BURN: From Austria to Ibiza. How did it happen? And what does it takes to make it in Ibiza?
Philipp Straub: Like most people, I dreamt of having my own residency in Ibiza, be able to survive during most of the year on the island and also have a life as a Dj. I had the pleasure to play some gigs over the years in Ibiza, most of them for the Coxy family, which I really appreciated. I wanted to play more often, but a lot of the offers did not match my expectations as a Dj, I turned some of them down and only agreed to mix at some highlight gigs, unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stay in Ibiza through the whole season. It was only after I joined BURN Residency as a consultant and head mentor that I had a real reason to head to this beautiful island and stay all summer. I traveled a long path and it took some time to be where I am right now, but it was worth it.
Today, it’s even harder to make it in Ibiza, it’s still a great hub, the mecca of electronic music and one of the best places to learn about this industry, but it’s also very competition. So my advice is to show presence without getting lost along the way, by all means.
BURN: Nowadays, young talents are attracted not only by the music but also the “famous DJ” lifestyle. In what state of mind should competitors enter the competition?
PS: I always say to my friends “I wish my life would be as it looks on Facebook”, where I only highlight important events, behind that image there’s a lot going on, it’s like fruits on a tree; you can see the final result when they’re shiny and ready to be consumed, but before that stage you need a good piece land, once you’ve planted your tree you need to look after it. If your job was done properly, you’ll get a good result. With this profession it’s the same thing, of course once you’ve “made it”, it’s glamorous but every artist I know, even the top superstars are working their asses off every day. This is not a job; it’s a never-ending mission, work starts and stops, this lifestyle doesn’t have a pause button, It’s about 100% of dedication. A certain experience in life is good in order to be balanced and know what you really want, also a lot of self-control is needed, if you come for girls, fame, pictures and fun then you are wrong. At least in the beginning, in order to eventually come close to the real deal, you need to completely commit to this life and it won’t be easy at all. My advice is to come with a clear vision, a clear business-and life plan. There is a lot of homework that can be done, having talent, good taste in music, stage presence and so on, is just one part of the big package that we are looking for.
BURN: Being a Dj, it’s also all about the journey and a story to tell to your fans. What kind of story do you think Dj’s should be passing to new generations?
PS: Difficult question. Telling a story with music is really hard; most sets are only 90 minutes long. You can only create a short story during that time and most dj’s will use at least 15 minutes to play their best releases. The best thing to do is play longer sets, in small clubs or to friends and family, you need to learn how to build a set, entertain people in different states of mind and different situations. Play the Beatport’s Top 100; everyone can do it, especially with the technical equipment nowadays. Older generations have the responsibility to pass on a story, only by doing that things can gain something deeper, and that’s exactly what we need in our industry; we don’t want things to be too cheesy or superficial, we need content with a lot of backgrounds, history with a lot of emotion. It’s our role to build up an intelligent new generation of artists and new professionals in this industry.
B: As a mentor for BURN Residency, what would be the perfect set or what kind of tools do you think new talents should be mastered to impress the judges? Instruments? Back to vinyl?
PS: It’s not all about the setup really, nor the taste of music, it’s also not only about technical skills, It’s mainly about originality, and that starts with the music and it ends with the personality. It’s about being able to stand out, copying someone might be good enough to come out of the shadows, but won’t lead to a higher goal in the long term. We have all these great artists like Sven Väth, Pete Tong, John Digweed, Dubfire and many more, we do not need a second Sven, a copy of Pete or someone trying to do the same as Dubfire. Find your own way to express your feelings and deliver messages through music, but also through your character and the more you invest in yourself, the better. It starts with social media, the way you engage with your fans, how you present yourself and how you run your business, when we listen to the applicant’s sets we always look their profiles and only a small number reflect what we are looking for. Being honest and true to yourself, pays off.