Ibiza clubbing: Mambo Brothers – My Ibiza

Born and bred in Ibiza, Christian and Alan Anadon are the unique hybrid of authentic Ibiza spirits, savvy businessmen and talented DJs and producers. In between barbecues and basketball matches as teenagers, they would wash dishes at Café Mambo – the iconic sunset bar founded by their father – while listening to the world’s best DJs soundtrack the sunset every night. What may seem like unconventional formative years to some were completely normal to the Mambo Brothers – as they became known on the sunset strip – and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

As the Anadons evolved into adulthood, it was no surprise the music industry would eventually beckon. In addition to being naturally enveloped into the family business, they started to DJ alongside many of their lifelong friends in Ibiza’s clubs and festivals around the world. In 2017, they became the first local DJs to hold a weekly residency at hot new island superclub Hï Ibiza – where they host the Club room on Sunday nights – however it is abundantly clear their true passion is the island of Ibiza. Retaining its spirit, preserving its heritage and shaping the future of its tourism trade is at the forefront of everything they do. The island is in good hands…

What was it like to grow up in Ibiza?
Alan: So many people who are thinking about moving to Ibiza ask us that and we always say it was amazing. We’d totally recommend it – it was a great place to grow up. There’s no fear to grow up in San Antonio – your kids will be super healthy, the food is amazing, there’s a lot of sports, the vibe is nice and there’s already a really cosy family feeling. The schools are better than ever, there are so many more sports and activities. There are more direct flights to anywhere in Europe. Now there is so much more than we ever had when we were growing up – not that we ever felt like we missed out on anything, we already had a lot of options. And look at us… we turned out to be pretty nice, normal people!

Was there ever a point when you realised your home was so much more than just another town – that it was so special to so many people?
Alan: I think I realised how special Ibiza was when I was around four years old. Our mother worked in a water-skiing school in the summertime and we were always surrounded by lovely people, tourists, and my brother would ski every day and I’d be in the passenger seat. It felt like every day was a holiday.

Iconic Santa Gertrudis café Bar Costa – famed for the hundreds of legs of jamon Iberico hanging from the ceiling.

Did you get tempted into the party scene at an earlier age than other kids?
Alan: Well, we grew up with the party scene. For us, it was just normal. Our parents owned a bar in the Bay called Bucanero and they’d have karaoke every night. When no one wanted to sing, our mum would get her boys up… we’d sing La Bamba! But it was only summer that was like that, in winter we did loads of sports, played basketball, studied… On Sundays, we’d go up north for a day out, to somewhere like Cala San Vicente, to have a nice lunch and walk after our sports matches.
Christian: I really remember having barbecues on match days, you’d play basketball and then we’d go to the sand dunes at Cala Conta and the kids would run around while the parents got together and had drinks.
Alan: Or we’d go to Can Cosmi for omelette or Bar Costa for jamon – all these things we used to do when we were younger still exist in Ibiza, thank god. I don’t know many places around the world that can say they’ve been doing the same thing for 30 years and are still going strong. That’s why Ibiza is so special.

Was taking over the family business a planned move?
Christian: We love it. We love the environment. We love the friends that this business has given us and by accident we ended up doing it. For both of us, our first job was washing dishes at Mambo when we were 12 years old. Our school bus stop was at the top of the Mambo road, we’d walk down, put on a pinny and start washing up and then afterwards we’d go hang out on the beach.
Alan: We totally learned the business from the ground up.

The legendary Café Mambo on Ibiza’s San Antonio sunset strip – the birthplace of chillout music and clubbing pre-parties.

What about becoming DJs – was that also a natural progression?
Alan: To be honest, no… well, my brother was always a DJ.
Christian: I got into it really young. Around nine years old. Our dad had a big set of really old decks in the house and his friends from the UK would bring over vinyl, or he’d buy old vinyl collections and I’d test them and listen to them, learning how to mix and put two tracks together. I still remember all the tracks I used to play. Over and over and over again…
Alan: They were more like reggae and pop songs, weren’t they?
Christian: Yes! Then I got more involved, little by little. I’d go to one of my dad’s bars and when the DJ wasn’t looking I’d change the records and run away before I could get into trouble. Music has always been a big part of our lives – we’ve been listening to all the best DJs since we were 13 and they came to play at Mambo. We were into every style – daytime music, jazz, acid funk, soul, disco, downtempo, chillout. We were around it for 18 hours a day.
Alan: For us, all DJs are artists. We like all kinds of music and don’t like to be classified in any one style.
Christian: And when we DJ, we don’t go in with a pre-planned set that only goes in one direction. Sometimes we start with house, then go a little more towards techno and then back to classic house and drift away again. We like to work a dance floor rather than just go in a straight line with one sound.

So tell us then, how you got involved with Hï Ibiza?
Alan: It came by surprise. One day they called us to have a meeting and we just thought it was related to Mambo, but it was to make us an offer to be DJs there! We weren’t expecting it but when you get chances like this in life you have to take them and we’re super happy we’ve done it. The team at Hï Ibiza are amazing – from Yann to Leslee and Charlie and everyone who takes care of us in the club. They’ve really upped the game in Ibiza.

