With its genesis in the superclubs, We Love… has become one of the world’s most respected parties. ROB CHADWICK meets co-promoter Mark Broadbent
The superclubs of the late 90s conjure up mixed memories for a lot of clubbers. For some, they are home to long-cherished musical memories. To others, they’re the scourge of going out – overpriced monsters that killed off smaller, more credible nights, and helped hike door prices to horrendous levels by paying their guests ludicrous sums of money. But love them or hate them, the superclubs have helped shape some of today’s best parties. And in Ibiza, one of the island’s finest clubs can trace its roots back to the heady days of Cream and Home. That party is We Love… the marathon session that has made Space its home and played host to just about every A-leister you can think of.
Behind this new clubbing institution are Cream impresario Darren Hughes and partner in crime Mark Broadbent. And between them, they’ve moved beyond the Ibiza parties to release compilations, create radio and TV shows, and build an army of followers around the world. EQ caught up with Mark to talk about the early days of their Ibizan shindigs, their amazing residents, their 2009 season and what’s next for We Love…
How did it all start for you and We Love…?
My involvement started with the collapse – or change of management to one we could never work with – of Home Sydney in 2001. Myself and my wife, Sarah moved back to Ibiza where we had previously been running Darren Hughes’ Cream operations in the mid to late 90s. Darren had started a new 22-hour party at Space under the ‘Home’ moniker, and he asked us to join him. We started the We Love… concept a year later.
How do you prepare for the seasons in Ibiza?
We started working in Ibiza back in 1996. We used to work for three months and take the rest of the year off. But sadly, this has switched around over the years, and we now work for most of the year and take off three months for travel. And this is how we prepare for the summer season – trekking in the mountains, diving the oceans and lying on the beaches of far-flung places. It’s the perfect way to think about the summer ahead, plan acts and generally conceptualise the coming season.
You have some amazing residents, like Steve Lawler, James Zabiela and Paul Woolford. It must be an amazing feeling having that much talent on your line-ups every week?
It’s great to be in a position where everybody wants to get on board with what you’re doing. And to see these guys – often people you have idolised – week after week for the whole summer essentially working for you is a dream come true.
Opening for 15 hours every event must take a lot of stamina…
No, it’s easy. Standing around a nightclub drinking beers with your mates could never be called hard work – it’s fucking fun. The hard work is all in the lead-up to the events, the six-month planning. And the week before the shows always gives me the fear.
How do you the think the We Love… parties went down this year?
The parties pretty much exceed my expectations every year as I’m a pretty pessimistic person. I truly believe that nobody is going to turn up right up until the room is full. This year was a lot of fun for us all at We Love. Numbers were a little down on last year - our busiest trading year in a decade - but the only people who seemed to be missing were the ones who basically make up the numbers. All the true party people were in attendance, and this meant the acts we’d booked could really let loose musically.
How do you keep the clubbers interested seeing as there is so much competition on the island?
There’s not really not a lot of competition to what we do. Sure, there are other great nights, but nobody has the space and time available to programme six rooms of music for 15 hours. We pay very close attention to what is going on musically around the globe and try and represent the best parts of this to keep things fresh year after year. I think this is very important to our customers. We enable them to hear new styles and trends that they might not come across in their own towns back home.
What have been your highlights from the parties over the years?
Grace Jones’ live show this year wins hands down as the best thing we have ever put on anywhere. But every week there is something that really makes me stand back and listen. Off the top of my head, I’ve really enjoyed Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Serge Santiago, Alfredo, Jam Haynes, Paul Woolford, James Zabiela, Hell, Jason Bye, David Philips, Layo & Bushwacka… Musically, and as a promoter who wants to see the room explode with people bouncing off the walls with pure joy and abandon, you can't beat Felix Da Housecat, Ed Bangers, Funkagenda, Boys Noize, Steve Lawler, Digitalism, and, back in the day, Carl Cox for pure NRG.
We Love TV and radio have developed into huge successes. Tell us a bit about these.
We wanted to develop a portal to show and share what we do with as many people as possible – TV and radio is the obvious choice. They are media we are all passionate about, and although it was not our initial intention, hopefully this will eventually help us with the brand outside of Ibiza. We may even be able to recoup some of the money we’ve invested on this side of our operations one day…
What’s next for We Love…?
Onwards and upwards Rodney!