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24 hours in Ibiza with FUSE

An entire day spent in the company of the FUSE crew

It's around 8 PM on Wednesday 27 July. I'm sat backstage laughing and joking with FUSE residents Rossko and Archie Hamilton, listening intently while they both share their most embarrassing and hilarious tour stories and cheekily asking questions that reveal honest answers about themselves and their fellow FUSE residents. Some of the stories are what you could call 'unpublishable' and will stay in the vault, but some are pretty funny.

The reason I'm asking such personal questions is because on Wednesday morning I had my bag stolen from right underneath my nose while reuniting with a friend on an Ibiza beach. My original idea for this feature was to spend 24 hours with FUSE, and to talk about how talented this group of DJs is, but after losing my baggage and only having my iPhone, passport and €150 to my name, it felt only right that this feature should have a more personal approach - one that reveals the other side of a group of DJs who live and breath the same morals, one DJ set at a time.

My '24 hours with FUSE' began at 4 PM, when I met up with FUSE Ibiza Project and Event Manager, Con Mitsou, at the door of Benimussa Park. Over the following four days, HYTE and FUSE combined had four upcoming events - three in Ibiza and one in London. Con, alongside team members from HYTE and FUSE, is in charge of running all four of these events and I have only have one question for him... what's your secret? How do you run four events in four days and make sure nothing goes wrong? "What can I say - it's down to years of experience and putting in the hard work. To do something like this you really have to love what you do and believe in what you're doing. I guess you need a little bit of luck as well." A simple answer really, and a fitting one considering HYTE's tag line for 2016 is YES TO ALL. If Con or any of the events team at HYTE and FUSE asks you to do something, you say yes, hashtag #YESTOCON.

As I enter Benimussa Park just after 5 PM I see a few early starters seeking shade and refreshment by the pool and enjoying their first beer of the day. On the decks are Archie Hamiton and Rossko - two FUSE residents with glowing reputations. The mood is light, there is something about the signature FUSE sound that sounds so good outdoors in a small intimate venue like the Treehouse inside Benimussa Park, that is famous for its Saturday afternoon sessions as The Zoo Project.

While Archie and Rossko are setting the mood, I sit down for a chat with FUSE co-founder Enzo Siragusa. It turns out that it wasn't just me having bad luck with important baggage. When Enzo landed in Ibiza that morning from London, he realised he lost his memory stick, so before arriving at the venue he spent the last few hours in Ibiza sat there in front of his computer waiting for files to copy over. Basically, a DJ losing their memory stick the morning before three gigs in 24 hours is the DJ equivalent of a mother losing her child at the supermarket - pretty stressful!

Like any full time touring artist, Enzo Siragusa has had many run ins with airports and lost baggage. "You always get this sinking feeling when you're the last one there at the belt and it's nowhere to be found. You're stood there thinking, 'No, come on, not the record bag'." Before a set at FUSE at Sankeys Ibiza in 2014, Enzo was set to play alongside Ricardo Villalobos and Raresh, and when he landed his record bag was no where to be found. "I had picked out some special records for this occasion - when you play alongside guys like this, you want to impress. Luckily when I have lost records, artists have been kind enough to step in and at least send me the file track, if not another copy of the vinyl.”

With vinyl records being the topic of conversation I move on to speak about FUSE as a label. On Saturday 30 July, FUSE celebrated 'Five Years of FUSE London Records' at Studio 338, with 20 DJs playing over 15 hours. This is the biggest London party the brand has ever put together, and to celebrate this achievement Enzo and the other members of FUSE and InFUSE have all produced a track each. "We're celebrating with three vinyl-only EPs. The first one was meant to come out the week of the party in July but due to the vinyl pressing plants closing they will come out every two weeks throughout August and September."

Now that the music chat was out the way I couldn't let Enzo go without dishing the dirt on his fellow DJs, and he was more than willing to let loose on Rossko, and particularly his habit of being late. "Rossko is always late, I call him Long, Longting. With Rossko there is always an excuse - he has an excuse for everything" says Enzo with a smile on this face doing his best impression of Ross: "What happened was there was this dog and it ran out into the road like...". When I sat down with Rossko later on that day, I of course gave him the chance to respond to this...

On the decks now is Romanian Cristi Cons. It was two years ago on this very stage where I discovered who Cristi Cons was. I had come to The Zoo Project to catch up with friends, but was so completely blown away by this guy's set that I didn't see them for long. Today, he was given the honour of bringing the sun down, and he certainly didn't disappoint with a warm blend of minimal waves that had enough to turn a gentle two step into an extended techno flick.

