|DJ Antz aka Anthony Bryans.|
DJ Antz, aka Anthony Bryans, is not your average Ibiza DJ. He was introduced to the Island by Danny Rampling, during the halcyon days of DJ Alfredos famous sets at Amnesia, which helped to shape club culture worldwide. His first gig was at the iconic Shoom Club, where he stood in for David Morales. He has worked with U2, The Rolling Stones, and has appeared on film, alongside Michael Caine and Sigourney Weaver. His pedigree is closely related to aristocratic stock, his family serving a distinguished political career, including a term as Home Secretary. He is also a Chelsea Fan, private DJ to the stars and a fundraiser for Cancer Charities, a disease he fought and won. One would agree…not your typical Ibiza DJ.
When I met the man, it was easy to feel relaxed with him. A normal guy, without the pretentious air of celebrity, that can be associated with some Ibiza DJ’s. He now wears a patch over his larynx, the resulting scars of a successful battle with throat cancer and his words are softly spoken. My first question to him was how his connection to Ibiza began, “It was in 1987” he replied “I shared a villa with Danny Rampling and Boy George. We had come to Ibiza to witness the open air parties that Danny was raving about at Amnesia with DJ Alfredo. It was amazing. I just loved the way he mixed his sets, with so many varied influences and I decided then, I wanted to become a DJ”. Antz has a classic British upbringing. Private Boarding School, well connected family and friends and a career that started in the film industry, working for the Comic Strip and on the movie, Gothic. He also had a small part in front of camera, undressing Sigourney Weaver in the film, Half Moon Street with Micheal Caine, a friendship that resulted in Antz playing Natasha Caines wedding, at the spectacular Natural History Musuem in South Kensington in 2007. I then cheekily asked him if it was Boy George who taught him to DJ. “No Im afraid not” replied Antz with a grin. “It was Danny Rampling who showed me the basics and I just picked things up from there myself. My first Gig was at Dannys Club, Shoom in London, which I was given two hours notice for, after David Morales cancelled. The Milk Bar and The Wag Club came next. It was great to be part of that era of change”
I then asked Antz about his musical influences. “I am a big Bob Marley fan and I love reggae music. Aswad were a favourite band of mine as were Bowie and T-Rex”. After playing his first gig at Shoom, Antz returned to Ibiza in “88 and was one of the people responsible for establishing the Terrace at Space. “I remember bringing the decks outside for the sunrise, which back then was basically a car park. We would start playing freestyle and it became one of the best parties on the Island, very much in the same mode as Alfredo’s Amnesia parties. We would then carry the decks down to Bora Bora on the beach and continue the party there”. Antz smiled warmly to himself as he remembered those days and it was now becoming clear to me that Antz was one of those unsung heroes, present at iconic parties for the music, rather than to court fame or commercial gain. “I remember my arms used to be sore, carrying all the vinyl around with me. I did a few gigs at Cafe Del Mar and the Aqualandia open air parties at the old waterpark in Playa Den Bossa. I played with Carl Cox on the Terrace of Space over twenty years ago and they were great times in Ibiza, way less commercial than today. It was more unified……You felt you were part of something special”
Today, DJ Antz uses Record Box to play his music and after a time spent travelling Asia, returned to the Island in 1995. “I did a few parties at Cala Nova and then Aura asked me to do a Friday night residency at their place in San Joan. Im now back playing the Terrace at Space with Carl Cox and also do some of his parties at Sands along with Channel Zoo, Ushuaia, Ibiza Rocks House and Ocean Beach Club”. The respect DJ Antz has among his fellow DJ’s is evident, by the amount of bookings he gets for private parties to the celebrities and high society. Jade Jagger, Jamiroquai, Bruce Parry and Matt Gottschalk are just some of the names he has played for. I then ask Antz about his style of mixing “Its very much freestyle. I play to the crowd and the energy that is in front of me. Im not one of those DJ’s that comes in and plays their own style of music. I try to mix it up and get a feel for the crowd and what they want. Every crowd has a different energy and I try to tap into that and build it up it through the music. Thats what Alfredo did in Amnesia and all the best parties are the ones that are played freestyle”. I smiled in agreement with Antz, understanding myself what it takes to play freestyle. Its a feeling of constantly being on your toes, your brain trying to find the next piece of music that will continue the vibe on the floor. A freestyle DJ does not have a set playlist, they are spontaneous selecting each track depending on how the crowd is reacting to the one just playing. It takes concentration and a wide knowledge of different music genres so that you can dip into any style to freshen the mood and bring it up or down a notch. The best gigs are the ones that you feel totally drained after. It was good to chat with a fellow music maker and exchange notes.
|Damien Hirst Design of Fire Antz|
Belonging to the era that brought a new style of clubbing to the World, one that had its roots in universal togetherness, love and peace, Antz understands one of its fundamental elements, the importance to give something back to the home that nurtured it. He is heavily involved in a local fundraising campaign, Teenage Cancer Trust, with the Spanish Association Against Cancer. “Thankfully I was in a great position to involve London’s Groucho Club with Damien Hirst and also get the opportunity to promote my charities”. Antz refers to the exclusive, private members party, that arrives in Ibiza during the month of August for its annual knees up on the White Isle. Its a party for a more discerning clientèle and is reputed to be one of the best on the Island. Its a Cristal Champagne, rather than pints of San Miguel soiree, attended by the movers and shakers of London’s high society. This year it was held at Sa Talaia Rural Hotel (a part of the Matutes stable), where he was joined by Adamski and alternative, British model Viktoria Modesta, among others. “There is a big need for fundraising on the Island and I am lucky to have so many good friends that help me out in this area”.
Before I know it, the time for the interview has elapsed. I could have easily gone on talking with Antz for much longer, such is his charm and friendly nature. Antz posses that rare quality where he can connect will all types of personalities, some refer to it as a human touch. On leaving, we spoke about Chelsea and their Champions league winning season. I commented on how brilliant Drogba had been and Antz smiled in agreement “You know I was directly behind the goal when Drogba headed the equaliser. I jumped on a flight straight after my set at Aura to be at the game….it was a wonderful night”. I would have enjoyed to have gone to the bar, have a beer and talk football and music all night with Antz, such was the pleasure of his company but maybe some other time. To sum Antz up as a person, you would have to say understated style and warmth, with a great ear for good, honest music, without the hype and over production. I can now understand why DJ Antz is so popular as a DJ’s DJ of choice. Its all about the music with Antz.
“We are the music-makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams. World-losers and world-forsakers, Upon whom the pale moon gleams; Yet we are the movers and shakers, Of the world forever, it seems.”
This is a link to sample some of DJ Antz style soundcloud.com/antzbryans-1/antz-aura Catch DJ Antz at his exclusive residence in Aura every Friday night. Also his most popular Sunday Residency, Play It By Ear at Ibiza Rocks House@Pikes Hotel.