​Guy Gerber on Ibiza: "This Island Still Has its Magic"


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​Guy Gerber on Ibiza: "This Island Still Has its Magic"

The Israeli house provocateur talks Rumors, stealing girls from DJs, and what's really wrong with Balearica.

As the season in Ibiza rounds into the final stretch of 2015, everyone from Carl Cox to Defected's Simon Dunmore has something to say about the state of clubbing upon the Balearic party hub. Amidst Cox's claims that VIP culture is ruining clublife and Dunmore's assertion that the island has lost its love for house, enter Guy Gerber. His party brand Rumors is enjoying a strong second showing and defying naysayers and current trends by being both totally free and steeped in house history.


"The season has been amazing," says Gerber of Rumors' sophomore session, a Sunday day-to-night gathering at the fittingly titled Beachouse. "I didn't know what to expect. I knew that as soon as people started hearing about it, it would get bigger, and when it's bigger, the special people become less visible. It also becomes less cool to go to a thing that everybody knows about. But I was surprised! Every single week is another celebration."

The Israeli dance provocateur could never be accused of being short on personality. Appropriately so, Rumors maintains his particularly Gerber-ian perspective. "The night has a very particular flow," he explains. "It has to start very deep, very spiritual, and it slowly builds up, never too fast. It's a very natural-feeling party. The tracks played must have some substance, not too loopy, and have some kind of musical vibe in them. I'm looking for challenging deep house."

Gerber's insistence upon progressivism in Rumors' musical programming cheats his perspective on Carl Cox's recent claim that VIP culture has "spoilt" Ibiza. "I don't totally agree with that," Guy begins, wryly. "I think VIP brings hot girls, and image is important to a party. I think a lot of these people are very excited about the music and they go and try to make a party. Obviously, there are some douchey VIP people, but there are also some douchey people in the crowd."

"I don't think that's what is spoiling Ibiza," Gerber goes on. "I think what's spoiling Ibiza is that people are trying to please the crowd with their music, whereas before people were trying to be more challenging. Now, people just think about massive raves instead of what Ibiza was about, parties and music and community. Everything is trying to be big now. There's a lot of greed over here."


Ibiza's development from a lonely island of party-prone hippies into a commercial clubbing mecca has been well documented, particularly in the decade that Gerber's been about, but he keeps a keen eye on the past. "Grace Jones used to spend months over here. The Beatles used to come to Ibiza, Pink Floyd too. Salvador Dali used to go to Pacha! There's a place called Cafe Mambo where they celebrate the sunset, every day for fifteen years. And during the sunset, they don't play house tracks, they just play something beautiful…it could be Air, a disco track, maybe Jimi Hendrix."

These oft-recalled and hazy memories of an Ibiza lost are steeped in Balearica, a slippery notion that even Gerber struggles to crystallize: "In house, for me it used to be a bit light, the beat has to be not so heavy, and the melody, the good ones, are a bit mysterious, a bit festive, with a certain island vibe. The culture of the afterparty is really part of the island and the music. People to go the villa and lock themselves there for two days. There are decks, the DJs come off and on, sometimes for two days. Because people stay for so long, the music can't be too aggressive. Luciano used to play like this, and Villalobos. Balearic…It's hard to describe, but if you're here, you know."

All nostalgia aside, Gerber's first excursion to the Ibiza wasn't all long hugs and tender mallet synths. After Sven Väth's Cocoon released Gerber's debut album Late Bloomers, he showed up to perform in 2007. "I always thought Ibiza would be cheesy," he says, a cynic even at that age. "I didn't know what to expect, but I landed and went straight to the opening of Cocoon."


A Bullshitter's Guide to Balearic

Thus begins a humid timewarp of excess, lust, confusion and triumph, as many Ibizan tales are. "It was an amazing night," says Gerber. "After the show, I continued with one girl and another DJ to a boat party. I had never been to a boat party in my life before. I was kind of high and they played one of my tracks. I thought it was the best day of my life. It was unbelievable! And then, me and the girl, went to a room on this boat."

So far so good, huh? Not quite. "Seconds before we started to kiss, someone opened the door. It was the other DJ! He was furious because he thought they had something. It started to be extremely awkward. I suggested that maybe I should leave the boat.

This plan didn't work out so well for Guy. "Everybody was high on the boat, there was no escape. In the end, I didn't know what to do, so I went up to the upper deck and fell asleep somewhere. When I woke up, everybody had forgotten about me and left! I went downstairs and only four people remained on the boat: The owner, his wife, that DJ, and the girl."

"I really made an effort for them to not see me," he says, pausing to wait for me to stop laughing. "I was walking like the Pink Panther, really slow. I went all the way to to the beach. At this point, I was freezing. I didn't have a phone, I had no idea where I was. I was at the beach, alone, at night. And I just started walking."


Gerber walked for miles. Had he not been saved by a carful of rowdy Italian lads, he may have met an untimely demise in some Balearic sinkhole and become a footnote in the history of deep house as opposed to the scene leader he is today. "They just saw a person walking and they picked me up," he says of the moment of his apparent salvation. "I ended up in another villa, which was full of ten Italian guys working on music. They found out who I was and said, if you want to stay here, you gotta give us advice on the track."

Sleep deprived, exhausted and lost, Gerber was held as a musical hostage. "We worked on the track all night!" says Gerber. "By the morning, somebody had found out where I was and came to save me, but those were my first nights in Ibiza."

"Was the track any good in the end?" I ask. "No," he laughs. "It sucked."

Thankfully, Gerber's current musical involvements bear his stamp of approval. He's launching a Rumors label. I just released my track "Rumors on the Dancefloor" with Miss Kittin, and I'm gonna have remixes from Matthew Dear, Mr.G, who is like my favorite artist, and Radio Slave. Then we're having releases from Christian Burkhardt and Clarian. After that I'm expecting something with one of my favorite producers, Kenny Glasgow from Art Department now that he's doing stuff on his own."

Guy Gerber is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter