotlight's own, Grego O'Halloran, who was joined on stage by Mr C, Pete Tong, Matteo Milleri from Tale of Us, Shauna Shelvin, MD of Canopy Artists, and Jacobi Calthorpe from Housekeeping - a selection of industry figureheads all in attendance to discuss the hot topics set to affect Ibiza this coming summer, 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Pete Tong who was the most vocal in comments about the White Isle. The veteran DJ, who's been visiting the island every year since 1991, has never held back when it comes to his opinions regarding Ibiza, and today was no exception. Now living in LA, he confirmed he views the island differently to how he has in the past: “For a long time this island was all-encompassing for me. If you didn't exist in Ibiza, you didn't exist - and my perspective has definitely changed on that.” He went on to affirm that soaring prices and VIP culture are potentially the most harmful pitfalls of the island's thriving scene: “Life exists beyond Ibiza and Ibiza shouldn't be arrogant about that. It's got to keep moving forward with the times.” He also strongly emphasised his disappointment in the lack of development and funding for San Antonio, saying in his opinion, Mambo was the only venue worth its mettle in that area of the island, but that “in the 90s, we didn't want to come to Bossa either, so there is hope.”

Building on the notion of how to continue to attract the hordes, Jacobi Calthorpe chipped into the VIP debate, saying “you need to be able to embrace both sides of the island to keep growing”, but that's perhaps because as he admits himself, the people attending the villa parties thrown by his Housekeeping compatriots are “VIPs and big spenders”. He continued, “Our senses are constantly bombarded, so people enjoy experiencing something new - they enjoy getting closer to the DJs they respect.”

Mr C then waded into the discussion, having previously touched on the ‘authentic acid house' vibe he's hoping to create at new Sankeys residency, Dance 88/89, where he'll be appearing throughout summer. “Villa parties are fun, but it's a different thing altogether. [Venues like] Clink St were dark, dingy warehouses attended by scary people celebrating life, hugging each other and getting mindless. Villa parties are classy, and Clink St was the antithesis of that.” Although he did admit that he has attended a few himself, in his time.

Manager of the Martinez Brothers, Shauna Shelvin, then went on to consider the contrasting underground aspects of the island: “Everything has been done at Circoloco organically, and that's the beauty of the place - it's always been natural, promoted by the DJs and the fans.” Asked what's made the Brothers' residency at DC-10 such a success, she pondered, “It's a home to the guys; a family. They've grown up in that club with Seth and Jamie. They're top billing and they're extremely comfortable where they are right now. They can be as creative as they want to be in both rooms.” Brought into the villa party exchange, given the Martinez Brothers are often regularly on the line-ups at such events, she said: “These scenes co-exist. They can have a wild party at DC-10 and then go to an upscale event - I don't see them being mutually exclusive.” She also confirmed the brothers won't be looking for an exclusive Ibiza residency anytime soon: “There are a lot of roadblocks in Ibiza - a lot of competition and politics. So it's hard to make that jump.”

One of the final points raised was in regards to Berlin, with O'Halloran asking Matteo Milleri about how Ibiza is perceived in Berlin, where he lives. His response was one we perhaps could have guessed: “Berlin is a very important place for techno and clubbing - but it's more into darker shades of music. The Berlin vibe doesn't reflect the Ibiza vibe - it's the opposite, so it's not something that appeals to Berliners.” So it'll be interesting to see the kind of crowd that Tale of Us' residency, Afterlife, draws once it kicks off at Space in July.

WORDS | Abby Lowe PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman