News

Pacha rallies against expensive DJs (and dance-loving “idiots”)

‪When inthemix sat down with Pacha founder Ricardo Urgell last year to talk about the past, present and future of his iconic club, he suggested DJ fees were rising to prohibitive heights. Having moved from Privilege to the smaller surrounds of Pacha for the 2012 Ibiza season, Tiesto was now too expensive, Urgell said. In a new story published in the New York Times, titled ‘Trouble Stalking Night-Life Paradise’, the club don’s distaste for DJ demands has only amplified.

“The DJs wanted more money to play less,” José ‘Piti’ Urgell, Ricardo’s brother, says. “It was an abuse. We had to come up with a new plan because the old one was going to explode.” The Times also quotes Piti Urgell as claiming, oddly enough, that electronic music “hasn’t evolved in 20 years and is for idiots.” This follows on from another bizarre soundbite from Ricardo in 2011, quoted by the Times: “It’s monotonous sound and volume; it’s bodies squeezed together, it’s a little masochistic…The great defect of this music is that it has to be accompanied by drugs. I took Ecstasy just one time in my life and found that out for myself.”

As the Times reports, Pacha has split with its stalwart music director Danny Whittle, didn’t renew the contract of longtime flag-bearer Erick Morillo, and lost Tiesto, Luciano and Pete Tong – with only David Guetta returning to the club this season.

According to the story, the Urgells have railed against Whittle for indulging the demands of top-earning DJs. The rise of Las Vegas as an ultra-competitive dance music destination has also changed the game. “The Urgells grew annoyed at how Mr. Whittle indulged the whims of top acts, like re-designing the DJ booth last year to accommodate Tiesto and finding the Swedish House Mafia trio extra Champagne at island supermarkets,” the reporters write. “They also clashed when Mr. Whittle began allowing Pacha DJs to spin at the Ushuaïa Beach Hotel, which put on afternoon pool parties, taking its cue from Miami and Las Vegas.” While Whittle has snagged the likes of Luciano, Morillo and Defected in the House for his next venture on the White Isle, the Urgells are changing their tune dramatically.

So how is Pacha filling the gap in its programming this season? By largely dodging the tried and tested super-expensive names – save for Guetta’s F**k Me I’m Famous! stronghold on Thursdays – and harkening back to Ibiza’s “original spirit”. Morillo’s Wednesday night fixture will be taken over by tech-houser Guy Gerber with his Wisdom Of The Glove residency. Gerber told the Times his night will “feature indie bands, magicians, fortunetelling machines, maybe a puppeteer”, and Pacha’s site lists respected guests like Craig Richards, Cajmere, Benoit & Sergio and Mathew Jonson.

Mondays is EPICA with a Dirty Dutch vibe led by Chuckie, while Flower Power on Tuesdays re-visits “the true hippie spirit of Ibiza with a musical journey through the colorful 60s & 70s” via Piti Urgell as the main DJ. The weekends will begin with the INSANE residency that has gone jacking, techy, deep and driving with Fritz Kalkbrenner, John Digweed, Steve Lawler, Joris Voorn, DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter and Mark Farina.

Saturdays are Pure Pacha with big-room specialists like Hardwell (a significant booking given his current pulling power), Bob Sinclar and Martin Solveig, while on Sunday it’s over to Diynamic boss Solomun with his ’+1’ residency. The house star is taking over from Luciano’s Cadenza night. It’s a bold and risky shake-up at the Ibiza institution. “This is going to cost them a fortune,” Mr. Whittle tells the Times. “I am either dealing with madness or genius, and it’s just about to come out in the wash.”