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Simon Dunmore – 24 hours in Ibiza

Defected Records founder and director Simon Dunmore first came to Ibiza in 1986, for a seminal group holiday organised by the influential Balearic beat and Acid House DJ Nicky Holloway. Alongside 200 other like-minded London clubbers, he stayed in San Antonio, watching the sunset at Café del Mar each night – the only building on the sunset strip at the time – before DJing in various bars. A life changing experience.

Fast forward to 2006 and Defected were into their fourth season on the island, and going strong. Business savvy Simon decided that rather than putting up his guest DJs in expensive hotels each week, he’d invest in a property in which to host them instead. “It’s been a great investment,” he says of the contemporary Santa Eulalia property that’s been an ongoing development project over the years. “It has a lot of purposes, but it’s also my home.”

Ten years further down the track, Defected’s hit offshoot disco and house brand Glitterbox enters its second season at Space Ibiza. Simon continues to host his esteemed guests at his Ibiza villa – the ‘second home’ he says provides him with much-needed balance. “I love coming to the island when the pressure’s on in London,” he says. “Just visualising that you’ll be going to your spot in Ibiza calms you down and makes you realise it’s all worthwhile.”

What’s in your suitcase?
Headphones, laptop, a hardrive with all Defected’s current musical projects, fresh underwear, toiletries. Travelling takes up a lot of time so I try to be as productive as I can be, working on the go. So my case is always full of things that help me with that.

How do you feel as you step off the plane onto the tarmac?
There’s always a sense of anticipation. I still get excited flying in and seeing the island as we descend. When we come from the east and fly over Santa Eulalia and Ibiza town I’m always looking out for spots I know and if we come in from the other side you see the beautiful beaches and aqua water of the west.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive on the island?
There’s a little shack on the side of the road as you come into Santa Eulalia that sells the most amazing bread. I stop there and pick up freshly baked olive bread, tomato bread and walnut bread. Then I go home, crack open a beer and eat it with cheese and cured meats and just enjoy being home.

Can Ibiza ever feel like a holiday for you?
Can it ever really feel like work? Working in the music industry is demanding and the hours are long, but it’s also one of those jobs that is a passion. I still count myself as very privileged to be able to do this.

What’s your favourite part of the island?
Definitely the east – I love it. I think it’s quite undiscovered.

Who do you spend time with on the island?
Mainly a lot of the DJs we work with – that’s part of the reason we have the property, so they can stay here instead of a hotel and we can build good relationships with them. In a club, you can have a beer together but sometimes its hard to have a proper conversation and you can’t get to know them. My family also come out around four or five times per year, which is amazing.

Anything special that you make a point of doing when you’re here?
I love going to Benirras. It’s somewhere you’ve really got to make an effort to get to. It’s just an incredible beach and cove, and you can watch the sunset between the two rocks in the sea – I try and avoid Sundays when it’s overcrowded though!

What’s your favourite food to eat in Ibiza?
I love chorizo, Iberico ham, cured meats and local cheese, plus the amazing fresh bread. In the UK we don’t get to eat outside very often, so I like that kind of social food outdoors, where everyone’s talking, drinking and picking at things whilst having a glass of wine. As a family, we love getting rotisserie chicken. There are loads of little small shops in Santa Eulalia where you walk past and the aroma draws you in. We’ll bring it home and have with some chips, salad or bread.

Speaking of drinking, what’s your poison?
I am partial to some ice cold hierbas! I’m definitely a shots guy – I like sambuca and tequila too.

What’s your ultimate Ibiza track?
I’d have to say Art of Noise – Moments in Love. It’s what I heard at Café del Mar the very first time I came to Ibiza and it’s just an amazing record.

