Archive 2008

“. . . In the club, Infected Mushroom’s gig had become a trip in itself, with a hard metallic edge.  Driving home cross-country to Sant Llorenc as the sun was rising, I knew it was the last time in the year that I’d have the car roof opened up, letting in the morning breezes . . .”

HD motors home at the last dawn of a great year of clubbing.  It’s time to prepare for Ibiza 2009.

Ibiza

Finale 2008

Helen Donlon

______________

One of the places I had to get to see before summer closed was Eden, the San Antonio palace where Pete Tong took up residency with his Wonderland night every Friday through the summer. The few times I had planned on making it there, I ended up not getting away from Privilege. The SuperMartXé night also being a Friday. I did, however, make it to Eden, but only once Wonderland had packed up for the summer.

Nonetheless, in the early hours of a late summer Sunday morning I found myself watching Israeli psy-trance performers Infected Mushroom whose gigs are known to cause frenzies among their loyal audiences. In Ibiza the audience they brought was eclectic but one could see the familiar local groups: some of the Benirras drum crowd, the San Antonio live music lovers, the last of the summer thrill-seekers. I left not long before dawn because I had another trip to set off on. In the club the gig became a trip itself, with a hard metallic edge. They performed a maximum energy set, very focused. Brilliant guitar. A terrifying frontman who reminded me of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now! And Eden looked beautiful, the ceilings decked out to the max, the lights on psy-mode.  It took ages to get through the waves of fans still there as I left.

In the club, Infected Mushroom’s gig had become a trip in itself, with a hard metallic edge.  Driving home cross-country to Sant Llorenc as the sun was rising, I knew it was the last time in the year that I’d have the car roof opened up,  letting in the morning breezes . . .

December. At this moment the island is in winter hibernation. Xmas dinners are being planned, people coming, people going. The parties are small, intimate, and nights are as long as summer ones but come from the spontaneity only winter can afford here.  Ninety per cent of the summer people have gone, leaving the few of us whose commitment to the island is greater than our commitment to summer’s intensity to enjoy our much deserved rest.

The purple skies and the sunsets are of course still here, more intense in colour than at any point in summer. . . As the island breathes deeply, our batteries are being recharged, for the time when all will slowly start planning and visualising for summer 2009.

 

 

Wally Lopez

While my favourite weekly event this summer at Space was the Carl Cox and friends night on Tuesdays, the La Troya and Matinee weekly parties were very close runners-up, and certainly in the beautiful people department. But the one person I really wanted to talk to was young Wally Lopez, a Madrileño DJ very popular here. I only discovered him this year; in fact via his Ibiza Global Radio set live from the Space Opening Party. When I checked his website and saw the kind of work and touring schedule he’s involved in I was sure I’d never be able to pin him down. Performing in Seville with Madonna. Rock in Rio, Creamfields, worldwide club and festival appearances, umpteen recording sessions . . . but he’s a total pro and he got back to me immediately.

“This summer in ibiza has been my best one ever. To be a resident at Be Space was sooo good. Sharing a booth with Tenaglia has been a dream for me! I think the party will go on next year and I hope to be in it again cos I loved to be part of the Space family. Very easy to work with the most of them. One of the characteristics is that it is a club in the big sense of the word . . . amazing sound system, amazing line ups, amazing crowd . . . I loved playing the opening party but I more enjoyed doing the closing cos it was goodbye to a greeeeat summer! I really believe I was born for that club.”

“I worked five nights per week this summer and didn’t have many free nights in Ibiza this year. I think Guetta@Pacha, Carl Cox@Space and us, and Cocoon@Amnesia, they were the winning nights this year. Some big names need a change or need to let in new names in order to grow up. I think I will be back to Space for opening, closing and be@space but now is the time to think about my USA, Canada and Asia tours. And the Miami Winter Conference. I did more than 150 gigs this year. Ibiza is so special though because of the people, restaurants, beaches. There is a special vibe and energy there. I really want to set my roots down there. I have a lots of good Ibicenc friends. I’m a friendly guy!”

Lopez’s talents have made him hugely popular in Spain. So when the Queen of Pop arrived, he was called on to join her.
“It was a dream for me to be on the same stage and just right before Madonna. She’s been my hero for the last 20 years so I was sooo proud. I did my best but playing all my own vocals and songs, not an underground DJ set, but it was huge. It was also amazing to be part of such an amazing project like Rock in Rio, and mixed up crowds are always good for me. A chance to reach new audiences. Monegros was my best set this year or at least for the people, as I preferred one at Space Ibiza . . . but I honestly feel that the Monegros one was huge for everyone who was there . . . After that set all my gigs were people speaking about Monegros! Creamfields was great, to be part of such a big festival. I reckon that these three festivals were the biggest ones for a DJ in Spain this year so . . . happy with that! I love to play wherever where the people want a good fiesta.  I love to live in Spain, but wanna move to Ibiza (yes yes . . . it is Spain . . . but so different from Madrid!).  I begun to play as a DJ when I was only 13. My heroes were Danny Tenaglia, Westbam, Depeche Mode, And One, Information Society, and now Stuart Price a.k.a Jacques Lu Cont. Some pop artists like Alejandro Sanz or the Mexican Luis Miguel have had a place when I’ve been quite down.”

