When Sake Killed The Music
The first big club news story to break this year in Ibiza was the announcement on Facebook by “Sake Samurai” Richie Hawtin, that his once brilliant Enter Party at Space, would not be returning to its Balearic birthplace in 2016. We were fed a long winded corporate excuse, crafted in the offices of some polished PR Company, about the reasons why Richie felt it was time to sever links with Ibiza. However that explanation lost its credibility due to a Tweet from Richie on December 10 that stated “Onwards to Ibiza to have a full day of meetings to see what our 5th season Enter Experience might be“. That tweet was later deleted in favour of the Facebook statement on January 7. It would not take Sherlock Homes to deduce that the outcome of those meetings at Space was the real reason why Richie decided to pull the plug on another season of Enter in Ibiza.
Enter burst onto the Ibiza scene in 2011, a slick, innovative and creative party that had a team of talented people behind it. It was all about design, atmosphere, look and feel. It was stylish and trendy and the techno was sublime. Its success took the island by storm and it became the hottest ticket in Ibiza clubland. Over the next two seasons it did a roaring trade and the corporate merchandising soon followed. It started to take over and sadly the Sake became more important than the music. Hawtin now has a larger merchandising range than the big EDM stars such as Guetta and Avicci. Enter dinners were been arranged at €500 a head. Like the Enter publicity photo-shoot in the sea at Salinas, the party started to thread water in 2014. Ticket sales dropped as the guest list increased. Clubbers complained that Richie was now too “arty” and that the party and music had “stagnated”. Industry insiders in Ibiza were commenting that Enter was now all about the money and was believing in its own hype.
The reality was that ticket sales last season were poor and Hawtins concept was no more underground than Hardwell’s Carnival across the road at Ushuaia. Sarongs, mugs and toothbrushes should never have anything to do with Techno. Ibiza saw through this bullshit and that is one of the main reasons why Enter is no more on the island. That and corporate greed where certain DJ’s command fees that make it impossible for a club to sign them and trade successfully. Ibiza is always about the music, it is the one fundamental pillar of its success and reputation within the industry. That is why DC10 is so important to the island, DJ’s play there for the music not the money as they are paid a tiny fraction of the fees “industry” DJ’s like Aoki, Guetta and Luciano charge. In my opinion, Space looked at the books and simply could not justify paying Hawtins fees for another season. The problem for large fee DJ’s, is that they can’t be seen to drop their inflated charges as it would directly devalue their image, which is more important to them than the music. Its a catch 22 situation.
These “industry” DJ’s, and their management companies, the ones who attacked Ibiza after the Pacha cull in 2013, saying the island was finished, are still going around saying the same thing today just because Ibiza wont pander to their beat. Ibiza may be finished massaging their big ego’s and paying their inflated fees, but it is not finished as an island that nurtures creative talent and parties that are all about the music, not the money. Ibiza does not judge, that is why EDM is welcomed in places like Ushuaia and Pacha as people enjoy that sound and one should never dis another man’s taste in music. But the fake overproduced DJ’s, the ones who pretend to be something they are not, are the ones that Ibiza finds out fairly quickly. Its very much part of the islands culture, the Ibicencos can spot a fake a mile off, not surprising considering the number of pirates that passed though its lands. That is why the island will always retain authenticity and integrity when it comes to music. Keep it simple, be creative, be about the music and Ibiza will cherish and nurture you. Its not a coincidence that Marco and Carl are the islands most popular parties.
It will be sad to see Enter leave. It was a party that shone brightly on the island and Hawtin is a talented DJ. We all loose direction in our lives at times, grow tired of the daily grind and become complacent. Real creativity, like a summer breeze or a twinkling eye, is fleeting. It belongs to its Zeitgeist and Enter successfully captured that in its early years. Hawtin was correct to walk off the stage with Enter now, rather than risk watching it becoming a lame duck. Ibiza has benefited from the Enter experience and we will no doubt see Richie return on point with another creative party when the time is right. Common sense has prevailed on this occasion, both sides have shook hands and left on good terms. The Enter business model is sure to be a success elsewhere, but it has outgrown Ibiza which is still struggling with the whole money vs the music debate. The island is changing but it is far from finished.