Ibiza aficionado and founder of Ibiza Rocks and Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes, Dawn Hindle, talks us through her eclectic journey thus far…
A heady haze of scantily clad sun worshipers, music aficionados, subversive style icons and thrill-seeking pleasure pursuers – even the word Ibiza makes excitement start tripping around our bodies to the point we might spontaneously combust. Beneath the fluorescent neon filmed lights, it’s dark, bassy, racy, sensual and unimaginably euphoric. Ibiza has it all. Lavish villas with doors that behold a world of sins, secluded sun-drenched beaches, sunset sessions at Café Mambo and Café del Mar, sensual super-clubs a plenty and a summer line up that reads like an A-Z of the best DJ’s in the world.
Whilst we’ve visited The White Isle before, partying from sun down to sunrise, we’re happy to admit that no one knows Ibiza like the real insiders; and luckily for us we managed to bag a jam-packed evening with one of Ibiza’s key influencers, Dawn Hindle. Heavily involved in the music scene in both Manchester and Ibiza, from Manumission right through to her work heading up the rapidly expanding Ibiza Rocks moniker, we hear Dawn’s story first hand. Sat in Pacha at the Ibiza Rocks House event, taking in the balmy air, Dawn explains that her awareness of Ibiza stemmed from her involvement with the Manumission club night in Manchester, a venture she embarked up on with her husband Andy McKay following completion of her architecture degree.
Both students with a summer free, it was whilst running the Manumission club night that Dawn and Andy met bodypainters David and Bernadette. “They were a couple of old hippies really, maybe I shouldn’t say that but they were,” laughs Dawn. “They had just been on their honeymoon to Ibiza and they came back with some advice. They said: ‘look Ibiza is everything that you’ve always tried to create in Manumission and more, if you went there it would be like opening the door to a whole new world where everything that you want to do is so much easier and much more acceptable’.” The way the story goes, they came on holiday to Ibiza with their vision and, like so many others, they never left.
Ibiza Rocks House at Pacha
However, the grounds for what was initially a holiday concealed a somewhat darker turn of events.Like any inner city, there were problems, predominantly the issue of gangs trying to come in and take control of their gig because there was a lot of money to be made. “People wanted to make money in dubious ways but we didn’t want to be part of it,” explains Dawn. “We were innocent students in our late twenties, we told them if they came after us, we would just run away, we were really fresh. We were naïve and we just wanted to have a good time.” But as they feared, the gangs won. “Andy tried to stop this guy coming into the club one night and he poured petrol all over him and tried to set him on fire,” says Dawn, undeterred. They packed up for Ibiza that evening and never once looked back.
Despite not being in Manchester, Manumission went to no.1 in the DJ charts, sparking the start of Manumission Ibiza, but after fifteen years the ever ambitious duo strived for something new, something Ibiza had never before encountered. “Our hearts weren’t in it anymore and we became interested in the whole live music scene, it was inspiring,” explains Dawn. “We felt like the whole DJ scene had almost over-done itself, obviously it’s re-invented itself a million times since and there’s some incredible music because everything comes full circle, but at the time we wanted something fresh.”
It was a new concept and one which made Andy and Dawn pretty unpopular with the rest of the island who didn’t feel the need for this change, but almost ten years down the line (this year being Ibiza Rock’s 9th Birthday) the duo can be credited for saving Ibiza from dying out. Having already brought the like of Electric 6, The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem to Manumission Ibiza, the launch of Ibiza Rocks saw Pete Doherty and BabyShambles take to the limelight, with Arctic Monkeys and The Fratellis in their wake.“I mean we had people like Mika do his first gig ever straight after Royal College of Music and we did Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs on a stage that was probably 8 metres by 8 metres big,” Dawn enthuses.
