Ibiza holds a sentimental resonation with everyone who connects with its spiritual origins. From the influential hippie period igniting freedom of expression to the revolutionary summer of love all the way to the carefree, ecstasy-fuelled times in the 90’s, the magic of the White Isle is something that will hold a place in our hearts forever.
However, the Ibiza of today is a far cry from the Ibiza of 20 years ago. Gone are the days of Space Ibiza and uncapped clubbing times. Instead, the present generation have become accustomed to a more expensive Ibiza. One which has become divided between those lost in the moment on the dance floor and those engulfed in capturing those moments on their phones much to the envy of their social media followers.
For the prolific pairing of Pig&Dan, their lust for the island first started brewing during their raving days at Amnesia. The Workshop of Forgetfulness was where both Igor and Dan became inspired to pursue a path within the music world.
Today though, Amnesia is one of the few left in a dying breed still flying the flag for Ibiza’s true underground vibe. This was evident with the duo’s performance back in June for Music On – a fierce, stern and bulky techno outing impossible to ignore on all accounts.
Continuing to push their boundaries with their recognisable sound, they continue to push the envelope outside of Ibiza too with their forthcoming Odyssey event series at fabric proving testament to this. Launching on 7th October, the Elevate generals will indulge in this sonic journey at the world famous venue once a month on Sundays.
We recently sat down with Pig&Dan and discussed the current state of the Ibiza landscape, the lack of diversity in line-ups at bigger festivals and their brand new event series at fabric, Odyssey.
Firstly guys, when did you both first visit the White Isle and what has attracted you to keep returning ever since?
We both went first in the late 80s when the music scene was extremely different and somewhat groundbreaking. I think Ibiza holds a very special place in both our souls as we’ve grown through experiences and influences musical there.
During your earlier years on the island, what clubs/nights did you attend the most and why?
Mostly Space and Amnesia because that’s where the music lovers went to experience a more diverse sound, where the DJs were pushing that envelope and educating the crowds. I used to hear acid house mixed with Prince records for example, and it blew my mind as I danced all through the night meeting people that were sharing the same passion. It was a very different vibe where all types united and was very much about not showing what you did or didn’t have. People united and that was the whole attraction to the island as a whole.
What about your first Ibiza gig?
Cocoon at Amnesia, it was just so nerve racking after looking up at that booth for more than a decade dreaming of playing there one day. I couldn’t get the pitch right at first because my hand was shaking so hard. It was one of the best nights ever in our history as DJs.
First Ibiza after-party gig…
Honestly, I can’t remember, that’s how good it was! I can tell you stories though, like when Igor leant on a fence at a Cocoon afterparty and it gave way, and he fell some meters off the terrace with his foot luckily caught in it (or he would have been very hurt indeed). Adam Beyer and I both lifted him up by his ankles to safety. This was all going on while Luciano and Ricardo were jumping in the pool screaming about how strong something was, whilst Sven was starting to play a killer set.
Of course, the island has changed a lot since – even more so over the past five years. What are your thoughts on the direction the island is headed? How do you see it progressing over the next five years or so?
It seems there’s an overload of the similar lineups playing at all venues. It used to be all about attending different events on certain days of the week to go see Carl or Digweed and Sasha play, however now it’s somewhat saturated by the same line ups which is a real shame in our eyes. Its lost that “let’s go on Sunday to the Terrace and Monday to Cocoon” sort of vibe. It’s all been blurred a little it seems.
Also, the real ravers can’t afford to come anymore as the prices have blown up so much that it’s only the rich who can attend. It seems its more about taking photos of yourself than actually living the moment these days. It’s great to see events like Resistance, Cocoon, Paradise, Pyramid, and Music On all holding the flag for the real deal techno and tech house events on the island, as it was starting to lose its flow due to EDM flooding the club scene. I’m not sure how it will go in the future, as it seems the true music lovers are looking elsewhere, and this worries us a great deal as we truly hope the island can survive the future and still push the scene we’ve all grown up in.
Whilst it has reduced massively since the EDM boom, VIP increase and restricting laws, some aspects of the island still hold that original Ibiza spirit. What elements/places in Ibiza do you feel still remain true to this today and why?
It’s hard to say, as it seems since Space closed, Amnesia is now the last place that’s holding the true vibe, although they’re also doing events with artists that we just can’t understand are necessary to have headline in such a historic venue.
