Early December sees a weekend of Shoom 25 parties in London, marking the momentous birthday of the famous acid house night. We spoke to Danny Rampling about these parties, his plans to get back into radio, Ibiza memories and that retirement party…
Hey Danny, would like to start just by touching on your radio career, obviously you played on Kiss & R1 for such a long time. Do you still miss that weekly connection to a radio audience that you had through the LGDP?
Yes I am missing it more than ever and have plans to get back where I belong on radio in 2013. Radio is an important part of my career in music and after 20 plus years’ experience I feel I’ve perfected the craft of presenting. Radio is much fun also and more importantly promotes music to a wider audience .
I remember recording those shows every week became a real pre-going out ritual. As was bothering Paul Farris and Goldie in Uptown / Blackmarket the following week for all the new bits you’d played! How much music were you getting sent every week at the height of your Radio One days? and what did you do with it all?
I was being sent three large mail bags weekly of vinyl promos along with stacks of CD promos, my assistant DJ Paul Warren was a great help in filtering out unfinished unsuitable productions. Thursday and Friday was always so exciting, receiving deliveries by motorcycle courier, many straight from the studio. Acetates of upfront tracks, first powerplay productions, remixes every weekend, I was like a kid on Christmas morning opening mailers to such great music and then playing those cuts to the nation & creating a buzz. We broke so many tracks on the shows over the years, It was also wonderful to be awarded silver and gold discs when the productions became huge hits (for my radio club support by the record companies and artists)
Do you think traditional radio still has the relevance & reach now that it did say ten years ago? Especially with the ease of access to music via the internet, and things such as Boiler Room streaming live performances every week over the web.
There still is a need for traditional radio particularly national stations like BBC Radio 6 for example. As great as online radio is and it has certainly transformed radio with huge variety, at present online radio is not available on the move, in cars on long journeys and many listen to radio in transit or whilst at work. I feel online digital stations are great, however you cannot beat that FM warm reception. There is a great difference in quality between the two sounds .
Let’s talk about Shoom a little bit; I would have been ten in 1988 so I obviously never went! But its funny how the club held a few hundred and yet everyone says they were a regular.. Does that give you a sense even now of how important it was/still is to people?
Shoom was the catalyst in London for the youth culture and House music movement back in 88, it was the early blueprint for the rave scene that later become the UK festival scene. There is no video footage of the club which has added an air of mystery. The love of the club also comes from the fact there was a strong message of unity that helped bring a generation together as one, and shape a scene which many people still have much affinity towards.
We live in very challenging and troubled times with conflict & discontent across the world, I feel things may well go full circle. Here we are 25 years later in similar economic & social decay and we as people always want reminding of times that make us feel happy and have made a difference in our lives.
Shoom made a very positive impact on all who attended and friendships were made for life. There is a continued interest in many of the clubs that contributed to our music culture like The Paradise Garage ,The Sound Factory, Wigan Casino, The Loft, Studio 54 & The Hacienda to name a few.
As I’m sure most people will know you’re doing a weekend of Shoom 25th anniversary parties this month, can you tell us a bit about the thoughts behind these & after such a long time why now?
The thoughts behind the events are of mixing past and present with audio & visual. Shoom 25 is not a reunion, more of a major celebration of our music culture. We have combined original innovators Derrick May, myself, Farley and Heller, Trevor Fung, Mark Moore, Larry Tee, Alfredo & Leo Mas (who were certainly a great inspiration in Ibiza back then to me and thousands of others)
The original innovators along with new wave of DJ innovators: Mat Playford, Space Ibiza, great DJ and one of the UKs finest producers. James Priestley from Secretsundaze who always delivers and is very integral to the London scene. Kris Di Angelis who is an amazing DJ on the London gay scene, Kris plays 23 different musical instruments and is set to become a leading producer in his own right . Ilona Inc : USA female DJ who has great energy and rocks the floor. Legendary Children from Dalston East London, just DJ’s who play great music.
Shoom was, and in the present is, about promoting new talent,music & ideas creatively with positive vibes.
I read the Shoom article in the Sun online the other week, did it surprise you to be asked to contribute that? and does it feel like coming full circle given that publication’s well documented history with acid house?
Time has moved on and agreed the Sun were not supportive of the early acid house rave scenes, however what the newspaper did by publishing shock sensationalist stories helped fuel the rave scene across the UK, and within weeks everyone wanted to be part of it.
I feel the Sun’s website section for the music scene is supporting clubs, new talent, labels and music on the whole which is a benefit to the music scene here in the UK right now .The dance scene has experienced greatly challenging times in recent years with an economic downturn which has often impacted attendance at clubs, festivals & concerts.The more coverage & support we have the better .Supportive publicity is great for us all .
