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Famous DJ Jose Padilla on launching a career in Asia

By: Justin Harper

What can a Spanish DJ known for his Ibiza chill-out albums tell you about doing business in Asia? Quite a lot, actually.

Jose Padilla is famous for producing Balearic dance albums for the iconic Café Del Mar nightclub located on the party island of Ibiza. He produced six albums for Café Del Mar along with a number of his own compilations and film soundtracks. With four decades as a successful DJ under his belt, he has built up a hardcore following of fans. He is often referred to as a “the grandfather of chill-out music”.

Jose Padilla
Jose Padilla. Great guy


But with all the celebrity status and all the excesses that go with the DJ lifestyle, Jose felt it was time for a new challenge. So he decided he wanted to break into Asia.

He said: “I’d been to Asia quite a few times to play different gigs and each time I came I was really impressed by the amount of progress and all the new buildings that were going up. Not just in Singapore, but here in KL and Jakarta as well. There’s so much happening here that it just seemed a good place to launch a new album.”

Jose Padilla
Jose in action


So Jose partnered with Modesto Marini, founder and owner of Marini’s on 57, a glamorous rooftop club and restaurant in Kuala Lumpur city centre, to create Sunset Hours, a compilation of tracks he produced exclusively for the trendy sky-high bar and restaurant. The album was officially launched in Ibiza in June.

“It wasn’t like I was a big company breaking into Asia with huge resources and connections. I needed someone who was plugged into Asia who could help me with their experience, connections and knowledge of the region,” he added.

Jose Padilla
This music maker has learnt how to do serious business here in Asia


This is a dilemma many small businesses and entrepreneurs face when they first come to Asia. It’s nearly impossible to find someone with deep relationships and expertise, especially across multiple markets. For example, it’s very difficult to find a Japanese contact who can manage both China and Japan – and vice-versa. Social networks like LinkedIn are good starting points.

Modesto Marini is something of an entrepreneur himself, with a handful of restaurants and bars to his name already. His Marini’s at 57 attracts the high-end crowd and is the favourite hangout of footballers, F1 racing drivers and sports stars when they are in KL.

Jose Padilla
Jose with Modesto Marini


“Music and food have always been my passion,” said Marini. “Even in my younger days as a chef travelling in Europe and Asia I would always make time to check out the latest clubbing scenes and restaurants. I first heard about Café Del Mar when I was already in Asia and I’ve always had high regards for Jose who basically spiralled Ibiza and Balearic chill-out music to global recognition. It was the perfect partnership.”