It seems they were forced to jump on the bandwagon in some sort of fashion, putting celebrities up as DJs which is missing the point to people that have been going there since the 80s. Amnesia is the place that really showed the world of music that underground can be loved by the masses.
Of course, there’s still an enormous amount of charm on the hippie side of the island and the drummers at sunset on Benirras Beach.
What do you feel the island needs to do as a whole in order to regain that original, hedonistic spirit is once had?
Forbid mobile phones 10000% at all venues. Get rid of the VIP areas and reduce the prices of entrance, drinks and hotels.
It’s all become ridiculously out of reach to the normal folk who are dying to go see their heroes spin on the island. I remember buying a cocktail in Ibiza town, so I could get into all the clubs, popping a fantastic pill and the night was all about that sparkle in Ibiza’s eye. Now it’s just greed driven champagne popping bollocks to a certain extent.
It used to be hippies, very flamboyant gays and the rich, all on one dance floor loving each other. Now it’s just how separated we can all be and prove that we can spend more than the next table. A united environment has turned into a now separated one, and this in turn misses the whole point that made this island so very special.
Speaking of Ibiza, you played your first summer date at Amnesia with Music On. What do you love the most about playing at this legendary venue and why?
Amnesia means so much to us both because its where we gained our ambition to prevail in the music world. Playing there is the highest honour globally as a DJ, it’s like receiving the biggest stamp of approval.
Now entering their seventh season, Carola has constructed such a popular and successful brand in the form of Music On. So popular in fact, punters are willing to pay for tickets, despite how expensive the night has become in recent years. What do you think has been their success?
Marco is a tech house legend and he and his team have managed to build a brand that holds the torch for this specific sound. I think it attracts a crowd that doesn’t worry about money and this is a playground for the chicer Ibiza audience who love a good night out. The crowd can expect to experience the world’s top performers behind the decks. Music On represents a trust to the crowd who go to experience it.
Switching gears now, let’s talk festivals. You have played plenty of the world’s biggest stages during your time behind the decks including Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland and ADE. Talk us through some of your favourite festivals that you’ve played to date and why they were so special for you…
Well, each of the events mentioned are incredibly different as a DJ and party goer. We have had magical experiences at them all, however ADE is where we have shared the most due to the many different stages we’ve played at such as Drumcode at Gashouder or Loveland’s in the Park. We feel it’s safe to say that ADE is possibly the most music lover-oriented event on earth. People come here to hear specific DJs play and lap up the incredible atmosphere that radiates because of it.
Tomorrowland and Ultra are just the most incredible set ups, globally reaching an amazing amount of people. These are more of an educational step for many folk that may not know the DJ but are coming with open minds to a spectacular experience. These festivals are essential to show people that dance music is incredibly diverse. Just by walking from stage to stage it’s like entering a completely different world.
Whilst still hugely popular, many of today’s leading festivals have a tendency for booking the same headline acts over and over, which for some clubbers, can grow a little repetitive. How important do you think the inclusion of smaller, more intimate boutique concepts are to today’s festival scene? Do you have any personal favourites?
It’s essential that people get to hear new talents and are exposed to bigger DJs that perhaps are not on every single line up. This is where festivals like ADE or Sonar stick out. The diversity is far greater than that seen in some of the more popular festivals globally.
Do you think the bigger festivals should switch their line-ups up more frequently to separate themselves from those of similar sizes booking the same artists?
Well you need to think of the business side of it, these days branding is far more important than the music sadly. Our new generations are somewhat caught up in what’s being put in front of them (forcefully) instead of digging deeper to find something new and off the beaten track. Media has very much augmented the way we think about everything. It’s clear that people can buy success these days and festivals need to follow trends, or they are at risk of not making the numbers work. Of course, we all want festivals to stick out their necks and push for a more unique line up and create a particular sound, however there’s a lot of business people at the heads of these gigantic events and this is big business on a global scale.
There has been a push for a 50/50 split gender booking policy on festival line-ups in recent months. How necessary do you think this is for electronic music in terms of gender equality and how it will effect the quality of the line-up output?
We think it’s ridiculous and insulting that people are judged on their gender instead of talent. It’s disgraceful to any gender that anyone would ever be judged on anything accept if they’re good or not. What year are we living in, really….?
