Welcome to this week’s long overdue DJ2CombatStress Blog where I will be reflecting on an amazing experience in Ibiza!
So back in June I was offered the chance to Ibiza as part of the SoundFlow & House Party Events tour. 13 Events, 9 Days & 2 Superclubs. For someone that had been DJing for 10 months, this was a fantastic opportunity for me and something I had dreamed of ever since I was young.
Obviously lots of other DJs wanted to come out to Ibiza also and in the end there was a group of around 20 across the 8 days. This meant that whilst I dreamed of a 2 hour set in Amnesia, the reality was that I was offered two 30 min slots, one at a beach bar and another at a pool party. We were also given strict instructions on what we could play….this meant a very dampened down version of what I’m used to playing. Undeterred I packed my business cards with the mind-set of creating new opportunities upon arrival.
Different sides to Ibiza
This was the sixth time that I had been to Ibiza; in the past I went for the clubbing experience, to explore the finer establishments on the island or even a blend of both. Many people have the wrong impression of Ibiza based on footage of the Strip in San Antonio. What they don’t see is the ultra-exclusive beach clubs, million-pound Russian Yachts, an average age of mid 30s to mid 40s and the £10,000 a night rooms in Ushuaia.
For me this was a business trip. Limit the partying and focus on the DJing at all costs, and let’s just say that strategy paid off. I said to myself that I would take my sticks and headphones everywhere and say yes to every opportunity that came my way. Off the bat someone didn’t turn up for the first club so I shot straight from the airport to Pure to close out in a B2B set. Aside from needing a few beers to steady the nerves and getting told off for being too heavy, it was the best set of the week. Being patient, networking and having a professional mentality paid off as the lures of Ibiza paid off and claimed many a DJ. I ended up playing 7 sets in 7 days – quite frankly amazing!
Jet Apartments for a pool party twice, Pure club twice, Ibiza Rocks Bar (who new I could spin Disco) and Itaca……oh Itaca…..
Oh boy did it go wrong!
Buoyed with the confidence of an amazing performance at Pure, I had a few too many celebratory drinks and the head was throbbing the next day! Off we went for an early afternoon set at beach bar Itaca….I was not in a happy place. Despite all that, we had a great afternoon and I was asked to go on last as my music was a bit heavier than others. Having pre-prepared 4 playlists with differing levels of heaviness, I went for the second most mellow.
Within the first few minutes, I learnt about the poor state of equipment at some clubs, the tempo adjust on one deck was jumping by a whole beat when close to 125 bpm and was even jumping itself when not touched, but I still carried on. With my playlists, I had placed tracks in order sorted by key and had painstakingly found the best transitional points in each track and set up cues so that I could give a perfect performance.
What I hadn’t planned for was being asked to switch genre to something even less mellow. I switched to a relatively unprepared playlist and my downfall began. Unsure where to transition, I began making mistakes, with the lack of monitors my beatmatching started to drift, nerves kicked in and then I made the worst mistake of all CUEing the playing track. Silence ensured before the small crowd cheered. I then fell apart and can only say I had the worst 45 min set ever!
Walking away from Itaca, feeling like my Ibiza dreams were in tatters, I spend many hours beating myself up, sulking and headed to bed early to reflect.
Waking up with a fresh head, I started re-formating all my playlists to avoid this problem, counting 16 bar phrases and setting CUE points so I could jump in and out of tracks quicker and at numerous positions. Whilst I openly admit it took some time to build to confidence back up, the rest of my performances were far superior and by the end of the trip, I new I was a much better DJ than when I turned up!
So before I went I had a perception of what DJing was, and this experience in Ibiza changed everything! Here are some of the lessons I learnt.
- B2B with another DJ is the norm – being able to spin a playlist at home in your bedroom is one thing, but being able to jump between multiple, matching songs, keys and styles with another DJ is a very different art. Be flexible with your performances.
- Multiple sub-genres – venues have a specific brand that they are proud of and want a certain style of music played. Have many playlists prepared to keep the owners and the crowd happy. Deep, Tech, Commercial, Vocal House etc.
- Ibiza is a dream for so many people – like with the UK is awash with people wanting to chase their dream. Hence it’s really easy for venues to get free DJs. Be prepared to work your way up and don’t expect immediate paid gigs!
- Living the DJ life – some people want to be a DJ, some people expect to make it, the reality is you have people living a lifestyle so that all they do is DJ. Think about how you will improve yourself if you can’t make the time to constantly play and improve around work and home schedules
- Playing to the crowd – people have kept saying this to me and now I understand!! I’m not just there to play a flawless mix, but to entertain. I played with a DJ who must have burned through 20 tracks in 20 mins; the energy was amazing in the crowd. At another venue a saxophonist turned up and could play along with anything the DJ was laying down…completely un-prepared. Now these were examples of how to entertain the crowd. Whilst I haven’t got the answer of how to compete with this, it has got my mind thinking….
Ibiza D&B Mix
Too much house for a D&B DJ can cause insanity, so on my last day I sat on my balcony with my little controller and put together some heavy beats. Check it out at the link at the top of the page.
Have a great week