Martin Ferrer Vega aka Mar-T knows Ibiza like the back of his hand. An Amnesia resident for nearly 20 years, the Spanish selector has been perfecting his collection of techno, house and everything in between behind the decks at one of the world’s best clubs, and knows more than most about how to get a party going. Set to spend some time in the UK as he heads over for South West Four festival in late August, Vega seemed a good person to talk to about the White Isle, the allure of Amnesia and how EDM has changed the face of dance music - and not necessarily for the better! Here’s what he had to say when Mar-T joined us for In Conversation.
Hi Martin, we’re now deep into festival season and you’ve plenty lined up for the coming weeks. How have the summer months been treating you so far?
All good! So far it’s been a very hot summer in Ibiza and I’ve had many gigs which is good news. This summer I’m not traveling out of Europe so it’s good not to have to fly more than two or three hours.
You hail from Sitges in Spain, a town renowned for its carnival among other things. How have your hometown and nearby Barcelona influenced your musical journey?
Sitges is where the nightlife started in Spain. The first Pacha opened there in 1964, and since then there has been a big night scene right up until the end of the 90s. There was a street called "2 de mayo" which was full of music bars playing all types of electronic music, and that was where all started for me when I was 16 years old. From there I started to go to Atlantida and Pacha and finally I ended in Ibiza.
Your residency at Amnesia started nearly two decades ago; how has the White Isle changed in that time?
It has changed in many ways and not changed in many ways.... I think Ibiza is always reinventing itself, that is why it’s always the place to be if you like electronic music, but the clubbers worldwide have changed. I think that before everything was more exciting as it was new, now people are more used to going to festivals, big events etc. In this new crazy world of social media clubbers are mixed with occasional clubbers which are more interested in recording their experience on their phone instead of listening to the music. Also EDM has destroyed the scene.... hopefully this sound will disappear soon and something new, fresh and exciting will take its place.
With so many years under your belt at Amnesia, what would you say is it that makes the club so special?
Right now Amnesia is more special than ever. Space has disappeared, Pacha is owned by an American corporation that has no idea about Ibiza. Privilege has been suffering for the last ten years and the clubs in San Antonio are not any more in the premier league so there is only Amnesia and DC10 left.... if you want to feel history of Ibiza in the walls of the venue. Ushuaia is not Ibiza for me, it’s a venue inside a hotel corporation which for me is like going to McDonald's to party, I would prefer to go to Cova Santa, Destino or Zoo Project.
Your own label WOW! Recordings has been behind releases by Paco Osuna, Ivan Escura & Toni Varga, Betoko and Subb-an among others. What have been your favourite releases on the label?
They are all my favourites as the main reason I choose releases for the label is because I like them and want to play them. I’m very happy with the results, although I’m not so happy with the sales of many releases which I believe are the bomb. People are buying music for the name of the producer, not the quality of the music.... they are not sure if a track is good unless is produced by a famous name and I don't think this is fair. People should listen to the music and be able to decide that the track is good by themselves not wait for a big DJ to play it and then buy it if they don't know the producer.
You’ve been charged with curating the Amnesia tent at South West Four next month, with Marco Carola, Sven Vath, Loco Dice, Pan-Pot and Matador all set to play in addition to yourself and special guests The Martinez Brothers. What was it that made this group the perfect set of artists?
They are all big players in Ibiza and nearly all are residents of Amnesia so it makes sense. We could say that The Martinez Brothers and Matador are the special guests as they are not residents.
On top of your busy life as a DJ, you still manage to find time to make music, with previous releases on Hot Creations, Moon Harbour and your own Wow! to name a few. Have you got any new music lined up at the moment?
YES!!! Super happy to announce I’m releasing two releases on Steve Lawler’s labels, VIVa Limited and iVAV Records. My release on iVAV Records is a collaboration with Betoko and is out in September. The other is a solo release out next year. Steve is already playing them and they are working really well.
Ibiza is well-known for being one of the best dance music scenes anywhere in the world, offering the creme de la creme of DJs. Who do you think are at the very top of the game in Ibiza at the moment?
As big sellers right now Marco Carola and Solomun are the ones.... all the others are behind them.
It’s easy to forget that Ibiza isn’t just a party island, though. What’s a top tip for a non-music activity to do on the White Isle?
There are a million things to do in Ibiza instead of partying. From going to hippy markets to going to the amazing Formentera, or just checking out all the great restaurants. For sure you must check Ses Illetes in Formentera and Es Vedra – both amazing!
What has been the dance anthem of the summer so far?
I would love to be able to reply but summer anthems have mostly disappeared since seven or ten years, now all EDM DJs play the same hits from the last ten years (which is horrible) instead of trying to convince the crowd with new exciting music. Then we have the "underground" scene where there is so much music that every DJ has its own "hits".
Mar-T plays at South West Four as part of the Amnesia stage on Sunday 27th August.
Photo courtesy of Mar-T