The Zoo Project
We find out about the Ibiza institution's Egg takeover from resident Danny Miller, one half of Miff & Miller
Having already launched its new Tuesday night Zoo Evolution, Ibiza's infamous The Zoo Project holds its 2017 opening Saturday party on June 17th. Known for a crowd drawing plenty of the island's loyal workers, spectacular production inspired by its site in an old zoo and secret line-ups drawn from the best underground house and techno acts that the island has to offer, it's been over a decade since the brand's free party roots.
Don't worry if you don't have a trip booked to Ibiza though... (yet). Because The Zoo Project comes to Egg LDN on Saturday June 24th, joining forces with Brazilian beach club Warung to bring maximum sunshine vibes. With Zoo hosting Oxia alongside residents Ben Rau, Samuel Deep and Miffy & Miller, we spoke to Danny Miller, one half of Miff & Miller and Zoo promotions manager, to discover more about taking a trip to the Zoo...
How long has The Zoo Project been running and what is your involvement with the party?
The Zoo Project has really stuck its time out and kept things solid now for over 11 years. I first came into the picture at Zoo four years ago and now take care of promotions for the company. We all take part in different roles at Zoo and make things work. I have probably done every job in the book except the office bits, but this way I have learnt a lot in my time with them. After years of moulding my own careers on the island, I am also a new resident for the party under the alias of Miffy & Miller and the summer season of 2017 has been off to a great start for me in this position.
Holding a party in an old zoo is a pretty special idea. When did the zoo itself actually close down? Were there any obstacle to overcome in repurposing the site?
I'm not too sure on the details of the zoo before, apart from the obvious that animals live there. The venue still boasts this with the layout and some original features such as the Seal Pit Arena. The Zoo started as a load of free parties in the hills of Benimussa. After, the popularity grew for a rave in the old abandoned zoo. It was then made official with advertised parties starting in 2007. The venue is special, it's as if a special energy remains there that the animals left behind. We split the venue into five arenas, The Treehouse, The Mandala Garden, The Living Room, The Seal Pit and the pool area. The gaps between this are then filled with stalls, food places, bars and some surprises also.
Where did the accompanying dressing up come from? Was this something that you planned or did it happen more organically?
From day one The Zoo Project has been known for pushing boundaries when it comes to stage production and performers. We have always portrayed an image that's animalistic, tribal, weird and of course wonderful. With this people who would visit the Zoo, would try to join in this unity with paint. To be honest, we are not a paint party, we don't aim the party towards that, people have caught on to getting involved and over the years a lot of places will earn their money preparing people to come to the Zoo. For us, it's constant promotion with the whole island on board on Zoo days but we concentrate on our core values of our top drawer artist bookings, the experience of the party and creating unity between people from all over the world.
Tell us some of the highlights that Zoo Project has seen over the years? Who've been the acts that stand out most?
Spending four years week in week out at a party, I have seen a lot of shows and a lot of amazing artists so I will be a bit more biased towards my personal preference: Ricardo Villalobos on his past two visits to Zoo! The guy is one of my heroes, so to have him come to your work and do his thing is the closest thing to getting your dreams come true. Ben UFO b2b Hunee b2b Evan Baggs was something you had to be there to experience and also a personal moment was playing b2b with my close friend Nicolau for six hours last year at Zoo closing with all of our friends around us, that really put the icing on the cake last summer.
Zoo Project had a reputation as a workers party. How important is this community on the island and to you as a party?
The creators of Zoo were all once workers themselves who came to the island for their own individual reasons. The free parties were created for the workers community and this is something that sticks to the core values of the party and keeping Ibiza authentic. The workers are a core to each successful party on the island, we call them the ‘professional partygoers’, these people live and breathe the lifestyle and will support their favourite shows week in week out. For me, they are the best crowd to have as the dance floor opens, these people aren’t just here for a quick in and out holiday, they are spending months and years of their lives to be part of the community here.
Who've been your residents over the years?
For me I can only really comment on the time that I have been here and witnessed the residents take centre stage. The residents have always kept that core strong sound that maintains the image of the Zoo Project today. Federico Grazzini, Lee Pennington, Michael James, Karina, Milou, Funk E, Jean Cedric and Defex have kept things solid for years now whilst us newer additions such as Samuel Deep, Miffy & Miller and Nicolau are now keeping the spirit fresh and resulting in us going past that decade mark on the island as a party. I think if you look at Zoo's history you should also highlight who the club has showcased before they were bigger names such as Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Tini, Cristi Cons and Ilario Alicante, the list goes on.
It's obviously a party that feels quite site specific. How do you manage to move the spirit of Zoo Project to other locations? What do you have in store for Egg?
For me, the atmosphere is caused by the people in the DJ booth, they know how to portray, mould and set the scene. For the upcoming show we have our resident foundation of Miffy & Miller and Samuel Deep. these artists have spent years in the venue and know what vibe to bring alongside Ben Rau and Oxia. We'll bring performers who will aim to give you that Zoo Project feel, not just pretty girls in minimal clothing but something that will play more artistically with your mind. We are really excited to party with London at Egg!
What does the future fold for Zoo Project?
As you will see by our posters, we don't tell too much and try to keep things exclusive. We don't boast line-ups but keep things under the radar and aim to present that shock factor. We will be continuing this approach this summer as we showcase unannounced special guests to our stages. We have started our Tuesday parties now, Zoo Evolution, and are off to a flying start with special guests already such as Dana Ruh, Dyed Soundorom, Dan Ghenacia, Mr C, Renaat Vandepapeliere, Chris Carrier and more, as well as showcases from Highpath Records, Slapfunk Records, Real Gang and Jacks House to name a few who have been part of only our first few weeks of this summer. If you are on the island of Ibiza, come and connect with us and join in at our party in the old abandoned Zoo every Tuesday for Zoo Evolution and Saturday for The Zoo Project. The Zoo Project opening party on the 17th June is the start of our Saturday chapter.