Sarah's Summer Seduction
As she prepares for another crazy summer season on the frontline at one of the world's most famous clubs - Pacha Ibiza - resident DJ Sarah Main let's us dip into her life on the magical island, and delivers this issue's delicious 'Summer Seduction' covermount mix.
She went on holiday to Ibiza in 1999 and never went home, she loves piano house, she shared an Ibiza residency with Pete Tong, she's Frankie Knuckles', David Morales' and Erick Morillo's favourite warm-up DJ and she's signed up with Pacha for a global production, remix and DJing deal that means we're all going to see and hear a lot more of Sarah Main in the future.
For Australia's No.1 DJing export, the activities of recent years that have led to her current superstar DJ status, she says, are like a dream. When she talks about living and working in Ibiza she calls it her "perfect life". And when she describes the island itself she says it's her "utopia".
Sarah's energy, vitality and general, well, niceness is as uplifting as her DJing style - a vibrant romp through the best of house music's past, present and future. That's why DJmag asked her to deliver a fresh and exclusive mix for this month's bumper Destination Spain issue.
And that's also why, if you haven't yet, you should get your booty down to her next gig and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
In the meantime, DJmag caught up with her to find out more about island life, what she's been up to and exactly what it's like DJing at Pacha in Ibiza…
So you're totally locked in with Pacha, what is about the club that you love so much?
"The first time I actually walked into the club, the first year, in 1999, I looked at the club and thought, 'This is the perfect place for me, this is where I want to be'. I haven't changed my opinion in all the years.
"For me, it's still the best club in the world. It's got everything that I think a club needs - the atmosphere, the surroundings, the DJs, the music. It's what I like to experience when I go out clubbing.
"And I see stuff going on all the time that you just don't see anywhere else. I seem to see a lot of strange stuff when I'm DJing actually…"
"A girl getting fully, like… this guy had his hand right up there, in full view of everyone. I was just DJing saying, 'Ewww, what are you doing?'"
That's foul. Did it make you feel sick?
"Yeah, a bit. But that's not the funniest thing I've seen. I've seen people having full sex on the dancefloor.
"Then, one night they had this 40-year-old naked performer in Pacha. She was on stage, naked apart from loads of pearl necklaces around her neck. She'd stand there, shake her boobs, wiggle her bum, take off a pearl necklace and put it on a guy in the crowd.
"Suddenly, she had no pearl necklaces on. So I was DJing, thinking, 'What's she going to do now?' Then she spread her legs, started pulling pearl necklaces out from her vagina and putting them on people in the crowd! I was like, 'Oh my god, I've seen it all now.' That was her show, basically.
"Anything goes in Pacha and it's always been like that. There was a guy that used to go there a lot and apparently his outfit was being naked. He was just naked, walking round the club."
An interesting choice of outfit?
"Yeah, exactly. It's easy - no worrying about what you're going to wear."
What do you use when you DJ?
"I like my CDJs and my Pioneer mixer - just the standard stuff. I haven't used vinyl for a few years. I've got crates and crates of records here collecting dust.
"I'm going to move into my laptop very soon. Cerrato gives you more options to entertain the people more, so it's definitely the way forward."
Why did you move to Ibiza?
"The first time I came over was in 1999, just to check it out, and I fell in love with it. I got a few DJ spots here and there, just at Bambuda Grove, which was very exciting at the time. I played at a bar in the port and I played at a beach bar, which was right next to Bora Bora. They were all free gigs but they were all very exciting for me."
Did you have a job back in Australia?
"I was DJing. I'd been DJing since I was 18 as my sole income."
How did you manage to swing that?
"I just really believed that's what I wanted to do. In the beginning, of course, it was a struggle. I was only making enough money to cover my rent, week-by-week.
"I had one full-time job that my family got me as an assistant to a graphic designer. That lasted three months before I got fired. You know, when your heart's not in it, it's just not in it..."
If you had to pick a single DJ set that had the most impact on you, what would it be?
"I remember seeing Mark Farina and Derrick Carter play in a club in Sydney, when I still lived there, and that was an experience that just blew my mind. I'd never seen house music affect people like that, everyone was bouncing. The way they mixed the music was so inspirational."
Derrick Carter is brilliant, isn't he?
"Yeah. I was like, 'How the fuck is he doing that?' Three decks at the same but everything just moved together and the crowd was just pulsating, jumping up and down to this jacking sound. It was incredible.
