Kölsch Closes The Colony

Posted on June 22, 2015

Words: Lena Kochetkova
Images: Hrvoje Slebur.

It was Saturday, ANTS day and at the same time the second longest day of the year, and Ushuaia was in its best shape. Danish DJ and producer Kölsch was about to go on stage and play the closing set, but before that he sneaked away, almost unnoticed, for an interview in the Ushuaia studio – the sacred place where tracks are produced, remixed and worked on in every possible sense of the word. Kölsch’s first set for famous and beautiful open air venue this year happened to be for the opening, where he was performing alongside Martinez Brothers, Maya Jane Coles, Nic Fanciulli, Claude Von Stroke, Agoria and many others. There is quite an impressive schedule of Ibiza gigs ahead of him including ElRow and Kompakt at Space, Cream Terrace at Amnesia, one night at Sankeys and monthly appearances at ANTS. Kölsch’s most recent hit ‘Der Die Das’ is confidently becoming on of the biggest summer anthems, and his nostalgically named 1983 album saw the light just two weeks ago, on June 8. In a word, there was a lot to discuss – but it organically happened so that we focused on those amazing parts of Kölsch’s Ibiza biography that are not so well-known to many of his present fans…

Feature Interview with Kolsch photographed by Hrvoje Slebur 02

Tell me please about you day today.
I’ve just came from Barcelona where I had a surprise gig at Sonar with the Kompakt crew yesterday. It’s been a hectic couple of days! Before that we’ve just got back from Australia, so last week was a bit weird as well. Today we arrived in Ibiza three hours ago, and it’s been good so far.

Honestly, where is it cooler these days: in Ibiza or at Sonar in Barcelona?
It depends on how you define cooler. I prefer Ibiza all the time, really. In Barcelona I do like Sonar festival and the surrounding parties, but Ibiza is Ibiza and you can’t compete with that.

How did you get booked for ANTS, and what do you think of this party that happens to be the only non-EDM event at Ushuaia?
I think it’s a perfect opportunity to do something different, something else other than EDM. EDM as a genre is extremely in your face and is all about the show, while ANTS lets people think, imagine, feel sexy and enjoy the music on a different level. Whereas EDM tells you what to do, this kind of music sort of lets you feel yourself. I think it suits the venue really well. As for how I got involved, I got booked for ANTS parties for the first time two years ago. We developed a very good relationship with Yann who does the bookings. I liked it here so much that I asked him if I could be back once again, and he said: “Yes, come on, it’s wonderful!”

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How was your first set for ANTS, do you remember it well?
I remember it quite well, I was playing the small stage down by the pool. First I was really worried about it, because Ushuaia usually has a more commercial profile, all the major EDM acts are playing here. And I thought, how would this work in such an environment? It turned out to be great fun! What I really liked from the very beginning is that everybody who is working for Ushuaia is also enjoying this party. It seems like everybody is here for it, having good time, sharing good vibes.

Other gigs that you have planned in Ibiza this summer are all in clubs and take place at night. How do you select the events where you would like to play?
Dance music lends itself very easily to the nightclub environment all over the world. Ibiza is the only place, other than festivals, where I can play open air daytime shows like this. I used to go to Space terrace when it was still open in the ‘90s, I remember the early DC10, and for me that is exactly what is possible here. I really do enjoy open air things, but there are so many restrictions about them. Choosing a club, I need to see there something that I like. For instance, I’m playing Amnesia terrace or Space terrace, or this time I’m playing a couple of show in Sankeys as well… It’s all about what would be the right thing to do and what would fit my profile as well as my musical taste.

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So the first time you came to Ibiza was quite a while ago, right?
The first time I came here was in 1999. I was with a bunch of friends, and we stayed in San Antonio, of course. We went to this open air party which was in the old stone quarry, and since that moment I was blown away by the island: not even so much by the parties, but by the vibe and the soul. Back in the day, you didn’t really have that much internet, that much connection to the music. So with all the tunes that I heard here, I was like “Wow, I want these records!” It took me years to find them.

I must actually say that the defining DJ who really changed the way I thought about Ibiza was Jon Sa Trinxa. We went to Sa Trinxa to spend a day on the beach, Jon was playing an eclectic set, and around 8-9 o’clock switched to house music. He played Music Sounds Better With You, and it was the first time that I heard the legendary tune. He was playing a lot of early Moloko stuff and many other things that are major classics now. It fitted so well to the decadent vibe of the place! Just imagine: the sun is shining, the nude beach is here, the gay beach is over there, everybody is running around, it’s like one big mess… It was fantastic, you could feel really free.

Other really important moments for me were of course the afterhours at Space, when the terrace was still open, Steve Lawler was the king, and Tania Vulcano used to play there as well. You could see the planes flying over, and the music was so special that you couldn’t hear it anywhere else in the world. I’d come there with a bag of my 12” for years and years, to hand them out to different DJs. I even used to get into clubs for free just for just having a bag of records and saying: “I’m a DJ!” I remember, once, one half of the bag was full of records, in the other half I had some t-shirts, and under the t-shirts there was a bottle of vodka hidden!

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How did you chase the tracks that you heard in Ibiza and immediately fell in love with?
Back then, if you were lucky, you could come to the DJ, write down the name of the track and would try to find it in a shop. I used to go to Delta Disco in Ibiza, because I couldn’t find these tracks anywhere else in Europe, it was a struggle. I think there are still some 20-30 records that I heard back then but haven’t found yet. There was something very beautiful in it, the music was in the moment, it was just now. You couldn’t ‘shazam’ it or find it out what it was, you just had to enjoy it right now. I think it’s something that I miss now, this magic that exists only in this moment, that doesn’t have to be documented by cell phones or pictures or YouTube or whatever.

The same nostalgic feeling is reflected in the name of your new album, 1983. Do you generally think that life was more colourful and exciting in the past?
Absolutely not. I think all people had defining moments in their life when they were younger. For me, such a moment was coming here for the first time, hearing certain records for the first time. Or, as you said, with the album, I was thinking back to when I was driving through Europe with my parents on the back seat of the car. These are moments that defined me, but the kids of today are having similar moments now. That’s what life is really, a collection of memories and moments. Those were the years that shaped me to who I am today. And I must admit playing the closing set at Ushuaia stage today is a big moment for me as well!

How many tracks from your album do you usually include in your set?
It depends on what mood I am in, but usually I would play at least 5 or 6. I think, as an artist, it’s important to play some of your own releases. A lot of people are very much against that, yet I would be disappointed to go to a DJ who, as I know, produces something but doesn’t play it.

How much advanced planning goes into your sets?
All the decisions are made on the spot, always. That’s half the fun, you know. I usually know what I’m going start with, but today I decided to change my mind – it was a bit too eclectic. As a DJ, that’s your foremost challenge, to feed off the vibe and make people feel that they are at a party.

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