Space Is Open!

Posted on June 2, 2011

For many, the Space opening party still indicates the launch of the summer season on the island and the anticipation and expectation surrounding it is evident as we make our way amongst the throngs of excited clubbers on their annual pilgrimage to this Mecca of beats.

Playa d’en Bossa is buzzing, there’s an air of a huge movie premier about the whole affair, photographers and camera crews are everywhere, doing their best to outnumber the vast army of clubbers that have descended on the island for an opening party that features clubbing royalty in every arena. Carl Cox, Jeff Mills, John Digweed, Steve Lawler, Andy Fletcher, Fedde Le Grand, Mark Knight, Technasia, Yousef, Wally Lopez, Jonathan Ulysses and Elio Riso is just a glimpse of the level of entertainment on offer up the ramp and behind those famous doors.

1. Party Queue

Massive queues successfully negotiated and inside the party is in full swing, Space really is a unique venue, it offers the big room experience as well as an intimate space in the Terrace, not to mention that festival feeling outside at the flight club, I’m not sure there is anywhere else like it on planet house.

We like our beats chunky and with a large helping of fresh air so we head for the Flight Club where Steve Lawler is in mid set with the crowd eating out of his hands, reacting to every change of bassline, every breakdown and subsequent build up. It’s not often in an outside area, with a stage so far away from the crowd that you can create that feeling of an intimate club but that’s just further testament to a man at the very top of his craft. Essential Ibiza grabbed a quick chat with Steve back stage…

10. Steve Lawler

Steve Lawler

How was your set?
The Space opening and closing is always an incredible gig but I really feel like this year, something is about to blow up. The island feels really, really busy, busier than it has been for many years. I’ve been living here since February and I’ve noticed a real excitement and I think that this year in Ibiza is going to be an exciting year.

11. Lawler 1

Do you prepare differently because it’s the Space opening party?
Of course, on a stage like this, it’s a big stage, and you might only have two hours to perform, I don’t really mess around, I get straight into it and I smash it from the word go. In a club, if I play for four hours, it will be a little different at the start but what I play here is what you might expect in the latter part of my set. It’s a big crowd in a big space and you’ve got to deliver and smash it.

12. Lawler 2

Is it harder to make a connection with a crowd that size?
No, not at all. For example, tonight, about twenty minutes into my set I dropped in one of my new remixes and every single human being had their arms in the air and it looks amazing from where I’m standing. And you feel that, especially when it’s your own record, you feel that, so I felt really connected to the crowd.

Where can we hear you play during the season?
I have another eleven gigs here at Space, I’m playing Kehakuma, for We Love and for Carl, I’m spreading myself over all the good nights at Space, where I belong musically.

13. Lawler 3

Now that you live in Ibiza, do you prefer the summer or the winter?
The summer here is like nowhere else on the planet but so is the winter, for very different reasons. It’s a really beautiful island and there’s a lot about this island that people don’t know, it’s really a very special place. The summer is insane though, and now it’s from the last week in May until the second week of October, something this good cannot be tamed. The island has grown and moved forward and commercialised in some aspects but where else is like this on the planet for the whole summer.

4. Crowd

Terraza
Back in amongst the madness and it’s time to take a walk, not easy when you consider that there are 10,000 party maniacs inside Space by this point. As we make our way through the main room it’s reaching fever pitch, with Technasia at the helm. The dancefloor is rammed and people are dancing where they stand, at the entrance to the room, by the bar, basically anywhere they can capture a couple of feet to get their groove on. The atmosphere is amazing!

5. Girls

After a brief pause in the main room to drink in the atmosphere, we hit the Terrace, and if you thought this was going to be the place to find some respite, you couldn’t have been more wrong. Toolroom’s Mark Knight is half way through his set and he has the Terrace crowd mesmerized! His chunky sound track is being lapped up by everyone, just a taste of what’s to come when Toolroom Knights take over the Monday night in Space for this season. Mark joins Essentialibiza backstage at the Flight Club after his set and as Carl Cox turns the heat up.

Mark Knight

How was your set?
It was great, an amazing atmosphere and we have our Toolroom Knights this season in Space to look forward to so I was conscious of not playing all my big tunes tonight and keeping some back for our own opening.

