by Matthew Francey
Ahead of his show alongside the likes of Seth Troxler and Jackmaster, one of the biggest legends in dance music shares his guide to the genre he helped pioneer. This is Danny Rampling on Acid House
It Started With A Kiss (FM Show)
The first time I heard Acid House was on London DJ Colin Favor’s Kiss FM radio show, and shortly after on the dance floor with DJ Alfredo playing in Amnesia Ibiza.
It Sounded Like
A high filter resonance, squelchy fat low end filter sound that’s totally unique.
And It Required The Right Bits Of Tech
The Roland 808 drum machine was the kit that gave the productions big deep kick drums and crunchy tough snare drums and of course the open hi hats. The 808 and the 303 are the peaches and cream – perfect partners for Acid House music.
The pyramid in the pool @ Amnesia, Ibiza. Opening night 1989. Credit: Dave Swindells
Acid House Was Born in Chicago
From producers such as Jesse Saunders and DJ Pierre who’s still making great Acid trax today. In Chicago the producers began using the Roland 303 Synth that created the new sound and then back to London.
But It Grew Up In Bermondsey
Acid House was played on pirate radio by Steve Jackson, Colin Favor, Jazzy M, Colin Dale and others, and on my return from Ibiza I also played it on Kiss pirate station so there was good radio support. A few clubs in Manchester and Nottingham were playing Acid House and in London you had Delirium with Noel and Maurice Watson and Black Market with Rene Galston. And then there was my night, Shoom, in Southwark.
Danny Rampling @ Shoom, Southwark 1988. Credit: Dave Swindells
Shoom Is To Acid House what The Roxy Was To Punk.
Shoom was born from that famous Ibiza trip and it had a special energy like all great clubs in that basement. The people, the door management and my energy and excitement as a DJ made Shoom a pivotal pioneer in the Acid House movement. We adopted the Watchmen smiley logo to become the symbol of the club, which later became the symbolism for the scene. Who cares who was first, we did things collectively and Shoom was a religious experience – a state of hedonistic freedom and a spiritual experience for many who came. The club created collective consciousness that spread like wildfire, there was a strong creative spirit within the core group of regulars that had a positive effect on so many things.
Though Not Everyone Liked It At First
Acid House was played at the first Shoom and half the crowd were into rare groove, funk, hip hop and that’s what the other DJs were playing that night. Not everyone warmed to Acid House immediately so it wasn’t the most successful night to begin with… however within a few months many joined the party and wanted to experience the new music.
From There It Grew Into ‘The Second Summer Of Love’
It was special as we collectively shaped a new youth culture movement. It was an extraordinary unique time of joy, unity, hope and excitement and a sense of be-longing to a very positive tribe. We were all aware it was a special time which later formed the huge rave scene that brought hundreds of thousands of people together, dancing at one very powerful time in social and cultural history. It was incredible to be a figurehead shaping the scene and becoming a professional DJ. So many friendships were born at that time and many are still great friends t0day. Shoom was a creative hub, a collective of positive energy.
1988 i-D Acid House Cover
But To Clarify: ‘Acid’ Does Not Refer To LSD
Rather the term originated in the Music Box in Chicago where Ron Hardy played DJ Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Pierre and others. Here, in the UK, the tabloid press sensationalised the term, believing it to be a link to the drug acid LSD which wasn’t the case at all.
And ‘The Balearic Sound’ Wasn’t A Sound At All
The Balearic Sound was a term to describe an openness to music policy. The scene was about inclusion, a unity of music and people.
We Developed Our Own Fashion
There was no specific look to begin with but as time moved on and the clubs got sweatier, a loose clothing style emerged. Kickers and Converse boots, dayglow t-shirts, baggy jeans, bib & brace denim and longer hair. Guy would go for a tad hippyish / traveller look as it was practical for the heat. The look then became a fashion across the UK – the Manchester crowd adopted it first along with a handful of Londoners who were with the Manchester crowd out in Ibiza together.
Paul Oakenfold @ Shoom. Credit: Dave Swindells
Then We Got Our Own Press Arm
The Face and i-D helped by writing about the music and UK scene. Then Boys Own were more of a grass roots fanzine that certainly became a voice for Acid House Balearic. Boys Own generated a cool, loyal following and said it as it was – promoting music, style, history, parties and DJs.
I Have Many Happy Memories Of Those Days But My Most Treasured Is
The unity and opportunity that we created as one youth culture movement through music. We took Britain out of the stark economic and political landscape that was the prelude to Acid House and created our own scene – a state of freedom, optimism, hope, opportunity and most of all FUN.
To Summarise The Ethos Of Acid House Is Though, But Here Goes…
Keep on reaching, believe in what you do and your dreams will come true.
Let the music take you to the top and come on everybody its started!
Further Reading: Danny’s Five Most Iconic Acid Tracks
Danny Rampling will be playing at Seth Troxler’s Acid Future at Tobacco Dock on August 8th, tickets + info here.
He’ll also be playing our club at Rulin’ alongside X-Press 2 and Terry Farley. Get your tickets here.