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Rewinding Clockwork Orange

Words: Nick Clayton
Images: La Skimal

Clockwork Orange was one of the legendary Ibiza parties that helped put the island on the map as the world capital of clubbing. Throughout the 1990s it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Then, just before the end of the century, it stopped. A hole was left which hasn’t really been filled since. This summer, finally, Clockwork Orange is back for two special parties in July. The first, on July 25, is at its original and spiritual Ibiza home at Es Paradis, complete with water party. The second is on the beach of Playa Den Bossa on July 27. Both will be run by the original promoters Danny Gould and Andy Manston with many of the DJs who helped make Clockwork Orange such a success back in the day. We caught up with Andy at Sands where he was already getting excited about the party’s return to Ibiza.

Andy by La Skimal Photography

What made Clockwork Orange so successful first time round?
I think a lot of it was to do with the fact that me and Danny were obviously a complete pair of lunatics back in the day. We used to work on the fact we were just party animals. I think people bought into the way that we were doing it because we loved it so much. It wasn’t so much about money, it was just about having a good time and watching everyone else enjoying themselves really.

Why did you stop doing the parties?
It was a lot to do with the music. It changed and the scene changed. Garage and urban came into it in a big way and we didn’t particularly like that kind of music. Also Danny was off the rails at that point. The other thing was we lost our trademark. We came here one summer and were told you can’t use Clockwork Orange any more. You don’t own the rights to it in Spain. That summer was an absolute disaster. The same bloke did it to Godskitchen, Gatecrasher, Moneypenny’s… He even had a go at Manumission. To make it even worse the lawyers sent me the letter to say this bloke owns it and you could see he’d photocopied it out of a magazine, literally just taken a photocopy and sent it in. It’s incredible really.

Andy by La Skimal Photography

So what made you decide to do it all over again?
Now we’re trying to do it the right way. Danny’s exorcising his demons. Of course, we were very successful back in the day, but we were f**king lunatics and used to just blow all our money on this and that. We’re trying now to put things right. We’ve been putting on parties in London and we’ve still got the same vibe, if anything I’d put my neck out and say it’s better than what it used to be. People have been waiting for this for such a long time. We’re getting that feeling again of creating something magical. There’s a sensation in your stomach, in the days leading up to the event. We’ve got that back again. It’s like a drug almost.

So who has been coming to the London parties?
A lot of our punters are ex-Clockworkers who are now settled down with kids. With the London parties they come away for the weekend, their kids go into care or are packed off to their grandparents so their parents can come and have a night out. The age group runs from mid-twenties up to 45 or 50 at these parties. But you will see a better atmosphere at one of our parties, guaranteed, than you will at some of these newer, cooler, credible nights. Clockwork was always about atmosphere, good times, and that’s what we’ve created. Danny always says we’re making a time machine and we’re taking everybody back in time. It does feel like that. It really does. The old music obviously helps, but you feel like you’ve been transported back to the old vibes, summer of love and everything. It’s basically going to be a trip down memory lane. You’d be surprised at how many young kids know their old skool and are really into that kind of music and really are into the vibe of what we do. At the last London party we had a big 21st birthday party came and they had an absolutely fantastic time. At the end of the day that music’s fantastic whether you’re into it or not. If you’re in the right environment. Everybody knows those songs. The logic with Sands is we want to try and recreate the old Space days from when Alex and Brandon were doing it. I can’t wait. It’s going to be amazing.

Andy by La Skimal Photography

Of course, you’re not the only legendary Ibiza party with a twentieth anniversary this year. Manumission started at the same time How would you feel if they rebooted?
I hope they do because obviously Manumission was amazing. We never saw them as competition because the thing was, back in those days, we all used to go anyway. Everybody wanted to go to Manumission. That was a problem because most of my PRs were off their heads when they should have been working for us on the Tuesday morning. Actually, there wasn’t that much going on then, not like there is now. Back then there was really Manumission on Monday, us on Wednesday, Renaissance on Wednesday, Cream on Thursday, Ministry on a Friday and Space on Sunday.

You sound as if you’ve been bitten by the promoting bug again. Would you go back to running weekly parties?
I don’t know. Probably not. If we were going bring Clockwork back out here we’d probably do a similar sort of thing. With the age of our crowds in London they can’t get out that much. We’re doing two parties a year there, which are selling out. Ibiza’s looking like it’s going to be a real success. I’d say not weekly. We’ll probably just stick to doing a long weekend sort of thing.


Andy by La Skimal Photography