We spoke with Sven Väth about Ibiza and Cocoon, his vision and about being a freak.
Sven Väth first came to Ibiza at the age of 16. That was back in 1980, and at the time it was hip to dance in San Antonio’s Extasis (today Boho). Already then he had a strong affinity for dance music. His parents operated a discotheque in Germany and he was, so to speak, “nurtured with disco music.” The first parties on the island Sven organized long time before he started Cocoon, namely it was in 1989 when he promoted his Omen parties at Ku (now Privilege).
At that time Sven had already been dj’ing in almost all of the clubs on the island. It was the world-changing period when the wall in Berlin fell, and the time of the Love Parade: “For me these were emotional moments in history, and this was so much reflected in the music”. The decision to start the Cocoon parties at Amnesia in 1999 was a risky one, and the first years were really hard financially. Times change, and Cocoon became a real success story: “You need more than just a vision to start a project like this but also entrepreneurial awareness. Intuitively I did the right steps, and as a self-taught business person I developed logically. It’s important that you learn at the right time to combine the right things”.
“Ibiza and Cocoon are essential parts of me. Already in winter and in spring I feel the anticipation for the summer, and I’m totally excited every year coming back to Ibiza. The attraction of the island is still very strong. Here I have spent my youth, and the circle is completed now. The island is giving me back this special spirit. I would like to mediate to people what the island means to me: trust, tolerance and openness, the freedom to flourish, and always new developments in the music and party culture”.
Today Sven is looking back on nearly 30 years of experience as a DJ. He is the boss of an internationally operating company with about 120 employees, including about 40 of them only in Ibiza. “All this became reality only through hard work, discipline and diligence, and all of our team love and live this approach”. Cocoon nowadays safely can be considered one of the leaders in the niche of electronic music – truly a global player in the industry.
“I’m a freak who knows what he wants”, says Sven. His definition of a freak: “A freak is someone who fully approves a certain vision, and follows this vision dedicated and with a high degree of professionalism. Of course it also means to accept all the consequences. It’s worth it being a professional freak! What is most important is the right approach, and you have to be absolutely sure about your dream, don’t look at what others are doing or saying. Be a trendsetter. My job is working hard to drive you crazy. The source of my energy is my heart. I’m an entertainer, this is my profession, and I love it. I could not imagine doing something else, and therefore I see myself as an ambassador of cultures, connecting people all around the world”.
“I don’t mind excessive partying, but what’s going in Ibiza is too much, it seems that recently the vibe has turned into a destructive mood. People take a lot of stuff, and I really think there has to change something. For such people I wouldn’t make music. My music is constructive and inspiring, and I hope that with what I’m doing I can be a positive role model. I love to see people smiling. That’s what I’m here for, and my music is the key, definitely you don’t need the drugs”.
“Ibiza will be better than ever if the island’s government recognizes the role of the sub-cultural sector for the economy. All the big players from the electronic music industry are here because they believe in the island. They continually invest in their projects and create jobs in Ibiza. Unfortunately, in Ibiza still reigns a bit of the pirate mentality and not everything is transparent. Also should the government raise the issue of mobility and public transports and find better solutions for this. That would be a big step towards more quality for the tourists and the clubbers. Also a festival would be great, organized together by all the clubs and the island’s labels. The young people today want to discover something new. But I definitely will not agree with the pessimist, I truly believe in the ‘new’ Ibiza”.
“Just always go on! Life is good, and it’s worth it!”
THANK YOU SVEN! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!