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Watching and listening to the contestants every move are two of Ibiza’s most recognisable faces, Café Mambo managers Christian and Alan Anadon, better known to the world as the Mambo Brothers. Along with Sankey's and Privilege,one of three finalists will be rewarded with a summer residency at Café Mambo,which is why this particular challenge is so important.“I don’t think the contestants can demonstrate all their skills in just two tracks,”Christian explains. “But what they can show us is that they are creative, that they are different and also that they understand what track research is. Two years ago, we picked one of the BURN contestants solely because of the track he selected. It was something really old school that we didn’t expect him to show us and we were very impressed. So, get the track selection right and you may be playing at Café Mambo this summer!”
Denmark’s Nikolaj Lund, who performs under the alias Nilu, is one of the last DJs to play. He drops the Sunset Edit of ‘Lucia’ by Spanish DJ John Talabot, followed by another Balearic masterpiece, ‘Would You Like To Seduce Me?’ by Dr. Baker.“My biggest dream is to play at Mambo,” Nilu says after his performance. “Some of the other guys want to play at Sankey's, which would be wonderful, but for me it’s Mambo. I’m used to DJing outside for the sunset in Copenhagen and I know I would smash it. Musically there are so many different possibilities. You can express yourself artistically in so many different ways.”
But ultimately it was Austrian contestant Ayman Awad who impressed the judges most of all. “I’ve been to Mambo many times before and I know the situation,” Ayman says. “You have to play tracks with emotion and feeling to represent the sun going down. I came up with Hotel California by the Eagles. I played the original. I know it’s a track they like a lot at Café Mambo.”
After the mix session on the lawn, Christian and Alan host a masterclass lecture in front of the group. It’s a wonderful opportunity to analyse the history of Café Mambo, as well as the many complexities involved with running a high-level dance music venue in Ibiza. One of the most important pieces of advice theMambo Brothers offer the contestants is the importance of keeping their feet on the ground. “Once you enter the DJ cycle – the travel, the drinking, the afterparties, the airport food – life as a DJ can wear you out,” Christian explains.“There are two types of DJ: the party animal that lasts maybe five or six years,and the professional DJ who doesn’t drink that has a longer career. The DJs that have been around for twenty years are still here because of that. They have good teams behind them and haven’t burnt up all their energy partying. They are able to wake up at nine o’clock in the morning and get all their office stuff done.”
“First of all, when a DJ wins a competition, they have to be very humble,” Alan adds. “Judging by what I’ve seen in the past, when they see the journalists and the cameras, they think they’ve made it. The truth is they’ve only made it for the next month. But the trick is making it for the next twenty years. So my advice to you is don’t let your ego think you’ve made it!”It’s sobering advice for dance music’s next generation, who are beginning to realise that there’s a lot more to DJ stardom.