Most of us have an idea of what Ibiza is. A party island that draws the rich and famous in for debauchery. A place where beach days turn into club nights without a blink of an eye. You go there for a week, and come home a shell of your former self, in both a good and a bad way.
Ibiza has been paving the way for music and party lovers for decades, and one such iconic venue is the legendary Cafe Mambo. Opening in 1994, Cafe Mambo has seen the likes of Bob Sinclair, Carl Cox, David Guetta, and even Elton John play their stage.
Brothers Christian and Alan Anando grew up with Cafe Mambo quite literally as their playground. From the moment their dad opened Cafe Mambo they would be backstage experiencing music in ways most of us can only dream about. The brothers now form the duo Mambo Brothers, bringing both the sounds of Cafe Mambo to the world as well as their own quintessential sound, inspired from a lifetime of growing up in Ibiza and travelling the world.
Beats Travel sat down with Mambo Brothers during Amsterdam Dance Event.
So I guess go from the start, tell us that age-old question we are sure you get asked on a daily basis, who are Mambo Brothers, and how was it growing up in Ibiza and at Cafe Mambo, and of course, knowing the authentic Ibiza.
Christian: We got into music very very young. Like I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when I started collecting vinyl because my father is into collecting vinyl. We would have a mixer and vinyl collections displayed in our living room, so obviously it was what the heck does this do you know? When I was around 9 years old my dad started letting me touch it and have a play and this is when I would become more interested because that’s where we started getting into all sorts of music. My dad had a bar called Bucaneros where you listened to dance music, and got some food even after 10 at night. We loved that you know. Then back in 1994, My dad opened Cafe Mambo.
So your playground was listening to some of the world’s best artists play?
C: That was an incredible thing.
A: And on a daily basis.
Did you find every summer that you would discover a new music direction that you would love or was it just so much stimulation you never knew what to expect?
A: Well back in the day modern music styles were about the tracks of the Summer. It was very exciting, I still remember the first time I heard Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You and that was like oh my god phenomenal. That was ‘98, it was a long time ago.
C: That was like the track of the summer. Bob Sinclar – Feel for You, all those old school tracks, it was exciting.
There have been huge changes in the industry though because it’s true, sounds like that came out back then and you hadn’t heard them before and it was such a big deal, and now because everything is online you can get music quickly, do you find that influences the way that you approach the music world now?
A: Yes, especially now right now because we are searching a lot for old music, but not the obvious stuff. We’ll spend hours trying to find gems and it’s actually a lot of fun! It’s also sometimes frustrating because you cannot find a digital version anywhere and even trying to find the vinyl is impossible because it’s gone and not in a discography anymore. It’s that kind of beautiful problem you have to find these gems, which they are you know. Dance music is great music, and great unknown music.
Who are some of the artists you have really admired or taken influence from over the years, and have you found they have come from a particular country and therefore music scene?
Some of the UK DJ’s like Jeremy Healy, Brandon Block, Alex P [although he’s not British], to the American’s, we mostly like a lot of American artists like Frankie Knuckles, Roger Sanchez…
So you prefer American artists?
A: American, yeah. But also that time of French artists like Daft Punk, Cassius and Bob, the old Bob Sinclar. We love that time when music was all that filtered house. And Americans, we do love the Americans as DJ’s. They used to really have a lot of class. I mean they still do! They all had their style, you know you see Louie Vega mixing with all vinyl, it was so classy. This is how much we like Louie Vega, we even bought the same filters he uses. We want to play with them and practice with them so we can go to gigs and use them.
Growing up and knowing the more authentic side to Ibiza, you would have seen the island change a lot. Are there any places you can suggest to people visiting where they can still see the true heart of the place and a little less commercialisation?
C: North of the island has many things, many little bars have got that authentic bit of it. There are all the places in the centre, but if you head inland a little more there are little places like San Carlos, they are places where you can just say wow that is beautiful. We hike a lot and we always discover little places we never even knew were there.
A: We’ve been living there our whole lives and we’re still discovering Ibiza. We have a venue called Hostal La Torre which is just like coming to Ibiza in the 60s. It’s on a cliff, and the sunset, the music, the vibe, it’s just pure magic.
What sort of music does it focus on?
C: Chillout downtempo soundscapes. It really is like everything from the 60s which is beautiful. They have candles, no LED lights.
Where else in the world have you travelled to where you found places that still have that authentic edge that music lovers can go to and not find themselves in a tourist trap, but rather experiencing the music like a local?
