Johannes Goller is the man in charge of Cocoon Ibiza since 12 years now, and the success of Cocoon shows he knows exactly what he is doing.
In 1988 his parents decided to go on holiday to Ibiza and Johannes was a sweet 13 year old. They stayed in a hotel opposite Space and he saw the party people entering Space every morning when they went for breakfast, wondering what was going on in there, wanting to be part of it.
The next five years they returned to the island every summer for holiday but his dream was to spend a whole season on the island to become part of the craze. Already infected by local clubs in Germany like the infamous Omen, Sven Väth’s first club in Frankfurt, and the Stammheim in Kassel, he became friends withTalida, Sven’s ex Manager. In 1999 she told him that they decided to start a residency in Ibiza with Cocoon, offering him a job as a driver, becoming part of the promotion team in Ibiza – gotcha!
The following year the man in charge, Michi, decided to leave Cocoon and Sven offered him the job to run Cocoon Ibiza as he trusted him and saw the potential of young Johannes. Twelve years later he is still in charge and Cocoon is getting better and better.
Asking him on what defines Cocoon he says ‘The core of Cocoon is definitely the music, but what is even stronger is the way the whole team lives and breathes Cocoon with all that comes with it. We invite people to become part of it, not just visiting us but become an active member shaping the nights all together.’
In the early years of Cocoon the island was all about Trance and cheesy House, there was no Techno scene, some DJs were booked from time to time but never before any promoter tried to establish a concept for a whole season. The mix of Sven Väth playing solid Techno and Ricardo Villalobos with his hypnotic deep House was an instant success and Cocoon stayed true to their principles until today. ‘We created this hype, we never jumped on any hype train, that is what makes the essence of Cocoon. Our music was, is and always will be underground, we stay true to ourselves.’
In the mid nineties it was a few promoters shaping the scene of Ibiza, like Manumission with their hugely succesful concept consisting in parties having a theme including a massive stage design and the wildest dancers, combining show with music creating a hype that had no antecessors. Home that later would become We Love took over the sunday daytime parties bringing superstar DJs onto the terrace of Space having massive impact as well but it was another force that would shape the island to what it is today, our beloved DC10.
Johannes says ‘I remember all of us going to Space Sunday daytime then later on to the Jockey Club in Cala Jondal only to keep grooving until DC10 would open to blow our minds. It was Cirillo and his guests playing in this small club. Tania Vulcano started there too, even Ricardo Villalobos became a regular – this was another milestone in the history of Ibiza, this was a time of change. DC10 as well did not jump on anybody elses train, they created something completely new. My biggest respect goes to those who have the balls to create something new, first with their own people then growing naturally, by quality not by a budget. Anybody with a big sponsor can take over something and make it bigger, that’s very easy, but taking the risk and start something new is what it is all about.’
Another question comes into my mind imagining how tough it is to survive on this island, the question of ‘How true do you have to be to yourself if you wanna make it in Ibiza?’
The answer is crystal clear, ‘As true as you can because only then you will achieve happiness and success. Of course you have to make a lot of compromises, as in a relationship or in any other situation that involves other people, you have to be professional and satisfy a lot of needs that are not always necessarily your own ones.
The secret is to create a positive tension that always leads to something new in a good way. At the moment you create something that works you will always have people copying you but they are always one step behind so if you stay true to yourself and focus on what you want to do without looking too much on the others you will make it. That implies as well that you protect yourself from others in a way to not let them confuse you as this leads to chaos.’
We move on to the fact that today every DJ wants to have his own night in Ibiza, there is no place in the world where you see so many billboards with a DJ’s face on it promoting more the person than the party as a concept.
