Interview: Johannes Goller (Head Of Cocoon)

Published On 14/06/2015 | Interviews

Which clubs helped shape your musical tastes?
It was the Stammehim in Kassel, we went there almost every weekend in the mid 90’s… this club had it all. Dark room for techno with a monster sound system, a house terrace where we were dancing on the bars to Ricardo and Karotte, and a chillout area to come down from dancing to the best DJs of all time.

Can you tell us about the first time you heard Sven [Väth] play?
It was in a tent near Frankfurt. It was organised by the radio station HR 3 where Sven had a monthly radio show. I still have all the tapes I recorded at my parents: DJ Dag, Marc Spoon (RIP) and Sven… that was Frankfurt!!!

How did you end up promoting for Cocoon in Ibiza?
Sven’s former manager, Talida, became a close friend of mine. She knew that I wouldn’t take over my parents butcher shop and that it was always my dream to spend a summer in Ibiza. She asked me, “come work for us in Ibiza… promotion, driving the artists…just be there and help where it is needed”. I didn’t need to think twice about this offer. It was April 2000, I packed my car and left home…I am still here.

How did you make the connection with Talida then?
Sven was playing for Peiki (Blauer See) in Cologne and we meet in Ibiza the week before…he invited us to go…it was raining cats and dogs but there were 50 of us dancing in the rain… one of them was Talida…

Can you remember when you first visited the island? What was your experience like? Where did you go, who did you see playing etc etc… what was Ibiza like in those days?
Luckily my parents brought me to Ibiza in 1988 and 1989… I was 13 years old…too young for the clubs…but I felt the vibe everywhere. Space had no walls around… I could see the party people walking in and dancing on the tables at 9 am while I had to go to breakfast at club Playa den Bossa (now Ushuaia)…I swore to myself, one day I would come back and then no one could stop me.

That’s great! And, when was the first time you went as a ‘grown up’ to indulge in the party scene? What were some of the first clubs you went to on the island?
I was 16 or 17… we went to all clubs… still not grown up 🙂

What was your first experience of a Cocoon party? Where was it?
July 1999 Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin, Steve Bug, and Ricardo Villalobos in Amnesia… I was giving out flyers to get in for free…Hahah… still feels like it was yesterday… Sven playing Knights of the Jaguar…10 am in the mainroom…daylight… flying …not wanting to be anywhere else in the world.

What are your main responsibilities at Cocoon?
I am involved in almost everything …I programme the line up together with Sven, and then comes production, marketing, promotion, artwork and the rest…It means a lot of emails and calls because I like to see and feel all the details. At the same time we have built such a great team that most of the time I am just signing off the work of people that, amazingly in this world, have been with us since day 1: Florencia, Ariel, Walter, Mike and many more that work behind the scenes and have been vital in making Cocoon what it is today. I would be lost without them. Cocoon is a family. A proud family. We love music and dancing and that has always been the point of everything. Making parties we would like to go to.

How would you say Cocoon and Amnesia have evolved over the years? What are the main differences between the era when you first started and today?
Amnesia, and here especially Mart believed in us, so they gave us the chance to host the Monday night… and Sven said…“yes, lets do it”. As we started we knew we wanted something new… we took risks… we had to work hard to find our niche. We had to convince the DJs to come back to Ibiza and play techno as it was all about commercial house music…very bland, very cosmetic… No one really had a great time here…many were giving up on Ibiza. Those that did not said we would crash and burn..but we turned the whole island upside down talking about the music… look at the weekly schedule from back then and compare it with now…then I think, thank Cocoon…had to blow the trumpet there!

And how about Ibiza itself? Most people know that it has changed a lot, but what are the main differences in your opinion?
Ibiza always changed and it will keep on changing… it is part of the history from B.C. Good things will stay…bad things will go…Ibiza always found a way to regulate itself and EDM won’t stay forever… let’s see who talks about Avicii at Ushuaia in 16 years 😉

What are you most excited about this season?
To work and party with all my friends and family from all over the world on this magic island.

Any amazing memories/stories you care to share with us?
Too many are unsharable! I might suddenly get very unpopular.

What keeps you motivated to keep on doing what you do after all these years?
A good friend asked me the same question not long ago…Sometimes, I really do ask myself why do I have to deal with all the politics, managers and all the egos…but when it is Monday…or even Tuesday and you see all the happy faces united and dancing in Amnesia or anywhere else at our after parties – I know exactly why I am doing it.

What do you think the future holds for Cocoon in Ibiza?
Cocoon 20 for sure…and you are all invited!

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About The Author

Marcus Barnes is a renowned music journalist based in London. As well as manning the good ship Deep House London he contributes to Mixmag, The Independent, Resident Advisor, i-D and many more music outlets.