What were your first impressions of the club?
Alan: Wow! It’s very 21st century – something Ibiza hasn’t seen before, with these huge screens and fire shows. It’s an amazing experience and we were super impressed. The production is amazing, the lightshow is amazing – it’s all taken to the next level. It had to happen one day and we’re sure now Hï Ibiza is open, the other clubs in Ibiza will also evolve. But we also always hope the true spirit of Ibiza remains. Ibiza is unbeatable when it comes to nightclubs, there’s nothing else like it in Europe.

Alan [left] and Christian taking a break in the garden at Hostal La Torre.

How do you balance your DJing career with running your businesses?
Alan: For us, we’ve always worked seven days a week, our whole lives. It’s not like this just suddenly happened. A lot of people don’t realise we have 20 venues and 450 employees – maybe they just know us from Mambo or Hostal La Torre. But I think both are very creative worlds and we believe they go well together.
Christian: Hï Ibiza just brings an extra hangover into the equation!
Alan: Guaranteed, every Monday morning! But it’s a great experience. We love it – we’re always learning. We want to keep investing – we’ve just bought a little boutique hotel called Mimosas in Cala de Bou – in the right style of tourism for Ibiza.

How would you describe that style?
Christian: Tourism for people who respect the culture of Ibiza. People who want to discover more than just parties. Ibiza has so much to offer.
Alan: We really believe in this style of tourist for the future of Ibiza and in San An, there needs to be more of it. We believe there are so many different kinds of Ibiza holiday, not just one. And there has to be a good balance of everything.
Christian: It doesn’t always have to be about clubbing every night or beach clubs every day. For example, Dalt Vila is amazing – any time of year. We definitely encourage more winter tourism. We really enjoy the island so much at the end of the season when the weather is still amazing.
Alan: And in the winter, we have the almond blossoms, which are every bit as beautiful as the cherry blossoms in Japan. All the local restaurants are open, from the north to the south. It’s so sunny and when people come here in the winter, they are all amazed. We keep as many of our venues open all year round as we can.

The spectacular almond blossoms of Santa Ines in full bloom in the winter months.

Where would your own dream holiday destination be?
Christian: Honestly, it would be five days here in Ibiza. I wouldn’t go to nightclubs – my experience would be all about enjoying the daytime, going to the nice calm beach restaurants. Drinking vino blanco with my feet in the sand…
Alan: And going to discover all the little calas in our boat, finding the bays where there is no one.

What’s your favourite part of the island?
Alan: The west coast, from La Torre all the way to Portixol.
Christian: That’s also where the first fishermen’s huts in Ibiza are, made by Phoenicians and they’re still there. It took me 30 years to go and see them…
Alan: When you go by boat, it’s super beautiful, you see all the Phoenician walls everywhere – you get to go through Isla Margarita, which is the island with the hole you can go through and you see Ses Valandres, which is a famous hike that you have to go down by rope. People forget that the San Antonio area has so much natural beauty. It is the most beautiful area on the island but it also has the most horrible street in Ibiza, so it gets a bad reputation. But it’s just one street. San An also has Punta Galera, Cala d’Albarca, Santa Ines, all the best Agroturismos. There is so much authenticity here.
Christian: Ibiza has a yin and a yang. You can go crazy for four days in a row and see all the LEDs in the clubs or you can go and chill out and relax in the north. When we go walking around the north and see these little villages that haven’t been touched in five hundred years, it’s still so authentic.

The stunning rock formations of Punta Galera on Ibiza’s west coast.

Can you tell us your favourite place to go for breakfast?
Christian: We like La Cava – it’s so quiet and calm now. You can go in summer and there are no cars and no noise, it’s so peaceful.
Alan: And the food is so good! There have been a lot of critics about the regeneration of Vara de Rey but I really like it. There used to be so many cars parking and beeping – being on a restaurant terrace was stressful. But now it’s peaceful. I think the centre of town has a great future. I also like driving to Santa Ines in the morning to see Toni at Can Cosmi and eat some omelette or up to La Paloma in San Lorenzo.

Tell us some lunch spots you love?
Alan: Cala Gracioneta. It’s so authentic and we’re really trying to bring the real vibe and spirit of Ibiza there. I hear people complaining that every beach in Ibiza has a beach club and we’re not going to do that. We just want to serve really nice food, to use good products from the island and slowly slowly, by word of mouth, people are discovering that. We’ve got our grill on the beach, we serve great salads and rice dishes.
Christian: We love ordering the vegetarian rice at Cala Gracioneta – it’s not paella, it’s more like the Valencian style soccarat, where it’s quite dry and you scrape it from the bottom of the pan. And we love the ham in Bar Costa in Santa Gertrudis – now that is a good place for lunch!
Alan: Another place we love is Ses Boques – which had to close due to damage after the storms, but I really believe and hope it will open again next year.
Christian: It’s a true Ibiza gem.

Rustic island gem Ses Boques – due to reopen in summer 2018.