"Mark Farina and Derrick Carter were definitely the ones that pushed me to put funk into my mixing. They taught me that it wasn't just about putting two records together and beat-matching, there's more to it than that. You can create more energy on the dancefloor with the way you put songs together, making it more organic to make it work. That's what those guys gave to me.
"After that I came straight to Ibiza. People said to me, 'You must have gone to London' but I was like, 'Oh no, I by-passed that.'"
What was the first big Ibiza club you played?
"It was El Divino in 1999. I met a guy called Rubber Ron, who runs the Submission parties. He was doing a night at El Divino and he let me warm up for the first hour, which I was very excited about. I dressed up in what I had that was black and sort of vinyl-ish and went along and did my gig. There was no-one there but I was just excited to play there!
"The next time I played a big club was Pacha in 2000. I played in the back room. I was, again, very excited - I get very excited very easily! So I went and played and, again, played to the staff but that was enough for me. That was my foot in the door and I was like, 'Okay, this is where I want to be.'"
What happened after that?
"In 2001, I played in Pacha again, filling in for Smokin' Jo. She couldn't make it so she suggested me and they let me have a go. That was in the main room. It was great. I was so nervous. But it was great to think, 'I'm up here, this is my dream, I'm almost here. Now I've just got to bag a residency!'"
How exactly did you bag your Pacha residency?
"Well, at end of that summer I had no money left and my friend came to pick me up to take me to the airport. She's never late, but was for some reason on that day and I missed my flight. I had no money to get anywhere, nothing. I was like, 'What do I do?' I went to the police station and called a friend - [Pacha boss] Danny Whittle, actually - and said, 'What do I do?' He said, 'Just go back to my house, chill out and don't worry about it'.
"Everyone in Australia was freaking out 'cos I had all these gigs booked. I had to cancel everything.
"Danny said to me, 'Look, you need some money to get home. I'll give you a gig in the club and we'll pay you the money to get a connecting flight to Amsterdam so you can get home. That was a godsend.
"I did the gig and by the end of the night they said, 'You know what? We're actually looking for a resident DJ for the winter, would you like to stay and try out for the job?' So, I was like, 'God, yes!'
"So I flew home, packed up my stuff, said 'See ya later guys' and flew back. The next day I flew out to Iceland to do my first gig for Pacha and the rest is history."
Sarah Main Fast Facts
Ten things you should know about the Pacha resident…
2. Her favourite piano house track is Ken Doh's 'I Need A Lover Tonight'.
3. She's doing her radio show live from sunset bar Mambo, Ibiza, fortnightly Fridays this summer.
4. She's recently been in the studio with Mutiny working on some razor-sharp house cuts.
5. David Morales loves her DJing so much he invited her to play at his birthday party at Cava Paradiso, in Mykonos, in 2003.
6. She played her first ever DJ set aged five, playing cassettes back-to-back at a BBQ at her granny's house.
7. She recently signed a hefty sponsorship deal with Pioneer.
8. She can drink you (and your mates) under the table.
9. She was once offered a job working as graphic designer making Barbie DVDs but turned it down 'cos it interfered with her DJing.
10. She's released six mix albums so far in her career. With this issue's 'Summer Seduction' mix you get her seventh - free!
From poolside chillin' to the Pacha dancefloor, Sarah Main's 'Summer Seduction' mix gets us in the mood for 2008.
1. Nu Frequency feat Shara Nelson 'Go That Deep (Charles Webster Mix)' Rebirth
2. Moonbotica feat 1amx 'Pretty Little Angel (Preocoop Baalsal Mix)' Kontor
3. Richard Grey vs Bob Marley 'No Deputy (Tomas Hedberg & Tucillo Mix)' Pacha
4. daZZla & Michael 'Project ONE
5. Goldfish 'Sold My Soul (Nacho Marco Mix)' Pacha
6. Surkin 'Next of Kin (Todd Edwards Re-Kindled Mix)' Institubes
7. Kiko Navarro 'More (Dub Mix)' Pacha
8. Alex Gopher 'Aurora (Riot in Belgium & Knightlife Mix)' Go 4 Music
9. Still Going 'Still Going Theme' DFA
10. Itamar Sagi 'Black Gold (Chymera Mix)' Be As One
11. Goldfish 'Cruising Through (Al Velilla Mix)' Pacha
12. M.S.T. 'In Acid (Chicken Lips Malfunction Mix)' We Love Muzik
13. The Juan Mclean 'Happy House' DFA
14. Goldfish 'Hold Tight' Pacha