Inside the colony

By Greg O’Halloran, Photograph by Roberto Castaño September 2014 Read in PDF format N4/2014

Above : Yann Pissenem, dressed in a white t-shirt, standing by the whole team that helps shape the huge success of ANTS 

A relative newcomer on the Ibiza party scene, ANTS is Ushuaïa fiesta of underground music, taking place every Saturday from 3pm. Approaching the end of only its second season, ANTS has already established itself, not only as one of the most popular nights in Ibiza, but also as the most unique, thanks to a number of key factors such as the music, of course, but also its unprecedented guerrilla marketing campaign and special use of the Ushua􀂱a venue. Founder and Artistic Director of Ushuaïa and brains behind ANTS, Yann Pissenem, picks up the story about the origins of the party. “We wanted to start a new underground night with no big headliner, all the best emerging underground talent, and develop a great marketing campaign as well. I love to create brands and marketing strategies. When I was thinking about building this community of underground people I thought of ants because they are underground, like our party is, for music and promotion and links with the island. Ants are also black, which is the dress code of the underground community and they move in groups as workers, like in the island, so it fi ts totally with what we wanted to do.” These ideas were borne out immediately in the early parties in 2013, with line-ups spread across 6 or 7 artists rather than any singular headliner and more noticeably, a promotional campaign that caught a lot of attention. Yann explains how this marketing juggernaut got moving: “After we decided the name, the first thing was the logo and then the slogan ‘Join the Colony!’, which was about the community and group and sense of coming together for a great cause: the underground music and organic growth of a great party for islanders and outsider. We then started thinking about guerrilla marketing. I was looking for a new concept and idea to keep a reference with ANTS, but not something that looked like it was for kids or cheesy. So we used the black colour and went for these black morphsuits, which has been great because now when you see them you immediately think of ANTS.” Indeed, arguably the

iconic part of the whole campaign has been hordes of these black all-over costumes appearing spontaneously at the airport or in the supermarket or often at other parties. Th ere was more too, as Yann continues: “I went to Bali and bought 3000 bronze ants, which I put everywhere on the island, such as Hostal Parque and of course around our hotel. We did our fi rst billboard of just the image of an ant, so it was just a teaser, which I think is really important to get people thinking, what’s that? And yes, our ‘Join the Colony!’ slogan was about being part of a movement, with your worker number and band as part of the community. Th is year, our second, I integrated the word ANTS with new slogans such as ‘MUSIC IS THE ANTSWER’, ‘KEEP ON DANTSING’ and ‘PUT YOUR HANTS UP IN THE AIR’.” That the promotional campaign of ANTS is referenced so much says a lot about its impact, utilised alongside many traditional methods of promotion of course. Why has this approach been adopted? Yann reveals: “There are two points. I did it because I love it. I personally enjoy strange and diff erent campaigns and, yes, we saw it as a way to make a diff erent campaign, which intrigues people and makes the campaign stronger. The attention to detail is just as evident at the event itself, with unusually advanced level of production for an underground event and creative use of the club space. “Th is year, we try to keep the brand link with this big ant on the stage, in a metal, oxidised style. Last year,we were focused on the black colour. Th is year, we’ve twisted it a bit and gone for something more Mad Max, Burning Man style: oxidised buggies and punk or desert rebel design. We have some LEDs and big effects

Andrea Oliva, Deetron, Los Suruba, Joris Voorn & Nic Fanciulli, Timo Maas, UNER, Tapesh, Maya Janes Coles, Yousef, Nick Curly, Kölsch, DJ Sneak, Matthias Tanzmann and The Mekanism are some of the DJs that have been behind the decks at Ants

of course, but we don’t use the big screen, as we do during the EDM shows. At 10pm we change from the small stage to the big stage, which keeps the organic feel of an underground party, like the old Ushuaïa style of a party on the beach even. We start earlier, create lots of shade and we encourage people to come and dance during the day.” It was interesting to hear how ANTS sat within the rest of the agenda at Ushuaïa, given the domination of large-scale EDM shows, Yann clarifi ed: “It’s the only underground music party of the week; the only time we start in the little DJ booth. It’s the right balance for the club for the whole week. We love to support underground emerging talents. For the last two years the main artists we’ve worked with are Andrea Oliva, Deetron, Los Suruba, Joris Voorn & Nic Fanciulli, Timo Maas, UNER, Tapesh and Maya Janes Coles. Th is year we added some additional, amazing talents to the colony like Yousef, Nick Curly, K􀂸lsch, DJ Sneak, Matthias Tanzmann and Th e Mekanism. They don’t play every week or as regularly as the others. We rotate the slots and share the small and big stage.” The rapid success of the party so far naturally leads to potential future plans and brand expansion, already seen to some extent at an ANTS showcase during WMC in Miami for example, all of which Yann embraces: “We have done some promotionalevents yes, for brand presence and to reinforce what we’re doing” he says. “But we can think about maybe a tour or some kind of involvement with festivals in the coming future.” Refl ecting frankly on how all of this has been made possible, it’s clear the community aspect of ANTS equates just as much to the team that deliver it each week as it does to the people who attend, as Yann affi rms by acknowledging the people involved in the team behind the scenes: “I’m really happy that it’s all going so well and to keep this underground touch at Ushuaïa. It’s really important that I thank all my team: Leslee who does the line-up with me, Roberto who runs the event, Adolfo and his design team for all the design work, Romain and his crew for all the production, all the PRs who worked so hard and everyone involved in the event and making this a success.”





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