Ibiza music: Felix Buxton, Basement Jaxx – 24 hours in Ibiza

As one half of award-winning, chart-topping British electronic music duo Basement Jaxx, Felix Buxton has travelled the world over to perform in the biggest and best venues, however it is the little things he remains grateful for and the smaller, more unique experiences he continues to seek out. Ibiza is a place that offers all of this and more, a place Buxton has been visiting since 1997, when Basement Jaxx DJ performed their first DJ set on the legendary Space Ibiza terrace.

“I don’t think I had any expectations,” he recalls. “We were playing on the Space Terrace, when it was still outside and I remember playing Love is in the Air. The idea about the dance culture in Ibiza and London at the time was all about love and togetherness in the sunshine… It was amazing.” 19 years later, the duo continue to reign over the Space Terrace (although it is now under the controversial roof) in its final season, as resident DJs for Glitterbox on Friday nights.

Back on the topic of Ibiza, Felix remains pragmatic. “Generally in life I try not to have expectations, because I don’t think it makes you any happier,” he continues. “I take everything as it comes and here in Ibiza you have beautiful water, gorgeous sunshine, lovely food and the Spanish people are really warm and like to dance – what else could you want?”

Main photo by Natalie Beth Harris

On his first visit to Ibiza, Felix made it his mission to seek out the music the locals were into, not the Balearic sounds and dance music the island was making itself a name for. “When I first came to Ibiza and mainland Spain I wanted to get Flamenco music. I wanted to learn what the Spanish really loved. I’m not about strictly this style of music or that, or it has to be house. I really don’t mind. I prefer it when the music’s not commercial. I love any style of authentic music. As for going dancing… I’d be just as happy in a salsa club as a house music club.”

Today, he says the best Ibiza parties are the ones where people put away the mobile phones and really live in the moment. “It’s still all about togetherness,” he says. “When they switch off their mobiles, forget about everything that’s happening and interact with the music and each other… it’s so much better.”

As DJ and dance culture continues to evolve, Felix strives to keep that feeling of love and togetherness alive within his sets, most recently uniting the Glitterbox crowds with a remix of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. This unexpected musical move is one Defected head honcho Simon Dunmore now calls one of the highlights of the season. “Though if anybody had told me before the gig that Basement Jaxx were going to play that track, I would have said ‘Oh no they are not!’” he admits laughingly.

What’s in your suitcase when you’re travelling to Ibiza?
Not a lot generally. In fact, I’m trying to make it less and less. After travelling all around the world, I’ve come to realise you really don’t need ‘stuff’. We’re in a possessions culture and in the long run, they don’t make you happier. Recently I bought a book called Clearing Your Clutter and cleared out of a house full of things and felt a real relief. I realised I was getting attached to things and it can weigh you down. So now, when I’m abroad, I just have one bag and I’m happy with that.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive on the island?
I always try to go straight to a secret little bay just outside of Ibiza town – one that says ‘no entry’ on it – and go in the sea. But I don’t want to tell anyone where it is! I like going to places where there are no people…

Does Ibiza feel like work or holiday to you?
Well, being a DJ it can get a bit confusing – you’re sitting around in a lovely environment and it’s your work! But I feel very lucky to be able to do something I enjoy and get paid for it, to hopefully make people happy and give them a good time. It is work, but work I’ve chosen to do and it’s great when life can be like that. Actually, being in Ibiza makes me feel very grateful, because there are so many beautiful places and it’s just great.

What’s your favourite part of the island?
I just love the island itself. I love the fact there’s the north and the beautiful nature; but if you want to have a night out you can go and hear really good music. I’m quite into discovering. I want to go to different places on different days. I want to go to Formentera and maybe stay overnight and explore. I love coming to Es Vedra and knowing it’s at the centre of magnetic lines – some say it’s got a kind of power and I’m really interested in that aspect of being a human being, the spiritual side of things…

Ultimate Ibiza track?
Sueño Latino by Sueño Latino. I remember when it first came out. I was 18, and I went to the Greek islands and at the time it was a bit of an Ibiza anthem, just before Ibiza exploded into dance music culture. I remember listening to it on a Sony Walkman, playing the cassette, and there was a jetty going out to sea and this group of boys, about eight to ten years old were all running down this long platform and diving into the water. I was listening to that track and it was so magical and sun-kissed and just felt like the world was at one. It was very beautiful. I still love that track – it has a real magic to it and encapsulates the atmosphere of Ibiza.

How do you feel when it’s time to start packing to leave?

[Shrugs] I suppose I am used to coming here and leaving! I’m sure when I stay a bit longer in September, at the end I’d like another week or two weeks or a month… but that’s generally the idea of being on holiday and deciding to stop. And I think it’s important to stop.

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