SUMMER is well and truly underway with festivals and clubs across Europe booming.

The official season in Ibiza began less than a month ago and this year is set to be one to remember with lots of change on the magical island. One person that has seen the evolution of Ibiza first hand is Clara Da Costa. An integral part of the fabric of the island, this year sees Clara celebrating 25 years DJing there. The season is off to a hectic start for Clara and has already seen her play Pacha and Zoo Project and the first of her summer residency dates at Sankeys for the Dance 88/89 party which was a huge success last season in its debut year.

We caught up with Clara to find out about how her professional DJ career started in Ibiza, Clockwork Orange, playing for Carl Cox, her label Jack’s House and much more.

25 years DJing in Ibiza. Can you tell us how it all started for you and what drew you to the island?

Well I started playing at 13 at my local football club in Leatherhead Surrey on a Cintronic belt driven set up for the under 18’s party. One of the older lads that used to come along came back from a holiday from Ibiza wearing a really cool top he bought there. We got chatting and he was telling me all about it and he really got my attention. I had been on a family holiday a few years before but was not savvy to the club scene then obviously. Turned out, the top he was wearing was from Es Paradis, little did I know that 4 years later, I would become the resident DJ there for the next decade!
Can you tell us about how you came about giving  Clockwork Orange their break at Es Paradis?
In 1992 (my first year) I met the infamous duo Brandon Block and Alex P and they adopted me into their little crew, they taught me how to handle banter and we had amazing times all together. When I finally took over the bookings for Es Paradis in 1994, Brandon mentioned that he had been playing for a party in London (Clockwork Orange) and suggested they might be a good idea for the club and that they also wanted to come Ibiza. I got in touch and it went from there really, faxing back and forward, arranging the season while convincing the boss Pepe to let me programme them in on a regular basis. They took on Wednesdays and they hit the ground running. Danny Gould & Andy Manston are possibly the best season promoters that I have ever known. The queues for Clockwork were immense every week, the energy was unstoppable and their crew were nothing but stella.
Must be great to see the resurgence of Clockwork on the island the last few years?
It is fantastic to see the crew back here in Ibiza. They love it, it is like a second home to them and even though everyone is older, they still have that unstoppable energy. The weekenders that they have put on over the last few years have have been incredibly good. They have created a true and loyal following aptly named the Orange Army. Their parties have now got the attention of the younger generation too so it is great to see such a mixed crowd of generations all getting down to the timeless classics that we all know and love. Pretty much everything they do turns to gold….or should I say Orange! They are back again at the end of July for another big one.
After 14 years you are giving up your residency at Es Vive. Why is the time right to move on from that?

14 years every Sunday throughout the summer is a really long time and times have changed. I started to get quite a few bookings requests coming in on of some those days so thought it was time to let someone else take the spot and then I could also have a few Sundays off now and then too. I have some fun memories from the infamous hotel though. I will do my last one this Sunday on the 25th.

You recently played the pre-party for Dance 88/89 at Bora Bora. I understand it had been a while since you played there last?

I can’t even begin to remember the last time I played there but the sound system they have in there is brutal, powerful. I also remember playing at Tahiti which was close to Bora Bora with Alex and Brandon back the early days. Alex had partied hard (we used to go there after Space) one Sunday and said go on, grab my records, you can play. I loved it. We had such an amazing time all together. There were less of us back then and house music was not split into a million different genres so we were always all together dancing together. I don’t think we ever slept!

You have another massive summer lined up. Can you talk us through some of the gigs you are really excited about playing? The residency at Sankeys for Dance 88/89 looks like fun as does the Pure show with Coxy.

I have gratitude in abundance, I am celebrating 25 years of DJing on the island this year and have some amazing gigs throughout the summer. I already had some amazing events happen and it is only June ! I am playing regular dates in the main room for Dance 88/89 at Sankeys which I love, it really is a brilliant party and only in its second year! Naturally I am excited to be playing on one of the Carl Cox dates on the 18th of July at Privilege with a solid lineup which I am chuffed to be part of. I will be doing Float Your Boat (boat parties), my weekly daytime residency at the stunning Cala Bonita in S’es stanyol on Mondays, some dates for Soul Heaven at Ocean Beach too. I am massively looking forward to also playing for Space in the park at Benimmusa for the Game Over crew (If you know you know), and returning also to one of my favourites The Zoo Project later on in the season with The Real Gang crew. There are more in-between with gigs off of the island too taking me to Mallorca for Organika ( a fresh new night on our big Sister island), Paris and a new monthly residency in Leeds! Last but not least, I will of course be joining the Orange Army and playing for the Clockwork Orange weekender on the 28th of July at Sankeys.

The diverse range of music you must have in your arsenal for these gigs must be pretty immense. Will you playing a mixture of vinyl and digital ?

Actually, last week I did my first main room slot for Dance 88/89 at Sankeys and I took a bunch of vinyl with me but yes played a bit of both. The gig was so good, I played the last set and ended up playing half an hour after closing time. The crowd were amazing. I LOVE playing with vinyl, it is just so satisfying especially after getting used to playing on the digital CDJs. There is much more art to it in a technical way, but primarily, music selection is paramount and the most important element to playing.

