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Manumission Rocks the Party on Mondays and Fridays in 2005

Last year we met up with Andy and Dawn from Manumission to talk about their new music policy of innovation. This year they will be hosting two nights in the biggest club on the island - sounds like a truly Herculean task.

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Last year we met up with Andy and Dawn from Manumission to talk about their new music policy of innovation; of bending the rules and treating their clubbers to a bit more than your average Ibiza beats. This year they will be hosting two nights in the biggest club on the island - sounds like a truly Herculean task.

Andy, in a nutshell, tell us about 2005?

This year is quite a year of change, a lot of people are going to be maybe a little bit surprised. The main change is going to be upping the emphasis on live music and the fusion of DJs and bands, which is the continuation of what we've been doing in the Music Box for the last 3 years. If you look at what we did on the Manumission Birthday last year, which is very much the model of the way we were trying to move things.

You're organising 2 club nights in Privilege this summer, you must have been very happy with the resonance from last season?

It went extremely well actually. When we first started, 3 years ago, with some of the really early Electro stuff, which was ... largely crap, but... so inspirational and amazing that is was well worth doing. I mean with the Music Box we jumped onto Electro before anyone else in Ibiza, around the time that the pioneers were looking at it in London and New York, and the reason we jumped onto it is because it has a real energy behind it.

Most people said it wasn't of a good enough quality and should be ignored. We felt much of it wasn't of a good enough quality but the energy, the attitude and the enthusiasm was the first time that we'd really seen such levels of excitement in the dance and club scene for years - and because of this energy it was the thing to jump onto. I think Electro is a dominant force in Ibiza now - every other DJ seems to be playing Electro now.

I mean Har Mar Superstar was a great success for us with his residency (2003), but when we did things like The Rapture early on, probably before The Rapture were quite as tight a band as they are now... well... yeah it was heavier on photographers than on punters! We were pushing things that the audience wasn't quite ready for. but the Music Box has always been our R&D lab, and we don't really make too many apologies for that.

But we did find with bands like the Infidels, the Faint and even Goldie Lookin’ Chain, which we had last year that the buzz was greater for the band than the DJs around them; and we started seeing the beginnings of true live dance music working.

What type of live music are you aiming for this year?

We're not saying it has to be dance music. We will push the envelope beyond what is traditionally known as dance, but the core of what we are doing is about dance music - nightclubs are about dance music, Ibiza is primarily about dance music, so we're not trying to change anything, we're just trying to say, hold on, it's been a long time, 15 years or whatever, the formula hasn't changed that greatly. Now, the energy in the scene is there in live music; and certainly from a UK perspective, it's an energy which hasn't been seen in the club scene for a number of years.

What are your exact plans for 2005?

This year we're going live on both rooms on Mondays. and we're also launching a new Friday night based squarely around live music, with DJs as well, but the core of it will be a live band every week. So this is a big investment year in live music for us. This is the first year that our organisation are going to provide enough live music that it will start to make an impact in the live music scene - so that people outside the dance scene and in the live music scene will begin to see Ibiza as a place which has something to offer them.

You are running 2 nights this year, what is the difference between Mondays and Fridays?

Mondays is all about Manumission, We're running 12 events, we're opening on the 4th July, closing on the 19th September. It's not about brand names, it's all about Manumission and it’s about the experience we create. It changes and evolves every year; it's about moving things on and making things interesting, it's about atmosphere - it's our vision of what a party should be.

People know we've gone for about 6 years without advertising the musical talents on the night; some of that will change with the Music Box taking on its own agenda and certainly, yes, we are now advertising the bands and the DJs that are playing the Music Box, because most of them don't play anywhere else on the island. In the main room we have our residents Colin Peters and Griff, we also have a guest-star DJ for the sunrise set... we have some pretty special people lined up, but no we won't be advertising them!

We feel that the power of some of these DJs - they are such commercial pulls that you don't want to change the flavour of that night that drastically by bringing 3 or 4000 of their fan base into your night - we're filling the venue without doing that. As you see in a lot of these venues, you get a Carl Cox crowd or a Tiësto crowd and it changes the flavour of the night each week - we don’t' want that, I mean we have a Manumission crowd every week.

You've signed Fischerspooner as the Manumission resident band this year

We are very excited to work with Fischerspooner. As far as we were concerned we had a list of bands that we wanted to work with in the Main Room, and Fischerspooner was top of that list. So for us, we have the most perfect band on the planet, a band which is as comfortable in the art world as they are in the music world, also a band which is heavily pushing the live agenda - a perfect marriage. I mean their new album is amazing.

Fischerspooner are going to be plugging in and out of the Main Room throughout the night providing the soundtrack and some collaborative influences to our shows. I believe the way they are going to be working with our resident DJs will be truly ground breaking.

Let's talk a bit more about the new Friday events

We're going to run 8 Fridays, which we think will be called Ibiza Rocks. We're launching on Friday the 22nd July, closing on Friday the 9th September.

In a way it is our attempt at what everyone else is doing. Most other club nights on the island are largely about the talents that they book - it's about the brand name, it's about the musical talent. So what we are doing is, we are booking name bands and brand DJs and we are packaging up a night based around their talents, not ours. We're promoting it, we're putting it together, but you're not going to see shows, you're not going to see circus. The night is going to be around the music, the club night, the experience and the live gig within that club night.

How long will the band play

As long as they want - whether that be 1 ½ hours, 2 hours - we're talking about a proper live gig.

Will there be a stage show?

Not necessarily, if there's a show it's because the band wants a show.

What time will you be putting on the bands?

That's a good question - we are open to suggestions. Maybe 2 in the morning, but maybe earlier or even later - we'd love to know what people think. If we put on the band at 4 in the morning, there are maybe a lot of people who want to go see that band, but who don't want to be up at 4 in the morning - so it is quite a difficult balance.

I believe there will be people who want to see the band then go home and others who want to see the band as part of the whole club night and who will stay to the end.

Which room will the bands be playing in?

Some of the nights are going to be gigs in the Main Room - these are obviously main events; however some of the bands which we'll book are going to play in the Music Box, which we've completely ripped apart this year and created a proper live music venue for a about 700 to 800 people - these will be much smaller, more intimate events. These could be bands which are quite big, but who probably don't play your typical Ibiza core music.

At this present moment in time, where Ibiza is and its customer base, there are not that many bands capable of playing the Main Room at Privilege - therefore we are a bit limited in our choices of band for the Main Room; and whilst all of these bands are amazing and we'd love to book them, there are also so many other great bands we really really want to book, but we don't feel the Main Room is the right place for them in Ibiza. They might be selling six, seven or ten thousand tickets in the UK, mainland Spain or Germany, but that doesn't mean that is where they are in Ibiza.

So we want to strike that balance between the Main Room and these smaller more intimate gigs - which on a personal level is the thing I'm most excited about - just seeing a band play in front of 700 people is quite a special moment.

Is this your idea of where Ibiza should be going?

Well at the moment the island is in danger of stagnating. We firmly believe that Ibiza needs to open its arms to a wider spectrum of people. The reality is we are seeing that there is no longer any single, unifying House music sound that brings Europe's youth together under one banner - that's not what it's about anymore. There's diversity - even among the DJs - clubs have musical identities again.

I think this is a great thing and we want to spread that over into live music, live dance music, live non dance music... and Ibiza should be at the centre of that, because there is no holiday destination for live music - and why shouldn't it be Ibiza?

Many thanks Andy.

Manumission opens on 4th July and closes on 19th September.
Ibiza Rocks opens on 22nd July and closes on 9th September.

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