In this edition of Behind The Talent, we chat with head promoter of Cocoon, Johannes Goller. Johannes started with Cocoon Ibiza in 2000, a year after the brand launched in Ibiza, and is known as one of the largest driving forces behind the party's rise to major success.
After a huge 15th year on the White Isle, which saw incredible back-to-back sets, a joint effort with Luciano, a forward thinking yet stripped-back décor change, and higher attendance, we caught up with Johannes to find out his thoughts on the 2014 season, and find out what's next for Cocoon.
Firstly – congratulations on 15 years of Cocoon Ibiza. How would you say this season went? Thank you very much. The season went brilliantly for us. We had a Great jubilee year with lots of amazing nights and days with Sven on top form, and we invited guests that never disappointed and never stopped surprising our dance floor.
Looking back, did you initially think it would last this long? As I came to Ibiza for my first season in 2000, I never thought about that to be honest. It was planned as a one-year experience. At some point my parents asked me how long I think I want to do this. My answer was quick and easy – “forever.”
What’s been the biggest surprise in the last 15 years? Let’s say the whole thing we achieved in Ibiza. Sven didn’t come with some master plan to build up a brand that would change the island’s face for decades. We just wanted to throw some parties and survive. Every Monday night I honestly still now feel surprised as I arrive at Amnesia.
In terms of attendance, was 2014 a more successful year than 2013? Yes it was easily. I think because of our consistency and an increasing sense that we are not just any party, we are an Ibiza party.
Were there any lessons learned, big or small, that you’ll carry through to 2015? Every season has its character and we will never stop reviewing what we see and feel on the dance floor. As a result, I end this year knowing exactly where we are going, but I could not pin down a specific lesson, big or small.
There were a few huge back-to-back sessions this year, and the season’s line-up was as strong as ever. Looking back, what was your standout moment for 2014? So many for me this year…I will pick the first that come to mind. Dixon’s set at the opening followed by Sven’s first terrace opening and the after party up north in a villa – it was a kick off to remember. Ricardo’s return with Seth Troxler and Craig Richards was also very special indeed. Many August highlights – the Adam Beyer set on the terrace was outstanding. Closing…wow.
Were there any big surprises, musically or otherwise, this season? In my opinion, there is a change in how the crowd reacts to the music. There were some years where it was all about loops, effects and the next break, and if the break wasn’t delivered, the crowd stood still and were less involved, almost sulky. This has quit differently changed. The crowd again seems to understand what a good DJ set is and surfs the waves. This brings atmosphere and a flow to the night.
In terms of décor, this year seemed like a much more stripped affair, with a few visual screens replacing the jungle-themed decorations. What brought about this more minimal approach? We installed cameras above the dance floor to capture the crowd below, and it was projected in real time onto the rotating screens right above their heads. Technically not easy, and we have patents for some of the techniques used. We can call it stripped back, then refer to my previous answer. It all works together.
Any plans to change it up for next year? Nice try.
The big line-up change came with Luciano and his Origins takeovers. Did the combination of parties work? And does it look like Origins will return in the same format next year? Sven and Luciano were keen to work together again and it worked even better than we expected. We will sit down soon and see if we learned any lessons big or small.
Last time I spoke with you in mid-2012, you correctly predicted that a niche genre like techno wouldn’t fare well in a heavily crowded market. And, of course, we all saw what happened to so many of last year’s parties. How did the initial influx of parties and eventual burst of the bubble affect Cocoon this year and last? Ibiza is a very special island, a unique mix of inclusive and exclusive, and as you say, now options galore. We have seen a lot over 15 years here, and in the end, people always know or find out what represents Ibiza. My answer is, last year a little bit, and this year we got busier.
It does seem that the island self corrected, and that Cocoon weathered the storm quite nicely. How do you see things with both Cocoon and the island moving forward? Busy.
It’s no secret that the island proved hugely popular with celebrities this year. What impact do you think that had or will have on how the world views it here? The ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, noughties…they all had their celebrities and they all came to Ibiza to party.
Is it something that bothers you or makes you nervous for the island’s or Cocoon’s future? Not at all.
What’s next for you and Cocoon? The annual recovery: I am exhausted. Next highlight is of course Sven’s 50th birthday in Mannheim on October 25th. I am also really looking forward now to carry Cocoon 15 around the globe. We are hosting festival stages at Creamfields in Argentina and Peru. We are working on a big show in London and Rome, so we never stand still.
And after the season is before the season so we are already planning season 16, and I can say that I cannot say anything about how amazing it will be.
Finally, can we look forward to another 15 years of Cocoon in Ibiza? 30 love. It has been a pleasure and thank you.
Cocoon comes to London November 22 @ Building Six. More info can be found here.