Loco Dice has been DJing in Ibiza for 15 years. That's long enough to have witnessed legends like Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin make the move from parties in private villas to super mega clubs where the lighting system alone costs more than your house and your college education combined. Dice's weekly daytime open air fête is called Used and Abused, presumably in reference to what partygoers are doing to their bodies because they're still out from the night before and should really get some sleep. "It's not a sweet party," says the German hip-hop-turned-house DJ. "It's a power party." We chased him down on the heels of his new In The House mix for Defected Records; he told us about how the Spanish island has changed over the years—"underground DJs are playing for 3000 instead of 600 people"—and waved off the naysayers braying about Ibiza's impending demise.
THUMP: Hey Loco, sounds like you've been used and abused. Totally. I'm trapped by my own party [laughs].But seriously, did you call it Used and Abused to encourage daytime raging? Well, you have to be very careful with what name you use. It's not a sweet party. It's a power party. Used and Abused is a kind of word play. You're saying, "OK I'm coming to the party to get used and abused."
So it's like your Toxic EP? It's like a tongue-in-cheek joke? Exactly. It's a joke. It's like how after the summer you hear all the DJs saying, "Oh, I'm going to detox, and locsox, and fucksox." Whatever they call it.How do you pull off the perfect Ibiza party? Ibiza is like the champion's league. You can't come from nowhere and say you want to do a party. Because you have a big responsibility. You can't forget that some people save for the entire year to spend that money in a week in Ibiza. So you have to show that you're trying to give a little bit back. Turn the easy vibes into a mini-festival where people are jumping on each other and the energy is crispy.
In the trailer for your Defected mix, you're very adamant about not being categorized as house, techno or tech-house. Why do you feel so strongly about this issue?I don't like categorization. It confuses people. Let's not forget what happened to minimal techno. It was an amazing era, but everything that had a techno component became "minimal." I was very adamant that I wasn't minimal. Robert Hood knows how to do minimal. Richie Hawtin knows minimal. Loco Dice comes from hip-hop. That's the great thing about our scene. We can bring everything between house and techno together without calling it a name.
So you think everyone should just use the blanket term "electronic music"? Yes! It's all electronic music! I've been asked many times by people from a different scene, like Louie Vega, "Wow, you drop a Kenny Dope beat after Marcel Dettmann?" Why not? There are no rules. There are no boundaries. You can do whatever you want. Our music is proclaiming worldwide freedom. Why should our music not be free?
Who do you blame for our overreliance on micro-genres? Michelle, you know exactly. It's the media that chose these words and directed things. If they have to only talk about "electronic music," they get bored. So they need a new hype. I used to say my music was chunky, so they called me the chunky DJ. I mean, come on. What is chunky? That's not a music style, that's just an impression. I told you before that my party's energy is crispy. Maybe, no offense, you'll be like the English journalists, and say like, "Hey, crispy is the new style." Then Beatport makes a new category called crispy, and now all the music I'm playing and the DJs related to me are playing "crispy."
Okay, I agree with you that maybe some micro-genres are getting hyped out of control. But I still think genres are important to distinguish between different movements that have their own scenes, histories, cultures and tribes. Well yes, you have these distinctions, like when Jamie Jones came up up with a new house sound, all these guys following him—Maetrik, wAFF—they made this new generation of house. It's great to call it this. But then Jamie goes out and plays techno, and people are like, "Why you playing these hard beats?!" Man, because I'm at a festival and I like this music too, and it's also part of house? Why shouldn't I play a chord by Kenny Chandler or a nice tribal beat by Kenny Dope at the end of my set to loosen up the tension I created over the last two hours of power? It's like a massage.
What's the scene right now in Ibiza? I've been hearing some things about how it's going back to its roots, and becoming more open to weirder underground sounds. What's the temperature like?The temperature in August is always very hot. In June and July everyone is motivated and full of energy and ideas. But then comes August and people start to face reality. This isn't working, we're spending too much money on this… like that. Ibiza was always underground. What I will say is that we are now in a generation where underground DJs are playing for 3000 instead of 600 people. But we've also had commercial music in Ibiza for 30 years. It's always the same, Michelle—parties, rumors, ha-la-la, ca-ka-ka.
You don't think Ibiza is changing at all?Yes, there is a new generation—Marco [Carola] got his own night, Richie [Hawtin], me, Sven [Vath]…ya, we are filling the spot even more. But it's just an evolution. You shouldn't put so much pressure on it.What never changes about Ibiza? You have people from different cultures slam on this island for three months. That's why we call it the mecca of electronic music. It's a chemical reaction. A melting pot.Do you think it's bullshit that Vegas is the next Ibiza?Ya, it's big bullshit. If you look at Ibiza 20 years ago, of course you didn't have these super clubs. You had to do underground parties in villas. Ibiza is like a volcano before it erupts, but it never erupts. So it's always different. Everything you look at ten years ago looks different. Even blue jeans looked different ten years ago. It's just the packaging.
Usually, I would agree with you. People have been saying that Vegas is the new Ibiza for years now. But how about all the changes that have happened lately: Tiesto skipping Ibiza for Hakkasan in Vegas. The guy who runs Pacha firing his longtime musical director Danny Whittle. I don't know Tiesto personally. Maybe he's just fed up with Ibiza. I know a lot of commercial DJs who've told me they're tired of Ibiza and want to skip it this year for Vegas. They say there's something happening there and they want to be a part of it. But it's like a soap opera in Ibiza. These stories are always there. I remember back in the day when Manumission lost their slot and privilege. Or when DC10 had to close because the police took their license. But "Tiesto is leaving Ibiza because Ibiza might go down"? No.Michelle loves crispy power parties - @MichelleLHOOQ