LE BAIN: In the mid '80s, you dedicated your life to the island and have since worked at Pacha and Ku (Privilege) and Amnesia. How did it all start?
First of all, I must thank a longtime friend of mine! He used to go to Ibiza at the time, and he is the one who told me: "Pippi, you have a special feeling with music. You must go to Ibiza and see what's going on over there," and I did! I started to go to the island as a tourist and I was amazed by the beauty of the White Island and its spirit. I started to hang with the circle of islanders and pass my mixtapes to Pacha's owners. From that moment, my one wish was to play my style of music in a club like Pacha.
DJ Pippi live from Pacha (1988)
After the owners of Pacha heard one of your tapes, they flew to Germany to hire you. You’re Italian, right? What were you doing in Germany?
I am Italian, but I was living in Germany at the time running some fashion and music shops. One day in March 1984, I was in my shop and the owner of Pacha entered. I said "Hola!" and he got straight to the point. "Hola! We need you at Pacha now!" Can you imagine? I had been living in Germany for more then 10 years and I had so many things going on there, but my wish to play in Ibiza was stronger than everything. I said "Yes, I’m ready!" I took my great record collection with me, and three days later I started to play at Pacha every night of the week.
"Writers, actors, dancers, and drug dealers all together!"
Looking at photos of Ibiza in the ’80s makes you think Studio 54 meets Paris' Le Palace under the sun. What memories do you have of that time?
The entire jet set was visiting the island. It was artists and musicians from all over the world! Going out in Ibiza during the '80s had a very special vibe. It was like being outdoors, on a stage, and surrounded by beautiful people everywhere! Writers, actors, dancers and drug dealers all together! People like Grace Jones, Duran Duran, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Talk Talk, Freddy Mercury, Roman Polanski, Donald Sutherland, Jamiroquai, Simple Red, Bob Geldof, Chris Rea, Mike Oldfield...they all used to hang out every night. No VIPs and nothing private. Everyone was together!
That was before house music took Ibiza by storm in 1987's Summer of Love.
That summer was special because it started a new era for the club and music industry on the Island! DJs began to play only house and Ibiza became the Mecca for the best dance music ever! In the 1990s, Ibiza became the focus of all international DJs and entrepreneurs of the best clubs in the world. Ibiza was musically always a year ahead of the rest of world. Today, the new trend is going to beach clubs where you can dance from 6pm until midnight under the stars. Ibiza is still the island of love and freedom!
Some people say the Balearic feeling can be found anywhere. As a world-trotting DJ, do you agree?
I know how to find the true Ibiza feeling, but it's up to you. Go with the flow and just be yourself! Come and have a look and the island will love you for sure. Ibiza is a positive island. This feeling is around you every moment, you just need to capture that and live the experience in your own way.
DJ Pippi and Willy Graff live from the Funky Room at Pacha
How has your DJ style evolved since the early ’80s?
The more you do, the more you learn! In my case, I have more than three decades in the business and I follow the music as much as I can without forgetting my roots. I feel very lucky to have been able to represent the true Ibiza worldwide for so many decades and grow as a DJ, producer, and human being.
Do you remember the first time you watched the sunset?
My first unbelievable sunset was in Formentera in 1978. I will never forget it, because the next day was the historical concert of Bob Marley at the Corrida Ibiza Town. Can you image the scent that was added to the bullfight? That was historic!
On Friday, July 15th, Le Bain presents DJ Pippi (Ibiza)
as part of Select Summer Fridays
Doors open at 3pm | The Standard, High Line