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The best tracks and moments of Ibiza 2018

10 DJs, club owners and party promoters recount the sounds that defined their season

  • Johnny Lee
  • 30 October 2018

Now that the sun has set on the most intriguing Balearic dance season on record, we asked 10 top DJs, club owners and party promoters to recount the sounds and situations that defined their Ibiza 2018.

Jordan Hallpike - Director of Talent & Programming, Ibiza Rocks

"The second day of our #Merky Festival coincided with the World Cup match between England and Columbia. About two months before the event we realised that if England were to progress through the group stages, their last 16 match would take place on either Day 1 or Day 2 of the festival. So we started making plans for this in advance, deciding that we wouldn't schedule any of the live acts during the 90 minutes of the game. The only thing we couldn't cater for was the game going into extra time and penalties. Which it did! I was devastated. Stormzy was gutted too, but being the professional that he is, he went on stage as planned. During the first half of his set he would ask the crowd what the score was and when the game went into penalties he waited for one of the kicks to be taken before dropping his next tune. It was a pretty surreal experience, but one that the audience really enjoyed. When England scored the final penalty to go through to the World Cup Quarter Final…"

"...Stormzy jumps up and drops 'Big for Your Boots'. The crowd went absolutely nuts! Like me, I think everyone in the audience will remember that moment for a very long time!"

Bedouin - Heart Headliners

"It finally feels like we're settling into our fairly new life of touring and performing two, three, sometimes four shows per week. I remember when we released our first EP and people were saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘welcome to the rest of your life!' We already knew what they were talking about, but luckily it hasn’t been too overwhelming. Balance is, of course, the key. We learned that the extreme focus we put into a studio session can end up being helpful meditation. This year we've played 27 shows in Ibiza alone, but for some reason it feels even easier that our first season. Maybe it’s the team around us we have to thank. We have been able to get into a good rhythm here in Ibiza, concentrating on our music and not worrying so much about anything else. If we can smash our weekly show at Heart and feel good about it, that’s the only thing that matters. Maybe it's the super long summer days, but for some reason we don’t need to sleep. I’m not sure if it’s the magic of the island or just the immense level of inspiration it provides which makes us feel like sleep might mean missing out on something!"

"One of the cornerstone sounds of Saga at Heart 2018."

Josh Wink - Acid Kingpin

"Ibiza 2018 was a great season. I was happy once again to play at many different parties all over the island and was fortunate to spend most of the summer on the island in the 'Campo' with my family. What I’ve noticed most with each passing year is that there seems to be a growing trend of DJs and producers going back to the snare roll build up. It seems that in house, techno and tech house, the DJs are following suit with long or frequent snare rolls. DJs are using the Pioneer RMX1000 to create snare rolls over every record they play. On the party front, this year I played at a great party called Cosmic Pineapple at Pikes. It's the second year in a row that I've played at Cosmic Pineapple and it is a great outlet for spirituality and creativity. The party focuses on dance music and transformation though seminars and spiritual healers. It’s a really great concept and I was so happy to be involved in again."

"This summer was great for tracks that stay in your mind and become hits. Carl Cox's remix of 'Finder', for example. Yet even though I appreciate the magnitude of those songs, I didn’t really play them out. For me, the track which caused the most damage was the Eats Everything Rebeef of the 1995 classic 'I’m Ready' by Size 9. It’s hard to remix a classic, but Dan did a great job keeping the integrity of the original version, making it contemporary for today’s new sound systems."

Simon Dunmore - Defected Boss

"We've had an incredible Ibiza 2018. Let me give you an example: in late August 2017 there were 1300 ravers at Eden for Defected. This summer, on the corresponding weekend, we had 2400. So we are up almost 80% on the previous year, which is just mind-blowing. Lots of people have asked me why Defected seem to be bucking the trend and I think it's all about understanding your audience. Everybody else gets sucked into what they think is cool and what they think is trendy, while we just concern ourselves with the dancefloor and the kids on the dancefloor. It seems to me that some of the clubs on the island throw a list of DJs together and expect to be successful. But curating a line-up is not like making a shopping list; it's about understanding where the sweet spot is in terms of where your clientele are going to be on the island during the week, what is affordable for them, which DJs are relevant to them and putting together a considered campaign based around all of those facts. So, although it's not a typical answer, my defining memory of this year would be the importance of understanding your audience on the dancefloor."

"It's one of those tracks you hear at Café Mambo, Glitterbox and at Defected peak time. It doesn't have a breakdown or big snare rolls, but it is a really well crafted and considered house record. For me, 'Pick Up' is the standout track of the summer."

Hybrasil - Live Techno Creator

"This has been my best season ever in Ibiza. In a way I feel like the past few years have been a preparation for what transpired this year. My summer began with a live set on the Amnesia Terrace alongside Carl Cox and Adam Beyer for One Night Stand. I've done shows at Space and Privilege for Pure Carl Cox in the past, but I felt this one was a real statement on my part. I put a huge amount of work into the live set and the feedback afterwards was incredible. I made my first trip to the island a decade ago and spent most of my holiday at Amnesia watching Tobi Neumann and Ricardo Villalobos slaying records on the Terrace. When I returned home I handed in my notice to study sound and music tech, so I felt my gigs at Amnesia this year rounded off a 10 year cycle of hard work. In terms of trends, one thing I've noticed is the amount of underground parties on the island seem to be retracting. Maybe it's time the clubs, promoters, hotels and local authorities sat around and agreed on a strategy for making the clubbing experience more affordable for your average clubber. After all, electronic music is the lifeblood of the island and it would be heartbreaking to see that change."

