Sarah Main: Australia’s connection in Ibiza
Although she started out in Australia, it was when she relocated to the Spanish party Isle of Ibiza that Sarah Main really started turning heads. Scoring a residency at legendary superclub Pacha, she regularly played throughout Europe at clubs and events like Pacha in London, Madrid, Barcelona, Austria, Portugal and Palma, as well as Renaissance Wild in the Country, and even David Morales birthday party in Mykonos. Back in Australia for a flying visit, ITM caught up for a chat.
What music influenced you growing up?
A little bit everything. I loved Funk, soul and disco and the early rap and hip hop. I discovered house when it had just started in the UK, I was about 13 I think. I loved the euphoric original sounds. However when I was really young I was a heavy metal head banger and liked a little bit of country and western thrown in for good measure! Hank Williams Jnr rocks!
What has been your most enjoyable gig recently?
NYE in Cape Town was amazing. It was in a castle and the energy was just right. It was one of those moments in which you can’t control your excitement! I looked more like a Mexican jumping bean than a DJ behind those decks.
How would you describe DJing in Pacha Ibiza? Does it live up to all the hype?
It lives up to it, and it is more! It is still for me one of the best clubs in the world. The main room is like a big lounge room and it has a warmth that is usually non existent in huge clubs. On a full capacity night the vibe is so electric it could light up a whole city.
How and where did you learn to beat mix? What initially sparked your interesting in DJing?
I had a big brother figure when I was a teenager called Rodney O. His cousin was a hip-hop DJ and I used to mesmerised when I watched him play. After that had a boyfriend who had been DJing for years and I demanded that he show me how to mix. All it took was a ten minute lesson! I was hooked and then I sat in room frustrated for months until I got it right.
Did you find it was hard to break into DJing because you were female?
No not at all. I won’t say it wasn’t nerve wracking in a predominately male occupation, but that was because I was a little bit more shy than I am these days! However I never let being female become an issue in my career. I think separating yourself because you are female can only be detrimental. Music transcends gender and I think that you have to see yourself as a DJ and not a ‘female’ DJ. I guess it’s all in perception and so I never focused on the female thing as a positive or a negative but just as what it was – I am a chick and I play music, quite simple really!
What advice would you give girls out there who aspire to follow your footsteps in the music industry?
Firstly love what you do and don’t do it for the fame or money. Secondly you have to believe in yourself and your abilities and see setbacks as challenges. It is a cliché but you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. And lastly don’t see being a female as a hindrance. Embrace what you have to offer.
How would you personally describe the style and sound of the music you play?
I am a house chick through and through. I like to play what I think is good music without getting out of touch from the people. My job is to please so I try and keep my sets interesting yet personal. I feel that an element of funk is necessary when I play to keep the warmth and create that booty shakin’ movement on the dancefloor.
Who have been your major influences as a DJ?
Well, at the moment I grab inspiration from everywhere. With so much talent passing through the Pacha doors I am constantly experiencing new music and techniques. On that level I could list names such as, Danny Tenaglia, Erick Morillo, DJ Gregory, Deep Dish, Roger Sanchez. All these guys have impressed me along the way and inspired me to lift my game. However I have to give a well deserved mention to all the Aussie DJs who were the leaders in our scene when I first started out. Especially my man Fat Jools!
Can you tell us a bit about the clubbing scene in general in Spain? Do you spend all your time in Ibiza, and if so what’s it like there in the winter months?
Spanish people have fiestas in their blood. They really know how to have a good time. They are open-minded when it comes to house music even if they tend to enjoy the more underground sound. Barcelona and Madrid are both great party destinations for the avid house lover and you can generally find good places to go all over Spain. Ibiza in the winter? Well let’s just say there is not a lot going on! Pacha is the only club open and even though we get over a thousand people on a Saturday it doesn’t compare to the summer months. However I love the tranquility of the winter months. It is still very social and I have time to focus solely on my work and productions.
You have covered a lot of ground in your DJ career so far. Where would you like to go from here – what’s on the horizon in the future for Sarah Main?
The way I view my career is that I am always at the beginning! I always have new aspirations and love to succeed in new areas. At the moment production is my number one focus. I also have two new radio shows for the summer and my touring schedule is quite hectic as well. As long as I am busy and succeeding in my career I am happy.
What music inspires you now as a DJ? What producers and artists do you always keep an eye out for, and what are the key elements that go into a track for you to play it?
I look for music that is pushing the boundaries without being too obscure. It has to have that element that makes a dancefloor go wild. I like music that doesn’t imitate or ride off the back of a popular sound. However it is hard to find this elusive intelligent sound. Some producers and artists that continue to inspire are people such as Kerri Chandler, Trentemoller, Deep Dish, Martin Solveig, DJ Gregory and Mutiny. And some others who are hot in the moment, Nynex and Cantrelle, Mike Monday, Mylo and Remo.
This weekend Sarah plays Baja on the Gold Coast on Friday May 6th, and then Kink’s 2nd Birthday is Sydney on Saturday May 7th.