La Torre: Ibiza’s musical utopia that prefers to take the quiet approach

La Torre 3

La Torre 3

By and large, when it comes to music in Ibiza, whoever shouts loudest gets heard the most. Super clubs vie for attention with DJs and pyrotechnics that aim to take your breath away. Escape the hoards of Ibiza town, and you’ll find another approach being tried out, just as capable of stopping you in your tracks. Launched three years ago, La Torre is a modestly-sized boutique hotel, restaurant and bar sitting on a cliff edge of Cap Negret. Its views at sunset beat any light display Pikes or Space can offer, with a musical approach that harks back to the spirit of Café del Mar. Residents Mark Barrott and Pete Gooding see it as their own musical utopia and when the extended family like DJ Harvey, Wolf Müller and ESP Institute boss Lovefingers come down to play, they enjoy the freedom of experimentation, not feeling obliged to make guests dance. This is approach is summed up nicely on the La Torre compilation series curated by Mark and Pete, the first of which was among RA’s favourites of 2016, with Volumen Dos forthcoming.

If they’re not prepared to make enough noise to be heard, then we’ll help them out with a look into what makes the spot so special, aided by some insights from Mark, Pete and Lovefingers.

La Torre 2

Mark Barrott

What’s your first memory of visiting La Torre?

Visiting with Henning (Telephones) when making the Jose Padilla album to see a sunset.  It had the vibe at that time of a slightly weird 70’s Fawlty Towers hotel but the view was spectacular.

What made you think…”this is the kind of place I can see myself coming back to again and again”

The view!

What makes it different from all the other places you’ve played at in Ibiza?

It’s the only place I DJ at full stop, apart from occasionally playing with Mark Broadbent on a Sunday at Pikes. Both places (to me) represent the old Ibiza…the real Ibiza in spirit, where maverick thinking and total freedom rule the day. No commercialism, no one breathing down your throat to play this or that. I call it “soundtracking the sunset” because I don’t really think of myself as a DJ. So that freedom combined with the view make it such an alluring place to play.

Does it allow you to showcase a side of your DJing that you don’t feel comfortable to anywhere else?

See above!

What’s the best set you’ve played at La Torre and why?

I think the last one of last summer (2016), maybe cos it was the last one, or maybe it just took me all summer to get it right!  Everyone in the place was riding the music, the sunset was perfect, the energy in there was real strong.

What records will you always attribute to La Torre?

I guess the records at or around sunset. ‘Dawn Mists’ by Stringronics, ‘Abrahams Theme’ by Vangelis, my own ‘Deep Water’. Also the track I like to transition into the sunset section with – ‘Midnight on Rainbow Road’ by Leon Vynehall –  and the ones directly after sunset like ‘White Diamond’ by Hatchback.

Away from the music, who are some of the characters who make La Torre what it is?

Ibiza is full of characters so it’s hard to single out individuals as it changes every week, but I like the German lady who lives next door, who claims to be a friend of Marlene Dietrich.

La Torre 4

Pete Gooding

What’s your first memory of visiting La Torre?

It was on my first every holiday to Ibiza with my family back in 1987. I stumbled across it on my bike with my brother and remember feeling very happy and calm sitting there looking at the view, something really attracted me to the place.

What made you think…”this is the kind of place I can see myself coming back to again and again”

The stunning vista has a magical effect of you, the sea can look like glass at times, its a great place to sit and think, it had a meditative effect on me so this was the initial draw. I used to climb down onto the rocks in front of La Torre all the time in my early years working in Ibiza and just sit on my own and enjoy being there.

What makes it different from all the other places you’ve played at in Ibiza?

Well for me this has a level of purity about it, like Cafe Del Mar had in the early 90s. Due to the reputation we have built the customers expectation of what they are getting musically matches what we play so your in harmony with them. You always get so many compliments about the music when you get it right and its perfectly matched with the view, it really touches people. It’s very common to have people come and tell you that their experience made them cry, it’s amazing. I also thrive on playing in places where you’re not trying to make people dance as this creates a restriction I have always resented in a way as my taste is so varied so playing at La Torre caters for this need in me as a DJ.