9. Mark Knight

Do you prepare differently because it’s the Space opening party?
Of course, it’s a huge event, you have to deliver, dig deep in the locker and pull some gems out because it’s not just your ordinary set. When you get the opportunity to play the opening of Space, you need to put the homework in and do the graft because it’s a big opportunity and that should be reflected in what you do as the DJ.

Looking at the line up and seeing your name up alongside some of the scene’s genuine legends does that give you a sense of accomplishment?
There is but it’s dangerous to relax and think ‘I’ve made it!’ I don’t think the book is ever closed, you’re always striving for the next thing and you need to maintain the mantra that there’s always more to do. I wake up every day with a list as long as your arm of things I need to do and I feel I’m still a long way from where I want to be. Things are so competitive these days, there are always new guys coming through and if you sit back on your laurels you can get left behind.

You are one of the more prolific dance producers, what’s going on in the studio right now?
I’m working on a new album and live concept with D:Ramirez, which is pretty much the focus for the back end of this year. I feel there’s a big hole in the market for a new live dance act. I’ve always wanted to be in a band, I produced the last Underworld album, I’ve worked on the Faithless album and I make those sort of records myself and I love Dean to bits and we decided we would give it a go. It’s been a real breath of fresh air doing it and a real departure from what we normally do on a day to day basis, and I absolutely love it. We’ve been doing it in LA, which is inspiring being in a new environment and I think it’s reflected in what we’ve achieved so far.

What can we expect from Toolroom Knights over the summer?
It’s very much a case of doing what we do normally, we know it’s going to be tough, Monday is possibly the hardest night of the week on the island but we’re going to give it one hundred and ten percent and we’re going to push music. If you’re looking for glitter and bootlegs don’t come to our night, it’s not about that; it’s not about saving the world with glitter and confetti. We’re about pushing new talent and playing upfront music and hopefully that will culminate in a successful night.

2. Carl Cox 1

Back up on stage and Carl Cox is taking the flight club on a journey of driving beats and thumping basslines. There is no doubt that Carl is one of the world’s finest DJs and when you see him in action in front of a huge crowd it’s not hard to understand why he remains one of the most influential characters in the dance scene. His personality is flooding out of the huge speakers and across the crowd and they are loving it!

3. Carl Cox 2

In Space Mode
Back in the main room and the much anticipated on-off-back on again appearance of Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher finally goes ahead, much to the delight of the capacity crowd. Having played a major part in the evolution of electronic music with his band, Andy has no problem with the excitable Space main room crowd. Other highlights of the opening party include John Digweed, Jeff Mills and Carl Cox, in La Discoteca, Paul Darey, Ekio Riso Wally Lopez and MYNC on the Terraza and Fedde Le Grand who smashes the Flight Club arena. After his set, he spared a few minutes to talk with Essentialibiza…

8. Fedde

Fedde Le Grand

How was your set?
Amazing! Space is the number one club in the world and for me it’s pretty much the opening of the season so it’s always an honour to play here.

Do you prepare differently because it is the Space opening party?
I think before every set I have an idea of what I want to do but I think it’s very important that you keep an open mind and be flexible in what you are doing. I think being a DJ is all about the interaction between you and the crowd.

The DJ booth is set quite far back on the stage and you have a bigger than normal club crowd, which is a god bit away from you, does that hinder your ability to interact with them?
I agree, it is slightly different. Actually, strangely enough it’s more difficult because when the crowd is right in your face it’s easier to see what they like and don’t like but I think I have done enough big shows now to kind of know what I’m doing. I think the most important thing is that the crowd see and feel that you are enjoying it and I love what I do.

7. Dancers

Who else are you looking forward to checking out?
Actually Steve (Lawler) played after me, because I was a last minute change but I always try and check out Steve Lawler because I have seen him play many times in the last five years and he always delivers. Carl (Cox) is a bit like my house daddy, and it’s not only his music, it’s also the person that he is, he’s a great guy.

With that, it’s time to get involved properly in the biggest party of the season so far and the rest of the night is somewhat of a blur! What I can tell you is that Ibiza 2011 is well and truly under way, Space is without a doubt one of the finest venues in which to experience electronic music and the summer has something to live up to, the opening fiesta will take some beating. We’re certainly looking forward to trying!

6. Crowd 2