The History of Fonoteca
The true history of FONOTECA is a long story. If you’re ready, read on…
In all honesty, it wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. One day, during a harsh winter in Ibiza, a very good friend and fellow record collector, experienced what all record collectors have nightmares about – theft, fire or water damage. On this unfortunate occasion a massive part of his collection, which was stored underneath his house, was flooded.
For most of us this wouldn’t represent a great loss, other than seeing our cherished vinyls dampened and stuck together. However, in this instance, the damage done was far more serious.
The record collection in question is without doubt the finest I’ve ever seen, and the collector is by far the most enigmatic and brilliant DJ I’ve ever heard play. It just so happens that I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside him on many occasions. Not only did we click on a musical level, but when you DJ for a living you start to form friendships with other DJ’s based on their characters and not necessarily their tastes; Callum and I bonded on both levels.
To hear that he’d suffered a flood was a shock, but frankly he didn’t seem that bothered. Anyway, he needed help separating, drying, cleaning and refurbishing his damp disks. It meant a chance to spend a week or two together, chatting, giggling and talking music, as we tried to put a brave face on what was a undoubtably, a vinyl catastrophe.
As we went through the records, we also began to digitise some of them and came up with a concept – that we could start a business which stored, refurbished, digitised record collections, and even rented them out for DJs visiting the island. For example, an A-List DJ like Louis Vega might come to Ibiza, and rather than play his digital version of a certain record he could rent it from us. The idea took over our imagination, and we riffed on it. I decided to make a business plan, even set up meetings and touted potential investors. Suffice to say, it was a grand idea with significant obstacles, and frankly neither of us were in a position to pull it off. But… one thing did come out of it, the name FONOTECA.
I was thinking through ideas for the business, and found the Spanish translation for Music Archive, aka FONOTECA. It was perfect, but it didn’t get the chance to shine until…
A year or two later, I hadn’t DJed out in a while and was living alone with a small, makeshift studio in my flat. A couple of friends came to stay and told me about an vinyl only, open deck night at a club called Malanga Cafe. They encouraged me to come out to join them, and play some records. The owner happened to be there that night, and after my short 30 min set he asked me if I would like to host my own night. I was totally shocked, but definitely up for it. So the following month I did just that, and recorded it! If you’re interested you can hear all four parts of the 5 hour, vinyl only set, on my Mixcloud page.
Throughout that following winter I was regularly invited back to play at Malanga, and from having no outlet for my music I was suddenly playing exactly what I wanted to play, at a venue so perfect for me it seemed unreal. Malanga kept calling and asking if I could host another night, but with my work commitments it was impossible for me to confirm a specific date. Eventually, in August of 2017, I could confidently say “yes'”. It was a joyous moment, and then Kike asked me, “What do we call the party?” I could only think of one name, FONOTECA – the music archive – and I had a rock solid idea for how I wanted to run the night. The rest is history.
The best parties I’ve ever been to have been free. Malanga was free, and I loved that. The other huge factor, and I think the most important one, was that the owners of Malanga Cafe – Omar, Juan and Kike – had made their investments and embarked on a project which aimed to provide a musical and spiritual alternative to the soul-less, expensive and superficial vulgarity that had become the standard practice in the Ibiza nightclub scene. Malanga opened at midnight, and it closed at 6am like every self-respecting club, but it didn’t charge a single peseta on the door.
So FONOTECA was born, and nourished by Malanga Cafe. Now, we are an established music programming company. We have a ‘roster’ – I put that in inverted commas because we are NOT an agency – of exceptional musicians, you can find on our website and book directly. We service wedding couples, hotels, restaurants, private events and parties, and offer consultation on all things musical.
COVID came, and destroyed so many thriving musical projects and venues. But I’m both proud and grateful that FONOTECA, and Malanga Cafe are still standing; long may that continue.