They say that history is written by the victors, and one can safely say that Croatian DJ Mladen Solomun has plundered Ibiza with great commercial success over the last seven years. However in a recent video interview with Ibiza Spotlight, Mladen seems to have airbrushed out a part of his early Ibiza career, stating that he has only “always done one year contracts” and that it was a “new situation for Pacha to agree a one year contract” with him back in 2013, which seems to contradict other peoples recollection of said events, including my own. Mladen was a completely unknown DJ in Ibiza, until ex Sankeys owner David Vincent took a gamble on him and his Dynamic crew and gave them their first big break at Sankeys in 2012, a very successful weekly Tuesday residency that took on the mighty Carl Cox at Space in true David and Goliath style, becoming the catalyst for his modern day musical empire. He is currently the islands #1 commercial VIP DJ, but the recent signing by Pacha of Marco Carola and Dixon has got him looking over his shoulder there.
While one has to be careful how words are written in today’s litigious society, my recollection of Mladens move to Pacha is a different story from the one he recounts for industry media outlet Ibiza Spotlight. Back in 2013, I was helping David Vincent to promote Sankeys, I had just written a comprehensive interview with him in 2012 and admired his cocky, never say die attitude. David was never good with money, he lived from hand to mouth, it did not define him as David’s true passion was creating underground parties and the music. He had hung on by the skin of his fingertips to keep Sankeys open in 2012 and in true Ibiza spirit, I wanted to help him out. In return for my help, I got to name the big room in the club, The Lab, a barter of trades so to speak. So I was pretty close to what was going on at Sankeys and my recollection of the events was that Pacha, looking for a replacement for Luciano on Sundays, (after Luciano walked out with Danny Whittle to Booom) approached Mladen with an offer he simply could not refuse, a crazy six figuer per party fee, to sign an exclusive three, not one, year deal at Pacha.
It was an astonishing offer to receive for such a relatively unknown DJ, to go from been paid a few hundred euros a week at Sankeys, to a six figuer sum, and the whole island was talking about it. The move greatly angered David Vincent, who understandably felt gutted for Sankeys, a fragile operation in only its second season, loosing its star player to a big spending Premiership club. Pacha had an exclusive deal with Solomun, restricting him from playing any other venue on the island, a fact that would support my recollection of the story. I had also interviewed the man who convinced Pacha to sign Solomun, its then musical director Steve Hulme who was well aware of everything that was happening. It was not until the 2016 season that Solomun officially played outside Pacha and started rolling out his now well publicised 1 year contracts, which allowed him a mercenary style approach in his business dealings – very much suited to shark invested waters of Ibiza clubland – when in Rome and all that.
So why the reason for Solomun to omit that his first contract at Pacha was for three years and not the one he says he has always done? Maybe its on the cutting floor of the editing suite in Ibiza Spotlights offices in San Antonio, maybe it was lost in translation or maybe he could be on the move from Pacha after the end of this season due to the arrival of Marco Carola and Dixon? Who knows really, except for the big man himself, but one thing I would be surprised to see at Pacha next season, is for all three star names to return on the same bill. One thing for sure, it certainly looks as if there will be lots of gossip to keep us entertained over the winter season in Ibiza.