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Michael Mayer: Ready for Ibiza

Michael Mayer chats with Ibiza Spotlight about the Kompakt record label's residency at Kehakuma and the popping of his Pacha cherry.

Michael Mayer, a much revered behemoth in the electronic dance music, is on the eve of an exclusive Balearic date. This evening will see the boundary bending DJ, producer and remixer embark on a new Ibiza residency within the walls of Kehakuma at Space, with his co-owned, iconic record label, Kompakt. While Space will see him thrust forth the minimalist, pop-infused emotive ‘Cologne' sound of Kompakt and its annual Cologne party, Total, on four dates this season, he will also be popping his Pacha cherry as Solomun's + 1 during his Sunday residency.

As well as his Ibiza sessions with Kompakt and a date with Solomun, his summer calendar ahead is heavily laden with events while, behind him, 2015 has already been packed with a high frequency of highlights. He has held the controls at almost all of his favourite clubs including Barcelona's Nitsa, London's Fabric, and Lisbon's Lux, commanded the audiovisuals at the 4GB Festival in Tbilisi, and delved into his passion of playing all night long sessions at Amsterdam's Studio/K for the All Under One Roof event.

As a producer and remixer, he's been afforded the luxury of being able to spend more time in the studio than ever, releasing his first solo track since 2012's 'Mantasy' album. And alongside fellow Kompakt luminaries, Wolfgang Voigt and Jörg Burger, he has been sinking his energy into the annual installation of one of the label's compilation series, with 'Total 15' to be released in August. 'Total 15' will, like every year, serve fans as a ‘best of' with a mix of previously released and unreleased tracks from a broad range of artists, this year including Kölsch, Gui Boratto, John Tejada and Superpitcher to name a few.

Mayer's first dance with the island was with fellow native and pioneering predecessor, Sven Väth and his Cocoon parties at Amnesia. In 2006 he arrived on the island alongside Crosstown Rebels record label owner, Damian Lazarus to host a nine-week season of Stink parties in DC10. Despite the parties going down a storm in London, they went down a bomb in Ibiza, lasting only three weeks. “When we did the Stink parties with Crosstown Rebels I think we were a bit too naive to play the game properly,” Mayer reflects. “And we were probably one or two years too early with the sound we were championing at that time. Maybe Ibiza wasn't ready for it. Maybe we weren't either.”

He didn't play on the island for a number of years and claimed to have no plans to return to the Balearics in a big way. However, in 2014, he bore witness to the recent growth of a rich breadth of variety on offer in a season which saw him take on three big nights - We Love, Paradise and Tribal Sessions - with the crowd eagerly embracing Kompakt's sounds on each occasion. “Kompakt emphasises originality and emotion, two attributes that historically played an important role in Ibiza's nightlife. I think that a lot of our music fits perfectly in this Balearic, free-minded setting. Our goal is to draw a line between Ibiza's impressive musical heritage and our current sounds.”

Kompakt's Total party joining forces with Space's Saturday Terraza party, Kehakuma, may come as no surprise to the undergrounds considering that the Japanese themed in-house production rose with the sole intention of feeding community vibes on the dancefloor with top quality underground music from house, to deep house, minimal and techno. Fueling this staunchly built reputation as part of the Total takeover, will be Kompakt's Blond:ish, Roman Flügel, Pachanga Boys, Miss Kitten, Dauwd and Gui Boratto to highlight a few of the big names.

He pitches his duty to the crowds as lying between being an audible entertainer and an inaudible educator with an innate understanding of how to balance his output between his audience's thirsted desire for the new and equal love for the piano hook, the break, the drop, the cheese and the hits. He's become known for his love of disco and laying down the odd curveball to shake up the stiffened, serious atmosphere which can occasionally align itself with techno. “Curveballs inject a good dose of fun and let more of my personality shine through. It's also great to see how they change the way people dance. Suddenly, they dare to throw in some moves that they wouldn't apply to a strict tech house set.” On closing his set at the opening of Space NYC with a sad ballad from Cologne, sung in Kölsch dialect, he was deeply satisfied to uncharacteristically see Manhattan hipsters tenderly snuggle and smooch.

On the 9th of August, Mayer will join humble house titan Solomun, who has risen through the ranks with his labels Diynamic and 2Diy4, as part of his +1 Sunday residencies at Pacha. “The Diynamic crew has a similar approach to pop-friendly but modern dance music. I know Solomun since he was a punter at Tanzhalle St. Pauli in Hamburg. We both cover a rather large spectrum of music. I think we'll click really well behind the decks.”

It's an exciting season of firsts for Mayer himself and the Kompakt label. When asked what to expect, he said that as always he is geared to expect the unexpected. “I've never set a foot in Pacha so I'm a little extra excited about that gig. I love old discotheques, places that have seen so many incredible nights. That's also part of Space's magic. Excuse my French but Space is a f#cking brilliant discotheque.”


WORDS | Aimee Lawrence

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