Elsewhere this year, you were chosen to be a part of the very first Drumcode Festival in August over in Amsterdam. What did you enjoy the most about the inaugural edition and why?
This was a milestone for the Drumcode family and we are so proud to be part of it. Drumcode is pushing a very specific sound on a global scale and we take our hat off to Adam, Bart and all the incredible people that have made this take place. Its been many years in the making and watching it blossom is so exciting.
You first caught the attention of Drumcode back in 2016 and enjoyed top 10 success with them with ‘Chemistry’. How difficult was it in putting together the perfect production for Adam to finally get signed to the label? How long did it take?
We sent Adam demos for over three years before he finally took on a release. Funnily enough, he wasn’t too convinced about ‘Chemistry’ and took it on as a B-side but it hit Number 1 for over three months on Beatport, and became the most sold track on the label the year after its release in 2016 due to its late release date. It shows you that being declined can motivate you to do even better and we thank Adam very much for that. He pushed us to our max and to this date, we’ve learned so much from rejections being a positive rather than a negative!!
Going back to where it all started for you both – 2005 was the first time you released ‘Oh Yeah’ on Cocoon Recordings. Now, 13 years later you were recently featured on their latest compilation. What the story behind returning to Cocoon after all this time?
We had been releasing for many years prior to that on other labels, however this was for sure a massive turning point for us both as producers and the sound we created. Cocoon is our techno birth place and we felt it was time to go back to our roots and are delighted to be back on board. We have also just signed a new EP ‘Reset Your Bassline’, which is due for release in November this year.
What does your forthcoming November release mean for you both, and does this new release showcase a new sound and musical direction for you both? Obviously, it sees you return to your roots…
We are prolific writers and never decide the sound we will create, it kind of just comes due to experimentation. We’ve been writing some more melodic tracks and thought they might work on Cocoon. We write music and then think where could they work and then send them to specific labels that are more in that pocket.
Do you plan to continue releasing on other labels and your own imprint whilst focusing on the new projects and musical output for 2018?
Absolutely, there’s a lot on the horizon. Watch this space.
Of course, we have heard the news about your fabric event series which launches on the 7th October. Taking over the club once a month on Sundays. Why fabric? Does London and this club have a special meaning to you?
London is my city of birth (Dan) and it means the world to us both to be at fabric, a club that’s widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Both Igor and I started out playing in London before we had even met, and it is still one of the best places to push genres and musical tastes to the rest of the globe. London is one of the cities that truly thrives on risk taking musically, and it’s an honour to be starting our new line of events here.
Why do your own event series now? Do you feel after your longevity in this industry, this is now the right time to start your own events?
This is a very much a natural progression for us to invite friends who are masters of their genre to come play with us on one of the best sound systems ever created. We are going to be able to programme an event exactly how we wished all events were programmed, by having a progression of sounds stemming right from deep house all the way up to to peak time techno. The name says to all, its an Odyssey (a journey) through sound.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for artists starting their own branded events at the moment with such a huge selection of parties available to your fans?
Honestly, we don’t see it as a challenge, as competition is healthy and exciting. This is more of a pleasure for us and when being in this industry for so long you see challenges as something you take great pleasure in. You don’t get into this world without loving a good challenge.
Can you let us into some more information on the live set you’ll be showcasing at the first show? Why is this only at the first show? You have never performed live before, how does this dynamic work as a duo, and do you enjoy this or see it as more of a challenge than DJ’ing?
Well, we always play mostly our own productions however, people are not aware of that when seeing us DJ, and we feel it was time to take what we do to the stage and celebrate new and old music with people who hopefully follow what we do. This is very much an experience to share with the supporters of what we’ve done for more than 16 years together. We felt that we should showcase the live show at the opening because we wanted to open the new chapter of our book with a twist.
What is the thought process being the name ‘Odyssey’, and how are you curating and choosing the artists to join you each month?
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s about the journey we would like to take people on sonically. Sometimes warm up DJs play harder techno to show their colours, but we felt we wanted to bring those who master of their genre in style and program a night that slowly brings you to the boil whilst enjoying every single part to the max. We have selected DJs who know their shit and are serious about dealing with that particular time of the night.
You can purchase tickets to Pig&Dan’s Oydssey launch party at fabric on Sunday 7th October here.