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Mark Broadbent: How To Get Booked At Space Ibiza (interview)

Reported by JontySkrufff on July 20, 2010

Ten years after he became the head booker at Ibiza’s most credible and critically important party (We Love) at the island’s most influential venue (Space), Mark Broadbent ‘s advice for landing a gig is impressively (if deceptively) simple.

“Make friends with us,” he recommends, “reach out.”

Well aware of We Love’s career boosting potential he’s equally conscious that every new booking means an established player loses out, a side of his job he admits continuing to find more than a little tricky.

“It's a terrible thing to have to do to tell someone you’re no longer booking them and over the years I’ve dropped quite a few acts who were mainstays of our programming back in the day,” he admits.

 ‘You’ve got to remember that most of these people have become friends but at the end of the day you’re not doing anybody favours by just booking them for the sake of it. Everybody can tell when a booking has been made for those reasons. Still, it’s the worst part of the job and it keeps me awake at night sometimes,” he admits.

 Pursuing a policy of mixing big name ‘underground’ names (this season’s stars include Carl Craig, Claude Von Stroke and Joris Voorn) with rising talent (notably Deepgroove, Berghain’s Marcel Dettman and Jesse Rose this season), We Love is broadly centred around techno, though Mark’s keen to avoid being pigeon-holed by genres.

 “We book acts from all four corners of the globe and given that we have six rooms to program you can often find lesser know genres like dubstep, for example Appleblim - being played in the club at the same time as big room house, for example by someone like Steve Lawler,” he points out.

“Music is our passion and we hunt it out in the best venues and parties and try to replicate what we experienced through our programming here at Space. This has also helped keep our parties very cosmopolitan in terms of our customers.”

He’s also impressively unflustered about the actions of rival Balearic clubs such as Pacha who made a dramatic move this season booking minimal/ deep type Luciano for a season of Sunday night affairs.

“After 15 years living and working on Ibiza I have found that people who like to go to Pacha will go there but on the same token, if you don’t like Pacha for one reason or another, no DJ booking is going to make you go there,” he says.

“I think maybe we have lost the odd soul to Luciano this summer but if you’re a regular customer of ours, there is no competition really.”


 Jonty Skrufff: What’s your take on 2010 so far: business as usual? Are there any significant trends you’re noticing and/ or pushing?

Mark Broadbent: “Attendance to We Love has been pretty much the same as last year, the numbers aren’t amazing but the parties have been fantastic. This summer will be a hard one again for many and the World Cup hasn’t helped but I’m sure all the main players on the island will see a big jump in numbers over the next few weeks. We don’t really do trends to be honest which is why we are still at the top of our game; keep the quality high and avoid all trends!”

 Jonty Skrufff: How are the Ibiza authorities these days: towards clubs and Space in particular? Do they still mount drugs raids on clubbers approaching the club or monitor your closing times closely?

Mark Broadbent: “We have absolutely no problems with them as we stick to the rules in place. We don’t sell drugs behind the bars and we close when we are supposed to. The police here are not interested in people taking a few pills in to the clubs for their own consumption they are looking for dealers and they generally have an angle on this.”

 Jonty Skrufff: Fabric owner Cameron Leslie talked this week about London nightlife being affected across the board by massive unemployment amongst the under 25s, how much do you believe Ibiza is immune to economic pressures afflicting Spain/ the rest of the world?

Mark Broadbent: “It's not, many businesses here have been massively effected and the number of tourists this past two years has fallen by over 30% in some sectors.

Jonty Skrufff: He also talked of the need for some ‘very grown up conversations’ about DJ fees with agents/ managers (‘the reality is that, the artist fees that are being asked for don't go hand-in-hand with dropping attendances’): are you already having the same conversations? or planning to?

 Mark Broadbent: “Good luck to him, although he is in a good position as one of the only big room venues in London that acts really want to play at so maybe he stands a chance of lowering fees. We have had this conversation once with a big act that we occasionally book and were very pleasantly surprised with the answer although it's not something I’m going to make a habit of doing and I would certainly not make a point of doing so across the whole field of acts that play for us. It is easier for us as we have only 16 weeks in which to host the parties at Space so we can plan for most eventualities and figure this into our budgets, a weekly party year round party has its own ongoing budget problems that differ from ours.”

Jonty Skrufff: You spoke to AddictedToIbiza last year who recently described San Antonio as ‘ex-pat English wasteland in the sun’ populated by ‘chavs, teenagers, washed up ravers, has-been English DJs, first-timers’: how much time do you spend in San An personally?

Mark Broadbent: “I go there for bacon from Pete the Butchers once a month in winter and there are a few very nice beaches hidden in far flung corners that way that I’ll visit occasionally in autumn. Outside of the occasional visit to Ibiza Rocks in summer I stay away from San Antonio not out of any fear of the place but there is simply no reason to go there if you live in Ibiza Town as I do.”

Jonty Skrufff: Their use of the term ‘has-been English DJs’ seems a little cruel, how difficult is it for people to stay on the island once they’ve passed their peak in career terms?

Mark Broadbent: “Ibiza is certainly a cruel island to be on if your star has dwindled. However having said that if you’re willing to get stuck in there is always work to be found. It’s ego dependent.”

Jonty Skrufff: What did you do before Space? What was your route into club culture?

Mark Broadbent: “I was a refrigeration technician back in the real world. I worked as a sub contractor for two large breweries for ten years then decided that was not what I wanted to continue doing so left for India as many do to try and find out just what it was I wanted to do with myself. I came home a year later to find the country in the grip of the first recession so there was no work in the field I came from which turned out to be actually a fucking blessing. Anyway, misadventure and good luck in the shape of (We Love chief) Darren Hughes prevailed. Darren was looking for somebody to run his affairs in Ibiza for Cream and we - myself and my wife Sarah - were looking for a job we could do for four months of the year enabling us to travel for the rest of the time. That was 12 years ago.”

Jonty Skrufff: Why aren’t you a DJ yourself?

Mark Broadbent: “I’ve always been a huge music lover so for me this job is really an extension of what I love. Programming the nights musically means I can have a certain amount of input into the whole venue. I have been asked many times to DJ at ours or at other people’s events but to be honest I could never be a performer. To stand up in front of a crowd and be judged, the thought of it makes me feel sick. I prefer to be in the background controlling things out of sight.”

Jonty Skrufff:In the AddictedToIbiza article you also recommended bringing lube (lubrication) to Ibiza why, can’t you buy it on the island?

Mark Broadbent: “Because it’s a small island and there’s only so much to go around! This comment is a little out of date now as it goes. Since I first made it - as a joke - Durex have introduced their own lube and toy arm to the company and you can now buy lube and vibrators in most of the chemists on the island. How times change. I can remember not so long ago when it was impossible to buy condoms in Spain.”

We Love happens at Space, Ibiza throughout the summer. For more details click below.

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