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Ibiza's Rock Revolution

Ibiza's Rock Revolution

DJmag.com investigates the possibility of a rock revolution in Ibiza, the summer heartbeat of the dance industry.

Cast your minds back to when you were at school, and in particular the unwrittenplayground rules that demanded you choose between becoming a Raver or an Indie Kid.

You'd either have a beige satchel with Nirvana scrawled over it in red biro and a German war surplus coat, or you'd be hanging around the back of bike sheds in yourpetrol green World Dance bomber jacket listening to Kenny Ken mix tapes from Dreamscape.

It was black or white, sweet or salted.

Which is nothing especially new, just ask your dad – he was inevitably either a Mod or a Rocker.

In fact, the Mods and Rockers hated each other so much they would regularly congregate on Brighton beach and clout ten shades of Westlife out of each other.

The Ravers and Indie Kids never quite stooped to that level of belligerence, although you were far more likely to get beaten up down the alley after school if you hadscruffy hair and listened to Green Day.


Now the boundaries between electronic music and traditional guitar-based bands are shifting by the day, The Great Indie Rave divide that defined growing up in the '90s has been replaced by a thirst for open-mindedness.

DJs like Erol Alkan and Soulwax have helped move the goalposts of dancefloor acceptability, but it's the growing number of cult indie bands that are really dismantling those barriers and extinguishing the purist mentality that has always epitomised both scenes.

Bands like Maximo Park (who are signed to Warp) and the Futureheads (whoare signed to 679) now appeal to both camps.

Dance music is evolving, and the youth of today are voting with their feet - and more notably, their pockets.

Ibiza Rocks

Now the boundaries between electronic music and traditional guitar-based bands are shifting by the day, The Great Indie Rave divide that defined growing up in the '90s has been replaced by a thirst for open-mindedness

DJmag.com's Ben Edwards
Ibiza Rocks

Last summer Manumission launched their Ibiza Rocks project, a small Friday night gig in the back room of Privilege with up and coming UK bands - people like theKaiser Chiefs, The Kooks and Hard-Fi.

Bands who 12 months ago were barely known outside their niche circle, let alone in Ibiza - a die-hard dance music colony with little time for new ideas.

Creative Brains

"I think the majority of people out here either thought it was going to fail or wanted it to fail - or both," says Andy McKay from Manumission, who along with wife Dawn is the creative brains behind Ibiza Rocks.

"But it worked really well, we booked talent that were at that turning point - we took live music and shaped it around club culture.

"It's going back to what the true Balearic spirit is about and I'm proud that we'reprovoking change."

With an Ibiza DJ Award under their belts for Best Club Night, this year Ibiza Rocks switches from Privilege to their San Antonio home of Bar M for a series of televised concerts for Channel 4.

"We decided Bar M was a much more natural Ibiza-style environment," says Dawn.

"Basically, last year Ibiza Rocks could have been anywhere in the world - it was a small club venue, a dark box.

"This year it will be intimate televised outdoor concerts for 500 people on thebeach, under the stars.

"We also felt quite strongly about reinvesting back into San Antonio," continues Andy.

"We chose San Antonio to do this because it's the best place on the island to do it.

"I think it's time people realised that San Antonio is the trend maker ofthe island, not Ibiza Town."

Lovable Rogues

As well as the return of Ibiza Rocks, this year also sees the launch of Rogue Indie, at San Antonio club Extasis, and Krash - a dedicated indie bar in the WestEnd.

They'll be bringing out acts like The Long Blondes, The Subways, The Young Knives and DJ sets from The Zutons, The Doves and Bloc Party, another indication that Ibiza is on the cusp of a rock revolution.

"It just feels that the time is right," says promoter Matt Rogers, formerly of Jilly's RockWorld in Manchester.

"A lot of guitar bands are playing dance clubs over in the UK - the culture is linking in."

Yet despite the merging trends, preconceptions of Ibiza as an ignorant dance music island are still rife - the echoes of 'Ibiza Uncovered' still reverberating, themusic of ATB still haunting the eardrums.

Ibiza Rocks resident Eddy Temple-Morris is first to admit he was horrified by the idea of Ibiza, a blind prejudice shared by many of his peers.

It wasn't until two years ago that Eddy finally altered his opinion, after hearing Ivan Smagghe at Manumission.

The Futureheads also feared the island would be swarming with ravers - they were convinced they would hate the place.

Twenty-four hours later and they were converted.

Converting Rock Kids

Rogue Indie resident and High Voltage boss Richard Cheetham has never been to Ibiza before.

He admits it's not the first place indie fans would pick as a holiday destination, but he doesn't think that will stop Rogue Indie being a success.

"Guitar music is becoming more popular now," he says.

"People like Fischerspooner and LCD Soundsystem are blending it together more – clubbers want to hear guitar music and electronic stuff together."

Eddy agrees. "It's symptomatic of people's tastes broadening," he says.

"Before, Rockers were Rockers and never the twain shall meet.

"I'm from a rock background, but I love dance music.

"The fact is, people come to Ibiza to have a good time.

"Why can't they go and see Ferry Corsten one night and then go to Ibiza Rocks and see somebody like The Kooks or We Are Scientists - you can dance your nuts off to those bands.

"It's all about diversification."


Indeed. Diversification is the prophylactic drug of choice - the simple way to preclude banality and the obvious ennui of hearing the same old DJs in the same old clubs year after year.

"You might never hear a Kasabian record played at Bora Bora, but one thing is for certain, live music on Ibiza is no passing fad.

"This is just the beginning."