Best Ibiza memory?
In Defected’s second year, we put out a track by Roger Sanchez called Another Chance. It was a number one record in the UK – it beat Robbie Williams and it was the biggest record on the island that year. Without records like that, Defected wouldn’t be where it is now. Roger had a residency at El Divino, we were curating nights at Pacha and we managed to get him to play at our night to celebrate the number one. I remember standing on the balcony in the VIP area with my wife Yasmin, and he was looping the record in for several records before he actually played it, just teasing it in. By the time he played it, the whole club erupted. It was a moment I’d been working towards for 15 years in the music industry, I was punching the air! It was my equivalent of scoring the winning goal in the Champions League Cup Final.

How do you feel when you’ve got to start packing to leave?
It depends where I’m going. If I’m leaving the house empty, I’m OK because it means I’m going home to my family, but if they’re still here and I’m leaving then its obviously a wrench. The best thing about it is the moment you leave, you look forward to coming back.

Instagram @WHITE_IBIZA

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You have 24 hours on the island – tell us your favourite places to…

HAVE BREAKFAST

Passion Café in Santa Eulalia. I have the green eggs with a Super Detox juice and a double espresso at the end.

GO FOR LUNCH

If I’m staying local, then Babylon Beach. I love the atmosphere and the people who work there. I’ve known Vaughan for a long time and he has such a good energy. If I go to the other side of the island, it’s Sa Caleta where the red clay rock cliffs are. The fish is amazing, the paella is amazing, and it’s really off the beaten track. Bar Flotante in Talamanca is great too, I love the location, the food is great – even if the service is a little slow! They have a lovely dish called Forneria, which is like a pizza base with rosemary and sea salt.

EAT DINNER

I love Cas Pages – it’s a very Spanish meat restaurant with great steak and chorizo. You can’t make reservations and you can’t pay on credit card. I’ve actually found the market where they buy all their meat, so when I do a barbeque, I go there. I really love my meat, Balafia is another good meat grill. And Bambuddha if I’m feeling extravagant.

DRINK

I like going where I know people. It may sound touristy, but I love Café Mambo. I’ve known Javier and the boys for years and it’s a great spot, the sunset is incredible and the music is always great. For somewhere a bit more chilled, Babylon Beach again – you can watch the moon rise from here and it is just an incredible thing.

DANCE

For me, it’s all about the music and all of the clubs have great nights with the best DJs in the world. If I’m hearing great music, it doesn’t matter if it’s in a club or on a beach. I’ve had some incredible nights in Pacha, the club has a lot of character and I still go regularly but I am also extremely proud of what we’ve achieved with Glitterbox on Fridays at Space. There were some really special moments there last year, like the time Basement Jaxx played an acoustic orchestral version of Bohemian Rhapsody and the crowd reacted so well. This year, if I’m going to have a good night, it’ll probably be at Glitterbox.

BEACH

I don’t really like oversubscribed beaches like Salinas, but around the east I really love Cala Pada, Cala Martina and Cala Nova. The kids love Cala Pada because there’s a jetty they can run and jump into the sea from.

SWIM

Cala Nova. I prefer beaches that have waves, and generally the sea in Ibiza is really flat, warm and tranquilo. But at Cala Nova, there are actually waves and you have to brace yourself when you get in. Also my pool, first thing in the morning when it’s still chilled.

ESCAPE

I have a hammock that I bought from Mexico and I sit in it and within 0.5 of a second, I’m asleep.

RELAX

I’m a bit too fidgety to relax, so if I have a massage I prefer a service that comes to the villa, so I can fall asleep and they can leave me there. I think having to get dressed and drive home defeats the purpose.

HANG OUT

I love just having something to eat and a few beers with friends, watching football. We go to Ring O Bells in Santa Eulalia, where they show several matches at the same time. There are a lot of expats and a lot of banter, it’s great.

‘Green Eggs’ at Passion Café

Lunch at Babylon Beach

The restaurant at Sa Caleta

Iconic Ibiza restaurant Bambuddha

Beautiful Benirras beach

Simon Dunmore plays Glitterbox at Space on June 3, June 17, July 22, September 2 and September 9