Aside from Shoom, Turnmills to me seems a club synonymous with you as a DJ, with your London Calling residency and of course the huge party you did there with Frankie Knuckles in Dec 2005. It seems London has a huge amount of affection for you and that Turnmills show really proved it, what do you remember of that night nearly 7 years on? (serious question as my recollection is very blurry..)
It was a very emotive night where I played close to 12 hours, I was in a very confusing place with my personal life, becoming a father and travelling the world as a DJ, not being home much (amongst other things) and decided to make an exit from doing what I love. Tthankfully I came to my senses and continue contributing & being part of the music scene. It’s what I do best and now have so much gratitude for being fortunate to do something I love, rather than being in a job I do not have passion or love for.
My journey in music feels as if it’s just beginning again right now. I feel the same feeling right now as when I started.
That sort of turnout and the kinds of people who came down doesn’t happen very often, I thought Harvey’s return to London show the other week had a similar vibe actually, what’s your view on Harvey and did you DJ together much in years gone by?
Harvey is one of the finest maverick DJs, like Andrew Weatherall who came out of the early original London scene. Any DJ who plays by his or her own rules and plays innovative great music will always have a cult following and that was clearly respected & celebrated on Harvey’s recent visit to London .
Yes we played on the same bill at early acid House events, myself Andrew and Harvey at a time when there were no pigeon hole genre barriers. Music was music with different styles on same bill, it was a greatly eclectic period the original scene.
Do you still head out to parties fairly regularly when you’re not DJ’ing? I remember seeing you a lot on the dancefloor at Space in Bar Rumba on a cold wednesday night late nineties!
Yes, I feel its important as a DJ to go out, dance & get lost in music on a dance floor from time to time. Recently was on the dance floor at Jaded dancing to four hours of Raymondo Rodriguez’s music and at afterhours party Beyond. I still find the experience a great source of inspiration and love dancing.
Talking of iconic London clubs, does it make you sad we’ve lost so many of those great spaces such as Turnmills, The Cross etc? And do you have any favourite venues across town these days?
Yes those clubs are sadly missed, a great loss to london’s club scene. I frequent The Egg, Cable, Dalston Superstore,East Bloc ,East Village & Horse Meat Disco regularly at present.
We’ve had a monthly residency at Space in Ibiza for the last 3 years, and even in that short time its obvious the island is still evolving musically speaking, have you been recently? and how do you see Ibiza now?
First time in many years I did not visit Ibiza this year as was travelling elsewhere and enjoying the UK this past summer. Ibiza will forever evolve, hopefully though it isn’t going to turn into another overpriced table service champagne and sparklers party playground. Ibiza has always had an edge and hopefully that may long continue.
A well known Ibiza balearic DJ told me recently he started playing records years ago in order to further his mission to fuck german girls on holiday! Nothing to do with having an epiphany to ‘Stop Bajon’… Do you think the Brits take ‘Balearic’ music too seriously?
We created the Balearic beats scene with the help of the Spanish DJs it would never of happened without one another. The comment made was probably a good indication of how things were in Ibiza before the brits took the music and created a bigger scene with it all. Sure that DJ had much fun over those summers with the german girls! lol
Finally I know you’re involved with a mutual friend of ours (Jonny Lee) and the Last Night a DJ Saved My Life (LNADJ) charity, Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about and why you feel its an important cause?
I became a trustee with the foundation as have known Jonny for many years and he comes from a place of good intentions to help others through his efforts which is the core values of the early Acid House scene Our aim is to reach out to the dance music community to encourage & enable it to support charitable causes.
We can see the dance community already becoming involved in many charitable events worldwide & our intention is to create a focus point where these acts of kindness can be identified and used to inspire others to do the same. We want to become a portal to report and publicise charity events, which are happening throughout the global dance community by using the help and support of others to let us know about them so we can help raise the awareness throughout our network.
The more of our community which use LNADJ as a focus, the more we are able to highlight the dance community’s ability & willingness to make a positive contribution to the world we live in.
We have an ever expanding database of DJs, promoters & a multitude of other contacts to enable those from our community who want to support charities to be able to connect with them. We are also a point of contact for charities who wish to use dance music to further their cause but have no connections in the dance music community.
Cheers to Danny for taking time out to chat.
Shoom 5 present
Cajmere – Acid house
Cajmere -Time for the perculator (Jamie Jones remix )
DJ Pierre -We are Phuture 2012
Dj Pierre -Jack The groove
Creature -Phaze action mix
Shoom 5 Past
Gentry Ice – Do u Wanna Jack
Phuture – Acid Trax
Nightwriters – Let The music use you
Mr Fingers – Stars
Ten City – Thats the way love is