But as the word spread that Ibiza had a new sound, the client base grew, sparking Andy and Dawn’s next venture – their ownership of the legendary Pikes hotel, an old Ibizan farmhouse formerly owned by Tony Pike. Now eighty years of age, Pikes baby played host to George Michael and Freddie Mercury and was the grounds for his love affair with Grace Jones. “He sort of built Pikes with his own hands over the years,” says Dawn. “He literally built a new room for every new wife and it’s got 25 rooms! Not all of them were wives, some were girlfriends, but that’s how Pikes extended! We had to change some of the room names and these bizarre ‘70s porno beds. I have no idea what he was into at that time…”
Ibiza Rocks House at Pacha
When we ask if he and Pikes epitomize old school Ibiza, the answer is obvious. “He was quite extreme, I don’t think many people in Ibiza lived up to his pace, but maybe they tried,” laughs Dawn. “But we had always loved Pikes. It’s whereWha, wrote Club Tropicana and where Freddie [Mercury] had his 40th birthday party, so almost 20 years later, it was a home for us to put bands.” Keeping that air of mystery at Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes itself, it’s Pacha that hosts the weekly ‘house party’ and after a tour of the venue led by Dawn herself, we are submerged in a world of trippy taxidermy, opera singing drag queens, laser shooting trapeze artists, exotic dancers and walking disco balls – all traits from the hotel itself.
“At Pikes we had the characters who worked there, like Sunny, who set up his own Karaoke bathtub and fancy dress boudoir,” says Dawn. “We would have really straight bands coming in wearing kaftans and wigs! So when we got approached by Pacha, we took our small-scale idea and made it bigger, injecting the old school mentality of Ibiza back into a club environment.” An old school mentality fuelled by years on the island and inspired by tales surrounding long-lost friends, including Ziggy who deserves a special mention. A true Ibiza veteran, he was a philosopher who used to hang out in the factory with Andy Warhol, who died at the age of seventy-two on the DC-10 dance floor surrounded by ten twenty year old girls. We doubt he wanted it any other way.
Oozing that old school Ibiza mentality herself, Dawn’s passion for her craft is infectious as is her sense of style: two parts rock n’ roll, one part chic. Sat wearing her own jewellery line, we remember that behind her business façade, Dawn is a creative spirit and her True Rocks line is testament to this. “It literally stemmed from trying to find some jewellery that my friend Emily and I really wanted to wear,” explains Dawn. “Having set up one of the first punk shops in London, Emily used to wear this giant safety pin that I was drawn to and we just has this automatic connection.” The product of this unity was a kitsch jewellery line of tongue-in-cheek pin’s, pills and biscuits. “We were friends with Gavin Turk who had done the Rich Tea biscuit edition so we asked if he would let us use his rich tea and he loved it,” says Dawn. “He even came out to Ibiza and sang karaoke in the bathtub with a guitar.” Having chatted for what felt like hours and realising that the fat lady (in drag) was about to perform, we head to the DJ box, positioning ourselves next to the one and only Derrick Carter. It was 2am and we were about to get a taste of the real Ibiza. The night had just begun.
Ibiza Rocks House at Pacha
DAWN’s TOP 5 HIDDEN IBIZA HANGOUTS
1) Es Boques, restaurant and beach: “A hidden gem located at the base of the cliffs from Es Cubells, great fresh fish, cliff hugging drive down and seclusion when you get there.”
2) Ibiza rocks house at Pikes Hotel: “Hidden in the San Antonio hills, offering exclusive guest list only events such as Idris Elba and friends every Saturday night and the best Sunday lunch on the Island. Chilling round the pool with the Ibiza Rocks bands is pretty special too.”
3) The Spa and Cascade Pools at the Hacienda hotel: “My fav day out away from it all, with a bit of pampering thrown in.”
4) Experimental Beach Club, at Cap des Falco: “Amazing sunset cocktails on the beach, reached by travelling through the Ibiza salt flats.”
5) Formenterra: “Only 30 minutes by private boat or public ferry from Ibiza, but a million miles in terms of tranquillity. Head to Illettes or Amore y Odio beaches for crystal clear waters.”
Words: Brooke McCord