There are not many radio studios in the world where one can enjoy a cocktail and a panoramic view of the Mediterranean from the vantage point of the microphone. The studio above Café Mambo Ibiza allows such a luxury. On Sunday 10th July, I set off slightly earlier than usual on the pre party trek to make a guest appearance on Germany’s Sunshine Live Radio, hosted by Woody Van Eyden. Ibiza’s ‘sunset strip’ is only about ten minutes from my house, so we were there in no time.
I jumped straight on the mic and completed a couple of interviews, both indoors and al fresco on Mambo’s rooftop. For the first time this season, my littleun Jake was out with me on the road for the pre parties, and once we finished at Mambo it was straight over to Kanya for a quick bite to eat with the rest of the Judgement Sundays DJs. Later that night, Eden was as busy as ever and it was the second date from Marco V in close succession. When it comes to understanding the core sound of Judgement Sundays Marco V ticks all the boxes. Trancey at the correct moments, and more groovy when it’s right to do so. Tony from Above & Beyond was also in the VIP and the partying went on into the daylight hours.
New to Judgement Sundays, this year we introduced DJ duo The Squatters as residents in the backroom. On Monday 11th, fresh from Ibiza, they joined me as back-to-back guests at Mallorca superclub BCM. In bygone seasons both Squatters had been to JS as clubbers, returning in 2011 in work capacity as growing-in-stature DJs and a solid part of the family. There aren’t many clubs in the world where 3 DJs could perform a back-to-back DJ set, however BCM’s DJ booth is the size of a small bungalow. It went off big-time. After finishing deck duties, for the first time in a few weeks I had the luxury of retiring back to the hotel for a bit of sleep before returning to Ibiza at 10am to spend some time pencilled in the diary as ‘chilling out’. In the event the chilling didn’t happen, and later that night we went to Ibiza Rocks, checking out Zane Lowe vs Mark Ronson doing a DJ soundclash on the main stage.
After a couple of days’ rest I headed back to Ibiza airport for a Thursday evening flight to Tenerife. This year, Iberia have slashed their domestic timetable from Ibiza, thanks to Ryanair and Vueling haemorrhaging their business. As a result, I had to get a Ryanair flight to Madrid, change terminals by bus and catch an Iberia flight to Tenerife North. Over the years, Tramps Tenerife has been consistently good for me, but due to the peak in their youth market being late June and July only, I had to squeeze my Tramps appearances in a bit earlier this summer. The venue was packed and another noisy night was enjoyed by all. The next day I jumped on a direct Monarch flight back to London for my Radio 1 show.
Saturday 16th was my first trip to Holland for quite a while, for Judgement Night in the Panama club, Amsterdam. Central Amsterdam is seriously beautiful and I contemplated staying in the city centre, but with a 6am flight back to Ibiza only two hours after my set finished, a hotel at the airport was the better option. I played alongside Marco V and hit the club a bit earlier than usual to soak up Marco’s entire set. Panama peaked earlier than usual for Amsterdam, and Marco had it away.
A few hours after finishing my own portion of proceedings I flew Transavia to Ibiza, sitting next to a mother and daughter. I’m very bad at sleeping in the small seats of short haul flights, but on this occasion I was so tired from the night before than I slept the whole way from take off to touch-down. I woke with a sense of paranoia: did I snore loudly or even lean over and sleep on the passengers next to me? I was getting slightly dirty looks, so either was possible.
Later that night we had Eddie Halliwell spinning at Judgement Sundays, and for the first time swapped around the orientation of the club, meaning that the DJs performed from a large stage at the rear end of the club. As I write, we’ve used the stage for three consecutive Sundays, and it’s worked incredibly well, generating a festival feel and even bigger crowd atmosphere. Eddie smashed it as always, and following his set hung around on the stage to watch my wife Amanda perform two new tracks as a live PA. The club was absolutely rammed and it was great to see Eddie deliver one of his ever-energetic performances.
The next day (Mon 18th) it was back over to Mallorca, this time bringing Eddie along for B2B duties at BCM. It was the first time I’ve done a back-to back with someone who uses a laptop based DJ program, but Eddie’s technical prowess made things work fantastically. The pair of us bounced off each other very well from the first record to the last. We’ve done the odd impromptu B2B set together over the years, but never in such a vast arena as BCM, one of Europe’s biggest resort clubs. Over 3000 clubbers gyrated in unison.
With no time for sleep, after my set I headed straight back to Palma airport to embark upon a 3-flight journey to Greece. On this occasion the journey took just under 12 hours to get to the island of Kos. Luckily, I had a bit of connection time in Barcelona and decided to try out one of the business lounges, which incorporated a darkened room with beds for siestas. What a fantastic idea- I’d had precious little sleep the night before. If only more airports offered the luxury of a ‘sleeper zone’ for weary travellers (and DJs.) Naturally, I set every alarm in my possession to ensure that I didn’t miss my connecting flight to Athens.
The Starlight Club in Kardamena Kos is a family-owned business, and after being taken out for an awesome Greek meal where I let my host do the ordering, we hit some bars and then the club. It was packed, and on arrival and the DJ preceding me was playing urban tunes. This wouldn’t have worked immediately before my set, so I quietly asked the owner if the style could be cranked a little more in my direction. I didn’t like asking, but it would have made my task very difficult, as my musical arena is so different. The resident DJ obliged, and it went onto be one of the best resort gigs of the summer- a brilliant atmosphere in a spot-on venue. Although Kos hasn’t blown in and out of fashion like Malia or Failaraki it’s a very beautiful island, and I hope I’m invited back next summer.
From Kos, I headed back to Ibiza for a couple of days. As crazy as the routing looks on a map, due to the flight connections being a complete nightmare, it was much easier to fly back via London. En route from Gatwick to Ibiza I sat behind Calvin Harris. In the summer months one sees fellow DJs on Ibiza flights more often than not… That’s why we love it!
More next time…