by Iain Thomson
Trace the current dance industry back to its roots and there are a few seminal parties throughout the world that were instrumental in providing the catalyst. What started off as a new musical experience in club parties would evolve into a youth movement and later a global industry but, at the heart, it was a group of individuals with a passion for the music, a desire to share that with as many people as possible and a freedom of expression, tolerance and community that came with it. Shoom is one of those parties – Danny Rampling’s reaction to a holiday in Ibiza in 1987 that became one of the most important club gatherings of all time and was instrumental in sparking that lifestyle revolution.
For many that were there at the time, it’s hard to believe that 30-years have passed and, while Danny and Shoom have no desire to live in the past, Shoom 30 will offer a celebration of that authentic vibe, some of the tunes that defined the dancefloor from the DJs that played them, as well as a nod to the present and future with up-to-date tunes and some of the hottest emerging talent. Shoom celebrated its 25th anniversary five years ago, and if the turn out for that is anything to go by, expect yet another roadblock for this fabled club name as it takes over Bankside Vaults on Friday December 8 as Danny Rampling welcomes Tony Humphries, Pete Heller, Terry Farley and more to the booth. We caught up with Danny as he prepares for the latest edition of his life-changing party…
What originally inspired Shoom?
The main inspiration for Shoom happened on the eventful holiday to Ibiza in 1987 for Paul Oakenfold’s 24th birthday party week. Myself, Nicky Holloway and Jonny Walker went along to the open-air after-hours club Amnesia, which started late at night and ended long after sunrise, sometime into the late morning. Amnesia was a complete revelation for us all and like no other club I had ever experienced. A wild, cosmopolitan crowd of fashionistas, pop stars, film stars, racing drivers, Ibiza workers and unique characters including island workers, Euro jet-set and British and Spanish club kids.
The experience dancing under the stars from nighttime to daylight, surrounded by people smiling, hugs everywhere, the magic punch drink and a great eclectic mix of music played by an Argentinian DJ Alfredo, who influenced us all with the way he weaved a tapestry of music and the fresh sounds of this new music we call house and techno. Alfredo mixed so many different genres of music together that worked so well, which we branded Balearic beats. This experience, the perfect hedonistic introduction to house music and techno in an open air club filled with beautiful people and waves of empathy was so incredible that we had to transport the inspiration and influence back to the UK which had a profound, long lasting effect on us all. After each night we attended, back at the villa, we discussed how we would return to London and take the magic from Ibiza and apply this to clubs we opened shortly after our return. The name Shoom came from the dancefloor where Trevor Fung had said the words and I thought to myself yes that will be the name for the club I planned to open on return.
Did you imagine you would be hosting another episode 30 years later, with a new generation getting the chance to enjoy the unique vibe?
I feel we all knew we were onto something very special as soon as we partied that first night in Ibiza, the energy was instantly infectious and we combined the influences of Ibiza and the culture into our London clubs and the whole thing spread like wild fire. We spearheaded a youth culture movement of faith, hope, empathy, unity, love and good times. The music began in Europe with industrial and electronic bands, which greatly influenced a wave of US DJ’s and producers who then created acid house / house and techno music, which was transported from the underground US scene back to the dancefloors of Ibiza, Italy, UK and the rest of Europe. Within a matter of four to five months of opening Shoom, Future Spectrum and Trip, the scene began to flourish – Shoom went from a couple of hundred people waiting to get into the club to a couple of thousand people forming a line in the street eager to experience the empathetic hedonistic free state basement club space.
A positive youth culture movement began and we became a subculture, a positive tribe, which also had a style people could identify with and associate one another with – baggy clothes, dayglo colours, converse high tops sneakers, kicker boots, dungarees, smiley t-shirts, ponchos, long hair and not high fashion generally. You know back then, 30 years ago, few of us were thinking about how life would be and the scene 30 years later, we were all too busy living in the moment having the time of our lives through the summers of love 88-89 that we collectively created. I, like most of us, feel blessed to be here 30 years later doing something I love and equally as passionate about it as when I began. In the present time, as a career this is a great gift and honour and I love the way of life. Being a DJ is a lifestyle not a job.
What can we expect from Shoom 30?