Lopez was born in 1976 during a time of great political change in Spain. His spirit is clearly influenced by the newly cherished freedom of the times, which effectively was greater than in London in the 1960s, a period which is so much more well documented as a time of change.

“I just begun in a moment where freedom was the most important thing in Spain . . . Also as I saw my country changing so much it reflected on my life I reckon. My parents used to listen to bands like Supertramp, the Rolling Stones. Spain has a past like a third world country and has become a very rich and European country. It is good in professional terms – contracts, invoices, even the respect we get from other countries, but we are losing the Latin vibe which is quite sad. I became a radio presenter because I had so many music ideas from my aunts and I loved to talk about music. Also as I had no money and wanted to go to a club for kids. I was PR for an afternoon club to get some money and drinks for free! So this club had a radio show in a very very very small radio station. I showed up with my records, and they gave me the show right away. There were three or four listeners per show!”

I ask him about the old guard: Van Dyk, Tong, Oakenfold, all of whom he has toured with in the past, and what their vision brought to the world DJ arena.  “Well, they were pioneers in the whole industry, within record labels, clubs or radio shows. I’m still very close to Darren Emerson and Danny Tenaglia, and I used to be with Tong but we haven’t spoken very often in the least years. I miss you Pete!”

In 2000 Lopez began working as a producer with his newly-formed Weekend Records, and opened La Factoria, a new label, in 2001. He has gone on to become a multi-award winning DJ and producer. “It’s a very exciting moment for us with the label. Releasing new stuff with original tracks or remixes by Funkagenda, Paul Thomas, Kamisshake, Ismael Rivas, Paolo Brazil, Zoo Brazil, Patric La Funk, René Amesz, Patch Park . . .  It’s all looking good.”
Lopez’s website has a blog and his very own “Where’s Wally?” in this case featuring his current tour dates.  His real name is Angel David Lopez.  “This book was also around in Spain, so it is something to do with my name change, but it is a long story which will be in my own book! I’ve just opened a fashion shop in Madrid with a new studio and offices for the label. In the coming months I have festivals in Dubai and Lebanon, and then I’ll be travelling through Holland, Spain, the USA, Canada, Belgium . . . always touring!

In the wine regions of Buscastell and Sant Mateu, the excellent Can Maymo and other popular small vineyards are at harvest. They’ve been making wine here since the Carthaginians introduced it in the 7th century B.C, and the Can Maymo tinto tradicion is my favourite of all Spanish wines. Filtered through frigola (bunches of thyme) it is the most excellent companion to any winter meal.  The harvest is one of the special parts of summer’s end in this region; an agricultural island hotspot, with rich fields and vines spread across the fertile soils just inland from the northwest coast. Fields, one or two charming country restaurants, farmers cycling or on tractor.  Fincas, hundreds of years old, dotted on hillsides. Rare birds. Citrus terraces built by the Romans. And, with a view over the Buscastell harvest, the legendary Pike’s Hotel.

Tony Pike on Freddie, George, Joan et al

Early November. Tony Pike is entertained by the new puppy who is the current welcoming face of the hotel; Marley bounds around the car park greeting the few friends, select guests and family entourage who are still around after summer has waned. Tony is in fine form, despite a long and, as ever, rousing season. Now in his seventies, Tony is sparkling and full of adventure. He has seen more than anyone’s fair share of it too. Everyone has a Pike’s story. This is the place Freddie Mercury had his 41st birthday party, would be mine.

“How I met Freddie I honestly have no idea! He just sort of evolved and became a part of my life. But this little hotel is like that. I mean it’s not really a hotel, it’s a little resort, and people come here and they fall in love with it. Sometimes when they fall in love with it, they fall in love with me. So I’ve used that to gain their confidence, their allegiance. And I do need their support. I never came here to make money, Helen. I came here to create a lifestyle. And I did. Some of the world’s most famous people: Julio [Iglesias], George Michael, Bon Jovi, all saying ‘Pikey, you have got a fantastic lifestyle!’. Well, that’s why I’ve done it.”

One of the most endearing qualities of the place is that it is has a pervasive atmosphere of fun with not a smidgeon of pomp.  It feels cosy and very lived in. The rooms are all unique, and filled with character. It is a great place for a party. And you can feel Pike’s piquant presence in every corner.

“Freddie was such an impressive person. He wanted 500 guests for his birthday party: 200 guests to dine and then for me to provide tapas for the rest. Well, we ended up seating 400 in the back terrace alone. I had three days in which to get the party together. They asked for the best private party they’d ever seen. I’ve got a very good friend here called Pino Sagliocco, actually they’ve just made him an ambassador for Ibiza, wonderful man. He started as a promoter when he was very young, grew a beard to make himself look older. My daughter’s five months younger than his. Anyway, I could not have done Freddie’s party without him. He was a very worldly young boy, having come here from Naples, and he learned Spanish immediately. He became so popular he had all the top stars here wanting him to be their sole agent. He first came here with Spandau Ballet.”