You have a great relationship with Carl Cox having played for him many times over the years. How important is he to the fabric of Ibiza and were you relieved that after Space closed last year that he announced he would return this year?

I love Carl, apart from his unique talent, he is one of the most grounded and humbled person I know, and a true gentleman. I warmed up for him when I was 17 years old at the old Star Club in San Antonio when he was mixing vinyl on 3 decks (such a wizard). You can’t get much more inspiration than that. Yes, he is important to the fabric of Ibiza, he has been coming here forever and everybody loves him and he gives so much love back. I genuinely do not know anyone that can create the energy he creates behind the decks, it is infectious, genius and special. Truly one of a kind so it is great to have him back although I think we all wish it could be for more dates. I think the 11th and 18th of July will be a roadblock on his return.

Your Jack’s House label is going from strength to strength. Can you talk us through some of your artists and releases?

This is my baby and I am so happy to have a label again and pressing vinyl. The label is almost a year old and was a spin off really from my radio show.

The first release was an EP (Confirmation Bias) produced by the incredibly talented Alex Arnout. It went to number 2 best sellers on Juno. We had some great support but the EP speaks for itself, all the tracks are distinctively different making it a truly worthwhile EP for the record box.

Just recently I released the Two Diggers EP (Head Trip) from Paris on another vinyl release which also went top 5 and sold out quickly so we repressed a few weeks ago.

The next release is a digital one (Trail EP) from a new talent I discovered also from Paris (I seem to like a lot of producers from there) called JULENN which will be out mid July.

I take ages to sign tracks, listening again and again until I am sure, so I am grateful that artists waiting for answers are patient with me. I have also just signed a producer I found on line from Greece called Stammy so he will be up next. To celebrate the first year, I will be releasing 2 volumes of various artists EPs on vinyl with an incredible lineup of talent. I am just in the process of getting all 8 contracts for 8 tracks sorted and then I can start talking about it, but like to do things the right way and in the right time. Running the label is one of my favourite things, I love finding new talent and love having the privilege to be putting out established talent too.

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Tell us about your radio show on Ibiza Sonica and when our readers should tune in to catch you.

This is where Jack’s House started. I love radio, I love Sonica, it means so much to me and I can not bare to miss a show. It was 8 years old last December and has a really loyal following that has built up over the years. The show is not about me doing a DJ set although I do mix live and present and produce it myself. It is around 80% vinyl releases all exclusives and promos. I id all the tracks, producers, remixers, format and release dates etc. The show is about supporting labels and artists from all over and a lot the listeners genuinely go out and buy the tracks sending in photos of their vinyl copies. Occasionally I have a guest in that I am championing or showcasing an album perhaps and have had some top quality guests over the years. I am usually on every Friday 7 till 8pm CET but that can alter in the summer as the crew are often out doing live broadcasts off location. Thanks to everyone that supports the show.

Diversity in the scene is a big issue at the moment. I do see a lot of girls making waves in the scene at the moment in a once male dominated arena. As a female that has had longevity and continued success in the industry what are your thoughts on the subject?

This is always a hard one, I don’t really know what to say. I just attended a panel hosted by Mark Lawrence at The International Music Summit here in Ibiza on the subject which was interesting. They said that they were no longer going to talk about the issue as they had done in the past, but instead talk about resolving it. I only think about it occasionally, I just love music and hopefully that is what shows through the most.

You recently recorded a mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions. What tracks on there really resonate on there and what can our audience expect if they haven’t listened to the mix yet?

That is a real mixed bag that mix, with tracks from artists like Tuccillo featuring a track from his new album (Part Of 20), to much older tracks from the likes of Ian Pooley and Dyed Soundorom. Basically it is what I like to call proper house music with groove and swing sitting nicely at around 122 bpm.

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As an islander can you give us a couple of top tips (hidden gems, restaurants etc…) that people heading to the island should check out this summer?

Although slightly pricey but worth it, Cala Bonita down at Ses Stanyol just outside the town of Jesus is lovely but I recommend taking a cab and must book in advance. It is a lovely restaurant on a small beach that has managed to keep the magical Ibiza vibe there. The oldies are still my favourites. If you love your fish sand seafood, Can Pujol just outside the bay of San Antonio  is the true winner but you also must book in advance. Best place for authentic Spanish tapas for me is called Rincon De Pepe right up the road adjacent to the west end, you would not know it was there if nobody took you, it is a real gem of a place.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring DJs with a dream to play in Ibiza

Do your homework, don’t be full of yourself, prove it is about the music, be prepared to graft and take orders from bar and club owners. Only do it if you are serious about it or you will not last 5 minutes and you most certainly will not make living out of it. If you really want it, you can achieve it. I have seen aspiring DJs start off over here flying for events in the streets for several seasons that are now worldwide success stories. It is up to you but dreams can come true.