Interview: Fat Tony

Fat Tony, guest DJ for Vibe Up at Aura

Photography by Gypsy Westwood

UK DJ Fat Tony has been visiting Ibiza for 26 years, from the good old early days of innocent discovery, through his notorious battles with drug and alcohol addiction and now, returning to the island (having been clean for almost four years) to support the opening of Vibe Up, a ‘dry’ event held at the all-new Aura, hosted by Tina Cutler. We caught up over a non-alcoholic cocktail at the event to talk about the island, the cause and its effect…
How did you get involved with Vibe Up at Aura?
I’m really good friends with John (Beach, marketing manager) and he knew about the party Boy George and I do in London, Godspeed, a club with a strict no alcohol or drugs policy. We started it for people in recovery, but it’s gone mainstream. Aura wanted to do a ‘dry’ night, so John thought it would be cool to incorporate what we do.

Do you think ‘dry’ clubbing can work here?
It’s a great force for Ibiza, it’s really positive. It’s not just about recovery. We can have people from the age of 17 to 70 because there’s no licensing. Take away drugs and alcohol, lose the elements of negativity and you’re left with people who love music – they actually get high from the music.

Speaking of music, what will you be playing?
I play really eclectic stuff – reworks, old tunes, new tunes, I like to take people on a journey. I thrive on it. Everything I play is uplifting and vocal, nothing deep and dark.

Has being clean changed the way you play?
After time it did – when I first got clean, I couldn’t DJ at all. My head was saying ‘you can’t do it without drugs’. That’s the disease of addiction, chipping away at everything. You don’t know how to cope so everything’s a problem but when you’ve got a positive thing going on in your life like now, nothing’s an issue. My main drama these days is the battery going on my iPhone – it’s mental!

Ibiza is famous for its healing energy – do you think people can recover here or is it too much temptation?
Of course they can! I used to come to Ibiza years ago, before the onslaught of the English and everything went pear shaped, back when Ku was Ku. In the good old days it wasn’t about drugs, it was about the atmosphere, open-air clubs and the magic of the island.

How did you discover Ibiza in the first place?
I was invited on a holiday when I was 17. We stayed in Figueretes and I loved it – the old town stole my heart. Then I kept coming every year and I lived out here for a whole summer with George. But the atmosphere deteriorated, it became really negative and lost its magic for me. The younger generation thinks ‘the magic’ is coming here and taking drugs – but that’s not the REAL Ibiza at all.

But you’re visiting regularly again – have you rediscovered the magic?
I’ve been coming back for the last few years, not going clubbing, just relaxing and doing all the other island things. It’s such a beautiful island, there’s something for everyone. If I go clubbing, it’s like a busman’s holiday and feels like work!

Any other Ibiza-based projects in the pipeline?
I’ll be here in July with Kylie Minogue to do a couple of secret things! Then back again in August with Boy George to play Aura again. I’m looking forward to coming back more often, so we’ll see how it goes.

Fat Tony, guest DJ for Vibe Up at Aura

Photography by Gypsy Westwood