INTERVIEW | DJ CHARLESY (@djcharlesy) TALKS DISTURBING IBIZA AT ‘USHUAÏA’ (@ushuaiaibiza)

dj charlesy‘Dis­turb­ing Ibiza’ enters its land­mark fourth sea­son on the island — tak­ing place on Wed­nes­days at the world fam­ous ‘Ushuaïa’ Hotel & Club, it’s the premi­er urb­an out­ing on the island fea­tur­ing a wide range of names from the UK & US — Iam­HipHop report­er Prash sat down with DJ Char­lesy, newly appoin­ted res­id­ent on BBC Radio 1xtra (every Fri­day night), Tinie Tempah’s DJ and head cur­at­or of Dis­turb­ing Ibiza to dis­cuss the year he has had, his exper­i­ences on the fam­ous island & much more!

You’ve had such a big year trans­ition­ing over from Cap­it­al Xtra to Radio1/1xtra — how excited were you for this oppor­tun­ity to move over?

More than excited — it was like such a big change for me  — going over to the BBC is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ballgame — the oth­er DJ’s on the sta­tion are people that I’ve looked up to for years. BBC Radio to me is the biggest thing in the world Radio -wise, so my goal was always to get that far. Cap­it­al Xtra was good, it was my first radio gig and I learnt alot but I felt like I needed to make my next move from there & 1Xtra made per­fect sense — they’ve been great, it’s been three months but felt like a lot longer!

 This is your Fourth Year on the island, Third at ‘Ushuaïa’, have you noticed on an island that has tra­di­tion­ally been known for house and tech­no, a grow­ing appet­ite for Urb­an gen­res?

When we first star­ted at ‘Ibiza Rocks’ four years ago as a pool party before trans­ition­ing over to ‘Ushuaïa’ (the islands most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful ven­ue), myself and Tinie had already been doing shows here for years and could sense the appet­ite for it! We were at ‘Pacha’ (legendary night club in Ibiza Old Town) with Swedish House Mafia or at ‘Amne­sia’ (inter­na­tion­ally renowned club in the heart of Ibiza)  — and when we dropped a hip-hop tune or two — the reac­tion was as huge as the big­ger house anthems! We just wanted to make sure we worked with the right people to fur­ther develop the brand which is what we feel we have now. Dis­turb­ing Ibiza is one of the biggest nights on the Island and we are proud of that.

 ‘Dis­turb­ing’ have held some great events inter­na­tion­ally but are there any future plans to do some­thing in Lon­don on home soil?

Yes — always plans to do some­thing in Lon­don. Lon­don is the one we need to make sure is big. The goal is the take it to an arena level where the impact is massive. We did Afro Rep­bu­lik at the 02 arena recently which was the first Afro Beats fest­ival in the UK and that was his­tor­ic­al! Hav­ing Naomi Camp­bell open up the stage to Wiz Kid and oth­er acts like Yxng Bane, Maleek Berry and Not3s being on the lineup. We just want to cre­ate his­tory wherever we go.

See­ing the suc­cess & effort made with regard to pro­duc­tion and line up cur­a­tion here at ‘Ushuaïa’ — what needs to be done to elev­ate the live events and club scene in Lon­don?

I think in Lon­don there is so much — it’s sat­ur­ated — not like we are here in Ibiza. At home and pro­duc­tion levels don’t exist com­par­at­ively. I play in Lon­don reg­u­larly — but the stand­ards set in Ibiza are hard to rep­lic­ate else­where besides some­where like Vegas per­haps.

I feel like the brand­ing aspect is a miss­ing ele­ment fun­da­ment­ally for reg­u­lar Club night in Lon­don

The West End tables, Shored­itch is a dif­fer­ent atmo­sphere. Lon­don is so var­ied and ver­sat­ile but the budgets in place for Ibiza are so bey­ond what own­ers are able or will­ing to spend at present in Lon­don.

Clubs have only just restar­ted to embrace urb­an music again but are con­tinu­ally cau­tious des­pite it being the heart of where most com­mer­cial chart anthems are now being gen­er­ated — so its baby steps I sup­pose?

Book­ing artists for example — I’ve been in places where an act might bring 20 or 30 people with them — they may not be there to cause trouble but some clubs just can’t handle that — it’s safety.

