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Ibiza DJ focus | Ryan McDermott

Profiling an island personality.

Few industries have been hit harder in the last ten months than hospitality and entertainment.

Ibiza-based performers found themselves losing gigs, while premises were obliged to conform to tighter regulations. What is usually a diverse and flourishing entertainment ecosystem, was reduced to a sparse, barren replica of its former self.

Even in these hostile conditions, a handful of DJs and venues rose to the challenge to make something of a season against the odds. The outlook seemed bleak, but in adversity lies opportunity.

One individual who picked-up the baton and ran with it was Ryan McDermott.

With ten years worth of DJing under his belt, Ryan has been ever-present on San Antonio's Sunset Strip since 2016.

Soundtracking the world famous sunsets, he has held court at Savannah and Mint Lounge, but is perhaps most commonly associated with Café Mambo.

Spanning disco to house, and always instilling a chilled vibe throughout, Ryan is now firmly established amongst its class of resident DJs.

He's also popped up at many of the island's hotspots, including Ibiza Rocks Hotel, Pikes, Hï Ibiza, Eden and Float Your Boat boat parties.

Summer 2020 threw a barrage of obstacles at our industry and tested our resolve, so it was refreshing to catch up with one of the few who managed to turn the adversity to his advantage. Here's our chat with Café Mambo resident Ryan McDermott.


Q&A

Whereabouts are you at the moment?

"At this moment in time, I'm back home in Sunderland in the North East of England. During winter, I work with my Dad in our family business. It's something I used to do before I started heading over to Ibiza for two thirds of the year.

I'd usually be in Sunderland at this time of year anyway, as I always come back to the UK in November. I would usually have local gigs to play as well, something I am really missing.

I had been fortunate to have had some great socially distanced gigs since being back in the UK. And, of course, I host a weekly Mambo Resident show which airs every Monday on Mambo Radio."

Listen to the latest episode of Ryan's radio show above. Tune in every Monday


Let's talk about last summer. A disaster for many, but one in which you seemed to thrive.

"For obvious reasons, last summer was very different. Despite this, it turned out to be one of my most enjoyable seasons yet.

This was my fifth summer season. I usually go from April to November. Due to the travel restrictions at the start of summer, I was only able to get there from July, coming home at the beginning of October. I feel extremely grateful to have had that time.

It was a different dynamic to previous seasons, so the focus was fully on daytime events. It was fantastic to see how promoters and venues reacted to the ever moving goalposts, to give holiday makers the best possible time they could."

"For me personally, I enjoyed the challenges it presented. As a DJ, I found myself looking for different styles of music to suit the mood. Otherwise, my job wasn't too different. I was there to entertain and give them the best possible soundtrack to their Ibiza holiday.

2020 will be a summer we won't forget in a long time."


What lessons did you take away from Ibiza 2020?

"The main thing I learnt is that the Ibiza spirit can never be broken. I am positive you could speak to anyone who lives here or was able to visit this summer, that whatever got thrown at us, we adapted.

The support from everyone for each other there was humbling to see. I know Ibiza will bounce back stronger than ever this year."


What are the records that will forever remind you of this strange summer?

"The flipside to this crazy situation has been that producers are spending a lot more time in their studios than they normally would. In turn, this has given us some amazing music.

It was great looking out for and listening to different styles of music, as well as searching through the vaults for some older stuff to dust off.

Louie Vega and Martinez Brothers - Let It Go worked great for me at Mambo last summer. This track would have been an absolute anthem in the clubs under normal circumstances. With the recently released remixes, I can see this being hammered well into 2021 and beyond."

"Eric Kuppers' update of Frankie Knuckles' classic The Whistle Song always went down a treat at Mambo, too. This encapsulated the vibe on the sunset strip last year. Laidback and chilled, whilst taking it in the sunset.

Another remix was Mousse T's take on Mike Dunn - If I Can't Get Down. Just an all-round, good vibe track. Mousse T brought his A-game here. I always pulled this out of the bag at the Ibiza Rocks Cuckoo Lounge parties each time I played. Guaranteed to set the shoulders off."

"By no means a new track, but any chance I got to play Tuccillo - Bambola, I let it loose. Tuccillo is a resident on Ibiza. For me, this is a track that sums up Ibiza - a firm favourite at Café Mambo."


What did an average day on Ibiza entail for you, last summer?

"No late nights meant I was getting up at a reasonable hour and actually seeing sunlight!

Most mornings I would get up and walk up to one of my favourite spots on the island. Hostal La Torre is another venue owned by The Mambo Group, which I would highly recommend checking out any time of day, but especially at sunset."

Dusk from the rocks at Hostal La Torre in Cap Negret

"I would get up there for breakfast to start the day properly. Then it all depends on where I was playing later that day. Occasionally, I might hit the gym, but that wasn't always the case.

I would always try to take a little time every day to organise my music for the next gig. If I had a day off, it was mainly spent meeting up with friends exploring more of the island than I've been able to in the past.

Another thing I enjoyed doing was sampling the menu del dias at the local restaurants in San Antonio."


What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

"I think just getting a sense of freedom back. I don't think anyone will ever take for granted again. To be able to meet friends and family with no worries about anything and most of all to be in Ibiza dancing with everyone together. I can't wait to get back into the Café Mambo DJ booth and start soundtracking those stunning Ibiza sunsets again."


Things are pretty dark right now, but that only gives extra impetus to look ahead to summer evenings on the Sunset Strip. We look forward to getting back to Café Mambo and enjoying the world famous sunsets later this year.

For the latest situation and information on the current restrictions on Ibiza, please read our recent update.

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