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Jamming with Nightmares On Wax at Las Dalias

We had a chat with the prolific producer about positive awareness at the Wax Da Jam opening bash.

One of the oldest club on Ibiza, Las Dalias is a rare gem that embodies the Ibizan spirit at its very core. Known famously also for its vibrant hippy market, it is also home to one of the most original events on Ibiza: Wax Da Jam. We checked out the opening and a chat with creator Nightmares on Wax. Here's how it went down.

As day turned to night, the open-air space provided a liberating musical environment. Of the parties that are hosted there, Wax Da Jam has a quality all its own. Hosted by Leeds DJ and producer, George Evelyn, better known as Nightmares On Wax, this jam-filled event always creates a smashing atmosphere.

The wildly free party concept struck a chord with me already last year when we attended the evening with Seth Troxler going back to back with Nightmares On Wax. Dance moves and disco grooves galore filled that magical night.

Fast forward to summer 2018 and it was time for another season opening of Wax Da Jam. This year's party series had been curated with a live element featuring Nightmares On Wax as well as a collection of supporting artists and DJs.

With George fresh from his world tour showcasing his latest album Shape The Future, the stage was set for another exciting evening of musical magic at Las Dalias. He reflected on the journey he's been on with Wax Da Jam for the past five years:

"The transition was interesting as we were originally based at Aura, a restaurant that doesn't exist anymore, from 2013. We held the event there for three years, but it was totally illegal. As it was in the back of a restaurant, we were not allowed to advertise or anything like that.

But I loved it as it was an island party, a people's party. We built it completely out of nothing; people came by word of mouth. The natural transition and progression was to move to Las Dalias, simply because I love this venue. It's the oldest nightclub in Ibiza historically - there's so much spirit within these walls.

We are always doing what we believe in by doing Wax Da Jam. Sometimes it's not been easy; it is a labour of love. We don't want to be in the zone of commercialised parties or tourism on the island. We are doing something in a place that has history, a venue that is pretty sacred as far as the Ibiza spirit. But most importantly, the people who come here make the effort to come, which completely changes the vibe of the party: people come here for the music."

At Las Dalias, the first things you notice are the wonderful graffiti murals that adorn the outer walls of the lush venue. These add an artistic element that is both intriguing and inviting, as well as unique on the island.

Inside you settle into very natural surroundings, a place filled with greenery. From palm trees to branches covering the awnings of the restaurant, Las Dalias is truly an evergreen garden. This enchanting setting makes it a perfect place to have an evening meal.

We sipped on fresh Sangria with a mixture of summer fruits served up tableside. Glorious in colour, this late-afternoon tipple went down a treat as it turned into evening. The warm-up DJ, Buckley played a mixture of jazz, reggae, hip-hop and laid back rhythms to the growing crowd.

Red spotlights lit the dance floor as darkness fell, illuminating the glowing faces of the excited guests.

Sitting down for food, we enjoyed a tasty range of choices on the menu. A savoury hummus and pitta starter was the perfect aperitif as a light starting dish. Our main dishes included massively sized steaks and grilled octopus.

After these delicious servings and full stomachs, bringing forth smiles of satisfied delight, we were ready to party.

The crowd gathered as the music was briefly lowered to signal the beginning of the live set. Stepping onstage, Nightmares On Wax greeted the audience saying, “Welcome to our living room, mi casa es su casa”. A true showman, he whipped with excitable cheers raising the elation on the dance floor.

The live craftsman then sat down to his electronic gizmos combining violin and piano keys with a dub beat for a chilled warm up. UK Singer Leigh Stephen Kenny (LSK) joined N.O.W on stage adding deep baritone and soulful echoing vocals.

A mixture of collage visuals shone out of the screens dimly lighting the head-bobbing artists. N.O.W then performed a track from his most recent release Shape The Future.

As N.O.W had related to us earlier, he clearly enjoyed making his eighth studio release. Here's how he put it as he reminisced about the creation of the album:

“Being in Berlin recording with a string section for Back To Nature and Citizen Kane was a highlight. Working with Sebastian Studnitzky, who's an amazing composer and trumpet player, was an incredible experience. It was one of those moments like, 'Wow, here I am a kid from a Leeds council estate and now I'm in a studio with a string section and a composer.'

That in itself amazing, as well as working with a Shaman on Back to Nature and having that conversation with him. Many people think that the vocals and dialogue are sampled; it's an actual conversation I had with this Shaman Kuauhtli Vasquez. Experiencing that conversation transpiring and becoming a musical composition was a mind-blowing moment."

