“I know people have their opinion on Ibiza being ‘not the same as it was’. If Ibiza was still the same as it was say 20 years ago, would it still have the same magic?” – Alice Clark

What can I say, 2017 flew by and in a blink of an eye, it just went, now normally that isn’t an issue, but despite lauding Australian DJ and Producer Trinity as a Future Leader, we missed the chance to showcase a next. By late 2017, after searching far and wide, one stood out, beyond the cookie cutter techno and tech house that has flooded Beatport, it was refreshing to find someone doing it from scratch, in one of the toughest places on earth, Ibiza. Meet Alice Clark, an artist who like most, fell down the musical rabbit hole in her childhood learning the piano, guitar, drums and the sax at a young age so that reading and writing music for her became almost second nature. “I guess it was a natural progression when I started DJing, they both went hand in hand,” she says. She recalls “recording lines from all the instruments to make a track. Not sure the neighbours were exactly pleased about this, but it was my little ‘music cave’.”

Today, Alice is a fast-rising international DJ who divides her time between summers in Ibiza and touring globally in the winter months. A life we all wish we had.

Alice started out on the dance floor before transitioning to the other side of the decks. “Before I started to play I was always on dancefloors, all through my university years in London and the long summers in Ibiza,” she says. “I think they go hand in hand anyway. If you can enjoy the music from the other side of the booth, I think it gives you a better understanding of reading a crowd.”

Being handpicked by Monki and Danny Howard to playing Creamfields for BBC Radio 1, commanding her own Pioneer Global Radio Show and signing music to some of her favourite labels, Decay Records and Cyclic. “If we throw it back to when my journey first began, playing at places such as Fabric at the age of 17 was a real moment for me.” She has been visiting the States every year since the age of 12 and has really made her mark there touring in recent times. “The response has been amazing, and I’ve loved every second. To see people smiling and dancing to my music in all these different cities around the country, and all the amazing people I’ve met along the way, just completely makes all the grind worth it.”

Like most DJs, Alice prefers to play long sets. “It’s what I’ve always been used to,” she says. “When I first started playing in Ibiza for my first season, I was carving out eight-hour-long sets six nights a week — for five months. It was intense, but it taught me so much. The importance of the journey, the peaks and the troughs.”

Having learnt that Alice has spent the last few months in the US in the studio, there was no denying that 2017 was a big year for releases, on such labels as Cyclic Records, New Violence Recordings and Glasgow Underground. “So the whole winter is all about studio hibernation for me, I love having the freedom to lock myself away and get creating. I find it very inspiring also writing in another country. When I was in the States recently, I think the change of scenery really gave me a new lease of energy creatively. The sun and warm weather also helps!”

And what of the new year? “I’m excited to be kicking off 2018 with confirmed releases on some of my favourite labels… 8TH April I am releasing my track ‘Motivez’ with Los Pastores label, O Black. I have been road testing this one out a lot recently over the last few months, very much inspired by Premeisku’s sounds. My debut EP on Decay Records.will be a 2 track EP entitled ‘ Rocket’ will be released on 27th April with quality remixes from the super talented Cyclic Records boss Mihai Popoiviciu, and James Dexter. I’ve also just confirmed the release of my second EP on Cyclic Records. After seeing the response from my ‘Traverse EP’ in 2017, I’m looking forward to getting these out there on this label, also have the next batch of tracks being sent out as we speak and more in the works currently.”

Throughout the years, a common thread runs when talking studio tech, every producer has that one bit of kit that they just love (or loathe) and Alice is no different. “My Roland TR8 is a staple in my studio. The classic drum samples are timeless in my opinion and it’s so fun to jam on and get an idea moving. I love to experiment and bounce the sounds I take from the box to see how I can develop and shape it in Ableton. For example, the other day I was jamming and creating a synth-like sound by exporting a rim shot from the TR8 and playing with the tone and decay, manipulating these classic sounds into something completely new. I even carried it out to America with me, got some funny looks going through customs when they didn’t understand what this machine was that I was taking on the plane.”

All the studio tech gadgets in the world won’t do the creative work for you, I was curious as to how Alice approached her writing, does she just walk in and see what happens, or is there over-riding influence predetermined? “I actually think a bit of both. I start vibe-ing and creating a groove first, and then build from there and see where I end up. Yes – I definitely have an overriding influence when creating all my music – the Romanian micro house / minimal sub genre is where my heart is. I love the intricacies and driving dubby rhythms that are synonymous with this genre. Spending time on the dancefloor hearing artists such as Archie Hamilton, Floog, SIT, Raresh, iOMulen, Livio & Roby over the summers has totally inspired my sound. Sonically, 2018 is where I feel most comfortable with the music I am playing and producing.”

