23 Years And Counting
Ibiza's First Female DJ Looks Back

When Clara Da Costa was 16, she upped and left for Ibiza to become a DJ.

When Clara Da Costa was 16, she upped and left for Ibiza to become a DJ.

23 years later and she's responsible for starting some of the island's most crucial parties. A fitting opener for our Ibiza Legends series, here she looks back on two decades of parties. 

I’ve been living in Ibiza for the last thirteen years. It has its pros and cons- leaving Ibiza in the winter can be very difficult. I played in Frankfurt on New Years Eve and it took 9 hours to get there and back.

My Ibiza career started 23 years ago. I went with family when I was 11, and was here on my own at 16. My sister had brought me out the year before with my best friend, and at 15 we’d jumped on a ferry and that’s when I saw DJ Pippi at Pacha and fell in love with the island.

Back at home I was holding a residency at my local under 18s disco, and this guy had come back from Ibiza wearing an Es Paradis T shirt, saying how much he loved it. I knew that's where I wanted to be a resident. It came true the year after I went on my own.

It happened by half blagging, half telling the truth. I wanted to DJ, but I needed to offer more to get through the door. I came down and said that I could get this person in, get that person in. The owner was intrigued by the confident, bubbly little girl coming in through the door. He said there’s your telephone, there’s your fax machine, get on with it. Then I had to make it happen.

The following year I’d got Clockwork Orange and Up Yer Ronson - these legendary nights - coming through. Aside from Black & White and Tommy Mack the year before, nobody had brought those sorts of nights to Ibiza. Whilst I was given the opportunity I got on with it. 

I played the opening party that year and I remember my hand trembling trying to get the needle on the vinyl on the deck. I was excited, scared, nervous. It sort of rolled from there.

We started young, we were proper little ravers. I used to put on a night called Mum’s The Word at the Frog and Nightgown on Old Kent Road, after Ministry of Sound had finished. We had Tuff Jam come and play for us before they got big.

Ibiza was the capital of clubland, and I loved it. I turned up with £100 in my pocket and a week’s accommodation and then I had to find somewhere to live.

I love the essence of island. I love the lifestyle - it’s a privileged one that you have to work hard for. Every new person who comes over here to work a season or have a holiday has an amazing experience. It’s not the same as 93/94, but it’s also not the same as 88/89 when I wasn't here and the roofs weren't on the clubs.

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Written by Tamara Roper

15 May 2015