Does it allow you to showcase a side of your DJing that you don’t feel comfortable to anywhere else?

Yes it does. I have been playing sunsets for 22 years now in Ibiza, so it’s instinctive to me, it’s the most comfortable style of DJing i know. I have certainly emptied a few dance floors in my time for being too experimental over the years. However out of all the places I have played sunsets, La Torre is definitely the best and certainly the most comfortable.

What’s the best set you’ve played at La Torre and why?

It’s hard to pin point one, as in the first year we opened I played over 75 times in the summer alone and last year I played all year round so there are too many to mention really. But the best ones are either when you get a stormy and more dramatic sky in the winter as this leads you down a different musical path, I may go a little darker and edgy or a perfect sunset with no clouds in the height of summer makes me more likely to play beautiful film sound tracks by the likes of Ennio Morricone, Vangleis and Thomas Newman and this really suits. I think on a day where I play Luciano Pavarotti’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ is always so memorable, this blows people away, there are always lots of tears.

What records will you always attribute to La Torre?

Well its early days yet as we are only in our third year but a few regular favourites for me so far have been:

– Steve Reich – Electric Counterpoint lll. Fast
– Ennio Morricone – Once Upon A Time In The West
– Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor – 4th Movement
– Captian Sensible – Glad It’s All Ove
– Yukihiro Takahashi – Present
– Lone – Breese Out
– Soft Machine – Isle Of The Blessed
– Leon Vynehall – Midnight On Rainbow Road
– Il Guardiano Del Faro – Lady Moon
– Hubbabubbaklubb – Mopedbart

Away from the music, who are some of the characters who make La Torre what it is?

For me the people who make it what it is are the customers who come and really get what we are trying to do, they walk through the door and you see their jaws drop wide open, saying to their friends, have you seen the view, it’s incredible. They connect it with the music and leave with a great memory.

We had some great guest DJs too on top of our residents like: Phil Mison, DJ Harvey, Craig Christon, Coyote, Matt Edwards, Maceo Plex, Rune Lindbaek, A Man Called Adam, Lovefingers, Balearic Gabba Souns System, Paul Daley, Kolsch, Graeme Fisher, Leo Mas, Thievery Corporation, Wolf Muller and many more.

La Torre 1

Lovefingers

What’s your first memory of visiting La Torre?

Probably what everyone says… walking down the lovely path to the door that opens into that heavenly view. It was a perfect afternoon and I met Harvey on the terrace to break bread.

What made you think…”this is the kind of place I can see myself coming back to again and again”

I quite enjoy places where I can sit and do nothing for hours on end. That’s what I did the entire time I stayed there–nothing.

What makes it different from all the other places you’ve played at in Ibiza?

I haven’t played much in Ibiza, only hung out and danced really. The only gigs I’ve done on the island so far have been sunsets or early evening chill-outs; this being my first sunset, so it was really special for me.

Does it allow you to showcase a side of your DJing that you don’t feel comfortable to anywhere else?

Aside from the radio, I don’t get to play such mellow vibes as much as I’d like to, and its really important to me. So yeah I definitely appreciate a place like La Torre that’s literally made for the music I adore.

What’s the best set you’ve played at La Torre and why?

Have only played one… but already planning for the next!

What records will you always attribute to La Torre?

Land Of Light – Flares (Kuniyuki Takahashi Remix)
Javier Bergia – Midnight Round Mekiness
Kraan – Young King’s Song
Anything soft from the Lord Of The Isles album In Waves

Away from the music, who are some of the characters who make La Torre what it is?

Pete Gooding is the man!

La Torre Ibiza Volumen Dos is out 30th June – buy from Phonica.

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