My attention turns to Ibiza and as we soon roll out of winter in the northern hemisphere (some of us have been lucky to spend summer in Australia and skip winter) and with Ibiza slowly awakening, what does one most look forward to this season? “Many things! Getting back to the Island routine, catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in the winter, getting back playing. I have some exciting shows coming up outside of the Island too. In June I am heading over to Barcelona to make my debut at Off Sonar. This has been something that I have always wanted to be booked for. Being so close to Ibiza and being home to so much talent that I follow – really looking forward to being part of it.”

Not many people can lay claim to spending their entire adult life in Ibiza, from 18, Alice has called the island home, as only a fly in, fly out tourist, I’m keen to understand how it has changed over the years “It has definitely evolved; I think change is natural and inevitable in any industry. We are moving towards a new kind of Ibiza for sure with new nights, different sounds, emerging artists and fresh concepts. I know people have their opinion on Ibiza being ‘not the same as it was’. If Ibiza was still the same as it was say 20 years ago, would it still have the same magic? Who knows, But for me, I try to embrace the developments and move with the times, the White Isle will always be my home.”

Despite now being regular at Sankeys, moving into a highly competitive industry, compacted on the one place on earth most aspire to make their mark, I wanted to know the challenges one faces arriving on the island and what advice would you give to those wishing to break the barrier? “Well, the challenges you face in the music industry are heightened in Ibiza, due to it being the place that every artist and DJ wants to play. The competition is high and everyone wants a lot of the same thing so you have to stand out more so.”

“I personally feel that reputation gets you a long way on the island. It’s a very small place, everyone knows everyone’s business. I love that about Ibiza though, it’s very much a community. Some of my advice would be to be kind, it goes a long way. Make friends, you never know who you might meet at an after party. Be respectful and reliable. Attend the nights you want to be associated with. Stay musically true to yourself, be patient and never give up.”

It can’t all be work though, one needs to relax and soak up the surrounds, although when extracting “places to see” from die-hard Ibizan’s, is usually met with derision and scorn, nobody wants to give away those “gems” to tourists, but Alice has seen countless visitors come and go over the years and is eager to offer up some “must do” places. “Ibiza is full of hidden gems. I feel very lucky to live on such a beautiful island and to still be discovering new places every year.”

“I think my favourite area which I have only recently discovered over the last few weeks is ‘Cueva de Cala Comte’. A beautiful discretely hidden cove, which you are able to access via little man-made steps near to Cala Comte. The stairs take you down the cliff to unveil a huge cove which has been naturally eroded by the sea. I know people do yoga and fitness classes there, its honestly a breathtaking spot, even though I have been living in Ibiza for 8 years, discovering the magic of the island over and over will never get old for me, I feel very blessed every day to call the island my home.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/danieluis/12039179716

Must you have come across some hilarious situations? “Where do I start? Many surreal situations have occurred over the years to say the least! Several spring to mind… need to have a good think which ones are appropriate to divulge. I mean I have definitely had a good few ‘accidental’ nights that turn into mornings last year. I was just meant to pop into CircoLoco to catch Martin Buttrich playing in the garden. But one thing led to another, I end up staying the whole day and well into the evening, then straight to Cocoon till sunrise. I remember waking up on my bedroom floor with a pot of yoghurt next me, don’t ask!”

Ok, I won’t ask about the yoghurt, but with work, radio and studio, those days surely are few and far between? “I think now as I’m getting older these kind of nights are not AS common. I like to be selective and pace myself when I go out as I am spoilt for choice every night here in the summer. But back in my early seasons I definitely didn’t have that mentality. I was everywhere, all the time, doing every night with everyone. Many a weird after party situation would arise as you can imagine. Including playing dress up in Sunnys Bodoir at Pikes. Also, back when Space was open we used to go backstage during Elrow literally in the dress up closet trying on all the performer’s outfits. The best thing was, no one blinked an eyelid. I’m just stood there dressed as a gorilla. No big deal.”

I could chat for hours with Alice, there is also the matter of trying to find a specific model of Pioneer headphones in Florida before her gig whilst chatting, but all good things must come to an end, given it is the new year, I wanted to know what does 2018 look like? “Thank you for having me guys. ☺ So I’m happy to be able to announce a couple of shows that I have upcoming in March this year that I’m buzzing for. I will be playing in Romania with Audiofly on March 10th. After taking so much inspiration to my sound from the genre and artists of Romania I am really looking forward to this one. Also, I will be heading over to Switzerland on March 3rd to make my debut there. So yes, lots to look forward to and new music coming – ready to keep riding the 2018 wave. See you on the Island.”

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About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/damionpell-1

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