Continuing through the live element of the evening, he brought in dub vibrations which got the crowd in the groove. He playfully got us to chant back verses from each song, every time egging ys on to go that little bit louder.

Gorgeous singer Lady Sadie Walker vocals then sored across the crowd. The classic Nightmares On Wax instrumental You Wish acted as the backing sound. This wicked combination was an absolute winner.

Forever a master behind electronic toys, N.O.W blended percussion touchpads with chopped and screwed samples. His synergy with the band was great, as he jammed with them laughing while dropping in another cool sound.

Playing around, the group switched between dub and African rhythms, getting the crowd grooving along to a medley of musical vibrations.

Speaking on the motivations behind focusing on a live show element at Wax Da Jam in 2018, George had spoken in depth to us about what the event means to him:

"We are very spoilt out here for clubs, and getting that ultimate clubbing experience is easy on Ibiza, but can we really say that will never happen again? Something that feels like oh my god I was there that night when this happened. That's what I want to feel when I go to a club and so that is the spirit of Wax Da Jam.

When it came down to the programming and curating for Wax Da Jam this year, I thought that since we are touring this great show with the album, we should at least bring it a couple of times to Ibiza. Every season we want to do something fresh. Last year, for example, was fantastic from a DJ point of view.

This season is about showing the diversity of what Nightmares On Wax is about and the diversity of the party. The thread of what we are doing from a musical aspect is about raising awareness and consciousness of having a good time.

There's always going to be this deep side of us that is in love with music and that's the side I want to bring to Wax Da Jam. For the guests, I want them to come and hear us play here knowing that it'll be like that only once, so the next Wax Da Jam you attend will be completely different."

N.O.W finished his live set and thanked the crowd for attending, inviting us into the main dance hall of Las Dalias for further nighttime grooving.

UK DJ Negghead looked composed as he dropped in smooth tunes such as Honey by Katy B & Kaytranada., then switching up the vibe to hip-hop, playing Lust by Kendrick Lamar.

My personal impression of George completely changed since my last time at Las Dalias. I remembered him as grooving disco spinner so seeing him as an energised performer was a total metamorphosis in my mind.

But the one trait that really shone through was his positive thoughts on life and his desire to help the world:

"In a way, I do have a responsibility in the music that I am making. If I am attracting people through this medium, then that's an opportunity to share these feelings and awareness.

I'm not here to preach, though; mentoring would be a better way to look at it. We can put parties on and make music, then make money from that and so on, but is that all we can do? We will ride this crazy journey either way, so why not give back to humanity a little and do something for the world.

When I got the images back from the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life foundation of the first wells we managed to raise money for and I saw those smiling faces for clean water, it was incredibly real. Moments like that drive me to do what I do.

I was at a conference last year and a conscious speaker talked about the future and summed up my feelings perfectly. He was giving a speech there and he said: “the new meaning of billionaire, is somebody can help a billion people."

As we journeyed into the early hours of the morning, back into the main room Negghead was now accompanied by the live band improvising over funk beats. N.O.W was in the background grooving along prepping for the latter part of the evening.

One of the noticeable parts of Wax Da Jam is that there is a mixture of ages at the party but always a real sense of inclusiveness and community throughout.

N.O.W took over DJ duties at 02:00. Looking so natural behind the decks, he dropped classic disco Cuts like Galaxy By War and Home Beyond The Clouds.

Gathered together for this twisting and turning part of the night, the crowd were fully committed to the groove, a feeling that they could just dance the hours away at Las Dalias.

As for Nightmares on Wax he played with that air of personal enjoyment that was totally infectious. He had previously expanded upon the ideas of positive awareness in life:

"Can we inspire people to feel good about themselves? Get them to remember or recognise something about themselves in a good way instead of getting caught up with the negative aspects of our own inner thoughts. I say 'our' because everyone goes through it.

What we're gonna do is help to remind you of you. The story that's going on in your life isn't who you are; it's just something you are experiencing. The trip that we are on right now is a crazy rollercoaster ride. If you can wake up and realise that you've got a choice in it, that trip becomes wilder in a beautiful way.

That's what the party is about. People can be like where are we going and what are we doing, but we're saying let's just create and do what we feel in our heart is right. The people that are attracted to that will gravitate toward and find their way to Wax Da Jam.

Wax Da Jam stands as a unique alternative amongst the many parties on the White Isle. All the events elements - location, vibe and musical selection - play part in creating a truly original Ibiza party. Here you can laugh, dance, eat and enjoy the fantastic music that Nightmares on Wax and co play all night long.

Wax Da Jam takes place on Thursdays once a month on 19 July, 16 August and 6 September. Save the date for this wildly free and positive party, for more information check out details below.

PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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