Interview / Antonio Dominguez Rey aka DJ Nelo / Balearic Beat Original / Pacha, Glory’s, Amnesia 

During the pandemic, being basically my family’s PA, I found myself constantly juggling COVID restrictions. Schools and workplaces were shut, then open, then shut… changing day to day, week to week, and I was continually having to find / clear areas for video-conferencing, and for three kids to study. For what feels like forever, I’ve been writing record reviews perched  – between meals – at end of the kitchen table. The point of this pre-amble is that, with things slowly returning to some kind of normal, I’ve finally re-discovered my old desk. Piled up on it – under layers and layers of its temporary owners debris / detritus – were quite a few “forgotten” projects, things that I barely started before disaster struck. Things that were never posted, a few of which I thought you might still be interested to see. 

The first of these is an interview with Antonio Dominguez Rey, aka DJ Nelo, who alongside Esteban Lahoz, soundtracked Glory’s infamous 1987 after-hours season – playing a mix of music to The White Isle`s most ardent hedonists, that greatly influenced what would later be labelled / branded, “Balearic Beat”. Nelo, however, hung up his headphones over 25 years ago, and is now a healthcare professional – and as such was one of the heroes on the frontline when the pandemic hit. 

Following the success of the pamphlet, the little “yellow book    published in  2019, in collaboration with Test Pressing – the idea was to rustle up a “Volume 2”. A new roll call of contacts was promptly put together, and Antonio / Nelo was at the top of that list…

Where are you from?

I was born in a small village in Badajoz, in Extremadura, Spain, called Helechal. My parents had already lived in Catalonia and three months after I was born we moved to Barcelona.

When did you first visit Ibiza?

In August 1984, I spent a month there on vacation.

What brought you to Ibiza?

Several friends had already visited the island, some of them even worked there during the summer season. I was invited that summer by a friend of mine, Israel, who worked at KU in public relations, and as a dancer.

What were you doing on that first visit?

I`d just finished college, and was due to start my military service that December.

What were your first impressions?

I immediately connected with the island, with its people, their yearning for freedom, with their “Peter Pan” spirit.

What was the music scene like on the island at that time?

I didn’t start playing music professionally until 1987, at Glory’s …. so to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to the music being played. In `84 Alfredo was at Amnesia, Cesar de Melero in KU – with Chico Secchi –  and Pippi was at Pacha with Juan. The truth is that at that time I thought the musical being played was quite commercial.

Where would have been the centres of the island`s social activity, both during the day and at night?

If you`re referring to 1984, we would go to Montesol and other bars in the habour area during the day and to Salinas playa in the afternoon. Then we would do the bar circuit, to Lolas, and then to Pacha, KU and Amnesia, in that order.

Who would have been amongst the friends / circle that you socialized with on the island?

In the following years I made friends with Cesar and his brother Chito de Melero, and Alex Lamarque – who together with Cesar ran the record label Prozak. I even lived with Cesar for two summers. Then I got to know everyone else – Brasilio from KU, Leo Mas, Alfredo, Pippi and Joan, Rafa from Space, and my great friend Carlos Diaz, also Reche and many other people from the scene. I can say that I have a good friendship with all of them, although I haven’t seen some of them for many years. From the British, I also met Nancy Noise, Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and a few others.

Was the club scene a big deal at that time?

In the following years yes, but not in those first years. In those first years, the flyers and posters for the different parties and the clubs didn’t even mention the names of the DJ – that , and all the club culture, came much later.

Were you aware of the island`s bohemian history?

Yes, of course, everybody knew her, from the hippies right up to that time.

Nelo Glorys Poster

Can you tell me more about Glorys? 

Glory’s was one of the first clubs on the island, along with Lolas and then Pacha. I’m sure there were some more, but I don’t remember. Joan Ribas will tell you better, we worked together for two years in Pacha. Then Glory’s was closed for a while, and in 1987 it was re-opened by a Swiss, Bernard I think his name was.

How did you get the job DJing there? 

