Legendary DJ Jose Padilla has passed away at the age of 64 after losing his battle with cancer.
Jose created and mastered a style and sound all of his own, an original style of DJing that pulled together soundtracks, deep house, world music, new age and whatever took his fancy into a truly original musical path.
He first moved to Ibiza in the mid-70s and DJ'd in various clubs before finding his true home and residency at the Café Del Mar in the early 90s. From that point onwards he played gorgeous music that soundtracked sunsets and evenings into nights for thousands of people. Describing the joys of the Café Del Mar to i-D magazine in 1994 he said, "I have the freedom to play what I want. Every day the sunset is different, the colours are different, and the people change every week."
In an interview with the Hostel La Torre site he described the early days at the Café. "It was in 1990 when I started as the resident DJ, but they’d already played my music there for a few years. I lived in a house in Ses Variedades that doesn’t even exist now and I loved going to the Café del Mar, so I’d pass by and make them mix tapes. They had 50 scratched records and they would play the same tunes on a loop! So I ended up swapping disco nights for the sunset.
I was doing what I did at home when my friends came over for a few beers and to smoke joints and listen to relaxed music while we watched the fishing boats come in at the end of the day. The first summer there, I would sell T-shirts, baseball caps, handbags and other souvenirs on a stand and in the afternoons I’d serve coffees between records. In those times, Café de Mar was a really swanky beach bar, with a restaurant and showers."
From DJing at the Café it was a short step to the hugely successful and legendary compilation series he started curating – initially for React and then for Universal. The success taking Jose by surprise. "The first one sold 5,000 copies, the second 30,000 and the third one nearly 100,000. Then I moved on to Universal and the rest is history."
A while back we posted these videos of the Café Del Mar from 1992 filmed by Martyn Passey who spent a full summer there and which Jose selected the soundtrack for which now feel more poignant than ever. You can totally see why it was a very special place.
If you really want to hear what Jose was about as a DJ we highly recommend pressing play on one of his many tapes that he used to sell to passing punters at the Café Del Mar. as they capture the raw essence of Jose at his best. We've got a quite a few on the site but try THIS (Café Del Mar Tape 4), THIS (Café Del Mar Tape 1) and THIS (Café Del Mar Tape 2). If you'd like to dig in further click the player at the bottom as there are many.
He's now up there with the all time greats. Long may the music live on. A true one off.
God bless. x.