• “I can’t wait,” he says excitedly. “I’m so happy to be back with these guys which will be the third year in a row.”  (Kevin Lake)
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The Saturday Interview: ‘I’m looking for some Nu Disco this year’ 

Hed Kandi’s resident DJ speaks to the Ibiza Paper on 2012

Ben Santiago cuts a strong, charismatic figure behind the decks but get one on one with him, there isn’t anyone more humble or down to earth. 

Despite his Spanish sounding stage name, he is as English to the core and having found the thing he loved more than anything in the world - his music - he now lives in Ibiza with a view of the sea in a bungalow “way in the sticks” into the heart of the island. 

With just a few weeks before the opening parities, Santiago is busy making the final touches to his sets, that he has been preparing since September last year. He is playing at Cream and set to resume his Hed Kandi residency which is going to make it’s tenth birthday in Es Paradis this year. 

“I can’t wait,” he says excitedly. “I’m so happy to be back with these guys which will be the third year in a row.”  

For Hed Kandi to reach ten years really is quite and achievement. I’ve seen a lot of parties, Djs and brands come and go over the years but Hed Kandi has been cutting back in the right areas and pushing it forward in all the right areas. The production is incredible.” 

Santiago has never been one to rest on his laurels, and apart from keeping his ear close to the ground over the new music that is endlessly created throughout the year, he has endeavoured to keep his “warm-up set” fresh. 

“I’m going for for a little more ‘Nu Disco’ this year,” says Santiago. “It’s a kind of dance punk - digital electronic sound. The idea is to warm people up and not to over heat the crowd.” 

The 35 year-old has told the Ibiza Paper to look out for the track Free by Deniece Williams claiming that it will be on of the best ‘sunset songs’. “The six minute version has an incredible acappella intro and if I manage to time it just right so that the moment the sun disappears, the beat drops, it makes me very happy!”

Santiago is a purist through and through and having been in Ibiza for the last eight years he has seen a lot of changes and not all of them good ones. 

“There’s a VIP culture that has got out of hand. Every year the dancefloors get smaller and the VIP space gets bigger. The reason is metre by metre the VIP space takes more money, but I think it is losing a lot of the essence of what Ibiza is about.” 

Santiago has never even considered the fact that he may earn more thanks to the VIP areas: “Money is not my drive and is not why I am doing this.”

Santiago is engaged with the ‘Lovely Laura’ who is also set to play at Hed Kandi this year. “We met at Base Bar and, I know this sounds corny, it really was love at first sight for both of us. Within a year we got engaged a year later, and getting married after this summer.” 

Ben can be found tweeting at @bensantiago


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