It's 3 AM at Amnesia Ibiza and the Terrace is throbbing. Tonight is an 'Origins' takeover. I am being whisked across the dance floor in the company of headliner Luciano. The high-profile island luminary is pulled left and right by a throng of adoring fans. I find myself caught right in the middle of it. If ever there was one, this is my Almost Famous moment.
The man of the hour and I finally arrive in a private press room. I'm on the clock—his set is scheduled to begin in 15 minutes—so there's no time to waste. Straightaway, I want to know the origins behind, well, 'Origins', Luciano's exclusive new series featuring himself amongst a distinguished bill of DJs and live acts from his Cadenza and Aether Artists families.
"What we wanted to do is bring back less quantity but more quality, to deliver a message to the people that it's about doing a party together. About unity. That's why we teamed with Cocoon on Mondays. To achieve the spirit we had a long time ago back in collaboration."
Luciano indeed has a celebrated history with Cocoon. Sven Vath's underground platform helped build names like himself, Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Marco Carola and more into international techno powerhouses. But in all the years of the fabled Cocoon, nobody else has been handed the reins of half the party for their own special project. This speaks volumes about not only Luciano the artist, but Luciano the star.
"I have a lot of respect for the folks I have been working with there for so many years. And when the idea about getting with someone to do a party for me came along, it was logical to do it with Cocoon. They've established themselves on the island. I really wanted to be part of that again. Their team accepted and we were all very thrilled to do it. We thought it was the best audience for us to host it together and now here we are!"
The 'Origins' concept has been an outright success. As Luciano and I had chatted about at Bud Light Digital Dreams earlier in the summer, 2014 seems to have signaled a year of rebirth for him: new party, new label, new alias. It's all reflected in the 'Origins' name. Still, I wonder if he can single out one factor in why the gathering has been such a big hit. The answer invariably comes back to quality.
"We reduced the amount of shows and we focused on the caliber."
The 'Origins' series only runs on eight dates throughout the season and the line-ups have been impeccable. Established favourites like Carl Craig, Josh Wink, Ryan Crosson, Cesar Merveille, Mirko Loko and more have all made appearances as chief support, plus there was a notable back-to-back with close friend Ricardo Villalobos.
Luciano may feature prominently in big shot showcases across the globe, but 'Origins' is his thing.
"Ibiza has been my homeland for a long time. I've had this relationship with the island for a really extended period. So it's more about telling a story that starts here and ends here. This is what makes it so special, because you have so many people from different places of the world that come to Ibiza to experience something different."
But in playing a residency on the island, surely Luciano must feel the pressure to change it up from week to week. Right?
"No, no," I'm told. He doesn't think in those terms. "Sometimes when a track works, you want to play it for weeks and months, and keep on playing it because when the music is good… the music is good," he says. "You have to use it and make the people enjoy it as soon as it hits. There are really good songs that can go on for 20 years and even more. But it's about twisting every piece with sections of others and bringing them together."
He wants to follow the crowd's reactions and please them. "Since the people are here for me, it's really important that I'm available for them. To go out with a very good memory of the evening. That's why I do this."
However make no mistake, the curation at hand here extends far beyond just hosting an exceptional rave. You can sense a very strong tribal theme behind 'Origins'. It's witnessed in the artwork, promotion and production, and in Luciano's musical programming as a whole.
Luciano concurs and candidly informs me about the valuable time in April 2012 that he and his family spent with the Kogi Tribe in Northern Colombia. Where, from the first minute to the last second he occupied in their company, every moment came with utmost significance.
"They taught me so many things. It was so important for me because I was trying to look for a message and a little bit of mindfulness about what I'm doing and how I can bring sensibility back to the people."
The lesson Luciano learned was very simple but extremely important.
"I'm from South America. I grew up there and it was always important for me to find the message of consciousness through the people that have been on this planet for so much longer. And with the Kogi I saw how I could connect what I was doing with more social awareness and also with the environment."
While his newly established organization One Coin For Life—founded on the belief that the electronic music industry is in a position to help others and channel its assets to have an impact on global communities—is beginning to satisfy those desires on a charitable end, I get the notion that 'Origins' is Luciano's creative vehicle for it. A jumping-off point for the larger message he wants to communicate.
"The most important thing is to be mindful of what all our generations and new ones are able to do together when we unite. Especially when we go and dance!"
I'm politely interrupted by his team and cautioned about the time. No problem. I'm a fan first and too excited to see Luciano play in his element to hold him up. With a wink, he turns and tells me, "Let's go and make this happen!"
What follows is magic on the enclosed greenhouse Terrace. Luciano administers a free-swinging, trademark display of his Latin-infused rhythmic house, energetic acapellas and intense effects breaks. The atmosphere in the room is spirited throughout. Upwards of 5,000 strong in sync with him, there is a spellbinding bond between Luciano and his audience that can't be denied.
He wraps up close to 9 AM. I'm fortunate enough to slip in a final question or two while Amnesia clears out: is Luciano able to think back to his first unheralded appearances on the island 15 seasons ago and could he ever imagine that this is how far he would come?
"I never expected anything," he tells me earnestly. "I always try to do my best. With passion, with all the love that I have. Trying every time to deliver all the things that I feel about melody and about the people. About seeing the reaction of the individuals coming to the show. For me, it's just amazing. It is the answer to all the efforts and all the love that we are putting through music."
The fun continues into the next sundown at Chiringuito No Name on the beach where Luciano conducts yet another masterpiece session. As he digs his bare feet into the sand, I can only be reminded of one thing: how much deeper than Ibiza this man's 'Origins' run.
You can follow Christopher on Twitter and Instagram at: @theCMprogram
Ibiza-based Frank Weyrauther is the Creative Director at Dub Magazine Ibiza. His portfolio can be viewed at Phrank Photo/Graphics. As the in-house photographer for Cocoon, he has shared with THUMP a special gallery of the sights that have defined the debut season of 'Origins'.