Shoom 25 attracted a broad age group of clubbers from new club kids to original first wave clubbers who are interested in the heritage aspect, and to experience Shoom in the present as we cannot recreate the past. Shoom has always been about presenting new ideas, DJs and music, combined with the heritage and a celebration of the music scene and culture that we have created. At Shoom 30 we have a new wave of house and techno with rising stars Saytek Live, Josh Caffe, ILONA and Cici. Shoom 30 is also a multi-media event with two exciting groundbreaking, virtual reality interactive zones. Developed by Professor William Latham at Goldsmiths college London, it will be a visual adventure for attendees and mind-blowing in fact. This will be the first time Mutator VR technology has been platformed at a music event, bringing the future into the present. We also have a collaboration with iconic street wear designer Daniel Poole and acid house/ rave influenced furnishings on the night from Softcore along with cutting edge lighting and visual effects from Prickimage.
The party was frequented by rising stars of the pop and fashion scene as well as clubbers from all over the UK, what was it that captured the imagination of a generation?
I feel the dynamic, positive energy at Shoom was driven by the wave of groundbreaking new electronic music, coupled with door selection and the fact that the night wasn’t widely advertised – it was promoted through viral marketing and people telling their friends that something very special, new and fresh was happening. People hadn’t witnessed a DJ jumping around, waving records above his head and a torch in his mouth to see in the darkness and chanting positive statements on the microphone. The animated DJ actions raised the energy on the dancefloor and made the atmosphere an ecstatic peak in the basement of empathy and love. This feeling appealed to all walks of life hence so many different people embraced the feeling and energy and so many lifelong friendships were forged, where idealism and creativity developed consequently. People became one, and a strong sense of unity prevailed, which laid the foundations for the rave scene that followed, bringing youth culture all over the UK together as one and no longer divided. The movement deconstructed social class, race, sexuality, taboos and divides, and became all-inclusive, which kids embraced with open arms. Shoom became the beacon of light and positivity that became the core driver of the early scene.
Shoom became more than just another nightclub, the crowd became a family of Shoomers and, looking back on that time, I am so grateful and happy, like many, to have experienced what we all experienced and the profound feeling of unity and positive change that became our way of life. Britain throughout the mid-80s went through a very bleak period of social economic divide and disparity with high unemployment, workforce strikes, lack of opportunities and the scene became a positive reaction to the economic and political landscape in the UK at that time. The pop stars, fashion designers, students, dreamers and adventure thrill seekers loved the eclectic mix of people in a non-pretentious space that felt totally free from reservations and restrictions with genuine openness. The club became a very mixed club of gay and straight partygoers and a riot of colour positivity.
You’re bringing back original residents Farley & Heller and the first US guest, Tony Humphries as well as hosting the party on Southwark Street, are you ready for the mood of nostalgia that you will surely feel on the night?
Sure, there will be a certain level of nostalgia, especially with Shoom 30 being hosted in Southwark Street, where it began. However, we are not out to relive the past – the past is that unique period of time and Shoom will be bringing new ideas, DJs and music, coupled with the pioneering and heritage DJs along with the spirit of Shoom into the present time. I am very excited to be playing alongside Tony Humphries, a DJ hero who, along with Alfredo, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales, has been a great influence to my DJ career. Tony Humphries is a house music industry giant and will be playing new music along with some classic early house music and a few obscure surprises, as he always does with such great flair and taste. There is a lot of love for Tony, who became the first US DJ to play at Shoom in 89. Farley and Heller are both original Shoom 88/89 residents and their DJ and production contribution to electronic music is outstanding. Bushwacka! is another highly talented UK DJ who knows how to rock the room just as he did at Shoom 25, the crowd love him. There will be a good balance of original and new music on the night and also a new wave of rising techno and house talent; Saytek will be doing his techno acid live set, plus we have DJ talent Josh Caffe who also sings over his productions whilst DJing, and my wife ILONA who has just produced a new techno single and video and another highly talented female DJ Cici who is a regular at DC10 and cool Ibiza techno parties.
Difficult I know, but what are the three tracks that really embody that Shoom essence for you?
Nightwriters – Let The Music Use You
Phuture – Acid Trax
Code 61 – Drop The Deal
“Shoom 30” takes place at Pulse, SE1, on Friday 8th December with Danny Rampling, Tony Humphries, Pete Heller, Terry Farley and more. FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS CLICK HERE!