How did the idea of the DJ Awards come about?
At the beginning of the 90´s, Emilio Azcárraga, president of Televisa, which is one of the largest Media Groups in South America, was visiting Pacha, Ibiza, and he came up with the idea of recording sessions of DJs around the world to be able to broadcast the audio on television. This was something very new because Internet was not so widespread back in 1998. I managed this project which we called “Adrenaline Dance Network”, for all the public who could not come to Ibiza and enjoy the music from some of these globally known DJ’s.
Developing this project I realised that the DJ’s had elevated their profession to the category of creators, since they somehow re-interpreted like an orchestra director does with the classic compositions.
When Mr. Azcàrraga passed away, the new Televisa board didn’t find this project interesting and I found myself unable to continue. By now I knew more about how the DJ’s worked, and I noticed that there were no type of awards that recognised this group, except in Denmark, but this event was exclusively for the “Scratch” vinyl format. So I thought since there was no recognition of the talent, nor the exposure of this relatively new community that were the Disc Jockeys, I decided to create a new awards called the DJ Awards.
Why did you choose the Kryptonite as the Award?
We could say that she chose me. When the organisation began with the first edition, we were looking for a trophy and always the topics emerged, about the Vinyl record, or the headphones. One day I was walking by Cala d’Hort, in front of the famous rock Es Vedrá, and I saw some rock crystals and one of them, which would serve as a model, reminded me a lot of the image of this small uninhabited island.
From there the philosophical idea arose that Kryptonite which took away the strength of Superman, somehow could enhance the DJs to help them transmit the music in harmony with the Universe. Legend has it, that an alien left this special rock to create good energy and that I would find them.
Was it important that the Awards were created and celebrated in Ibiza?
Absolutely. In fact, if I had been in another place, we would never have started the project of “Adrenaline Dance Network” that would lead onto creating the DJ Awards. In any other place, the opportunity would not have presented itself. Ibiza had already developed enough about the culture of the electronic music to make it the obvious choice.
Which were the main obstacles that you had?
At the beginning, basically the sponsorship and also the credibility by the scene in general. In the electronic music industry, the awards were seen as something very commercial. I kept saying that this is not a competition, it’s an event to celebrate the industry. As in other industries, a meeting of DJs of different categories and different latitudes; All these obstacles have been saved over time and thanks to the credibility that we have been gaining year after year, plus the important support from our industry and the media, it is easier for people to understand more than they did at the beginning.
Has the industry been supportive during these two decades?
At first not, but it is normal, the first two or three years we always had to explain who we were. However, once the media supported and we were able expose the brand further afield worldwide, interest became more and more. Also, the team who run the event bought their expertise from other events and structures were put in place, which resulted in a more serious and professional approach towards our community. Certainly over the past 10 years, the support from the music industry has been unconditional and positive.
How has the event evolved in these 20 years?
It has evolved at the same time that the industry and the media have evolved. The Internet was practically non-existent and has marked an important force in how we all work. Nowadays we reach many more places and a lot more public by the means of the internet. Also, the music has evolved, in 1998 we began with 7 awards and 38 nominees, in 2017 we have 24 awards and over 120 nominees.
Any artist who has been a bit difficult?
All the artists have their personality, some more eccentric than others. But throughout all these years, I don’t remember any in particular.
Can you tell us some anecdotes that have happened in the past 19 years?
In the very first edition, we gave a posthumous award to Tony de Vit, recently deceased, his parents came to collect the award. We didn’t have much financial support but at that time we could offer them a hotel room. They told us that they had been divorced for a long time so they would need two rooms, but we didn’t have the option to give them the 2 rooms, so in the end they had to share. Finally, they thanked us, as we were honouring their son, as well as putting me and my ex together, actually was very emotional.
I remember that in the second edition, we awarded a prize to Paul Johnson, a DJ and producer who was in a wheelchair and when it was time to collect the award, we could not find him anywhere. Lenny, who at that time was a partner of the DJ Awards, began searching for him, it turns out he wanted to go to the bathroom and was making his way back to his hotel, because at that time Pacha wasn’t yet adapted for disabled. Lenny literally kidnapped him and took him on stage so that he could pick up his Kryptonite. Afterward, he went with him to his hotel so he could go to the bathroom, it’s one of those stories that you remember very fondly.
Also in the first editions, and for two consecutive years, Nando Dixcontrol was in charge of introducing the ceremony. Nando was one of the pioneers and the first to present an electronic music program in Spain. I remember that he made a film where he appeared in different parts of the island collecting the Kryptonites and suddenly appeared live on stage, transported via the screen on the stage, leaving the audience astonished.
What’s new for the 20th anniversary edition?
The most important news is that we are moving, for our 20th celebrations we are going to the recently opened super club at Hï Ibiza. We are also updating the Kryptonite award, transforming it from an organic shape to a slightly more hi-tech design. Being such a special edition, there will be many more surprises to be unveiled in the coming weeks, before the ceremony on Tuesday, 26th September.