FORMENTERA BEATS

by Dan Prince August 2015 MUSIC Read in PDF format N7/2015
FORMENTERA BEATS Ibiza’s super-chilled neighbour is fast becoming a haven for the dj gods

Above : Sven Väth plays at the stunning Tipic club

It’s the tantalising little island we all look towards from our beach towels on Ibiza’s south side, while nursing heavy heads from the night before. It’s where the sea shimmers in a permanent turquoise state, the sand is a powdery white and supersized yachts gently moor up, giving Hollywood actors, supermodels and famous footballers access to some of the finest restaurants in the Mediterranean. And once upon a time it was where the club-weary people of Ibiza went to escape the hedonism for a day or two and unwind. Well, not any more. This is Cocoon’s fifth year on Formentera at the stunning Tipic club, with Sven Väth joined by the likes of Dixon, Chris Liebing, Carl Craig, Guy Gerber and Seth Troxler. “The night has gone from strength to strength,” smiles Väth as we wander along Ses Illetes, recently voted one of the top five beaches in the world. “It is a very cool club in a gorgeous location and perfect for a more intimate midweek adventure after the big Cocoon Amnesia nights on a Monday. Our crowd have really taken to it, more artists are asking to play there and I just love the atmosphere. My advice? Head over at sunset. Getting there is part of the fun – and getting back even more so.” Music is nothing new to Formentera, of course. Pink Floyd’s band members Roger Walters and Syd Barrett became enamoured with the island in the late 1960s, while legend still whispers that rock ‘n’ roll’s most infamous myth-maker of them all, Bob Dylan, made this tiny island his own a decade before Pink Floyd, renting a 200-year-old windmill in El Pilar to escape the world’s media glare. Or so the story goes… The DJ who is recognised as starting the whole Balearic dance music explosion is of course Alfredo Fiorito, who would spin tunes under the stars at an openroofed Amnesia in the 1980s, playing early house records mixed in with reggae, obscure pop and even The Pink Panther Theme. But his career in these parts didn’t start on the White Isle; it began next door.

Alfredo Fiorito was one of the first DJs in Formentera 

“Before all of the Ibiza craziness, I had a bar job in Formentera where I served drinks as well as playing music,” Fiorito says. “I have very happy memories of that time – wonderful days swimming in the crystal waters, sleeping under the moon and just enjoying the whole emptiness of it all.” What are your thoughts on superstar DJs putting on these parties now, I ask – will it ruin the island? “Things change and life progresses,” he replies. “There is obviously a demand for it now, it’s simply a sign of the times. And if it makes people happy, then why not? We all like to dance in beautiful places.” Demand is definitely high, and Tipic in Es Pujols is making a big name for itself on the clubbing map. “Sometimes superstar DJs can get bored with the big rooms and festivals and the ones who really love their music like to take a step back once in a while and play in a more intimate setting,” says the venue’s Marco Sala. The club has a busy weekly rundown ranging from hip-hop to house, disco, ’80s and electronic music – all accompanied by a thumping Funktion-One sound system. “My favourite night ever has to be when Sven came and played for seven hours,” says Sala. “We had the police outside knocking on the door demanding we turn the power off. It was mayhem. But when it all gets a bit too hectic, I just take a cycle ride up to the lighthouse at Cap de Barbaria, sit there and take in the sheer magnificence.” Tipic is a club that one of the most exciting DJs on the planet right now knows all too well.

DJ Ellen Allien danced outside Tipic when she was still too young to enter. Now she is playing in the club

Berlin’s Ellen Allien used to dance outside when she was too young to pass through the doors, wondering what lay within. “When I was finally allowed in, me and my sister loved it,” she says. “It was so funny to come back and DJ there last year. Some of our friends from the old family holiday days turned up – such a happy atmosphere. In the summertime people want to dance, so why not in Formentera?” One person who understands both islands better than most is Kirk Field, director of Radical Escapes, whose company has been bringing clubbers out to the Balearics for years. “To really understand and appreciate Formentera you must first know Ibiza,” he says. “Formentera is often described as ‘Ibiza’s quiet little sister’, a place to seek solace and silence from the white-hot intensity of Ibiza. Nietzsche once said, ‘One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star’ – I think that’s quite an apt description. Formentera, in comparison to Ibiza, is supercharged with calm rather than chaos. It’s super chilled. Here you will feel a different energy to the one that swirls around Ibiza – it contrasts, yet also complements the wild, hedonistic White Isle spirit. It’s the yin to Ibiza’s yang.” Hostal La Savina hosts its Sunset Emotions party every Saturday, which is broadcast live on Global Radio. It’s somewhere the fabulous DJ Tom Crane loves. “The set up of the decks on the beach is genius,” he says. “As the sun dips below the horizon, the water is lapping at my feet. It’s stunning. In my opinion lots of large parties might not be the best thing for Formentera, but this kind of event lends itself perfectly to the island vibe. It’s all about the right kind of music for the sunset: very minimal and deep with of people who respect the place.” And if it’s a sunset tune you want, who better to ask than the queen of the daytime to night-time drop, Eva Pacífico, who has been sending thousands into raptures at Kumharas for years? “I first played in Formentera about 10 years ago for the opening of Flipper & Chiller,” she says. “The island didn’t have many Ibiza DJs coming over back then and the crowd were slightly over-enthusiastic! I am always pro-music and parties, so I never think our scene can ruin anything, anywhere. Just as long as nobody books Paris Hilton.”

Tom Crane plays at the Sunset Emotions party at Hostal La Savina

Eva Pacífico is a regular in Formentera’s DJ booths

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