Sure, we got a few drops of rain, but L.A. is still baking in another interminable summer in another heat record–shattering year. But there’s one silver lining in our apocalyptic sky: We’ll get a little taste of the Ibizan summer by way of one of its finest parties coming to L.A. for the first time this Friday night.
The occasion is Circoloco: Los Angeles, a joint venture by Circoloco, Sound and Rhonda International that looks to function as a combination mini-festival, slice of Ibizan sense and sensibility, and Halloween weekend costume ball. The party will no doubt attract a colorful, mixed crowd of the young and young-at-heart, but what does it even mean to evoke Ibiza (or as the English do it, "Ee-BEE-tha") in 2016, especially for someone who’s never been there?
The Spanish Mediterranean island rests several thousand miles away from Los Angeles, but both Ibiza and SoCal use their siren calls to lure in dreamers, divas, the beautiful people and socialites while sharing similar topography and climate. But Ibiza wasn’t the hottest destination for Americans until a few years ago. Thanks in no small part to the EDM barfsplosion and enfants terribles like Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom and Paris Hilton, Ibiza is now a household name in America. A lot of its image as a hedonistic escape with countercultural roots — from late–20th century raves to Greek mythology — has been scrubbed from the pop consciousness, at least in America. It's now where celebrities party.
In 2016, the island is swarming with TMZ stringers, starfuckers and chavvy tourists (not unlike L.A., actually). And there has been a recent spate of police raids in various high-profile nightclubs, which have been getting busted for alleged large-scale tax fraud, money laundering and potential drug trafficking. At Pacha and Amnesia, police pickaxes found millions of Euros in the walls and floorboards.
There’s no way around it: Ibiza — as party palace and birthplace of the Balearic state of mind — has had a rough decade. It has learned that if you use the model of Las Vegas clubbing (which it has), you will attract Las Vegas–style clubbers. Once you go that route and let your music, style and business model become over-commercialized, any aura of cool you once had — the only currency that truly matters in clubbing — is difficult to recapture.
The White Isle may have seen better days, but its position as the mystical Balearic Island in dance music’s collective third eye cannot be understated. It has been a free-spirit destination for centuries and still retains some of that luster, thanks in no small part to clubs like DC10 and Balearic vets like Mark Barrott and Cafe del Mar's José Padilla, who try to carry the torch for classic Ibizan parties that encourage quality over pure commerce.
Circoloco has always taken place at DC10, one of Ibiza’s best nightclubs. Though to call it a "nightclub" is actually a bit misleading, as plenty of morning and day parties take place in its hallowed, open-air setting, several hundred yards from the local airport’s runway. It has been consistently running during the summer season on the island since 1999. Notorious among serious heads, the party starts at 6 a.m. on Monday morning, when most working stiffs around the world are just starting their week, and extends until the next day. It would be unheard of for a regular party like this to exist — and do so in a profitable manner — in California.
Circoloco has partnered with local heavies from Hollywood’s Sound nightclub and the party provocateurs from roving unit Rhonda International to promote and produce the event. Together, they’re presenting a multiroom, one-off blowout that hopes to straddle the line between underground and main-room sensibilities. The event is house- and techno-centric, though between those bumpers, it’s "eclectic" (if we haven’t bashed that tag to death yet), with offerings of all sorts of varietals of house and techno.
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There’s some classy stuff on the lineup, with jocks representing several continents and countries at the controls, reflecting a sort of multi-culti portrait of Ibiza. In a more literal sense, most of these DJs are Ibizan stalwarts and otherwise have compelling pedigrees: Germany’s Konstantin of the superb Giegling imprint; New York’s The Martinez Bros (actual brothers); South Africa’s legendary house don Black Coffee; Crosstown Rebels chieftain Damian Lazarus, and Correspondant's Jennifer Cardini. In addition there’s U.K. duo Eli & Fur, returning to the States after last year’s Thelma & Louise–inspired tour.
Circoloco’s resident Tania Volcano and Rhonda’s resident Goddollars also are scheduled for the occasion. Kobi Danan of Sound feels that the meeting of these three brands is strong and represents many decades of success and credibility. “As an artist, you no longer get to decide if you play at a Circoloco party,” Danan explains via email. “They call you, and when they do, you go. It no longer is about the money and what they offer you to play, it is about being a part of one the best events in Ibiza.” The same has been said of Rhonda, an L.A. party institution for nearly a decade.
This one promises to be an interesting night out, even though (thank God) it doesn’t start at 6 a.m.
Circoloco: Los Angeles happens Friday, Oct. 28, at Union Nightclub.