Words: Olivia Ebeling
Photography: La Skimal & Harvey’s Generalstore
As another cracker of a season in Ibiza draws to a close for DJ Harvey, with the final edition of his much loved Mercury Rising residency at Pikes Ibiza approaching and his new compilation The Sound Of Mercury Rising about to drop, there couldn’t have been a better time to catch up with the legendary master mixer.
From his first eye-opening visit to the White Isle in the ‘90s to his favourite foodie experiences in Ibiza and his ‘house party’ style fiestas at the iconic boutique hotel he has made his island home, here Harvey reflects on his relationship with the Balearic paradise and shares a few of his Ibiza insider secrets…
When was the first time you came to Ibiza?
I think it was in 1990. There was a bit of a DJ excursion organised by a chap called Charlie Chester. He had faith in me; I was a pretty marginal DJ at the time… I mean, I had my thing but I wasn’t the hippest cat on the block and Charlie brought me out for that Ibiza ’90 trip with a bunch of other people. There’s actually a little movie about it which is called A Short Film About Chilling and there are a couple of flashes of me on the dance floor at Ku. That was my first visit and I played at Café Del Mar and Summon during that trip. There were some legendary moments that have been turned into passages in some books that relate to my activities during that stay.
Really? What activities were those?
Well… I sort of held court in a villa on top of a mountain and that became known as Harvey’s ‘acid test’. Some members of the band The Farm and people like that came up, and they had never experienced anything quite like it – I think a couple of the band members had never been out of Liverpool at that time. That trip is a blur, but it’s a legendary blur.
What made you fall in love with the island?
My first visit to the island was a voyage of discovery and it opened my eyes because I actually had no interest in Ibiza beforehand. It had that sort of ‘Euro trash pop music and soccer hooligans’ reputation, so it didn’t appeal. And then when Nicky Holloway, Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling and the guys came back from Ibiza in 1987 it was like, ‘hang on, there’s something coming on there’. So then I came out in 1990 and discovered the people with a twinkle in their eye, the people that made the place special, the artists and the musicians and the creative types that to this day are a special part of the island.
You must have so many amazing Ibiza stories… Are any of them publishable?
Apart from Pikes, what is your favourite place to play in Ibiza?
I always liked Pacha because it’s an incredible venue, one of the best in the world. It’s one of the oldest clubs on the island and the Funky Room, the little one just off the side of the main room, is one of the original disco rooms and that hasn’t really changed. I’d actually quite like to do something there.
Why did you choose Pikes for your Mercury Rising residency?
I have always come to Pikes, maybe even on that trip in the ‘90s, there was a little barbecue or dinner up here. It’s an amazing place. And when I came back ten years later, I thought I would love to do a residency here. I believe that you manifest your destiny, so I put it out there and that’s what happened. The Pikes family is really cool; everyone from Dawn and Andy to Mika and Sunny are super accommodating and they have really embraced me here. And the venue, Freddie’s, is of course Freddy Mercury’s old suite where he lived and you can actually take a leak in his original bathroom – and that’s a bit of rock ‘n’ roll right there. It’s an antidote to a lot of what’s going on in Ibiza right now. Of course, there’s always been a commercial and corporate side to clubbing but Pikes is a little oasis of sensibility in the sea of [VIP] madness. It’s a great, easy-going ‘grown-up’ place where you can do your own thing without worrying about other people too much.
Have you done bathtub karaoke with Sunny yet?
Yes. I usually sing Rhinestone Cowboy by Glenn Campbell but he just passed away… It was kind of spooky actually, because he kicked the bucket almost to the moment that I last sang Rhinestone Cowboy.
Are you into the spiritual side of the island?
Not at all. There is not a spiritual bone in my body. Some people might see me in a bit of a spiritual light, because I’m up in the DJ booth similar to the priest delivering his sermon, but I believe spirituality should be practised and not spoken about. I do believe in astrology though, because that is sort of related to the planets and science. My star sign is Leo.
The wellness and fitness industry has exploded in Ibiza in recent years…
There’s nothing wrong with having a balanced diet and doing some exercise, that’s all very well. I like Wild Beets [in Santa Gertrudis] and I go there to get my juices, that’s a great spot. At home, I surf maybe once, maybe four times a week. Surfing and dancing are my little activities.
What’s your favourite foodie experience on the island?
I’m a real foodie and one of my favourite activities is to go out to eat. There are the obvious places like La Paloma, and there is a great spot called Can Pilot, which is like a Spanish barbecue with big slabs of meat. There are so many great places here, you could go and eat out constantly. I think it’s great the way the restaurant scene has exploded here over the last few years. In fact, one of the things I helped with at Pikes this year was to create the menu for Mondays, which is a sort of Tex-Mex flavour because I live in Los Angeles and there is a lot of Mexican food out there. Which is great for British people, because it’s basically beans and cheese!
What do you like to do when you have time to chill in Ibiza?
I tend to just lounge around Pikes because it’s all here; different people come all the time, there’s a party almost every night… So I just hang around Pikes during the day and then I go out to eat at night. If I have friends over here who are a little more adventurous I like taking a little Zodiac boat out to Es Vedra and then go around to Atlantis. I like the story that Es Vedra was the inspiration for Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Of course, there are all the stories about magnetism and lay lines but I haven’t really looked into that… But it’s a powerful place, it’s a big rock and when you look at it it’s inspiring.
Do you have a special place to watch the sunset?
Not really… I live in California, where we have great sunsets. I mean, I don’t avoid it, it’s just not something I gravitate towards. But Hostal La Torre is a nice spot, and I have been DJing there a couple of times this summer.
Do you have a favourite beach?
Punta Galera is great, it’s a little cove with just flat rocks. I don’t really like swimming in busy places where you can see a film of sunscreen on the water because I like to surf and I go around the world jumping into the ocean… And actually the one reason I don’t live in Ibiza is because there is no surf. If there was, I would live here.
Catch DJ Harvey’s last all night set at the final Mercury Rising party for 2017 on Monday, September 25th. The Sound Of Mercury Rising will be released September 29th on Pikes Records. For further information head to www.pikesibiza.com.