Interview with Paul Oakenfold and Alex Ryan
Nick Gibbs & Stan Farrow
Of all dance music genres few can claim such a loyal and committed following as those of Trance. So what’s what in their world? We met up to shoot the breeze with Connect club promoter Alex Ryan and his special guest at tonight’s party, none other than the trance legend Paul Oakenfold.
- So Paul, you’ve been coming to Ibiza since the 1980s. A nice easy question to start…can you tell us a favourite memory of the island?
PO: We did a Perfecto party once in the North of the Island at a secret location. Myself, Sasha and John Digweed were playing at Privilege the night before and we just handed out a load of flyers for it. Word spread about and 5,000 people turned up. We had to do the usual for a free party in the middle of nowhere by painting rocks different colours and using them for directions. It was amazing, we had the biggest DJs at the time playing until 11am. Not really sure how we got away with it to be honest.
“We went on straight after Above & Beyond who I love. I was tingling as I was playing, it was real emotional and something I’ve always wanted to do.” Ryan
- Alex, have you any stand-out moments ?
AR: Highlight for me was this year when I ended up playing back to back at Cream@Amnesia with Vicky Devine. We went on straight after Above & Beyond who I love. I was tingling as I was playing, it was real emotional and something I’ve always wanted to do.
- You’ve been on the island for a few years promoting parties, but this is the first year of Connect. What’s a typical day in the life?
AR: Well we have 2 days in the life really. The first is all about the boat party on Mondays. We start with a warm-up at the Backyard bar for a few hours with the resident DJS, then we head to the boat for 4 hours. We head to Es Vedra for the sunset and have a really good pioneer sound system. It’s a really good party in the best location! Straight after the boat we head down to Tropi in the West End and carry on. It’s good because we can do lots of unannounced stuff, it’s full of surprises.
- Paul, did you play in any of the West End bars and clubs in the early days?
PO: It’s strange that I’ve been coming here for almost 30 years and have never played the West End. It’s not out of the question though. I used to party at a really good after-hours venue called Manhattans in San Antonio in 1988 and have really good memories of that strip.
“..the police raided Café del Mar and arrested anyone with long hair as they assumed they were the drug dealers.” Oakenfold
- Can you tell us more about the old days? What was it like?
PO: It was utter chaos back then. I remember coming out one year and I’d just cut my long hair off, which was lucky because the police raided Café del Mar and arrested anyone with long hair as they assumed they were the drug dealers. There were too many drugs back then and the island infrastructure wasn’t set up to deal with the clubbers. So many people used to stagger around outside the clubs, particularly Amnesia. Because it was on the main road, kids kept getting run over. There were so many tragic deaths, but it’s much better now. In fact it was Spain joining the EU that saw the improvements begin. I think that the British were able to demand more safety for their tourists visiting the island.
- What about the music back then?
PO: It was a great experience. It was a mixture of all sounds to create the Balearic Beat. Everything here seems to sound very similar now. I’ve always liked different genres of music. I worked with U2, Madonna and even Snoop Dog in the past. As long as it’s melodic, I’ll probably like it.
- Back to you Alex, tell us about the second day in the life
AR: Tuesdays is Connect at the Vista Club. We’ve hooked up with different trance brands every week to give them a chance to represent themselves in Ibiza and we get to work with the best people in the business. The club has been great with us, the sound system is amazing and we’re really happy with our first year. We get more and more people in each week and tonight will be amazing.
“I’ve got some ideas to bring back the Balearic Beat with some of the original crew.” Oakenfold
- Apart from tonight are there any stand-out nights that you’re really excited about?
AR: That’ll be our closing party! There’s a lot of excitement for it as we have the legends Gabriel & Dresden playing for us. They have only recently gotten back together after splitting years ago and, as far as I’m aware, this is their only show in Ibiza this year.
- So Paul, are you excited about tonight?
PO: For sure, the Connect concept is great and there’s a good knowledgeable crowd who are really up for it. I like the way that they combine the old and new as well. I’m looking forward to playing some new versions of some old trance tracks that I’ve put together in the studio.
- You’ve played everywhere (apart from the West End). Are you tempted to put your own nights on over here?
PO: Funny that you should say that. I was talking to Nicky Holloway this week, who was one of the four of us that were out here in the 80s. (Ed. For those who don’t know, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold started their own nights inspired by their trips to Ibiza. The three nights in London were pivotal in boosting the fledgling club scene in the U.K. coincidentally this is also mentioned in the Alfredo article on page 10 of this week’s issue here issue 797. ) He’s involved in a film being made to document our time out here. It’s the 30th anniversary of our first trip in 2 years’ time and I’ve got some ideas to bring back the Balearic Beat with some of the original crew. Not sure what exactly yet, but something will happen!
- We’ll look forward to it. Thanks to Paul and Alex for their time. Below some links to keep you tranced up.
Fancy a bit of Psy?
Read our report here – but don’t blame us if the colours freak you out man! Psy Trance – Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out