‘This movement is kind of logic as the whole scene is getting bigger and bigger, artists work with their booking agency and their own management nowadays. Managers by nature want to make more and more money for the artist and themselves. The epicentre of electronic dance music in summer definitely is Ibiza so it is obvious that every DJ tries to have his own night here. In the late nineties there were a lot of promoters like Manumission, Home, Cream, Gods Kitchen and numerous more, today if I count there are maybe four or five left, all the other parties are built around a big name DJ. Cocoon was and is a big family. We had Richie Hawtin playing for us for thirteen years, Ricardo plays for us since our very first party, Loco Dice is with us for about eight years, Carola for three years. This particular sound, which all those artists are standing for, was only available Mondays at Amnesia. Our music is a niche, it is not commercial, it stays true to itself and it used to only happen at Cocoon. That Richie is doing his own party now is understandable, Richie has a huge company behind him to produce his own night but we will see if the cake is big enough for all. There are about twenty nights now presenting underground House and Techno music but i doubt that all will make it through. We miss a lot of spanish and italian clubbers this year due to the tough crisis we face right now so it is definitely a year of challenge and proof for all of us promoters to see if our concept works or not.’
Already last year Cocoon started a new project taking their concept to a small club in Formentera called Tipic, the former Xueño, and it again was a huge success from the very start. ‘Luana, A friend of mine called me in Winter 2010/11 and told me about some italians from Milano taking over the Xueño, refurbishing it totally and installing a new soundsystem, and they told her to ask us if we could imagine doing parties there. Arriving to Ibiza in 2011 I went to Formentera and immediately fell in love with the club and we decided to take the challenge. All our DJs agreed (who wouldn’t…) to stay a bit longer and play in Formentera as well. We did eleven parties in 2011 and it was amazing to see how the locals accepted the party, especially the workers who normally come to Ibiza to party and take the first ferry back to go to work straight away. We did not know we have such a big fan base in Formentera, I remember one guy coming and saying ‘Gracias a dios – finally Cocoon is in Formentera’ so he made himself a tattoo with Cocoon Formentera written on his arm! So for sure we continue this year, we built it up slowly last year and this year our opening was already a killer. Sven played the opening and Loco Dice will play the closing and lots of our guest DJs will play there inbetween.’
There is one thing that defines Cocoon as well – the infamous after hours they were chased for all around the island, giving their core people the chance to keep partying in a secret location to give something back to them.
‘We did them everywhere, open air, on beaches, in private houses, wherever we found a cool place we organized afterparties to celebrate an almost 24 hours musical journey á la Cocoon starting in the club and keep grooving throughout the whole next day until the night. Today it is easier as daytime parties on beaches are possible again so it is kind of our duty to continue after the club and we do it with greatest pleasure.’
One question i have to ask Johannes is the omnipresent discussion about the price politics in Ibiza.
‘I think we reached a limit for the drink prices but concerning the bookings of tables and VIP areas there is a lot more to come. More and more people come to the island and they don’t care about the prices, they want the best tables at any cost. The big challenge is on how to satisfy all as one needs the other, you won’t find a packed VIP area and an empty dancefloor, VIPs want to be seen and have a good party in a packed club so if the normal people can not afford to go out any more the others won’t come as well. We tried several times to appeal to the clubs to lower the drink prices, at least for water and beer, but nobody seems to want to take the first step… We as a promoter have no direct influence on the drink’s prices.’
Why not let the VIPs finance the parties and give the normal clubber the drinks for a reasonable price?
‘That is already happening, but the final decision has to come from all the clubs together, one alone will not start this.’
Another classic of mine is the question of what would you do if you had a magic wand and could change one thing instantly on Ibiza?
‘The one thing that needs to be changed not only in Ibiza but everywhere is the fact that we need to end corruption and cronyism, giving the same rights to all people, this would immediately recover our economical situation and change all to the better.’
What does Johannes Goller do to recharge batteries after a long and exhausting season in Ibiza?
‘I take off the month of November and go to the Himalaya, the last years I visited Nepal and this year it will be Bhutan, no cell phones, no civilisation, only nature sleeping in a tent in close contact with mother nature. I love trekking, it grounds my body and chills my mind. Meeting the Spirits up there is a unique experience that reconnects me with what is really important in life.’
Cocoon does not stop in the off season, they will celebrate their first big COCOON HEROES event in London at Pleasure Gardens in December, a tour in Australia is in the pipeline, another one in South America is already established, another trip to Japan will take place so for all lovers of Cocoon there is the possibility to follow them around the globe for a 12 months journey, becoming the biggest heroe they can possibly be.
more information in www.cocoon.net.
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