Steve Hulme, music and DJ bookings director at Pacha, has had a baptism of fire in his first season at the helm of one of the Worlds finest music Galleons. With a tough first season behind them, they look forward to building on the success of last years big hits such as FMIF, Pure Pacha, Solomun, Insane and Flower Power. It was not all roses in the garden though, as two nights did not seed very well and while one will be pruned, the other, Epica, will go onto the compost heap while the artists attached, move to greener pastures. "Myself, Francisco and Jessica, were regularly putting in 18 hour days during last season" recalls Steve as I ask him about his first summer in what many people would consider "The best Job in the World".
The first question I ask Steve, is if he's happy with how his first season in charge went, "Overall, yes", he replies with caution. "We set out to change things, as we felt musically, we needed to freshen up and make change. Pacha is always about music and theater and while some parties did not work out the way we wanted to, others surprised us. Pure Pacha, pushed David Guetta very close to being top party at the club, Flower Party was a revelation in its first weekly slot, welcoming a new generation to the club. I'm very proud of what Insane turned into musically and its only going to get better. We couldn't be happier with Solomun and look forward to a long relationship with him and his team. They bring more than just music to our club as they are great to work with and I expect Solomun to breakthrough to another level this year". Much of last seasons attention had been drawn to the left field addition of Guy Gerber's Wisdom Of The Glove party, which replaced the legend that was Erik Morillo and I ask Steve about the status of the party for this year. "Guy will be doing four showcases of his WOTG party at Insane. The party did not work out the way we had hoped last summer, as asking an underground crowd to come to Pacha for three parties, Insane, Solomun and WOTG, was a bit much. If DC10 or Sankeys with their smaller capacities had WOTG, it would have been perceived as a success. We didn't want to go chasing it for a second season, forcing it and leaving the heavy lifting to Guy, so we decided to nurture it a bit longer, giving it a platform to shine as part of Insane, in the hope that it will return on its own legs again in the future."
Steve Aoki with FMIF @ Pacha
I then ask Steve about the replacement for WOTG, the anti-thesis of what Guy Gerber stood for. "Steve Aoki was never brought in to replace Guy. We had originally wanted him to do Mondays but it worked out better for Steve to do Wednesdays. Steve was a huge hit when he played with David Guetta last summer - it was one of the stand out moments in the club and his style of performance suits Pacha in the context of the music he represents. He connects with a crowd in the way that nobody else does and musically he is signing some great artists. His team are excellent to work with, they are always on with ideas and involved with everything we do. They bring so much to the table and I feel he is one of the top Marquee DJ's in the World. For us, he is a small theater in a Club and we were lucky to secure his services, as this will be his first Ibiza residency. Steve Aoki and Pacha is not a one off season, we want to build a long relationship together if possible...he's a modern artist and his shows are just kick-ass. The acts he will be bringing in with him are gigantic...R3hab are huge right now and everybody from that scene wants to play with Steve Aoki". Pacha has always liked associating with big names and while it is a jolt from Gerbers night, a person can see Steve Aoki fitting in snugly with the Pacha image and doing well for them. People like entertainment when on holiday and one forgets at times, that Ibiza in the main, is a holiday crowd.
We then move on to Mondays and a night that Steve is really excited about. "We hope to have a really good party on Monday nights, but due to contractual reasons, I can't talk about it right now. We hope to be in a position to announce all our nights and support acts after Miami". A big hit musically last season was Insane and Pacha have put together a serious line up of talent for the season ahead. "John Digweed, Guy Gerber, DJ Sneak, Reboot and Tensnake, will be joined by Denis Ferrer, who will do ten dates, as will MK, who we were absolutely thrilled to sign for ten parties.We have really worked on this party and it will have a more melodic and vocal feel to it this year". Expect the Insane party to be Pacha's flagship underground night for the foreseeable future. Last seasons most popular party at Pacha, FMIF and David Guetta, will return with "a more musical direction" this season with Martin Garrix, (tbc) Shotex and Nicky Romero, all lined up for a date with the French maestro and reigning King Of Pacha. "We are delighted to have Flower Power back and we were thrilled with the way it connected to a younger crowd last season" comments Steve. "Pure Pacha will return with Martin Solveig and Bob Sinclair doing ten dates each and Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard, will close the party for 18 weeks. Pure Pacha has elements of classic and new, with Masters at Work, Kenny Dope and The Magician, all adding to the nights. Also John Martin is in for multiple shows, so with all of that and more, we are really happy with Pure Pacha"
The Pacha Brothers, Piti and Ricardo Urgell.
Steve admits that this season has been a harder one to work on than the last " Its a long and arduous process to sign up certain DJ's and acts. Everybody wants to sign the top DJ's and EDM is so popular right now - we had to fight hard to sign certain names this year and trust me, its not just a case of simply picking up the phone.... DJ's are big brands with Global goals and commitments. A lot of personalities to navigate, from agent to manager, to artist to label, all those considerations to work around." I then ask Steve if there will be any changes inside the club this summer "As you know, we always like to improve things at Pacha and this year, we will be introducing a new look for the DJ box. Its not moving, but it will have a highlighted centerpiece and we look forward to unveiling it". Destino, is another venue that Pacha have worked hard on this year. "We have a team working very hard in sorting out a number of local issues with regard to Destino and we are happy with the situation there now - it is always our intention to be a good neighbour. We would love to have Nicolas Jaar back, as well as Luciano and Loco Dice, if all are willing and available".
Steve Hulme and Pacha are now looking for stability at the iconic Ibiza club. Five nights are solid and the new Monday party and Steve Aoki's night, are long term contracts. Professional and slick teams of people, coming together under one iconic roof, working with each other to achieve a polished product, is where Ibiza is going these days. Gone is the looseness and freedom of the hippe era, as to survive in the current economic environment is hard, as competition from across the globe raises its game. Ibiza needs to remain relevant but at the same time protect and nurture, creative talent. Pacha has been the quintessential Ibiza experience for a number of decades now but there are other clubs and venues offering their own style of Ibiza - there is no easy ride anymore. This season should give us a better idea of what lies ahead for the much loved club, that was born of hippy blood.