Stephan Weidner and Philip Eschenbach join me in the summer’s heat and we talk about their latest project, the new, refurbished Grial.
What is the idea behind the new Grial?
S: The idea is to create a musical playground where cross-over is happening, we always wanted to have a place where we can play our own music, totally independent, underground, very rocky bringing people and music together. We want people to come and play their music, not just a 2 hours mainstream set but their personal faves, playing from down- to upbeat, giving the whole story an own dynamic.
P: We wanted to create a club where we always wanted to go to ourselves. No VIP stories, with a very warm and cosy feeling, uniting all kinds of different music.
S: More of a social club, not another Ibiza club.
So there is no etiquette to it?
S: It is definitely not commercially focused, no dress code and as Philip said, no VIP tables or anything like it.
What was first, the idea or the occasion?
S: I live here since 13 years and always carried this idea with me, to have this kind of titty twister music place, a bit crazy, a bit anarchic, rebellious so i said let’s wait for the right moment and location. The offer to take over the Grial came totally by surprise, it didn’t really fit my schedule as it is already the middle of the season but the Grial was always a place i liked a lot to go to, so we said let’s go for it.
P: We really like the place, i came here many times before as well and it feels just right. and when Stefan contacted me and told me about it i was really happy and keen to go for it. We talked about doing something for quite a time but you know how it is, it is never the right moment so when we got the chance we said let’s just do it.
S: We had very little time so we just got it started but we expect it to get better with the time and be open for new inspirations.
P: Things grow organically, it’s all about evolution so just keep it natural.
Who are the people behind the Grial?
S: Philip and myself are the owners, we both are rock musicians, me i do it since 30 years and also run a record company and a distribution and merchandise business but first of all i am a musician. The rest came by necessity, i wanted to make my own decisions and not having to listen to others about what to do. At the end it was 90% business and 10% music so this place is kind of our playground. We love to listen to good music with an attitude and this is the ideal basis for a project like this. Then there is Patrik Dechent who is running the place, he is known as the ex Monza-maker and ex co-owner of Sunset Café. Another member is Pino Caruso who is running the Hip Hop nights, then there are Arian911 and Benny Merkelbach from Finca AM records who will run the Balearic Beats night. We are a network of friends to share fun and music and that makes us strong, we have different life styles and ideas but we share them and combine the best of it. We hope it will become a sort of melting pot.
For sure it will. The musical focus? will there be German Schlager as well?
P: We want seven nights of Rock n’ Roll! (Big laughter…)
S: We want to bring more Rock n’ Roll to this island, that’s for sure, but we totally accept and love that Ibiza has this other side which is electronic music, we love it too! We just miss the variation… If we want to go out and not listen to house or techno it is difficult to find, so we decided to do it ourselves, create an alternative place with different styles. We got nights of Rock, Hip Hop, Balearic, an open stage, Deep House and we will see how it all develops, it will become its own dynamic.
P: But still in a very underground way, all the styles should come from the heart, not from a commercial attitude.
So no big name dropping?
S: Maybe from time to time but always with the aim to let them go crazy, do whatever they want to do or always wanted to but couldn’t on their usual gigs.
P: We got Michi Beck coming soon, he is one of the ‘Fantastische Vier’, he will come and do his thing, and for free because he wants to support us.
S: Even if it is a small place it is still a big investment and we are very happy to have these friends coming, we don’t want to feel this money pressure on us right now so this is the way to work. We want to have fun, transmit this to the people here and create a family vibe to it. Here you don’t pay entrance fee, a beer is not 15 Euros and you can not book a table, this is all about community.
You also took over the second floor which used to be Radio Exit – what are the plans for that?
S: Right now we are totally open for everything, we could think of a Tattoo studio, a concierge service, a space for jewelry, artist exhibitions, a social club room, pool billiard, table soccer and so on. We will see what comes along the way.
What means the word VIP to you?
S: Very Important Person. It is not about money, it is about your personality, you shine – or not, you smile – or not. People take themselves too serious anyway, especially the ones who have the money and the celebrities. In Germany i am a big Rockstar but hey, i don’t take myself too important, this whole VIP thing is sending out negative vibes.
P: Here everybody is Very Important. The word VIP does not exist in our vocabulary.
You will stay open for winter? Grial is known especially in winter to the locals, i know it as i did very good parties here myself.
S: Definitely. We will close after December for some time and see what plans we got then, as we said, it will grow organically. We will refurbish some things again and redefine others, adding and changing some minor details without changing the whole spirit of the place.
P: We want to even amplify the original spirit of the Grial.
How do you see Ibiza in 2013?
S: It is always easy to critizise but hard to make things better, Ibiza is a beautiful island, i totally respect everybody coming to party and go mad but i live in the mountains in my own little world and love it.
P: It has been a great time so far and i am very happy to be here and start a project like the Grial reloaded.
Perfect statement and the right moment to end this very interesting interview. All the best and thanks for having us on Sundays doing our ‘Local Heroes’ night. Let’s rock this place!