Although all common sense suggested I do otherwise, I found myself booking a last minute flight on the storied route from London to Ibiza last weekend. All I could finagle myself was 34 hours between arrival late on Sunday night and departure early Tuesday morning to soak in decades of dance history, but after reading Solomun's White Isle Journals all Summer, I figured it would be an effective antidote to the unbearable FOMO I'd been experiencing.
In the name of "research," I felt it my duty as a music journalist to get as deep into the local club culture as I could in two nights. It's just a cheeky dink over to the Balearic Islands, right? Sundays are probably pretty casual, you say? What could go wrong?
What followed were some of the highest and lowest moments of my life. Pacha, Solomun, Butch, 700-year old cathedrals, Amnesia, Sven Väth, hitch-hiking along dirt roads, Dixon, bachelorette parties with Ben Klock, and vomiting on an EasyJet. All this crammed between 34 hours of sweaty, sweaty house and techno.
I had been told that Easyjet flights can get a bit hectic. It's true. The kids on the plane turn that airborne clanger into a zoo, yelling, jumping on seats and sitting on women's laps. I don't mean club kids, by the way, I mean actual children. The plane is full of 'em. That said, this young lad watching Only Fools and Horses shows a mature taste in comedic programming for a four year old. "He knows every word," his mom tells me.
Upon landing I start sweating and don't stop until we touch down again in London.
Straight to Pacha, where Solomun, unarguably one of the World's finest house DJs, keeps the vibes strong all night long. German selector Butch AKA The Sleaziest Moustache in Tech-house provides accompaniment for Solomun's repertoire of casual-but-serious fistpumps and many more delicate hand gestures. I don't think the man has ever played a bad song in his life.
The bottles of Belvedere in the VIP are so large that you could pickle a fetus in them. I have no reason to be there other than to siphon someone else's very expensive booze into free booze for myself, which I do, until a petite bearded man gives me an earful that I can't hear or understand. He looks very mad, though. I offer to give my contraband cocktail back to him, but in true Eivissan spirit, he lets me keep it and I save about 25 euros.
The afters is at a joint called Destino, but I have no idea where that is. I'm convinced by a pretty girl with a deathwish that it is within walking distance. It is most definitely not within walking distance.
As my new friend sidles up a quickly de-industrializing road trying to hitch us a ride while the early morning sun bakes us, I realize that I was having so much fun the night before that I forgot to take any drugs. This makes me feel weird. Maybe that feeling is an early sign of heat stroke, though.
After dry-heaving in the sun, taking off my shirt (a rare occurrence), and fighting off hordes of mosquitos, we're saved by a lumbersexual Italian man in a Fiat who takes us up the rest of the hill to Destino. I'm exhausted, dehydrated, lost and confused, until I stumble into Solomun and Butch continuing their b2b well into the morning there at Tox, a more intimate Pacha-run venue tucked into the hills in the suburban outskirts of Ibiza town.
Sleep is a thing.
Dalt Vila, Ibiza's old town with cobbled roads and a 700 year-old Cathedral, feels a million miles away from the madness, even though it's walkable from Pacha. There are many sides to this island, exemplified by the throngs of upper-middle class British families chomping luxuriously on calamari, oblivious to the temples of excess that flank their mellow, family-friendly holidays.
I blag my way into Amnesia by telling the door guy I'm a "journalist" for "Vice" in "America." I'm tough enough to understand even in English, so I think he was just confused by my broken Spanish (See: Mexican) and just ushered me through to be rid of me. Thanks!
Amnesia. Now this is a fucking nightclub, a gargantuan temple of worship for dance music. It's so fucking big! In the main room, Ben Klock and Enzo Siragusa commandeer cold, tech vibes, while Sven Vath and Dixon provide more melodic climates in the even larger terrace. I've never seen so many people in one area listening to such obtuse music. Here, the underground is overground.
Amnesia's smoking area is like a United Nations of rave. A worried gaggle of British girls on a hen do stand worried and huddled in the corner. They came expecting a Paris Hilton foam party, but, a day late, found the uncompromising thud of Ben Klock.
Straight from the nightclub to the airport. It sounds glamorous, but I am fucking struggling. Once again, I was caught up in the moment so much all night that I forgot to take any drugs. I don't mean this in some sappy do-gooder way. I support drug use! I swear! But the energy of these venues is such that you don't even need anything illegal to get you up.
Even without a cocktail of substances, I find myself introduced to The Ibizan Nightcap AKA De-regurgitating AKA The Balearic Aperitif. This is when, after going straight from the nightclub to the airport, you vomit in your mouth as the plane is in the midst of take-off procedure. Strapped in and surrounded (Keep in mind, EasyJet is too budget for a sick bag), you are left with no other option than to drink it...slowly. This was one of the lowest moments of my life, and with it, I departed Ibiza a better man.
Jemayel Khawaja is Managing Editor of THUMP - @JemayelK