"As a live artist I've been more immersed in my studio work than ever, so I couldn't tell you what the 'in' tracks are right now. But this recent collaboration between Radio Slave, SRVD and Patrick Mason is an absolute weapon."

Mar-T - Amnesia Owner

"2018 has been a difficult year for Ibiza. It’s the second year the island has not been as busy as usual and this summer has been even worse than 2017. I would say that the main reason is the pricing policies of the hotels and airlines. Also, there are other destinations which are pushing to compete with Ibiza, making demand lower, all of which should result in lower prices for 2019. This is what I think will happen as it’s pure 'supply and demand' logic. At Amnesia, we had a traumatic change of promoters which was not expected: Cocoon deciding to move to Pacha because they felt that Amnesia now is too big for them and Cream moved to Hï because Amnesia don’t believe in EDM and trance music anymore. Our new night Pyramid has shown a very interesting evolution and we are very proud of the results as we believe Ibiza needs parties promoted by people who are from Ibiza and understand what a party in Ibiza needs, which is not only music but a refreshing night where everybody is welcome. Abode and Do Not Sleep has worked well and will continue in 2019! They’ve worked hard on it."

"Ricardo Villalobos still inspires my sets. He was the first DJ to make the Terrace at Amnesia popular. He has no concessions; he just plays what he believes is good music, mixing all styles to create a unique set. His recent performance for Pyramid was, for me, one of the standout sets of the season."

Blond:ish - Esoteric Tech Duo

"For me, 2018 was about learning to keep a balance between playtime and nurturing myself with mindfulness, nature and Acai smoothies," says Anstascia. "I feel like Ibiza has really enabled me to grow personally by forcing me to learn this lesson of balance. I’ve seen a lot of people tip too far on the party side of things and let Ibiza eat them up whole."

"In the clubs, the electronic music scene has come full circle," adds Vivie-ann. "As much as we have seen a separation of the music scene in the past, now we are really feeling and witnessing different communities and genres of music coming together. I think one of the most rewarding things for us this summer was to be able to go beyond the owner politics of the island and keep it about the music, playing at WooMooN, Circoloco and Black Coffee's night at Hï with no conflicts."

"It’s an oldie, but it makes people so happy on the dancefloor!"

Mambo Brothers - Café Mambo Owners

"We’ve released more music this year than ever before and really enjoyed seeing the reaction on Ibiza’s dancefloors. Highlights in terms of the parties would definitely be playing for Defected at Eden. We played several times across the summer and witnessing 3,000 people dancing to our music in our hometown of San Antonio was a really amazing buzz. Outside of the clubs, we’ve tried to get out into nature to keep ourselves in check and recover! We’ve been discovering some new hiking routes just north of San Antonio with breathtaking scenery, often high above cliff tops looking out to those magical deep blue seas that surround the island. Doing this kind of thing in between all those crazy work hours and partying really helps to keep everything in balance and perspective. Regarding the island itself, we get asked a lot about our thoughts on the constant changes . This summer, we are seeing more and more people seeking out authentic Ibiza experiences. Places that are more relaxed and informal like Hostal La Torre, who are really bringing back that '60s vibe."

"If there’s one tune that stands out for us this summer it's this one by Peggy Gou! Definitely a big one down at Café Mambo before sunset."

Ana Tur - Born in Ibiza

"Professionally, 2018 has been a great year. I'm reaping the rewards of many years of hard work and determination and have settled on a sound that makes people smile and dance. In terms of the island, I can tell you that we are living in a very successful moment. Ibiza is a fashionable destination, but you have to take care of it, get to know it and accept that the island is the world capital of electronic music - something the politicians and certain sectors of the island do not want to see. Sound limitations have been agreed without dialogue with the industry, which isn't exactly ideal, but apart from that it's been another good summer for most of the island. Personally speaking, my best memory came at Amnesia, where I was invited to play at Music On for the second time with the great Marco Carola and Loco Dice. For me, a real dream come true!"

"John Acquaviva's set at Music On at Amnesia on September 7th really made me realise why this guy is considered a legend. His performance was pure magic!"

Dimitri From Paris - Disco DJ

"I see my role in Ibiza and at Glitterbox as a game changer - something of a disco protagonist helping to bring fabulousness back to Ibiza. Doing something positive for the night time, something for everyone, with style and wow factor. There has been a general commercialisation over the last 20 years with EDM being peddled at some of the bigger venues, while the other half of the scene has been strictly techno. Before Glitterbox, if you heard an original disco record in a set it was almost like a gimmick. I have no interest in being involved in the so-called underground scene and I’m not remotely connected to the EDM-style selfies crowd either, so Glitterbox is the perfect home for me and it is the reason I go to Ibiza almost every week of the season. It’s always been my mission to share music that you will not necessarily hear elsewhere. I realise that promoters of huge parties need to make money to cover their costs, but Glitterbox at Hï is a party that has managed to achieve this without compromising its musical credibility. I must say I think Glitterbox is improving with each year. We’re trying to make Ibiza fabulous again. Let’s bring the fabulousness back to Ibiza!"

"People in Ibiza are now more tolerant of vocals and there is definitely a growing trend for disco and clubbers wanting to dress up and make a night of it."

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