A: Well South America, they still have their roots, they still have the underground music. We go to Uruguay a lot they love their music there. Brazil loves the music, Mexico loves their music.
C: The rhythms are special.
A: And they still have that Latin touch. It’s still super authentic and it’s real you know, and you go to that area of the world and you want to play like them because it’s a great way that they play, they still have that authentic latin touch.
So that is obviously one of your greatest influences?
A: South America? Totally. For me, that’s the best music. We’ve travelled in Cuba, travelled in Colombia. In Colombia, I went to an island where there are not even cars to see this one artist play a traditional Colombian pipe. So I’ve had a lot of influence from Latin music. Even at our gigs, we play lots of Latin sampled music which we love and we feel we identify with them
Do you find that the type of people who respond well to your music over the years has changed a lot, or is it a similar type of crowd?
A: It’s evolving but also we are growing more as artists. We’re releasing more records, the audience is getting bigger every day so there’s more of a mix. Also Ibiza has changed, Ibiza has evolved so we are also targeting a very Ibiza crowd. So the way Ibiza evolves we also evolve as artists. We are loving the era now because music is very housey again, and we love playing house. We started a relationship with Defected this summer and we love playing with them and releasing records for them. We think dancefloors right now have great music, I can’t wait to party here at ADE.
What are your recommendations for ADE
A: Us! Obviously. We are going to go see Troxler and a few other artists. Some we have played with or have played at Cafe Mambo.
You guys have kind of got a bit of a franchise going on with Cafe Mambo and Mambo Brothers, you have the different venues, the relationship with Defected, and stages at Tomorrowland, what is coming up next, it’s obviously off season in Ibiza now.
C: Yeah we had a closing party last week with Bob Sinclair, his disco set it’s just amazing. There are a few things we carry on with. The Mambo Cafe on tour, and we do our own gigs as the Mambo Brothers. We make music, we want to start making music with songwriters and singers which we’ve not done yet.
That’s exciting, have you got any artists in mind that you really want to collaborate with or is it still all under wraps?
C: Well we’re working on it. Last summer we got in a songwriter and singer but it didn’t work out, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You might not get the right texture and tones, so we’re learning. Hopefully, we will find the right one and nail it so that’s what we’re going to do in offseason. We’re also going to prepare for the 25th anniversary of Cafe Mambo.
A: So there will be lots of events.
Obviously, you’ll be doing a lot at the venue itself, but are you going to be doing a lot around Europe to promote it as well?
A: Not just Europe, worldwide we will do stuff.
Any particular locations you are hoping to reach with it all?
A: We just entered the US market two months ago and that went really well, so we’re going to do many more events in the United States. We’re already in the Emirates and hopefully get Cafe Mambo into the Australian market a little more.
C: So we’re doing worldwide stuff for the 25th anniversary for sure.
BT: You guys have got a very exciting year ahead for sure!
C: Very exciting. Hopefully, with both Cafe Mambo and Mambo Brothers we are going to be very creative and do some very creative stuff.
A: We also had to open a Chinese restaurant in Ibiza!
So any big recommendations for ADE, any big venues or parties, other than you guys of course.
C: Yeah the Saturday thing, the first ever gig of Jack Back.
A: Oh yeah we’re playing the Jack back set, we’re in a line up with him.
Who is Jack back?
A: It’s a very new Underground alias of David Guetta. The venue Is called Mad Fox, apparently, they have one of the best sound systems in the world. It’s only 300 capacity but it’s apparently an insane club. So we are warming up at David’s gig. It’s us, David and KilleKill.
Does everybody know that Jack Back is David Guetta for this gig, or is it a surprise?
A: It’s kind of him saying to the world that David Guetta is Jack Back… He’s already posted on Instagram that he’s doing it, he posted that yesterday, so he’s basically telling the world that I am Jack back. He’s released a few tracks so far and nobody really knew who he was until now.
And the tracks were obviously received well?
A: Yeah. They’re next level production, but it’s a very different style, it’s proper techno.
C: We received the promos and it was like listening to a Solomun track honestly. It’s completely the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s no commercial element whatsoever.
A: So we’re really happy that we got this offer to play with him. We think it’s going to be amazing so that’s definitely a good date on Saturday. Also, doing a Defected event which is always a good day in Amsterdam.
Thanks, guys, its been an absolute pleasure.