Every once in a while, on an island saturated with DJs and super clubs, a local party creates a buzz big enough to make waves across the shores. Most recently, that party has been Melon Bomb ? the creation of talented local DJs Scott Gray, Ben Santiago, Paul Reynolds and Juan Corbi. 2017 has without a doubt been the year of Melon Bomb, as the DJ collective has gone from back rooms, small venues and intimate parties ?just for friends? to the main room and the smash hit Wild Corner of Hï Ibiza to the international clubbing and festival circuit, including Ministry of Sound, Glastonbury and Southport Weekender. In addition to their musical connections, the four DJs behind Melon Bomb also share a deep love for the island they all call home. Between them ? a renowned artist and vegan; a globe-trotting international DJ and producer; a self-confessed foodie and award winning performer; and a promoter, radio programmer, A&R scout and record label manager ? they share almost 50 years? worth of island experiences, while their interests and passions span all elements of island life.
Do you remember the first time you came to Ibiza?
Juan: I was a bit late coming to Ibiza. I started going clubbing in the the early 90s, but the first time I came to the island was in 2011. I?m half Spanish, so I just felt at home here straight away. I moved here three years ago.
Scott: I came in 1997 with all my mates. They?d all been coming over for a couple of years, but I was a young parent at the time so I didn?t get a chance to get over. I remember Paul Jackson was playing at Pacha ? we all came over the see him and then I met my wife to be at Space that same trip. I came every single year after that until we moved here in 2011.
Ben: My brother won a holiday to Ibiza on KISS FM in 2004 ? that?s the thing that brought me over here. I was a bit of a backpacker before and I always knew Ibiza was expensive and I could backpack elsewhere for a much longer time for the same amount of money I would spend in a week here. I always had Ibiza down as a place I?d like to go to, but thought I would probably never end up going to. I came here and fell in love with it, and it was just a no brainer really ? I packed my bags and moved out the following year.
Paul: I moved out here 10 years ago. I?d been here once before and my wife Fay had never been here at all. The boss where I was DJing sold the bar and the people who owned the salon where Fay was hairdressing had also sold the business, so we thought, just let?s sell our house, move to Ibiza and give it a year. 10 years later, we?re still here! It?s definitely home now.
Tell us how Melon Bomb came about? Ben: Paul and I knew each other for quite some time and one night in 2015, we were out having some food ? there was quite a big group of us, at Vino & Co, where it?s all one big long table. Scott was there too, with his parents, and I kind of knew him from back in the day when he did sound systems. Anyway, it was kind of Scott?s, well, we all call it an epiphany?
Scott: I call it my drunken moment. I looked at these two and I thought they?re DJs, I?m a DJ and I said, ?Guys let?s meet next Tuesday, I?ve got a really good idea I?d like to discuss with you.? They looked at me a bit suspiciously? but they agreed to come. I woke up in the morning and said to my wife, ?I?ve just agreed to meet Paul Reynolds and Ben Santiago next week ? I told them I had a really good idea, but I haven?t got a clue!? It all came to me in the next ten minutes. I liked what Glitterbox were doing but I wanted to do a more underground, kind of groovy version.
Juan: I was working at Ibiza Sonica, doing Pioneer DJ Radio and people were coming in and out of the studio all the time. I met Ben there when he came to do a mix and then Scott came in and we got chatting. I could produce and do edits and he wanted to get some mixes done. We got together and did an EP of some edits and put that out on vinyl, then I played for Melon Bomb. They were already going at the time?
Ben: Up until then, Juan had very kindly produced edits for us for free, so as a gesture, we asked him to play for us.
Paul: And he was amazing!
Ben: We all said we?ve got to bring him on. So, although Juan wasn?t there for the first couple of parties, he really has been part of Melon Bomb from the start. The long communal table at Vino & Co ? where the idea for Melon Bomb was born.
How would you describe Melon Bomb?
Ben: I would say that it?s four DJs who got together ? well, I think we were in the right place at the right time?
Paul: We had a good group of friends on the island and we started doing it for just a bit of fun, you know? It still is. We haven?t set out to be anything massive or anything. We just want to throw good parties. Ben: We don?t have a ?strategy? or anything!
Paul: We?ve all got different styles, but you know, it kind of works.
Scott: It?s roughly the same style of music ? we?ve all got that kind of disco element running through, and there?s a core load of records we all play. When certain stuff comes out we all want it! Juan: There are some records you just can?t NOT play! Where does the name come from?
Paul: The name came from one of Scott?s paintings. We were all sitting there and couldn?t think of a name?
Scott: We were talking about the artwork and I had designed the ?Melon Bomb? already, as a print to sell. Nobody bought it and I was really disappointed as it was one of my favourite things I?d ever done. I brought it to the second meeting we ever had and said do you want to use this? So, then we were thinking, Melon Disco Head, then Melon Bomb Disco?
Ben: Then we decided to drop the disco.
Paul: We didn?t want to call it disco because you just get categorised. The view from the forest behind the beach at Cala Bassa.
What have been some of your 2017 highlights? Paul: It?s gone crackers this year! I think getting taken on by Defected [as management] was massive for us.
Juan: Having that big brand behind us got us into Glitterbox and we did eight gigs with them this year. Paul: Glitterbox has been incredible for us.
Juan: And the Hï Ibiza opening was massive for us, we got press from DJ Mag and Mixmag for that.
Ben: The thing with that was we had the toilets all night and nobody knew the venue, so nobody knew about the toilets.
Paul: They kept it a secret until the week before!
Scott: People would see you in there and be like look! There?s a DJ booth in this place.
Ben: The element of surprise with the DJ booth being in the toilets, that was probably the highlight for me.
Juan: We did some other big gigs, like Glastonbury and Southport Weekender. We did Pacha and Ministry in the winter and that was really big for us too.
Paul: And our parties at Pikes have been really, really good, they?ve really grown this year, we are getting a younger crowd in as well, that haven?t heard the music before which is brilliant.
What were your first impressions of Hï Ibiza earlier this summer?
Paul: I saw it when It started getting built, I had a hard hat and fluorescent jacket on! I?d seen the plans the year before and I knew there was going to be a disco in the toilets. I know they always do everything amazingly but I just had this vision of a table in the toilets. When you go in there, it?s got the best sound system in the place. It?s just brilliant, they?ve done it fantasticly, and it?s completely different from Space. They had to do that, didn?t they?
Scott: I really, really love it. I got in there and the first thing I thought was, this isn?t Space. I like the way they?ve brought it in completely. For me it really works. And as DJs, the hospitality there is second to none.
Paul: It?s something completely different for Ibiza, isn?t it? The whole team there is amazing, it?s a proper little family. Juan: I thought it was something incredibly different. The outdoor areas and the Wild Corner were a master stroke for me, they?re really unique. I mean the main rooms are main rooms, but while disco toilets have been done before, here it?s been done really well. The system in there is just killer.
Ben: I really liked it. If I?m honest, I walked in there like, yeah come on then, let?s see if you?re better than Space and now I can?t help but admire what they?ve done to it. They?ve moved it forward. The thing that kind of struck me most was that if Space had not sold the venue and had done those refurbishments themselves and reopened this year, everyone would be losing their shit at ?the new Space?. It?s now my favourite club in Ibiza.
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