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An interview with Ibiza’s inspirational DJ Alfredo

Marcus Barnes

Alfredo 300x199 An interview with Ibizas inspirational DJ AlfredoAlfredo moved to Ibiza from his native Argentina in the early eighties. Though the island was nowhere near as much of a clubbing hotspot as it is now, he became fascinated with DJing after picking up work at a bar – it wasn’t long before he’d become resident at Amnesia where he cultivated what became known as the ‘Balearic’ sound. He also inspired the UK’s acid house movement, after Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling and Johnny Walker (AKA the Ibiza Four) visited Amnesia in 1987 and attempted to replicate what they’d heard with their own London club nights. I was fortunate enough to be granted some time with Alfredo at the recent International Music Summit in Ibiza.

How’s everything going at the moment, keeping busy?
Yes, I’ve been travelling a lot. I was in Japan recently, England, France, Germany.

I’ve been to Japan a few times now, maybe six times. It was really good this time around as I was with my son, we have a project together called Heritage DJs where we play back-to-back together.

Cool! That’s great, how did that all come together? Has he always been a DJ, too?
He’s done many things: real estate, selling phones in Switzerland, but he’s been DJing for a long time as well. He was around me at parties and in clubs when he was young and naturally got into it. He organised some parties in Switzerland a few years ago as well, we started to play together at Manumission I think, from there we started playing Space at We Love and other places.

Where does the name come from?
It comes from my son, he thought that since we’re doing the father and son thing and it’s influence comes from the past, the name was a perfect fit for the project.

Being someone who’s been here in Ibiza for several decades now, what do you think about Ibiza’s evolution and the changes that have happened over the years?
It’s changing with the times. The world is changing and so Ibiza is changing, you either move with the times and accept it, or you don’t.

What effect has it had on your career?
Not much really, I do what people call me to do. But I’m not playing in places like Ushuaia, I prefer to play in smaller places.

Do you keep up to date with much new music?
Yes I do, but I play a lot of older music – nineties house and that kind of thing. I like to keep a mix of old and new when I play.

I think a mistake that some people make is trying to play all the latest music. A lot of time an audience isn’t really aware of what’s old and what’s new.
It depends on the crowd. A timeless track will always sound modern, it’s happened to me many times where somebody has asked me about a track thinking it’s brand new, and they’ve been surprised when I’ve explained that it’s actually quite old.

What was it that first turned you on to DJing?
I started working in a bar, serving drinks. They had two turntables and a mixer set up but I didn’t know how to use them, for me it was an impossible dream. Eventually I got to try it out and it was like a miracle, I couldn’t believe I could play one record after the other.

I had a similar revelation when I was a kid and I had a two-deck tape player which would play one tape over another, so I could “DJ” with tapes! Do you have many plans about your future?
Just to keep my residency at We Love and there’s also a possibility of another residency on the island, which isn’t finalised yet. Apart from that, just more traveling for gigs.

Since you’re a little older now, how do you deal with the travelling thing?
Well, after the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, travel changed a lot. It’s much more complicated now. Low cost airlines have also had an impact, but this is the life we live and I can’t really complain.

When did you first begin to start travelling outside Ibiza to play?
I actually first started travelling for gigs in my car! I went to Barcelona in the mid-eighties and played gigs there, I had a residency in Madrid. I had connections in Italy, so I went there – Switzerland, Germany, France – I’ve been travelling for gigs for over 3 decades and I’m still doing it.

You’re a very important figure to the UK’s dance music scene, having inspired the acid house movement. How does it feel when people like myself tell you how much of an effect you’ve had on their lives?
It’s a surprise every time! It’s a really nice feeling that someone’s been affected in that way. But I always say, “Don’t believe the hype”! [Laughs].

For sure, if you believe your own hype it’s over! How has being in Ibiza affected you as a person?
I came here from Argentina when I was 23 and it has affected me in every kind of way. It’s incredible, and even more magic back then that it is now… for me anyway. Young people coming here now will experience a different kind of magic that is special to them.

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