Interview with Simon Dunmore
We caught up with Defected's founder, Simon Dunmore, to discuss the island's new developments, creating the perfect Ibiza experience and how a trip to the White Isle can help you cope with the pressures of modern-day living.
House has been - and for the foreseeable future looks like remaining - the cornerstone of the Ibiza scene. Ever since the island first gained notoriety at a hedonistic, music-lovers paradise it has the music of choice for the millions of visitors who now flock to the island’s shores each year. And while in recent years the arrival of alternative nights, such as those hosted at the infamous Ibiza Rocks hotel have become more prominent, house has endured, riding out the genre-splitting storms and club-closing catastrophes of the last few years.
For the last eight of those years, Simon Dunmore’s Defected has held down a summer residency, initially at El Divino before moving to Pacha in 2005 where they now command an enviable Saturday night slot. And for all of those years, Dunmore has dedicated himself to providing what he belives to be the true house sound, eschewing flash-in-the-pan trends for something he truly believes in. So it’s fair to say that house music is your things, there’s no-one who better equipped to give you want you want.
Now, with the start of the 2011 season just around the corner, we caught up with Defected’s founder to discuss the island’s new developments, creating the perfect Ibiza experience and how a trip to the White Isle can help you cope with the pressures of modern-day living.
What’s your general feeling about this year’s season? What are the things that are going to stand out for you? Is there any part of Ibiza that’s tailing off?
Simon: Very positive feelings for the season coming up. People make the effort to go out and enjoy themselves when times are a little bit tough. I think that we’ve had two years of tough recession and I think that letting off steam is ever more important to people so Ibiza is one of those destinations where people feel that they may be able to forget about the crap that they have to deal with in their life.
So they make a real effort to go out there and blow off steam as with last year everyone was saying ‘it’s going to be tough’ but it wasn’t it was an amazing season. I think that were kind of coming out of the recession now so people have the need to party but they feel a little bit more confident about spending money so I’m predicting a bumper season.
What are the things that are going to stand out?
If you are really bling and you have pocketfuls of money then I think the new restaurant in Ibiza harbour which was El Divino and now been taken over by Pacha, I had a look at it s construction it looks pretty phenomenal. It’s the best vista on the Island at night where you are looking at the Dalt Villa in the port in amongst some yachts that cost literally millions of pounds, so if you’re feeling a bit flush that’s definitely the place to check out. Also I think the buzz on the Island is the Ushuaia hotel, they’ve spent a phenomenal amount of money, rumour has it something like 22 million Euro on the hotel.
The pool looks absolutely incredible and I think that they’re going for the daytime VIP jet set kind of crowd. They’ve got some great DJ’s playing I know Luciano’s doing the opening party which gives it great credibility and I think it’s going to be a great place to go and visit. I think they’re the two stand out new things that are going to have people buzzing and talking about the island.
Is anything tailing off?
No I don’t think so in fact I think everything is just getting better.
Is there a lesson that you learnt last year that you’re going to put into practice this year?
Yes think Big! It’s a really competitive island and if you go into your shell your going to get squashed so think big and compete, have the balls that you know your there for good reason and compete.
Is there any one story that is political or environmental to do with DJ’s or clubbing that is dominating everyone’s conversation at the moment?
Yes there is, apparently there’s a war going on between Space and Amnesia and I just think that people should focus on their own strengths and believe in themselves rather than trying to undermine someone or disrespect someone. Just focus on the positives of what you do rather than having your eye on everybody else.
Have you heard any tracks that are particularly standing out for you already this year?
As with most other people I’m only going to talk about our records, I think we have a few records and producers that were working with that I think are really going to come to the fall this season. We’ve signed an act called Human Life from Los Angeles who have got a track called ‘In it together’ they have delivered a great record and a great video, not many acts have the conviction to do that so I’m really excited about that.
We have signed a track called ‘Beat Me Back’ by Supernova it’s been in the Beatport top ten for almost four months and its one of those records that’s cross genre; House DJ’s will play it, Techno DJ’s will play it, Cheesy DJs will play it and I reckon that’s going to be the surprise across the board anthem in Ibiza this year.
Were working with Bob Sinclar he’s got a new record called ‘Far L’Amour’ yet to see whether it’s going to be released on Defected but I think its Bob’s best club record for several years. And then all the producers: ATFC, Chocolate Puma, Shapeshifters, Copyright, Rae are all super productive all with records coming out all going to do great they’re all playing at the party and they represent our sound really well musically and as DJs.
DJ’s and Venues or promoters that will draw the most attention this year outside of Defected in the House at Pacha?
I don’t know if there is a new producer or a new night that looks set to challenge the status quo, I just don’t see it. There are a lot of established nights around the island and the successful nights from last year are probably pretty safe in the knowledge that I don’t think that anything is biting at their heels. On the electro tip there’s nothing going to challenge Deadmau5 and on the Techno tip I don’t see anything challenging Carl Cox on the Deep House Tip I don’t see anything challenging Cadenza or the Swedes and Guetta who are so established. I don’t think there’s anything challenging Cocoon who have their place if you are into that minimal and techy sound. I don’t see anything else challenging those nights. I think the only real positive change is Pete Tong going back to Pacha on a Friday night.
You will return to Pacha this year, how many seasons have you been there? What do you have in store for this year? What other nights are programmed around you?
We’ve been there 6 years. Every night at Pacha is a roadblock partly because it’s an amazing destination. I think it’s the most consistent and glamorous club on a night by night basis and also over the years it has the most heritage in the history of any club in Ibiza.
Would you say it’s the closest we’ve got to Studio 54 the Garage?
