Lenny Ibizarre, real name Lennart Krarup, is a well-known and respected Ibiza musician, producer, remixer and DJ with a wide range of musical skills from ambient to chill-out to progressive house.
Lenny emerged on the music scene in Ibiza in 1997 where he started work on his first album, the Ambient Collection, which was signed by Warner Music UK, and was soon keeping him busy with remix work. He became a regular DJ at Café Del Mar, spinning chill-out sets as the sun went down, he DJ’d regularly on Spanish radio and appeared on numerous Ibiza chill-out compilations. By 2003, Lenny was travelling each summer on the international festival circuit; as a resident Ibiza DJ, he has held residencies at Cafe Del Mar, Pacha, Kumharas, Privilege and Amnesia. Nowadays his DJ circuit is mainly private parties all over the world. In 1997, Lenny founded his own record label, Ibizarre Records and co-founded the DJ Awards, held every year at Pacha in Ibiza where the cream of the international DJ scene is rewarded with the coveted ‘Kryptonite Award’.
Since 1997, Lenny has produced 12 albums and has become a multi-platinum selling artist. His Chilled Ibiza Compilations have sold over 1.5 million copies in the UK and the Ambient Collection reached its 7th edition in 2007. Lenny is also a much respected remix artist, favouring seasoned multi-platinum artists such as The Doors, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Jefferson Airplane, Nat King Cole and Henry Mancini.
In 2011 Lenny joined forces with Max Martire and formed ‘Aristofreeks’ to reinject disco into modern house music. Within months of creating this collaboration, they were touring and producing with Giorgio Moroder, which led to further collaborations with Nile Rodgers, Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder. In September 2013, together with Jerry Greenberg (former President of Atlantic Records), they formed a record label, Pacific Electronic Music. Their first signing was Kathy Sledge, former lead singer of Sister Sledge.
Here is his story.
Name: Lenny Ibizarre
Age: 41 cycles
Home Town and Nationality: San Miguel, Multiculturalised European Dane
Position: MFCEO of Pacific Electronic Music, Beverly Hills
Currently working on: Disco dancing grooves from the Aristofreeks together with Max (Martire) and the myriad of collaborations we are scheduled for
CB: When/how did you get interested in music?
I started collecting tape recordings of the Japanese Koto at 8 and then turned to the guitar. I was obsessed with practising, which easily took 8 to 12 hours of everyday. So you could say that I really didn’t do much else in my life apart from peruse my interest in music.
CB: Where did your big break come from?
This is a funny story. I met Phil the Manumission photographer (dressed as a nun) on the Manumission Motel terrace, and he passed my 3 first ambient collections to Mario Warner (Head of Warner Strategic Marketing) who then asked me to remix The Doors ‘Riders on the Storm’, which went platinum. Then came Chilled Ibiza, which sold double platinum. At this point Mario called me up as said, “Let me give you an offer you can’t refuse”. Bingo! Nailed it…
CB: What brought you to Ibiza?
I was tripping balls at The Bocaccio in Belgium every Sunday when people just kept mentioning it. So at 18, my brother Greg and me went for a 2-week insanoflexing San An West End end-all. I think I fell in love with everything a man can possible desire. So the following year I was back working like a slave in the bars in San An. The conditions were horrendous, but I didn’t care, I was just happy to be here.
CB: So when did you come to live here?
In 1995 I was booked for a gig in Cova Santa. It was massive, 5000 people and the road to San Jose collapsed and the place got closed down. That party changed my life… again.
CB: Has being in Ibiza changed or influenced your musical direction?
My music has always been the same regardless of any external factors, but Ibiza has allowed me to express myself more flawlessly than any other place on earth, and I am the first to recognise that I owe it all to this Island.
CB: When did you change your name to Lenny Ibizarre and why?
Actually, that was Rob Da Bank. He wrote an article about me. Let’s just say he took a lot of liberty, it was hilarious, but he did refer to me as Lenny Ibizarre, so it stuck in the press. So when I signed with Warner music they demanded the name the press was celebrating, and so it came to be.
CB: You have produced 12 albums and have become a multi-platinum selling artist. How do you feel about this?
As an artist I cannot care for either positive or negative opinions, even when reflected in outstanding sales. On the other hand, it’s never enough :-)
CB: How did you move into DJing?
I guess it was the first day someone asked me to play, in the winter of 96 in Ibiza town. I still don’t think of myself as a DJ, but sure I spin when the party is right.
CB: Your partner in Aristofreeks is Max Martire. How did that collaboration come about?
We were both around in Ibiza in the early 90’s and we share an almost fanatical devotion to hi-fidelity music production. After many exciting talks about the integrity of digital conversion we decided to join forces in the quest for the ultimate old-school disco bass groove. That’s what the Aristofreeks are all about.
CB: Aristofreeks formed Pacific Electronic Music (PEM) with veteran record executive Jerry Greenberg last year. How did your collaboration with Jerry come about?
Max and me met Jerry when we worked on the same projects in the states. On the way back from a deal we got stuck in traffic and started sharing ideas. But when we dropped our mix of Cindy Lauper’s interpretation of ‘Disco Inferno’ Jerry pulled the car over, looked us straight in the eye and said, “This is the future, lets start a label!”
CB: What has Pacific Electronic Music been working on?
We have our full focus collaboration as Aristofreeks with Kathy Sledge [from Sister Sledge]. Last week we went to Palm Springs to record the First Ladies of Disco: Martha Wash, Alfa Anderson, Norma Jean Wright, Linda Clifford and Luci Martin. Max wrote a song to dispute the Disco Demolition Riot 35 years ago, and the ladies performed with spectacular flair.
CB: You’ve also just created a recording studio, Magic Music Studios, and mastering suite. What are your plans with them?
Magic Music Studios are the Area51 of the Aristofreeks and the European production wing of Pacific Electronic Music. It’s our private shangri-la to celebrate our love for music.
CB: it sounds like you keep yourself very busy. What do you do when you’re not working?
When am I not :-) I sleep on Sundays…
Our Thanks to Lenny.