Before Enzo takes over on the decks I sit down for a beer and a shot of hierbas with Archie Hamilton and Rossko. Of the two of them, Archie is the more laid back and considered one, where as Rossko is constantly upbeat sharing stories and laughing along. Last year, Rossko was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and shyly confesses to Enzo's claims about him always being late. "He's right - I am always late, but now I know I have ADHD I have made really good progress over the last year and I'm beginning to understand it all." ADHD affects people in different ways, and Ross confesses that his involves a scattered focus as well as a hyper focus, like a super power that allows him to concentrate on one thing. "It's funny because these crazy things always kept happening to me. Before I could wake up at 8 AM and not have to be at the airport until 7 PM, and I'll still be rushing around and forgetting things. Now I am a lot more in control of what I do, and look at the positives." Having lost two passports already, Rossko somehow lost a third in the back of a taxi in Berlin after visiting his girlfriend. "It was Easter weekend, instead of catching my flight I had to take an eight hour train into Amsterdam and tell a little white lie to the police about losing my passport. That weekend I also was set to play my first gig in New York at a cool warehouse party but didn't quite make it. I managed to get back to London to get my emergency passport, but this was also the weekend that the bomb had gone off in Belgium. Having lost my passport twice in the last 10 years I came up as a security threat and because I was travelling to New York, I wasn't allowed to leave the country for two and a half weeks."

Archie's nightmare tour story has a happier ending - just. "I was playing in Serbia about two or a three years ago. The Serbians are some of the best people to party with, but it's not a place you want to get stranded. I went back to an apartment with friends from the party and carried on for nearly a day. My flight was at 1 PM in the afternoon, but the clocks had gone back an hour. After thinking we had a bit longer to crack on we suddenly realised we had under 15 minutes to get me to the airport. The rules are a little bit different out there - you can do what you want. So instead of taking the main road towards the airport, the promoter took us off road through fields, ditches and rivers in his 4X4. We joined the road in the middle of the motorway - no slip roads, literally swerving past cars. We made my flight with literally seconds to spare."

With Ross and Archie's careers on the rise, one thing Enzo mentioned in our chat earlier was how keen he was for the artists signed to the label to make their own path and build their own careers alongside FUSE, and this is exactly what Ross and Archie are doing, as is Rich Nxt who has recently started Nxt Recordings. Siragusa is well aware that he would not be in the position he is now without artists like Seb [Zito], Rich Nxt and Archie and Rossko consistently inspiring him in the studio - producing records he signs and releases on FUSE as a label.

Recently Archie and Ross have been spending more time together behind the decks and in the studio and they let me in on a few secrets. They have been working on a number of tracks and will release them under an alias via their own label later in the year. The duo played alongside each other at the FUSE Ibiza Opening Party at HYTE, the 5th anniversary party at Studio 338 and on Sunday 14 August they'll go back-to-back at Village Underground. When asked who is the better DJ they both laugh, before coming to an agreement. "Rossko is more of a selector - a crate digger with an ear for a tune" says Archie, while Rossko describes Archie as the "tighter and cleaner" DJ/producer. "What many don't realise about Archie is the majority of the music he plays in his sets is his own - unfinished, unreleased or already released. For today's event around 25 people have come to Ibiza from Australia just to see him, and you don't get that without being a great artist, a great person and having your feet on the ground."

After an absolutely brilliant set from Enzo, Nima Gorji closes out the day time rave at Benimussa Park and I make my way to Amnesia with Rich Nxt and his wife Justine [who also works for FUSE] for HYTE, where FUSE are hosting the club room for the second time this summer. In my opinion HYTE and FUSE coming together is a perfect match. Last year HYTE failed to hold down two rooms at Amnesia, which is something that in the early days of Music On, happened as well. When Music On brought onboard Joseph Capriati in the club room, Music On went from strength-to-strength and the move from HYTE to bring in FUSE feels very similar. FUSE is an established party all over the world - it brings its own crowd, its own style and for collaborations to work they need both parties to bring something to the table.

After a superb warm-up set by Rossko and Seb Zito, Valentino Kanzyani took to the decks around 2.30 AM. Valentino is an extremely talented DJ, in fact he is one of the only DJs I've ever seen that is able to mix three records in at the same time, while bringing in a fourth and still having time to sip on his drink and pick out his next record. As expected his mixing on the night was tight - he was rushing through his records at peak time in the club room, while red, blue and purple lights and lasers danced around the room reflecting off two silver tin foil wrapped like birds that hung central above the dance floor. After Guti had performed live for an hour, Enzo Siragusa and German DJ DeWalta closed out the night with a back-to-back set that had the Amnesia Club Room in riots.

For me, FUSE has become a social club - a place to hang out with likeminded people and get loose. It's a family run business, with a family of artists who follow each other around the world and support one another by playing each other's music in their sets. Up next, FUSE takes over the famous Amnesia terrace on 17 August with Enzo, Seb and Ross going back-to-back-to-back with Loco Dice and Molly as their special guests. "Ever since I started playing with FUSE I've had this folder of music for special occasions like this" said Rossko. "I knew this day would come - I knew that one day all of us would be up there together on the terrace." Playing Amnesia's terrace is a dream gig for most artists, but right now every gig that Enzo, Seb, Ross, Rich and Archie play for FUSE is their dream gig. How many DJs get to play with their friends by their side on the decks and in front of them on the dance floor, for the party they have made their whole life... Sven? Richie? Marco? Coxy? Beyer? There's not many! Hashtag #YESTOFUSE.

WORDS | Andrew Leese PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman, Daddy's Got Sweets & Pablo Bustos

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