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Review: International Music Summit Day Two

The unique character of this island is explored, exalted and experienced by all.

Yawns were spreading across the conference room like wildfire, as delegates waited for day two of the International Music Summit to begin at the very anti-Ibiza time of 10:30am (the morning after Sankeys Opening part one, I should add). It was a panel worth getting up for however, with a similar line-up to last year featuring David Vincent from Sankeys, Yann Pissenem from Ushuaïa/Hard Rock, Steve Hulme from Pacha, Andy Dean from Emerging Ibiza and Seth Troxler from Another Planet Entirely. This year the theme was the Natural Selection of Nightlife in Ibiza, an excellent metaphor for the tough business and creative microcosm of Ibiza's superclubs and promoters.

The general consensus was that last year everything went too far. Good nights failed because of lack of numbers, the competition was simply too numerous and parties across the island became homogenised as a handful of popular techno and house DJs played as many different parties as they could. David Vincent, as candid as ever, blamed greed on the part of the clubs, naming last year as “the year of roulette” where everyone was just trying to make as much money as possible. Steve Hulme blamed the global economy for the losses last season, which is a valid point but it seems naïve (or perhaps just not forthcoming) not to look closer to home for answers.

Loco Dice was much discussed, an easy example of a DJ who played all over the island to the detriment of his Ushuaïa residency. Yann Pissenem admitted that in the end it's business, and Ushuaïa was sharing a lot of money because of this. Yann's reaction to the losses of last season was to “secure the business”, which is why Ushuaïa has gone for a very mainstream music schedule for every party this year except Ants. It was interesting to hear input from Loco Dice's manager in the audience, who explained his movements thusly… “What do you do after ending a long relationship (with Cocoon)? You want to try out as many new things as you can! That's what he was doing, nothing more.”

Seth Troxler brought the artist point of view, acknowledging that at the moment Ibiza is “so concentrated on our kind of music [the house and techno scene], so friends end up fighting for territory instead of taking their time.” Troxler asked Johannes Goller of Cocoon to give his input from the audience, and Johannes commented that it was interesting comparing this panel to last year's, when everyone was talking about ideas for ‘the new Ibiza' most of which simply didn't work. “Music that is still niche can't turn into mainstream, even in Ibiza… the market regulates itself.”

PHOTO | Cockwise from left: Annie Mac in conversation, Yann Pissenem buzzing off David Vincent's tribal gear, Steffan Charles of TIme Warp Festival getting love from the audience and Seth Troxler and Pete Tong watching The Hoff endorse Seth's new party.

Amidst all this Andy from Emerging Ibiza also spoke about his project which, though interesting, simply didn't tie into the dialogue with the other panellists and felt a bit “tacked on”. Overall it was a fascinating discussion for all who take an interest in Ibiza; many varied perspectives were represented, which did make for a few subtle digs flying along the table, but all against a backdrop of mutual respect. Other panel highlights included David Vincent “triballing” himself with feather and war paint half way through, Pete Tong's phone ringing loudly side of stage, Yann dropping Kylie Minogue and Placebo into Hard Rock season line-up and Seth calling Steve Aoki a c-word… again.

Straight after the panel came Seth Troxler's keynote interview with Pete Tong, where he discussed his reasons for stepping back from Visionquest, the loss of ethnic diversity in dance music – something which Amnesia and Balearic godfather Alfredo also touched on in a later interview – and how America is “kinda the best and kinda the worst [country in the world]. That's just how we roll.” One thing that was especially clear from Seth's interview was that he had no desires to start his own residency in Ibiza – considering the panel that had come before, this was hardly surprising. The interview rounded up with a cameo by Falcor from The Neverending Story. Excellent.

The interviews kept rolling, with Paul McGuiness (manager of U2 for 35 years) sharing his wisdom: “I was not musical enough to detect they couldn't actually play” he jokes of the early years before the band was signed. Interestingly, U2 were the first band to book a DJ (Paul Oakenfield) as a support act on tour. We also heard from Steffen Charles, the man behind the incredible Time Warp festival, who stressed the importance of staying away from politics, getting the ego out of the way and treating everyone the same. Annie Mac took the stage in the late afternoon, as always encouraging more females to get out there in the world of dance music and become role models. She gave us a preview of her new series Superstar DJs with Annie Mac (which actually looks awesome), commented on the rapid explosion and implosion of dubstep in the US and confessed that production was not really on the agenda: “I don't have the patience for Logic. I'm not going to spend two days honing the sound of a hi-hat – I'm not that woman!”

PHOTO | Clockwise from top: Hector Romero and David Morales beaming through their Frankie Knuckles tribute set, hands up in the nosebleed section, time for bed and stilt walkers weaving through the crowd.

Later in the day we heard Pretty Lights' interpretation of the IMS anthem – a nice change from the usual Ibiza sounds, with Pretty Lights' usual approach to eccentric and excessive instrumentation and a chunky hip hop influenced beat. Following this was a Young Guns panel, featuring representatives from new and popular music projects in the UK like Boiler Room and Eton Messy, all focussed on fostering a modern culture of musical discovery. The final interview of the day was with Alfredo, who was the DJ at Amnesia between 1984 and 1989, and had very interesting insights into the changes that occurred in Ibiza during this time. Crucially, the end of the 80s and start of the 90s marked the shift in Ibiza's international and cosmopolitan clubbing population to a UK clubbing majority. Alfredo didn't mince words in saying that not only was diversity lost, but the Balearic music style that he had created was taken away from him and imitated in Ibiza and the UK: “they took my music and classified it.” It was a much too brief glimpse into the history of Amnesia and Ibiza, seen through the eyes of not merely a spectator, but a crucial participant in the island's musical development.

Full of all the day's learning, I hurried to the first of IMS Dalt Vila parties to empty my brain of all the insights and fill it up with bass and sunsets. Dalt Vila provided these willingly, the highlights of a beautiful evening up in the heights of Ibiza Town including every minute of the Frankie Knuckles tribute set with David Morales, Pete Tong and Hector Romero, getting my swagger on to Pretty Lights' hugely chunky set- including a bottom-heavy remix of Nightmares on Wax, and watching the setting sun replaced by sweeping lasers in one of the most incredible spots for a rave on this planet. Steve Angello had cancelled due to an apparent flight delay and although fans were disappointed, they should remember that Angello is the one who missed out, not them.

WORDS | Jordan Smith PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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