WORDS: Alex Caslano
It’s hard to concentrate Alfredo’s influence into one article. An all time great and someone to who dance music owes massively, he is responsible for shaping the course of club culture as we know it today. Pivotal in the development and growth of Ibiza, his programming skills, tune selection and revolutionary style were to inspire a generation, kick-starting an explosion in the UK which would be felt for years to come. Along with what was happening in the epicentres of New York, Detroit and Chicago, Alfredo Fiorito focused all eyes on a little Mediterranean island and somewhere which is still considered the clubbing capital of the world.
Arriving in Ibiza during the mid 70s, Alfredo was to eventually take up DJ’ing in 1982, finding work at a bar known as Bebop in the island’s main port. Before long his reputation had spread and he was asked to play at the then roofless Amnesia. Starting his shift at 3am and playing til midday, it became the unofficial afters for many of Ibiza’s other clubs which closed earlier. Attracting a cosmopolitan and diverse crowd, the open-air dancefloor was utterly magical, helped without doubt by Alfredo’s legendary sets. Mixing in everything from Talking Heads to Bob Marley as well as the House and Techno emerging from the States, his ‘Balearic’ style was to inspire four curious Brits in the shape of Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling, who, after having the night of their lives, were to take their experience back to Britain. The rest, as they say, is history…
Now of course Ibiza has changed dramatically, but the same Balearic spirit still attracts thousands of people year on year. With Alfredo’s place in the annals of club history truly cemented, he is booked to play around the world and his Heritage Project with son Jaime has been going strong for over ten years, residing at We love every Sunday during the summer. Featuring at new Glasgow night Pistols At Dawn this Saturday for a 3hr Balearic classics set, this is an opportunity that both veterans and newcomers should relish alike…
Check out a video of The Heritage Project live in Japan, as well as an interview in which we talk about the changing face of Ibiza and dance music in general:
SG: You have a residency at We Love…Sundays at Space Ibiza and have done for quite a few years now, what’s your relationship like with the guys at We Love and the club in particular? What so you think makes the club so special?
Alfredo: I have a great relationship with the people at We love and that’s why we’ve kept working together for quite a long time (since 2006). They like my work and leave me without any interference, and also collaborate with me in every way. I have nothing to complain about and a lot of appreciation for them all. They work as a team in a very fluid way. With the people of Space, I don’t have as much of a relationship as I’m not working for them, but we’ve known each other for a long time and I play for them directly, made their first compilation and also did a long residency for Manumission when they did Carry On at the old terrace. So we are old friends!
SG: Obviously Ibiza has changed massively since you first went out in the 1970s, but it’s also grown quite rapidly just in the last few years. Do you think the changes have come as a natural evolution for the island or has there been too much money injected into it? What do you make of the changes at Pacha this year for example?
Alfredo: I think technology and in particular all the interactive sites of the internet make promotion very easy and fast, and the world in someway smaller. If you add more money, promoters and DJs, plus the people that live here, we arrive to the point that we are now: a massive growth in every sense, making Ibiza probably the most important place in the summer for young people all over the planet and also for many grown-ups and their families. The quality of the hotels, restaurants and all the catering its very high, a big difference with the 70’s! And good services attract more people with more money.
About Pacha, I’ve had my own experiences with the club and for me it’s not a surprise, these big changes happen sometimes. Ricardo the owner is a very strong person and likes to control his business, and the way I think he has to do it creates this kind of shake up. Also, the people that have been working for them wanted to develop their own road in the island. Personally, I wish them all luck!
SG: The story of Rampling, Holloway and Oakenfold hearing you at an open-air Amnesia back in the late 80s is now a thing of legend and changed club culture forever, do you ever sit back and think “look at what I did?”, “look at what I started?”
Alfredo: I never thought at the time that I had been doing something different playing that music in a club. All the rest came as a plus, and even if many people talk to me as the main developer of the Ibiza explosion, as the International centre of dance music, I know that there have been many people involved, many people working for this to happen. Thanks anyway for your words of appreciation.
SG: If we bring things back to 2013, what artists and sounds are featuring in your sets at the moment? Obviously you were once associated with ‘Balearic Beat’, but as a DJ have you found yourself evolving year on year?
Alfredo: I do a mix of old and new, and also when I play with my son Jaime as The Heritage Project. Classics and records from my collection from the last 25 years - that is a lot to choose from! And as an example of the new I can give you some tracks I like:
Groovestyle - Freedom Train (D Boogies For Change)
VIL-NX - The Lazarus Theory (Bumrush Da' Party)
Delano Smith - Midnight Hours (Reconstructed by Carl Craig)
Romanthony - Bring U Up (Deetron Edit)
JP Chronical – Shaba
And also edits of all the songs that I’ve found around, like the one they made from DJ Pierre ‘The Horn Song’. There’s a lot of music at the moment and my style is eclectic as it always was!!!
SG: Electronic music or ‘EDM’ as some people are now referring to it is bigger than ever and has reached people on a global scale, how do you feel about its increasing commercialisation and do you think it matters? Will good dance music always persevere even when it’s not flavour of the month?
Alfredo: Dance music is always going to exist because dance is a ceremony for the people. The way that ceremony is done changes with the times and will keep changing as the world and our society do. But we are going to keep dancing!!
SG: You’ll be playing a ‘Balearic classics set’ at a new night called Pistols At Dawn in Glasgow this weekend, do you think people still associate the word ‘Balearic’ with a particular sound and if you can, what one record do still love playing out from your early years on the circuit?
Alfredo: I think the word ‘Balearic’ has so many different meanings for people, it depends on their age and from where they’re coming from. I know what they associate with me, I used to do quite a few parties like this one that I now get the chance to play. For me it will be a fantastic time to come back to Scotland, a country I know so well (by night!!). It’s been a long time since my last gig in Glasgow, and I’m looking forward to playing again. What am I going to play? That’s a surprise, also for me!!! It was a pleasure to talk with you, and hope to see you on the dancefloor!!!