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Paco Osuna: "Ibiza changed my vision of life and opened my mind”

Paco Osuna settles in for summer in Ibiza, helming the second room at Hï every Tuesday. Here, DJ Mag Ibiza catches up with the longstanding DJ about his love for the White Isle and more

Spanish DJ Paco Osuna first came to Ibiza more than 20 years ago, and immediately fell in love with the island. Initially playing at Amnesia, he’s helming his own night, NOW HERE, this summer in the Club room at Hï.

The DJ launched his Mindshake label in 2006, around the same time he co-founded the Club4 techno night with Marco Carola, Adam Beyer and Christian Smith — all now heavyweight artists in their own right. He joined Carola’s Music On family at Amnesia in 2015, a few years after playing for Richie Hawtin’s groundbreaking ENTER parties at Space, and was an ambassador for Hawtin’s PLAYdifferently MODEL1 mixer in 2016.

With his Mindshake brand going from strength to strength, Osuna has now moved away from Music On to focus on his Hï residency, playing every Tuesday night, and sharing a bill with The Martinez Brothers, who've been holding it down in the Theatre room of the club.

DJ Mag Ibiza caught up with Osuna to chat about his long relationship with the White Isle, his plans for the residency and more. 

When did you first come to Ibiza?

“It was during the summer of ‘99. Just a couple of weeks before the season began, I received a call from Martin Ferrer, inviting me to be part of Amnesia’s team of resident DJs.”

What effect did the island have on you then?

“It was a completely new world for me. I came from Valencia at the time of the ruta and the clubs and parties there were very different from how they were in Ibiza. In Ibiza every day I could discover a new DJ and that opened my mind a lot on a musical level — and also on a professional level — as I saw DJs using mixing techniques that I did not know.

“Ibiza had a very big impact on me. Obviously, I fell in love with the island as soon as I set foot on it, with its light and its freedom.”

What does it mean to you to be holding your first true Ibiza residency at Hï?

“It means so much to me. It will give meaning to the last stretch of my career since it is one of the things that I needed to do professionally, and to be able to do it in a club like Hï, full of professionals with incredible human values and the best a venue has to offer. It is a privilege. It is a great honour to be part of their family.”

What guests do you have lined up, and what was your criteria for choosing them? 

“Musical! No more, no less!! We’ve already revealed who will be playing — Anna Tur, Ariel Rodz, Ben Sterling, Blackchild, Chelina Manuhutu, Cocodrills, Cuartero, Dennis Cruz, Fer BR, Hector Couto, Iglesias, Latmun, Mahony, Manu Gonzalez, Melanie Ribbe, Nicole Moudaber, Rafa Barrios, Reelow, Renato Ratier, Technasia and Tomi & Kesh. 

“Not a single guest that I have in the line-up has been called by chance. I know each and every one of them and I have seen them play in different events. They have been invited because I believe in their work and I have been able to verify it. I’m not so interested in big names but rather big DJs, even if they don’t have a big name. I am sure that each DJ will satisfy the audience every Tuesday.”

Why did you decide to call it NOW HERE?

“Everyone who knows me knows how important it is for me to live in the moment to the full, or I may say ‘a tope’. Many years ago my father taught me a reflection that marked me for life: time is the only thing that once gone, never comes back.

“I try to live in the moment and for the opportunities, without thinking about the past or the future. We have seen how Covid changed life on the planet in a matter of days. So, it seemed perfect to me to name it NOW HERE, since it fits a lot with my life values and my way of living it. My only wish is that people enjoy themselves from the very first to the last minute of the night. Always now and here.”

Paco Osuna DJing at Hi Ibiza

Is Ibiza still relevant in the global dance music scene? Do you think new talents and sounds are still discovered here?

“Today, with social networks and the Internet, almost everything is known instantly, which is why fewer things are discovered on the island than before. Obviously, Ibiza is a world reference in terms of music, clubs and a place to enjoy. Great Ibizan DJs continue to emerge who represent the Balearic sound around the world with great talent, such as Manu Gonzalez, but as I said before, today everything is much more global and just a click away.

“I don’t stop looking for new talents. They are a source of inspiration, they have a musical vision and a different life to the one I lived. So, to understand them, it is very important to know what their generation likes. Very few things in life last forever, so it is important to get involved with them and learn from them. I also try to share with them my experience in order to perpetuate the values of music, which are essential so that our beautiful profession does not disappear.”

What do you think of the music that is now being played around the island?

“It is very varied. You can continue to find electronic nights of different genres (techno, tech-house, house, etc.), but there are also nights more focused on live concerts, which are very well received and which in my beginnings on the island either did not exist or were very few and far between.”

Do you think Ibiza still holds that special attraction?

“Absolutely, yes. Ibiza has a special attraction: once you set foot on the island, it is difficult not to be influenced by it. The spirit of the island is the island itself: we DJs and the clubs are part of it but the island is the absolute protagonist. Personally, Ibiza changed my vision of life and opened my mind.”

How important is it for newcomers to the island to be aware of its history and culture? 

“It’s fundamental! There have been examples of promoters and DJs who came to the island with the mentality of wanting to change it and the result was always negative. You have to get to know Ibiza and respect it, as it was here before any of us arrived. It is essential to know the culture, the traditions, even their way of life. Nobody changes Ibiza, it changes you.”

With the season opening properly for the first time in two years, what would you like to see happen next — or return — on the island?

“I would love for the morning after-hours to come back. It’s something that I really miss a lot in Ibiza.”

This feature was originally printed in DJ Mag Ibiza's June 2022 edition 

Mick Wilson is DJ Mag's Tech and Ibiza editor. Follow him on Twitter @DJMagTech