Defected turns sweet 16

Brands, labels, parties, club nights, venues and DJs come and go so quickly in Ibiza, so when you come to realise seminal house music label Defected have been in the business for a whopping 16 years (and are still absolutely killing it), it’s worthy of a standing ovation. In addition to the obvious passion for music and parties, a strong brand identity, never-ending positivity and the ability to bounce back from adversity has seen Defected go from strength to strength since that very first release back in 1999.

“Honestly, when we first started, I didn’t see us having this kind of longevity,” says Defected boss Simon Dunmore, when asked to reflect on the label’s 16-year history. “It was a calculated risk. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny rather than work for a corporation, where you’re dictated by other people’s rules and regulations. It felt like the right time – I knew enough people in the music industry and had enough experience… If it failed, then at least it was on my own terms.”

Failure, it seems, is not in Simon Dunmore’s vocabulary as Defected went on to conquer not just the fickle music industry, but also the tumultuous party island where it has always been synonymous with quality house music events, emerging artists and established acts alike. Defected in the House is the only club night in Ibiza to withstand moving venues a whopping five times, since its original collaborations with Ministry Of Sound at their flagship Friday residency in Pacha in 2001, through to their breakthrough season at El Divino in 2003, a massive move to Pacha in 2005, with some additional open-air parties at Ushuaia Beach Club in 2012, and a surprising (but hugely successful) move to the ill-fated at Booom! in 2013. That most recent residency was cut short due to the venue being closed down once again at the end of the 2014.

In 2015, as the brand was set to celebrate its sweet 16th anniversary, the party was out of a home. There was never any question in Simon’s mind about continuing – he just had to find the right location. “Ibiza is the epicentre of most people’s summers in terms of dance music,” says Simon, who first came to the island in 1986 and has returned every year ever since. “It’s really important to have a presence on the island – like-minded people flock here from all over the world, then they migrate home and spread the word. Well now, with social media, they’re already telling people what a great time they’ve had from the dance floor!”

Amnesia was calling – a club the brand was yet to explore. “The Amnesia Terrace is infamous for what happens when the sun starts illuminating the late night/early morning dancefloor happenings,” he says of his brand’s new location, where they take over the mighty terrace while Together hosts the main room. “I believe that our parties have made the most of the spectacular lightshows that take place every night. And now I’ve seen just how impressive the spectacle of that huge space looks from behind the decks!“

Critics were sceptical about Defected switching to Amnesia after the intimacy of Booom, going up against heavy hitters like Carl Cox – or even, their internal neighbours Together. “I don’t look at it like that. I’ve never looked at it like that,” Simon explains. “If you like techno, you’ll go see Carl Cox. If you’re into EDM, you’ll go to Together. If you love our style of house music, then you’ll come to Defected. Simple.” 16 weeks of sweet 16 parties in what is arguably the best club in the world – what more could a brand ask for?

The ever-growing legions of fans queuing outside the famed Amnesia wooden doors on a Tuesday night are a testament to the brand’s staying power and ability to attract clubbers of all ages. “We have always tried made a point of nurturing new talent at Defected,” says Simon, of his dedication to the Defected resident DJs. “This year the results have been fully realised. Sonny Fodera, Sam Divine, Franky Rizardo and others have been making their way up the ranks for years, and are now genuine headliners in their own right. Much more than making up the numbers, the Defected residents have been the stars of many a show at Amnesia. The reaction they get from the fans is bordering on the fanatical, which just goes to show what hard work and consistency pay dividends. I’m super-proud of them all.”

One of this season’s most outstanding guests for Simon was Hannah Wants. “Her rise to prominence over the last few years is one of clubland’s most heartening rags to riches story,” he tells us. “From first visiting Ibiza in 2010 as a 17-year old raver, to headlining several shows for Defected this year, Hannah manages to walk the fine line between serious musicianship and the pure good time spirit that sometimes gets lost in Ibiza. Every one of her performances has been extraordinary.”

2015 also marked the first time industry stalwarts Groove Armada joined the Defected ranks – a seemingly long overdue collaboration. “Andy and I were really excited about these shows,” says Tom Findlay, of the duo. “We feel Groove Armada has a natural fit with Defected, but it just hasn’t happened before.” For Defected, it was a perfect fit. “I’m really happy we finally managed to get them to play a Defected party,” says Simon. “Their style is perfectly suited to a huge space like Amnesia’s Terrace.”

Last week saw Defected join forces with the mighty Get Physical for Defected Gets Physical: a three-date tour that included a landmark party at Amnesia. “Representing Defected, I played alongside Juan MacLean, Eddie Fowlkes and Luke Solomon, while Get Physical’s founders M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T. appeared along with Groove Armada and Paolo Rocco. I have enormous respect for what Get Physical has achieved, and they share many similarities with our ethos at Defected. It was an amazing night at Amnesia and a great way of teaming up with a fantastic label.”

There’s just one week left to experience the magic of Defected in the House on the terrace at Amnesia, with the closing party taking place on Tuesday September 22, 2015.

DEFECTED – THE CAREER TIMELINE

1999 – Simon Dunmore launches Defected, with releases by Soulsearcher, Paul Johnson, OnePhatDeeva charting in the UK

2000 – First monthly residency at Ministry of Sound; Bob Sinclar releases Champs Elysees

2001 – Roger Sanchez’s Another Chance reaches number one; Kings of Tomorrow’s Finally released; start to work with Soul Heaven

2002 – Release first record on Roger Sanchez’s release Yourself label

2003 – First year of Defected in the House at El Divino in Ibiza

2004 – Dimitri from Paris in the house is biggest selling compilation ever, Defected wins Best Label at House Music Awards

2005 – Defected in the House moves to Pacha Ibiza; celebrates 100th release, design and manufacture full merchandise range

2006 – Defected goes into partnership with DJ Spen’s Red Code label, multiple UK chart hits

2007 – Defected joins forces with Strictly Rhythm; Playboy Series launched with Bob Sinclar

2008 – Launches nationwide radio show on Galaxy FM; relaunch and make available entire Junior Boys Own catalogue

2009 – 10-year anniversary party at Ministry of Sound

2010 – Huge releases with Tensnake’s Coma Cat, Chocolate Puma’s Tonco Tone, Dennis Ferrer’s Hey Hey and Reboot’s Enjoy Music

2011 – Wins best British Label at DJ Mag Awards

2012 – Simon Dunmore wins Outstanding Achievement Award at the International Music Summit, Deep Down & Defected series launched

2013 – New website launched with total re-branding, Defected in the House moves to Booom! Ibiza

2014 – Mixmag cover dedicated to 15 years of Defected, Defected15 Club tour, pop-up store at Truman Brewery, Simon Dunmore inducted into Pete Tong’s hall of fame, Simon Dunmore and Defected team program new weekly night Glitterbox at Booom! Ibiza

2015 – Defected in the House turns 16 and moves to Amnesia, taking over the mighty terrace with Together hosting the main room.