What are your top dinner recommendations?
Christian: We tend to eat out more in the winter, because we’re too busy in the summer. But I really like Sa Punta…
Alan: The food is so good, Rodolphe is such an amazing host and he has easily one of the best wine lists on the island. We really like the classics. Las Dos Lunas, Balafia with friends, and Sa Capella. It’s very authentic and still feels magic when you’re there, even after all these years.

Is it difficult to choose your favourite location to watch the sunset?
Alan [without hesitation]: Hostal La Torre. For us, Mambo is work but when we come down to La Torre, we can spend two or three hours here. This place is so special.

Do you have a favourite beach?
Alan: Portixol to me is pure beauty and I am a big fan of Cala Conta – I think it’s the most beautiful beach on the island but in summer it is so overcrowded. All of our favourite beaches are too crowded in summer…
Christian: So we go by boat!

The magical Las Dos Lunas – one of Ibiza’s longest running restaurants.

Best place to swim?
Alan: My favourite swimming place is another beach we recommend, though it’s a little bit hard to hike to: Cala d’Albarca. We go there by boat a lot. There’s a natural pool there, in the middle of this rocky area. The bay is big, but still protected so you don’t get the waves of the north. We pull up in the middle, throw anchor and it is just paradise.
Christian: Atlantis is good too, next to Es Vedra.
Alan: And Isla Conillera has a beautiful beach too and there are never many boats there – you feel like you’re in Ibiza in the 50s. So tranquil.

Favourite place to go for a dance?
Alan: I’ve been to see Eric Prydz at Hï Ibiza a lot this year. And I still love Pacha. It’s a super sexy club. You know, it was built in stages – there was never a plan for it to be the way it is today. They just kept adding on here, and adding on there and the way it has created all these levels… the sound is amazing too.
Christian: Fridays at Pacha are great, we’ve been to see Hot Since 82 a lot this year.
Alan: Every club has its own special thing. We’ve been to WooMoon at Cova Santa a couple of times too and it’s a great party.
Christian: It’s such a fresh concept.
Alan: It’s good for the island to have these new creative parties with a different approach. Ibiza has always been about creating new things and we need to keep it that way.

Cala Conta – one of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe.

What’s your favourite DJ booth on the island?
Christian: Hï Ibiza just gets better and better as we get to know the venue. For the first few weeks we were really nervous – it was such a big deal for us! But now it’s all come together and we love it. We’ve had some great guests and really friends play with us, like Idris Elba, Felix Da Housecat, Tensnake and Danny Howard. The crowd seem like very civilised ravers to us!

Ultimate Ibiza track?
Christian: A chillout track called Orbital Belfast, by Orbital. I first heard it down at Mambo in about 1994 and it’s just magic. It’s got rhythm, it’s got classical elements…
Alan: It just keeps on building and building.
Christian: When I used to DJ at sunset, that would be one of my tracks to play just before the sun disappeared.

What do you do on the island when you want to relax?
Christian: It’s always something to do with sports.
Alan: We go hiking and do a lot of diving. Not many people realise the diving is amazing in Ibiza. In the west, the scenery is so different to the east. In the west you have all the seaweed, the posidonia, and the rock formations and islands like Es Vedra, then in the east you have all the fish you actually eat. They are really strange – almost like dinosaurs! The water in Ibiza is super clean – you have 40 metres of visibility which is more than the Caribbean.
Christian: There’s an amazing dive by Isla Conillera, where you see different fish at different depths, it goes right down to 35 metres. We’ve also got the famous shipwreck Don Pedro here.

Es Vedra – the limestone rock formation that also boasts some great diving spots.

Can you share your best Ibiza memory?
Alan: About five years ago, on October 20, we took the boat to Es Palmador and we were the only boat there. It was 30 degrees, we had a picnic, a group of friends, the sea was really warm… it was a wonderful time to be there.
Christian: And the boat was right on the beach! In summer, every day you have 200 of the richest people in the world moored up on their boats there – it’s so overcrowded.
Alan: We were totally alone there – it was perfect, the simplicity of it all. You can’t put a price on that.

Do you feel like you are still discovering parts of Ibiza after all these years?
Alan: Totally! Over time, less and less of course, but we still love it. I would never imagine living anywhere else. Ibiza is amazing and there’s a lot of history here.
Christian: And we love both sides of Ibiza – the summer and the winter.

Do you ever get tired of people asking you for Ibiza recommendations?
Alan: No! We love Ibiza and we love feeling that we send people to the right places. We’re not always going to send them to our own venues – we recommend places all over the island that we love.

How does it feel when you return to the island after travelling?
Alan: It still feels special, it really does. Especially when we’ve been gone for a month. When you step on the tarmac to go to the bus, you breathe the Ibiza air, you see the light – it’s still like wow, it’s amazing to be back.
Christian: Yes! And I’m always looking forward to getting to sleep in my own bed.

MAMBO BROTHERS PLAY HÏ SUNDAYS AT HÏ IBIZA UNTIL SEPTEMBER 17, 2017.

Cristian and Alan cruise the west coast of the island in Alan’s converted vintage Citroen Mehari.

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