The Glitterbox dancefloor is a special place. Soaked in sequins, soundtracked by the classics and dotted with drag queens, it’s one of the White Isle’s most glamorous nights.
The brains behind its creation is Simon Dunmore (pictured below), bossman of London’s legendary Defected Records, plus long-time record collector and DJ, who saw a gap in the Ibiza market for a night focused on heritage music. “I just didn’t feel that listening to great disco, soul, house and even some contemporary records was being catered for on the island,” he tells DJ Mag. “It’s because it’s different that it’s hit a real sweet spot.”
And he’s right — Glitterbox is back for another epic stint at Space’s final run in 2016, with acts like Todd Terry, Dimitri From Paris, David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Crazy P and many more confirmed. We meet the man himself to find out what's going to be happening inside the 'Box...
Why are Glitterbox and Space the perfect fit?
“Space is associated with the heyday of Ibiza clubbing, and some of the best nights on the island have been hosted there. Glitterbox isn’t just about disco, it’s about great music of all kinds — classic house records, classic disco, and also contemporary records if we feel like they fit in that environment. Aligning heritage music with a club that has great heritage makes it a perfect fit for me!”
Talk to us about the music/booking policy behind the night?
“I still get to go out and see a lot of DJs play, and I think a lot of bookings are based around artists having a popular record, being high in the Beatport charts, or releasing a record that has crossover success on the radio. Invariably, I’m always disappointed when I see those DJs because although they’re marketable — and they get booked for that reason — it doesn’t mean they can look at a crowd, read a dancefloor, know when to take chances, take people on a journey, or when to drop those unexpected records — most of them play it really safe."
"I think it’s made club-land really predictable. The people we book at Glitterbox are people that have been DJing for 10, 15, 20 years and with that comes the experience, with that comes the delivery of great music.”
There’s not many disco-focused nights on the island, is that part of the reason Glitterbox has resonated so strongly with Ibiza clubbers?
“I think Glitterbox has resonated because of the polarisation of the programming on the island. Everything either seems to be a techno night or an EDM night and there was very little to accommodate people that didn’t like either of those extremes. People have been going to Ibiza for many years, and many go back on an annual basis, and I think Glitterbox has just resonated because it’s all about great dance music.”
You’re teaming up with Hot Heels and Sink The Pink this year, describe the dynamic they bring to the club?
“They both bring a real fun element to the night! Everyone needs to remember that going to a club and dancing is meant to be fun for the audience, and sometimes DJs and the environment in front of people is way too serious. Going to a club on a Saturday (yes, I know Glitterbox is on Friday, but bare with me) is meant to be about letting all your cares and worries and everything you go through in a week, and Sink The Pink just make that a little more interesting and uplifting.”
You’ve never been afraid to experiment in clubland and Glitterbox is now the only Defected night left in Ibiza, what’s the strategy behind the move?
“Defected is present in the island in the sense that all our DJs are playing on the island — we’re just represented in a different way. We’re also going to curate the terrace for the Radio 1 weekend as a Defected In The House event. Saying that, we don’t have our usual residency at a club throughout the whole season.
"The reason for that is we feel that Ibiza is a changing environment and we’ve spent the last few years in several different venues — in the end, we didn’t feel Amnesia was quite right for us. So rather than us club-hopping and being in a different venue every season, we decided to take our time and be more considered — we’re waiting for the right opportunity and when that happens, we’ll be back.”
You’ve said in other interviews you think Ibiza is becoming too VIP-focused. Expand on that...
“Well, I think the emphasis is too much on the high-end VIP market, and people just need to address the balance of it. I think there are people who are high rollers and do have money to spend that also want to be in the middle of a party, and the party atmosphere is usually generated by young kids that are on the dancefloor.
"If you’re scaring those people away by the prices being too high, then I don’t think long-term that’s a good thing for the island. It was always the idea to bring Glitterbox to London, it wasn’t just about these parties working specifically in Ibiza. There are like-minded people all over the world, and hopefully the success of these parties will be a platform for us to do these events all around the world.”
SIMON DUNMORE’S RARE DISCO GEMS
Salsoul Orchestra feat. Loleatta Holloway
Salsoul Records (1982)
“A record that combines many of my early influences. Loleatta Holloway is the only soulstress to get close to Aretha, in my opinion. It tells a story from start to finish, with the music reflecting the emotion and absolute intensity of someone missing their partner. Loleatta reigns supreme on this record.”
‘Let Me Down Easy’
Cheri Records (1976)
“I have two versions of this song, both are amazing. The first version I bought was by First Choice, who could have easily graced this top five selection with several records. However, the keys and groove on the Rare Pleasure version are so infectious that you are locked in from the first bar. Oh, and that piano hook was creatively stolen by David Morales for his ‘Needin U’ anthem back in the day.”
‘Don’t You Want My Love?’
MCA Records (1979)
“This record still gets played... it has stood the test of time. It’s not just played at disco revival nights either. I’ve heard DJs from Horse Meat Disco to Derrick Carter to Robert Hood banging this record out. Pure uplifting energy from the first beat!”
‘I Think I’ll Do Some Stepping (On My Own) (Opolopo Rework)’
BBE Records (2014)
“A record that I only recently discovered. I guess that it is more a soul record than disco. Certainly it was made before disco became an ugly commercial juggernaut in the very late ‘70s. Opolopo updated this last year. The groove is laid-back, it’s not about the energy that most disco records are associated with — this is effortless but no less powerful. An incredible vocal delivery that tells the classic story about a woman not waiting around for her man whilst he fools around. I am a sucker for records like this.”
Sleeping Bag Records (1983)
“Leroy Burgess. A name you will find on a multitude of releases from this era, and released on the mighty Sleeping Bag imprint. ‘Weekend’ has been sampled more times than I care to remember. It’s a disco record from the early days of house, and with access to music like this it’s no wonder that Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage was the epicentre of a golden era of dancefloor classics.”