Beach Funk hits Ibiza
Text: Cat Weisweiller - Photos: Eric Ceccarini, Anthony Epes, C. Lechtenbrink, Sean Gleason, Friederike Gaedke
It is not unusual to see those raised in Ibiza enticed back to pay homage later in life. Having lived here aged 5-13 and as a regular visitor ever since, dedicated musician, Miles Winter Roberts, is no different.
With Miles, comes his trademark musical genre ‘Beach Funk’. Dreamed up by Miles himself, Beach Funk is best described as ingeniously evocative lyrics set to dance-provoking rhythms sprinkled with Latin overtones. Much of his music is inspired by the early musical influences that surrounded him whilst growing up in Ibiza. At a tender age, he could be found crooning along to the stereo’s main musical imports of the time – JJ Cale, Stevie Wonder and Carole King.
From 13, Miles was educated in the UK, returning here in the 80s for his second full-time stint. Miles and his identical twin brother, Guy, may well have stayed longer had they not been spotted, offered a record deal, and whisked off to Germany to pursue an illustrious pop career with their band ‘Double Take’. Their new-found fame had them winning song festivals in Turkey and Poland and busily touring Germany and the Eastern Bloc for five years.
In search of wider inspiration, Miles returned to London in 1994, where he claims to have “found his funk”. Hanging out with the cream of beat box and acoustic hip-hop, coupled with fanatical cross-genre experimentation, soon helped Miles to pinpoint his own inimitable musical style. The release of his first solo album under the name ‘Winter Roberts’ followed soon after. Much gigging ensued, including invites to perform at private parties bursting with high profile celebs; none named here, as Miles – like any true gent – is fast to point out that he prefers to protect the anonymity of his celebrity fanbase.
Razzle-dazzle aside, Miles recalls that one of the true highlights of his 15 years back in the UK was a gig at the world renowned jazz club, Ronnie Scotts, in Soho: “Performing with a twelve-piece band to a jam-packed room was exhilarating in itself, but the real clincher was seeing so many of my Ibiza school friends who, now living in England themselves, had ventured out to see me perform.” Being reunited with his childhood peers inspired Miles, after a ten year absence from the island, to fly out for his 30 year reunion of the Morna Valley School in 2010. It was during a similar trip in 2011 – this time extended to last the rest of the summer – that he truly grasped “what he’d been missing out on,” both musically and spiritually.
And so it happily transpires that his band ‘Miles Island’ is set to tour the island extensively this summer and beyond. Miles always enlists local musicians to perform with him, in favour of “keeping the Latin” in all that he does. The versatility in his music reflects much of what he believes to be the essence of Ibiza; himself describing his Beach Funk as, “More of an attitude than a sound – it’s one hell of a party – finding its place anywhere from cosy campfire gatherings, to wild beach parties, to club-land.” Returning here full-time in some way completes the circle for Miles and, judging by the glint in his eye when we met, it looks like he may well be rocking the island for some time to come… •