A global institution in dance music, few brands come bigger than Ministry of Sound. The UK based giant has been operating as the crème de la crème of dance music for more than three decades now, with a record label and radio station all part of the company’s ever-growing sub-family. Without a doubt, the headquarters and heartbeat of Ministry is the world famous club, situated at the core of London. A true bucket-list venue for DJs to perform at, the finest producers from far and near have graced the famous main room stage over the years, with Autograf, Kungs, Sam Feldt, and Watermät, all lining up on the bill for Ministry’s latest club night, “People from Ibiza” – We Rave You had the honor to collaborate with Ministry of Sound for the evening, and this is how it went down…
Arriving as the buzz of the evening was mounting outside the iconic Elephant & Castle location, perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of working with Ministry was to witness first-hand the hard-work that goes into preparing for an event of this magnitude. Since teaming up with Ibiza giants Together, famed for their huge parties on the Amnesia terrace, the link between Balearic and UK clubbing has grown ever closer, with the ‘People from Ibiza’ nights at Ministry designed to give London ravers a taste of what to expect over on the White Isle this summer. Ever growing in popularity, Deniz Menendez, who works for Ministry of Sound, as well as forming one half of resident act, The Menendez Brothers, along with his identical brother Eniz, told us:
“Tonight is gonna be a huge one!”
And it was clear he wasn’t to be wrong.
From the gathered security inside, to the club’s general manager, and technicians making last minute adjustments to lighting, fixtures and fittings, everybody was rushing round, making sure everything was just perfect for the thousands of dance fans gathered outside. A club that prides itself on not only the immense legacy of the famous logo, but also a venue always looking to innovate, Ministry of Sound has recently partnered with Dolby Laboratories to bring surround sound Dolby Atmos to the club, a first in the industry. The Box, Ministry’s main room, now boasts a 64-speaker, 22-channel sound system, allowing the artists to control where certain sounds are sent across the venue. This was a technology that was to be used on the night, during Dutch DJ Sam Feldt‘s set, and the ‘Midnight Hearts‘ producer was keen to tell us why Dolby Atmos, unique to Ministry, was such a huge breakthrough, adding:
“Dolby Atmos is something that I think is really really really exciting! So tonight we are going to play around with sounds, moving them across the space. So for me, this is really exciting. I’ve played here once before and what I still remember from that night was the crowd. I really love the crowd, and the sound system, here. “
Throughout their 26 years in the London club, Ministry’s main priority has been sound, sound, and more sound. It is an idea inspired by Justin Berkmann, who set out to create London’s first club devoted to the American house music scenes of 1980’s Chicago and Detroit. As opposed to striking a balance between the typical hallmarks of a live music venue, Ministry of Sound was conceived as an arena purely dedicated to sound, with Berkmann stating:
“My concept for Ministry was purely this: 100% sound system first, lights second, design third (in that order); the reverse of everyone else’s idea.”
And so, taking to the decks of The Box, a room that has hosted the likes of dance music legends Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, and David Morales over the years, as well as modern-day acts like NERVO and Marshmello, American trio Autograf fizzed through a high-tempo selection. Using live instruments and generating their energy to the buzzing crowd, a particular highlight was Claptone’s ‘Evil Woman vs In The Dark’ which had the mainroom bouncing, hands in the air. It was clear how much the group were enjoying themselves, with Louis Kha and Mikul Wing controlling proceedings behind the decks, and Jake Carpenter beating away on the drum pad. This was a dream venue for Jake, as he mentioned during our interview, stating:
“I love the UK dance scene, we feel we can try out new things here because it feels a bit more free. I grew up listening to Ministry of Sound, so this is a bucket list venue for me!”
With the crowd now sufficiently warmed up, it was time for French wonder-kid Kungs (real name Valentin Brunel) to take things up a notch. Speaking with various ravers around the club, it was clear the Toulon-born producer was something of a star attraction, with many excited for the performance of the DJ who only turned 20 years old last December. Achieving mainstream success with ‘This Girl’ in 2016, the track became something of a summer anthem, due to the tropical vibe and feel-good melodic bassline of the release. Here in Ministry, voted IDMA‘s ‘World’s Best Sound System’ award 4 years in a row, the youngster was off to a storming start, mixing in his very own ‘I Feel So Bad’ with the monstrous ABBA x PigDan ‘Voulez-Vous Growler’ track, first premiered in Oliver Heldens’ 2016 set at Tomorrowland.
Filled with excitement, the enthusiastic ‘Don’t You Know’ producer beamed from ear to ear at this pride of playing such a legendary nightclub, stating:
“My sister, 4 years ago, was telling me… ‘When we are 18, we have to go to Ministry of Sound’, and was showing me lots of videos of this club – and I was like ‘Wow! This is crazy!’ – It is a dream for me to play here.”
No stranger to large crowds, Sam Feldt has played some of the biggest festivals in the world, including Ultra Miami, and the Dutch giant was keen to give the London crowd a glimpse of what he had lined up following a mammoth 2016 which saw his track with Lucas & Steve, ‘Summer on You’ achieve Platinum status in his native Netherlands. The Spinnin’ Records head-boy, and ‘Show Me Love’ producer, famed for his signature tropical house sound, had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand throughout as he expertly delivered a melodic set full of huge drops, with Breathe Carolina & Dropgun‘s latest release, ‘Rhythm is a dancer’ particularly feeling the full force of the sensational Dolby Atmos surround sound. Sam later told us in an exclusive interview that the Ministry of Sound crowd is one the best to play for anywhere in the world, and also exclusively revealed details of a forthcoming double album, adding:
“This club in general is full of music lovers! So for me, this is really exciting. I’m doing a double album at the end of the summer, in October, with 20 new Sam Feldt tracks, and a new single with Inna on 9th June.”
Last but by no means least was the enigmatic Watermät (real name Laurent Arriau), a DJ with a real signature sound first made famous by 2014 summer anthem ‘Bullit.’ The track, with luscious long drifting synths instantly catapulted the Frenchman to commercial success, and since then, follow-ups ‘Fade’ and ‘All My Love’ (featuring Becky Hill) have cemented his place as one of the most exciting producers in the industry. Bringing the night to an explosive end with a powerful set, Watermät debuted his new track ‘Won’t Stop’ with Kelli-Leigh, a highly talented vocalist who has previously provided the vocals on massive dance tracks from the likes of Duke Dumont (‘I Got U’ and ‘The Giver Reprise’) as well as SecondCity‘s ‘I Wanna Feel’, and Ferreck Dawn‘s ‘Love Too Deep.’ Watermät was full of praise, telling us:
“When you work with her, her voice is so impressive, she’s really an amazing singer and can really change her voice to fit the track. She sounds different on every track. This is a very famous club. It’s really big, it’s impressive! I love to play in the UK, it’s the best. I have to say, I love UK house, because in the UK, you still have the best house music!”
A roaring success from start to finish, it is clear to see why ‘People from Ibiza’ is a jewel in the Ministry of Sound crown. An evening of pumping house in the ultimate institution of UK dance music; for those who have yet to experience one of these events, future attendance is non-negotiable. Luckily, the Elephant & Castle based club have two further events coming up, on 20th May (featuring Sigala and Blonde) and 15th July (Michael Calfan and Throttle).
We’ll see you on the dance floor!
Photos: Ministry of Sound Club