In as much as I think it’s a mixture of VIP, creative fashion people and pure clubbers. I think it’s the club with the most extreme mixture of people; Space is an amazing club and its well subscribed and attended but it’s one type of clubber, Amnesia again I think is another type of clubber. I think Pacha is a lot broader in the people that walk through the door so I think that gives it a lot more variety and makes it personally for me a lot more interesting.
We’ve got Tongy on the Friday night, Cadenza on the Sunday, Guetta on the Thursday, Swedes on the Monday, Morillo on the Wednesday and were in the middle of all of that!
To actually succeed is really tough and I think musically we give something a little bit different than the other nights and I think that’s our calling card and it has to be about the music on our nights. We have a great selection of artists and a great selection of DJs that know how to rock a crowd on a Saturday I always say this; ‘we are a great Saturday night out’ that’s our calling card.
Where can we get a slice of the Defected sound before we try out your night in Ibiza? Do you have a radio show in Ibiza?
The Defected in the House radio show is syndicated around the world so you can check us out online and in many of the countries where the show is aired. For the Ibiza show on Global radio it goes out at a very specific time I think 6 to 7 o’clock on a Saturday night and that’s when people are leaving the beaches and just getting ready to go to sunset. We don’t want a show that’s going to bang the ass out of house music and trying to get people to dance, it’s just not an appropriate time to do that.
We do a tailored made show where we have it a little bit laid back, you get a little bit of the flavour and a little bit of the vibe without trying to force people into dancing. It’s a listening experience and we have to make it appropriate to the moment in time. The Sun’s going down people are chilled, had a few drinks by the beach they’re in that frame of mind so the music suits. When you go to the club it’s a different experience we want you to have a good time and get your freak on or whatever so it’s a tailored show in Ibiza and I don’t think many people do that.
Your Ibiza mixes are legendary and you’ve done many what can you tell me about this years mix? Tell me about the overall vibe and feeling of the mix.
I’ve always said that house music is not a specific sound, labels that just release a specific sound or a specific genre of house just limit themselves and I think DJs that play a specific sound limit themselves. I think that the best and most experienced DJs are way more eclectic, take way more chances and are far more comfortable doing that. You can’t just go on and just play the fifteen biggest records, that’s not what DJing is all about that’s just being a jukebox and anyone can do that.
The albums reflect the diversity of the labels that we are involved with, the producers we are involved with, our taste in music and the different scenarios in which house music can be played. Sure it’s meant to be played in a club and to make people dance and go crazy. It also transcends that it can be a bit more deep and melodic and a little bit more sensual and moody like I mentioned on the beach as the sun goes or at a pool party or it could be full on drug induced mayhem on the dance floor and everything in between and I think that’s reflected on the album.
I’ve outlined a few producers of tracks on your mix. Tell me a bit about each producer and track and what your feelings are on them.
The Guti and Luca Buccetti track is interesting because they have very strong ties with Locodice and the Desolat label, they sent us the track I was very happy but surprised to receive the email. I downloaded the track and loved it, I think it has real soul and it’s great because we have our great roster of DJs that make great records for us and we only interrupt that schedule for special moments and I think this is one of those moments.
‘KOT feat April’ a follow up to a record that was Sandy going back to what I think he does best which is soulful house and this is a brand new track probably being released later in the Summer. April has got a great voice and is a phenomenal song writer and Sandy has just made great house music records for 15 years. What I think about Sandy has already been written many times before, he’s a cool dude and you’ve always got to keep your eye on him.
4th Measure Men one of the all time great house records from the early 90’s produced by Mark Kinchin, MK was absolutely the man when this record came out. We picked up this catalogue and I think we’ve shown him great respect with the producers we’ve chosen to remix. Maya Jane Coles a real buzz producer at the moment did a great job and it hit the Beatport and Traxsource top ten a classic record with some great remixes.
Frankie Knuckles one of the originators there are very few people that can say in any kind of walk of life or genre of music that ‘I was there’ and I was one the one of the people that made it happen and for that he gets total respect. He has consistently made great records for over two decades and ‘I’ll take you there’ is him almost going back to his Chicago roots and making a record with Jamie Principle, it’s an amazing emotive soulful house record.
Osunlade...his name and his label all evolves around him being a very spiritual person; he IS a very spiritual person! He’s really a cool dude and a great DJ; he makes music from his soul, plays music from his soul and lives his life from his soul. I’ve always got time for him and he’s just one of house music’s more interesting characters.
Guy Robin is a new kid 21 years old he makes music that’s way beyond his years he can make disco records, rock records and so on and is very eclectic. We need to define what his future is and where he can be best served musically but he definitely has a big future.
I also want to mention this kiddie Frankie Rizardo who did the remix on the Danism and Rae record called ‘You Will Remember’. He reminds me of DJ Gregory in the early years, in Holland they have a very close link with the Surinam and his beats have a real Caribbean vibe, he also has the influences of a kid growing up in today's scene with touches of the Dirty Dutch sound, the trance scene, the Swedish House Mafia and he’s blending all of that in. For me that’s all pretty exciting he’s 22 years old, he’s got a good look and a great sound and I’m loving what he’s doing.
What’s your ideal day out in Ibiza from start to finish how would it go?
For me its best if you can wake up early to get the early morning sun when it’s really fresh and not peeling your skin off. All of the beaches around Santa Eulalia where I stay I think are amazing, they’re all really under exploited not touristy and still have some sort original Ibiza Flavour about them.
Cala Martina, Cala Pada, Nublau are all amazingly great beaches and you can just kick back and enjoy yourself and not be surrounded by thousands of people trying to find a spot on the beach, there’s just room and everybody’s kind of chilled and I love that. There's plenty of restaurants and places where you can just go grab some sangria and Paella at any stage!!