Would you say that the music and the visuals are of equal value? Music and visuals are equally important to OpenLab. We spend many hours a day looking for new content. I personally listen to an average of up to 500 tracks a day from which I’ll select a maximum of 15 to 20 tracks in a week that will be included in our playlists. We also work with a circle of architects, designers, painters and photographers. We give them exposure to a wider audience through our various platforms and they help us in selecting fresh content. It’s a win-win relationship that helps both sides.
Do you think OpenLab would have worked without your famous name? I believe so. People don’t listen to OpenLab because Robert Miles created it. They listen because they like its alternative output and fresh approach to things. People out there are tired of the usual formula. They’re looking for something a little more sophisticated and that’s where we come in.
OpenLab went live in the summer of 2012, almost exactly three years ago. How has the project grown over time? The project has been in my head for at least 10 years. I just had to wait for the technology to arrive on Ibiza that could deliver high-quality media on a global scale to millions of users. I’ve always thought that Ibiza would be the perfect place to have a base and give birth to my ideas but the internet here was very bad at first and it was almost impossible to stream live. Slowly the lines became better. I first started streaming from my place in the countryside. I had 100 listeners in the first month which increased to 250 the following month, and so on. That’s when we to rent a frequency and by end of that first summer we had tens of thousands of listeners on both online and FM platforms. Today we have a reach of 850,000 people worldwide and are preparing to enter phase two of the project; subscription services, hi-fi & hi-res content, an online store and social features will all be implemented on our new website which is due to launch at the end of 2015.
You've made a spectacular entrance to Ibiza's summer. Some people say this was due to a series of clever bookings. How do you choose your bookings? We try to create events in locations that are not mainstream and have an alternative approach. Initially we started on a very small scale with a series of dinners in a small restaurant during the winter, the old ‘Sirocco’. After that we tried out a few other venues like Sankeys and Destino before eventually settling on Elements in Beniras. We’re currently running OpenLab Sundays at Elements every Sunday from 4pm to midnight. It’s one of the best spots on the island to experience Ibiza’s special sunsets and of course, OpenLab’s DJ's and visuals too. An OpenLab party is like Ibiza used to be but with a 21st century touch and vision.
OpenLab published more than 150 pictures and sketches of future architecture on Facebook. Is this a new field you’re particularly interested in? We are trying to make a statement. It’s okay to have new futuristic buildings as long as they are respectful of the environment and are self-sufficient. It’s okay to use technology to improve our lives as long as we don’t lose the contact with nature and society. It’s okay to push the envelope for a brighter and safer future. We need to change our attitude towards the planet, the environment, violence to other human beings and territorial issues. We should all work together to make the Earth a better place.
In the eighties and nineties, you created the dream house movement. Do you sometimes reminisce about that era? It is what it is: a segment of my life where I was kissed with a bit of luck and was also very naïve. Two key elements in giving birth to music that will click with the masses and become a hit. A happy accident I would call it. It gave me the opportunity to travel the world extensively, learn about different cultures, places, languages and all sorts of other things you could never learn in a school book. I have very good memories of those days, it was good fun and we were very young, so there was lots of energy there to burn!