By DANNY RAMPLING
IT’S hard to believe that it is more than a quarter of a century since I set
off to Ibiza for a weeks holiday with Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker and
Nicky Holloway and we discovered the amazing Alfredo DJ-ing in Amnesia.
His mix of music was completely intoxicating and that club changed my life and
Amnesia was where I listened to House music being fused with pop, reggae,
funk, latin, soul and hip-hop and even film scores.
Alfredo created this magical sound and generated an openness to music as we
danced in the open air under the stars.
When I came home I wanted to recreate that feeling and one autumn evening in
1987 we launched Shoom in a Southwark fitness centre when 50 clubbers turned
up to see what was going on – but just 12 weeks later there were queues of
2000 people outside the venue and the whole thing exploded.
The name Shoom was a word that I heard people saying over and over again in
the clubs in Ibiza when they were having a good time and that summed up what
we were all about so it seemed perfect.
We wanted to bring the clubbers new ideas and music, break down barriers of
gender and sexuality and make people happy.
Shoom was a club with no dress code and which encouraged a mixed gay and
It used lights, smoke and banners to help create an atmosphere based on love
and happiness. But most importantly the speed of the music was raised from
105 bpm to 120 and then 150 bpm, which instantly created an entirely new
The atmosphere was electric. It was a free state of wild abandonment and
hedonism, like all the great clubs where people came to celebrate life and
music and to forget their troubles and the recession.
We adopted the “Smiley Face” symbol as our identity logo and that then became
symbolic with the Acid House and Rave culture.
For me and many on the dance floor it was a spiritual experience fuelled by
Chicago Detroit House music which had strong gospel music influences and
carried a message of peace, love and unity in the lyrics of the songs.
As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Shoom with two incredible
nights of dance music at Cable in Bermondsey on the 8th and 9th of December
it is amazing to realise that dance music has never felt more relevant with
the charts packed with new acts and THE SUN reflecting the flourishing
underground scene as they launch their brilliant new section.
Shoom 2012 is not so much a revival as a celebration of our musical heritage
and culture and it’s going to showcase music and talent from the past,
present and future.
It’s a very significant milestone as we’ll be celebrating 25 years of the club
with some of the best of today’s crop of DJ’s including Derrick May,
Bushwaka, Kris Di Angelis and the great Alfredo, but also looking at the
industry today where David Guetta and Calvin Harris are as big as rock stars
and sell out stadiums on their own.
Shoom only lasted for three years before we moved on to other things but now
it is back and, who knows, it could be around for a long time yet!