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The US house don talks to us about the difference between his home city of New York and Ibiza, and playing underground house music at Pacha…

A house head to the core, Dennis Ferrer is the owner of the esteemed Objektivity label and one of New York’s most celebrated DJs. A similarly prolific producer, Ferrer has put out his fair share of classics in his time, not least ‘Son Of Raw’, ‘Hey Hey’ and ‘Sinfonia Della Notte’, while remix credits for the likes of Fish Go Deep, Blaze and Ane Brun have all left an inimitable mark on the house scene. 

Simply put, when it comes to house music, Dennis Ferrer’s CV is as impeccable as they come. A regular once again this year at Pacha’s Insane party, Ferrer is also one of the scene’s more interesting and humorous characters — as we found out when we stopped by for a chat…

Ibiza is a world away from growing up in NYC, right?
A world? More like a galaxy! It isn’t even remotely close. NYC is a constant rat race. It always feels like you’re hustling. There isn’t a moment where you’re ever really relaxing, so the island life is way different. But growing up in NYC is what made me who I am, and I’m sure I’d be a pretty different person if I grew up on Ibiza. I’m already lazy… any more laid-back and people would think I’m in a coma!”

You’ve a long-standing association with Pacha, a club that’s fairly far removed from your underground roots. Were you ever worried about how your music would be received there?
Of course! But at some point you have to say… well… if no one else is going to do it [play underground music], it might as well be me that does. It’s a win/win for me. People always have opinions about venues but I believe music is universal.

If I can play and expose 2,000 people to music they’ve never heard before and they enjoy it, then I’m doing my part. I’m helping to build our scene. Nobody is any less deserving of the music. It’s that simple.”

What are your thoughts on the whole VIP vibe in Pacha and in the scene in general?
The VIP vibe is always what it’s been: a place for the wealthier members of society to play. But here’s the thing: most places have VIP sections — it’s just all in the presentation. For instance, the back of DC10 is VIP, the only difference is that there isn’t champagne flowing.

I just wish people would stop the bullshit. We all know VIP is set-up for the money or other types of gain, and why not? If people are willing to spend their money extravagantly, then so be it — they might as well spend it in your club, and if it makes them feel special about doing it then all good. If you don’t do it, someone else will and the money will flow there. This is a business after all.”

So can you tell us a bit about Insane and your plans for the night?
Insane is a bit of a special night. It allows me to be exposed to a mixed crowd of people who’ve come there to experience the different blends of artists that represent the underground and overground dance scene. It’s sort of a ‘come as you are/keep an open mind’ kind-of night. You might have a really deep percussive DJ mixed in with a more techy, melodic DJ, followed by a more overground, commercial end to the night. It’s a trip and an adventure. 

“No one’s quite too sure of how it will all play out, which makes it really interesting for me. It’s easy to play on a line-up where everyone is similar. No real deviations from one DJ to the next. The honour comes from playing after a DJ who plays nothing like you do and have the crowd that was enjoying him now lose their minds to what you’re playing. That in the end is my plan… to convert!”

Finally, can you tell us a story that sums up Ibiza for you? 
I think one story that sums up Ibiza for me is not a story at all but life being what it is. It was when I brought my son to Circoloco, and he was embraced as if he was one of their own. I never in a million years would have thought my father would be bringing me to a club on an island off the coast of Spain as a young kid growing up in the Bronx. 

And now, here I was, so far removed from that kid. Here I was with this young man who no longer was a child, watching him being whisked away by Kerri Chandler and Seth Troxler to somewhere down the back. Eh… Can I have my son back, guys? His mom’s gonna kill me!” 

Dennis Ferrer plays Insane at Pacha throughout the season.