In 1987, a friend of mine from Barcelona was booked to play music that summer at Glory’s. Paco Carro was his name, and since he knew that I liked music very much, he asked me if I wanted to join him, help out, and play music first thing in the morning. At that time Glory’s was open from midnight until the morning. Then a week after I started, Paco got in an argument with the owner and went back to Barcelona. So, for a while I was left on my own. Esteban Lahoz then came to work with me and the rest is history.

Glory’s can be considered the first after party in the history of Ibiza…… we closed at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, some days later, I think. Some things I don’t remember anymore.

How long did Glory’s stay open as an after hours spot?

The club stayed open for about  three months.

Was the crowd made up largely of people from Amnesia?

Yes, but not only from Amnesia. They came from all over, even from San Antonio. My friend Carlos Diaz was DJing with Jose Padilla at Ibiza Nightlife in San Antonio. They both used to come every night. Nancy also used to come often.

Glorys has become associated with a harder, new beat, sound. Is this true?

Yes, I could afford to play what I wanted at that time, because nowhere else was open. Also,  remember that this was the first time I`d played music professionally – I didn’t have the awareness of the “DJ”, the kind of sixth sense to make people dance at all times, the connection with the crowd, that came later. I just played what I wanted.

I played music different to that played by the locals, which I considered to be quite commercial. I`d play music by Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, A Split Second, Cabaret Voltaire, Residents, Anne Clarke, Severed Heads, Neon Judgement, and other EBM bands, but also stuff with a big guitar sound, like The Clash, The Woodentops, Talk Talk, U2, and stronger stuff …The Chameleons, New Model Army, The Cult. One day I even closed with My Way by Sid Vicious…… can you imagine? In Ibiza! Usually though my last track would be Moments In Love by Art of Noise. Esteban played more house music. House was a new concept at the time.

Would you be able to give me a few Glory`s favourites, as an illustration? 

Nitzer Ebb – Join In The Chant

Front 242 – Headhunter

The Invincible Spirit – Push

The Residents – Kawliga

A Split Second – Flesh

Ann Clarke – Our Darkness

The Bolshoi – Sunday Morning

Art Of Noise – Moments In love

Do you know who was the first person to play The Woodentops` Why? I know a few people disagree on this – but many say it was you. 

It doesn’t matter who played this Ibiza hymn first, it’s been 25 years since I’ve DJed professionally, and I don’t want to get into any controversy with anyone. The important thing is that Why Why Why can be considered as one of the emblematic songs of Ibiza, and I am very proud of that, for my part in it. It `s the true Balearic sound.

Do you think that the music at Glorys influenced the music played at Space?

Yes, I think si…..pero Space came a year later, in ’88.

When and why did Glorys close?

When the season ended, the club simply didn’t open the next summer. I don’t know why.

What did you do next?

In 88 / 89 I worked at Pacha with Joan, and then in 1990 I was at Amnesia with Leo. I always wanted to play music at Amnesia and that year I did it.

Where else did you DJ?

I also DJed all over Italy, from north to south, in my city, Barcelona, in the south of France…

You mentioned that you haven’t DJed for 25 years. Why did you stop? 

For various reasons, but that’s a personal thing. I now work in healthcare.

Do you continue to visit Ibiza? If so, for what reason?

It’s been 20 years since I’ve been to Ibiza, but this summer I want to go.

Do you have a piece of music that for you personally defines Ibiza?

It`s My Life ……Don`t you forget it. 

When would have been a high point for the Island, for you from a personal perspective, your favourite years, and why?

From the mid to late `80s. Then the money ruined everything. Paradoxical, isn’t it. Someone stole the essence of Ibiza, bottled it as a fragrance and sold it to the those who paid the highest for it…. this is what I think. I will only say that those who did it were the ones who said that they loved the island, its people, its music, and yet they were the first to sell it. I am not going to say anything else.

Where was your favourite place to eat on the island?

There were several …..Los pastisseria and Casa Juan, you could eat a bit like at home. More special places, Dos lunas, Can Pau, there were many.

Where were  your favourite beaches? 

Pou des Lleo, by San Carlos……Atlantis and Salinas at the beginning, then it was quite pitiful.

Where was your favourite place on the island, and why is this your favourite place?

My favourite place was the island itself, the whole.

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