Gordon Phillips is the big cheese, top dog, club impresario behind the success story of BCM, also known as Planet Dance, on the Balearic isle of Mallorca. Formerly a DJ, his services to dance music go back far and beyond the call of duty, and as well as keeping things shipshape at the world-renowned club he is famous for being 'a friend to the stars' and booking some of the highest ranking talent.
Living on the island for the last 15 years, it was in part due to his influence and contact list that Phillips turned the holiday resort minglefest into a world-respected super-club. Holding around 5000 people on three floors with a purpose-built foam and water party fun room, and a layout that clearly brings the crowd closer to the DJ, "Everyone is in an amazing mood, the atmosphere is second-to-none," he beams.
Ever forward-thinking and putting his money where his mouth is, Phillips has invited Dutch duo Showtek to present a glimpse of what's to come with their summer residency at BCM via DJ Mag's latest covermount mix. Fresh from a massive chart hit with the carnival flavoured, reggae/drum & bass/electro beast 'Booyah', their style has evolved to incorporate new flavours. One of the hottest big room acts of the moment, they've shed their hardstyle roots to rock to a universal beat.
Below, Gordon and Wouter, one half of Showtek, talk about the club, the music and what's putting fire in their bellies right now...
How would you describe BCM to someone that's never been?
"Take the best of Ibiza, all the clubs of Ibiza, all the big nights there, take all of that, put it under one roof for half the price with a free bar all night, with festival level production."
What's the crowd like?
"All the DJs love it because it's like they're playing at a festival, but you can see everyone's eyes, this is what a lot of them say, it's like playing in an arena, it's enormous, we've got a stadium-sized Function One soundsystem, we've got festival level lighting and production, Megatron, ice blasters, pyrotechnics, you name it we've got all of that. It's like going to a festival indoors. The energy is better than anywhere that they've ever played.
“[The crowd are] British mostly, they're on holiday, it's a free bar all night — once you've paid to come in you don't pay for anything else. They can drink as much as they want. But that doesn't mean that they get stupid drunk because they know that they can go back to the bar whenever they want to get another one. When you do a one-hour free bar that's when you get people puking up everywhere."
What are your thoughts on the current dance scene?
"Everyone says it's changed and EDM has taken over as the new pop. I don't think that's necessarily the truth, it's just that they've relabelled what's going on. What's coming out of the music scene, dance music generally has become the pop music of the market right now. If ballads were there you wouldn't be able to play pop music because you wouldn't want to go into a club and slow dance all night would you? I think the clubbing scene has driven — slowly and positively — the changes that are happening in the charts and what you see on MTV, because that's what the majority of people want to do, they want to go out to dance. With the accessibility and the internet now, it's made it more popular, it doesn't mean it's crap. The reason it's called pop is because it's selling millions, everybody likes it. That's good."
You've obviously had some amazing experiences, would you be able to think of any more memorable moments?
"There's too many. Most of the things that I can think of I couldn't tell you anyway because they'd get me arrested or I'd end up with lawsuits from super stars or something, very private moments but lots of them. My friends call me 'friend of the stars'. My hospitality is famous now, second-to-none."
Are you living the life?
"People think I'm loaded, I'm not. But I do have a fantastic life yeah. A lot of the very famous DJs are personal friends of mine to the point where they invite me on holiday with them. This time last year I was on tour with Calvin [Harris], private jetting across America having a great time. I do have a good life and I do love what I do. What I've done with BCM, I love it and I'm very proud of it."
What have you got in the pipeline?
"I'm putting together a national search for new talent, sort of like the X-Factor but online in the industry, looking for new DJs, producers and songwriters across the UK over the next months, Mixcloud are going to be the platform for all the auditions to be sent to. We'll fly them over to collect their prize and play alongside their favourite DJs. All sorts of things like that are going on in the sidelines, but I want to expand the brand. It's got to saturation point now. I can't get any more people in, I can't charge anymore money. We've just bought a group of hotels across the road from us called the Fiesta Group, which at the moment are home to Mallorca Rocks. End of 2014 they're going and we're taking over redeveloping the venues, it will become more like a Ushuaia. On the other side it's going to be an Ocean Beach-style venue, that'll have a capacity of five or six thousand people, open-air, I can do concert-style events in, that'll be in 2015."
Wouter from Showtek
You've had a big hit in the UK with 'Booyah', how does that feel?
"It's so amazing, with this track we really wanted to create something different because we are always a little afraid of the separation in the music scene. We were like, 'Let's put some genres together and see how it works'. We never intended it to be such a big radio track, but that's the great thing about it because when you don't expect it you're more happy."
What are your views of the commercial scene at the moment?
"In one way it's really cool that it exploded and it's going global, like really insane. On the other hand it also raises the quality because the more commercial it gets the more professional it gets, I think more people get into it, especially in America now it's going more for business which is also a little dangerous. It always has two sides, that's why we decided just to do our own thing."
How did you make the transition from hardstyle to a wider big room sound?
"Well we used to produce with Marcel Woods. I've been producing 10 years of tech-trance and also co-producing with Tiësto, so we were actually used to making music but never put a name on top of it. So for us it wasn't that big of a change, but the people are like, 'Showtek, hardstyle? Hard dance?'. We had to do something new because we were a little bored and we had to reinvent ourselves. And we were like, 'If we don't change our own sound, then we'll never be happy again and people will feel this and then it will be over, so we better change and be happy'. It's like, you don't want to wear the same clothes for 10 years, wear something else once in a while."
'Booyah' has got elements of drum & bass in it, has that been a big inspiration to you in the past?
"I always love these little drum & bass parts of tracks, we're not big drum & bass fans, but I love the rhythm of it and with 'Booyah' it adds some more energy to the track, the vocal's pretty relaxing and with the beats on it, it makes it even more urban. And we're big hip-hop fans actually, so we just felt it was the right thing to do with this track. It's inspired by the UK sound a little bit, and that's why we were so happy to have such a big hit in the UK."
What future projects have you got coming up?
"We're working on a new vocal track, we want to do something old school, we're working on something that sounds like the '90s, with the sound of today. We have this thing that we always want to make a track with one element that's different, because otherwise I get bored really quickly with music, I'm like 'I know this, I know this sound' so I'm always trying to put something in there that's different — finding a new sound or creating all our sounds from scratch."