I’m inter­ested to know what reac­tions US Stars such as French Montana, Wiz Khal­i­fa, Tyga have had to per­form on such a unique plat­form like Ibiza & at Ushuaïa?

At the start it was hard to get them here because their impres­sion was ‘DANCE MUSIC’ — it took a while to explain, we sent them videos, pho­tos to show them — but what helped was the agents for these artists are mostly Brit­ish, so they helped com­mu­nic­ate & break it to them.. Last year we had Kid Ink, French Montana, Akon — they have gone and told every­one — espe­cially French, he has helped us to book a lot of people this year because he has told every­one ‘IT’S CRAZY’ — and they come for a few days to get a feel of the island and go back home and ask us to book them for more dates!

That’s cool — espe­cially when you con­sider the peri­od of time we had in the UK where we weren’t sup­port­ing our own — now US Artists are co-sign­ing what we do as well as UK Acts really sup­port­ing one another! You guys have star­ted to offer the stage to break out stars in the UK such as Bug­zy Malone tonight, Not3s, Stef­flon Don — how import­ant is it to be able to elev­ate these acts on the Dis­turb­ing Plat­form? 

It’s import­ant for us and the growth has been amaz­ing. Last year we booked Stef­flon Don and she was on 8.30/9pm as a warm-up act — a year later she’s co-head­liner with full stage and pro­duc­tion show — it’s import­ant for us to sup­port all artists, espe­cially UK

I came last year and got to see Jazzy Jeff & DJ EZ on the same night at Dis­turb­ing — how was it to have such icons of the cul­ture, as a DJ, on your event, on the same night?!

The hon­est truth — that was the open­ing party — we needed some­thing big — and i was selfish! I thought of who are my top three favour­ite DJ’s  — EZ, Jazzy Jeff & DJ Craze — I was sat for three hours off stage just watch­ing them and record­ing — it was for me more — but it worked out as we had an older crowd that could appre­ci­ate it! That night will go down in my head forever — it reminded me that I still have a long way to go!

Those guys are the bench­marks though right — that’s longev­ity, suc­cess..

I remem­ber try­ing to book EZ as a pro­moter in Lon­don and I’d have to work half a year to be able to afford to book him for a night — now this same legend did eight out of our six­teen dates last sea­son — its amaz­ing!

How did the oppor­tun­ity to work with Cathy Guetta come about and what are the key dif­fer­ences between Dis­turb­ing Wed­nes­days at Ushuaïa and Mondays at Hi — the two premi­er urb­an products on the island?

Wed­nes­days are aimed at UK, the acts are UK, the late sets we barely touch the Amer­ic­an stuff — its all very UK driv­en for a UK fest­ival crowd and vibe — for Mondays it was a more glob­al hip-hop offer­ing that we sought — The club group approached me for some ideas, we developed these — Cathy was then sug­ges­ted as she gets a VIP crowd like nobody else on the island — so she cer­ti­fied it by stamp­ing her name on it — of course her ex-hus­band Dav­id plays across the road at Ushuaïa on Monday for ‘BIG’ and he will get on the mic and sug­gest people head over to ‘Hi’ straight after.. Monday I will prob­ably play 1 or 2 UK tracks at the most dur­ing a set — music­ally the Monday has to be kept a lot broad­er and var­ied as the UK fla­vour is avail­able on Weds — if you want a more roun­ded offer­ing — Mondays are there for you in a dif­fer­ent set­ting too!

Con­grat­u­la­tions on this con­tin­ued suc­cess — we look for­ward to many more land­mark moments in your future!

Dis­turb­ing Ibiza takes place on selec­ted Wed­nes­days through­out June, July & August. For tick­ets & info vis­it theushuaiaexperience.com or disturbingevents.com!

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Prash Suthersan

Prash Suthersan

Prash Suth­ersan is a Lon­don Based Pro­moter who spe­cial­ises in South Asi­an Live Events & Enter­tain­ment. His pas­sion and exper­i­ence in the live music arena has allowed him to pen down his thoughts on some of the biggest acts from all gen­res of music.

About Prash Suthersan

Prash Suthersan
Prash Suthersan is a London Based Promoter who specialises in South Asian Live Events & Entertainment. His passion and experience in the live music arena has allowed him to pen down his thoughts on some of the biggest acts from all genres of music.