Sagliocco is the man behind the Ibiza 92 festival which ran over a few years and involved international star performances at Privilege (then called Ku), the island’s theatrical cathedral of performance, an alter to the rock ‘n roll heritage which brought so many people here in the 1970s and 1980s. You can still feel it inside the club. The energy dancing with operatic ghosts. Icons like Grace Jones,  Joan Baez, James Brown, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Suzanne Vega and of courseFreddie and Montserrat, for the Olympic games, all graced this stage.

“I had a bit of a mental thing with Joan,” continues Pike. “She said she wanted to sing me a love song, and she did. With fifty people watching. They loved it, all applauding. Then she got up and danced like Zorba the Greek. Everyone was dancing with her round the pool. She made me fall in love with her. I took her to lunch in Formentera. It was lovely. She’s a very interesting person. Wonderful. She did a drawing, a caricature of me sailing her back from Formentera. She was terrified of sailing. I convinced her to hold tight and trust me.”

“Grace Jones was such a wild person . . .” Pike recalls, twinkling. They have often spoken of each other with great affection. “All the stars that Pino brought in, this is where they stayed. Tony Curtis was here. And Wham was a total bit of luck. Some guy was looking out for a locale and he saw me. I was here working on the place and he asked me if I’d like to do a video here. I said no, I’m not ready for it, but he talked me into it. So out they came. Anyway, funny story, on the plane over George [Michael] was talking to the director and the guy realised he’d left all the cameras at Heathrow! It cost three and a half grand for a private jet to bring all the photographic equipment out, and they’re doing it on a shoestring budget. Twenty five thou for the whole deal. Well, George took over the direction and it got Best Video at one of the Awards. It also made me.” We’re talking of course about the immortal Club Tropicana video, filmed in Pike’s pool, and a bestselling single for Wham at the time. Pike is also in the video, all moustache and maracas.

Today the pool has hardly changed, the ambience as real as ever. Relaxed and self-confident, like Pike, like his hotel. I’ve heard enough stories to fill a book, but I will let Pike tell them himself in his forthcoming autobiography. Wild caribbean drug orgies. Sailing adventures with various wives, celebrities and titled friends that took him all over the world. He’s been in and out of one type of trouble or another several times over. One of his guests upsetting hotel regular Prince von Bismarck because of a party. The many women (his current wife is a practising Muslim). Busts. Jail on Ibiza. “It was like Midnight Express in there”. Gypsies catapulting hashish into the prison yard in Dalt Vila so the inmates could have a party. Prince Hanover and his then wife Chantal Hochuli getting “caught red-handed” by Pike’s benighted receptionist because he innocently raided the pool bar fridge late at night with the munchies. Connections, connections . . . Here’s to his promising autobiography then.

Meanwhile, in the quiet morning which has turned into mid-afternoon following our extensive on and off the record chat, I drive back via Privilege. It is now all closed up for the season, basking in the aftermath of its hugely popular closing party, and for which the management asked their summer sensation SuperMartXé to take over. The party went on till the following afternoon.  I was sorry now to be missing their much-awaited London premiere a few weeks later at the Coronet, and remembered the Privilege opening back in June when we were all floored by the instant magical alchemy that filled those Friday nights.  I was even sorrier when the reports came back in, “this is just what London’s been waiting for!”, “Best party of the year!” and dozens of other fan messages flooded their Facebook site the next day.

The Privilege closing party here almost ran into the great end of season party itself, the Space Closing Party, which as ever brought the summer season to an almighty climax. The line-up included Deadmau5, Danny Tenaglia, Fedde le Grand, Pete Tong, Groove Armada, David Guetta, John Digweed, Steve Lawler and Wally Lopez, as well as over a dozen local luminaries. The fallout could be felt for days afterwards. In other words silence, tranquility, the now familiar slide into party hibernation.

L O N D O N   G R I P                   .  .  .  M U S I C  /  IBIZA

_______________

Photo Credits

All pix by author Helen Donlon (snapping, right)

except for:

the two of Wally Lopez which are copyright Tillate.com;

the beautiful gogo by

Fabio Tamborrini

for Tillate.com;

and the 1970s archive photo of Tony Pike and friends is copyrighted to Pike’s Hotel, Ibiza.

22 Dec 08

HELEN DONLON’s

CURRENT

PLAYLIST

 

Wally Lopez  and David Ferrero –

Ca C’est Paris

(Paolo Mojo Remix)

 

Wally Lopez –

Burning Inside

 

Grace Jones –

Libertango (I’ve seen that face before…)

 

Grace Jones –

Corporate Cannibal(new single)

 

Infected Mushroom –

Ratio Schmatio

 

Pink Floyd –

Ibiza Bar

(from the film More)

 

Duran Duran and Locomia @ Ibiza 92 –

Notorious

 

Kevin Ayers –

Lady Rachel

 

Nico –

Frozen Warnings

 

Can –

Peking O

(from Tago Mago)