In the winter of 1989, I was privileged and honoured to interview Danny Rampling, for my then fanzine, Positive Energy of Madness. It was about two weeks after he had closed his ground-breaking club Shoom. In my eyes at the time, and even today, the end of Shoom was Acid House’s equivalent to The Jam breaking up at the end of 1982. As Shoom, like the Woking Wonders, meant so much to a lot of people. Personally, I found Shoom inspiring, beautiful and wonderful. I was very late to the Shoom party, yet I was welcomed with opened arms, moving, truly moving as I would dance the night away with a beaming smile on my face. 

This was my second ever interview, yet I wasn’t nervous, I was excited and proud. Prior to the interview I always found Danny inspiring, visionary and accommodating, and he still is today. So please enjoy my naïve charm interview with Mr Rampling……. 

It was 8th of November 1989, the place was the Park in Kensington. Jesus Loves You had just finished “After the Love Has Gone”. The crowd were dancing like there was no tomorrow. Danny on the decks and it was a party night. It was 1.30am an in an hour and a half it would end, for it was the last night of Shoom. I began to ask myself some questions; what makes this club the Happy, Happy, Happy Club?

And why does it hold a great deal of nostalgia to those within and to those without? Well, I thought to myself if I want the answer to the questions, its simple- ask Danny and Jenni.Over the last 2 years, Danny and Jenni Rampling have pulled a small club of 150 in a sweaty fitness centre in SE1 to a bigger and better air-conditioned club in Kensington, yet had managed to keep a magic about it all. Not only that, they have also opened the doors for struggling DJ’s and influence the club scene today.Danny Rampling has always been a young man that people “love to love” or “slag off”, but personally speaking the “slags off” seem to come from the mouths of people with narrow points of view. He is a 28-year-old man from Streatham who has worked very hard to get where he is today. 

So, one fine afternoon in London, Danny and Jenni Rampling told me more about Shoom. The interview started late, due to the fact that Danny burnt the toast several times before a pucka tuna sandwich.

PEOM – Shoom is an unusual word, what does it mean and why have you carried the name under this banner for 2 years?

Danny Rampling – .Shoom is a slang word that we used in Ibiza in 1987. I overheard people saying it in a club there and thought it sounded strange, however, they are were saying it only when they are having a good time. So , to us it represents “happiness” and “having a good time”. When I returned from Ibiza that year, it became very apparent to me that club land was very stale and the music was not as adventurous as over there.

At that time, I was not in a position to play the music that I wanted to, as all the places I played at, did not appreciate this style of sound. I realised that if I was to get my own way, I would have to start a club of my own, with more opened minded people and where I could be the boss of what’s played! I didn’t have much to lose, as I was never really appreciated within The “Special Branch” (Nicky Holloway’s creation) scene anyway! So, Jenni and I designed some flyers and blitzed London’s good shops, aiming for a mixed/gay crowd – something no one club already had.

On the 5th December 1987, the 1st Shoom came to light with Danny and Carl Cox playing at the Fitness Centre, Southwark Street SE1.

PEOM – What was the 1st night like?

Danny Rampling – It was pretty crazy really! We used strobe lights, smoke machines, parachutes and banners. About 150 people, who we considered to have the right attitude were let in. we had no dress code, people came, as they felt comfortable.

Even today, others never could understand our door policy. Because many of the first people wore loose, hippyish, non- designer clothes, others soon tried to copy their style. It was rumoured that we would be more likely to let someone in our club if they dressed in this way . For many this proved wrong.We were adamant that we wanted friendly people in our club. Whatever they chose to wear, not just trendy elitist type who thought themselves too important to mix with others.We gave free soft drinks away on the 1st night. I think it was Lucozade (Hence the sudden new trend of drinking this at the beginning of the scene) I think most of us who were part of Shoom then, would say that it was a “family-type” atmosphere.

PEOM – This certainly does sound like a “Happy” club. However, Shoom has attracted a reputation of being full of soccer thugs.

Danny Rampling – No, we don’t agree. Many of our members were “professional” people. If you are referring to the people who came in casual clothes, and had been to football in the past, then it’s very narrow minded to label a person “a football hooligan” No, again this is an example of choosing someone with a good attitude. The so-called “trendy” fashion magazines wanted to label the club in this way because they didn’t understand what was going on under their noses. All our early flyers stated “no ruffians”! And I like to think that our choice on the door reflected this. I mean, you can’t exactly ask for a CV on the door. No, it was just the medias way of trying to get at us because we kept them away at all times. We broke all the Club Rules.

PEOM – Shoom to some carries a very elitist image or to some pratts who haven’t a clue, they think it’s stupid to shout “Shoom, Shoom, Shoom!!!”Some people think that the original Shoomers were arrogant about having been there first. Many of the original members also judged Busby’s, as “not as good as it used to be!”.

Danny Rampling – We never personally witness any original members as being arrogant. However, what happens behind our backs we obviously don’t know about. If people judge themselves more importantly than others, especially because they had been to a club before someone else, then they must be pitied. As for Busby’s, well, it’s true maybe it wasn’t as good as the fitness centre but as far as everyone was concerned , nothing would have been as good as “The Fitness Centre”.

That was special because of several things, The Fitness Centre was never a club, it had never been used before as a club, it was a fitness centre and was a new venue to go to. Busby’s had been used many times before, so it may have held many memories for some before Shoom was in it. Also, the size of the club doubled immediately. Many people did not like this.

They felt that Shoom had lost its family atmosphere. When you are running a club, people begin saying that you are an “elite” club, then you have to make a decision whether to carry on as you are , which was a small club for 350 members who may one day get fed up with it, or you may choose to let more people enjoy what we were with a new atmosphere. It’s a selfish attitude not to let others be part of something if you have the opportunity to do so

PEOM – Are you political ?

Danny Rampling – I try to stay away from politics, but I believe in caring for other people, giving a chance to those less fortunate than us. I think that in the next 15 years, a New Party will evolve with new ideology, giving realist ideas instead of just plain bullshit. People are becoming aware of the environment.

There are a lot of bad things occurring in Britain such as the Poll Tax. I totally disagree with that. It seems as the Berlin Wall is falling down, an invisible one is building up around Britain!People are sick and tired of continual crippling mortgage rate increases, health cuts and their attitude are changing fast.As for the Government ís attitude to late licences (or rather no late licences) I feel it’s about time this country wised up to what the rest of

Europe is like at night. We are treated like kids, robots really, we’re told when to get up, when to go to bed, when we can and when we can’t party! The Government should realise that we don’t lead the same “conservative” lifestyle.

PEOM – The Mail have crowned you the founder of Acid House, I take it you don’t agree.

Danny Rampling – The “Mail” suggested that I was responsible for all those money grabbing “raves” in the “orbital area”. I think that’s what they are called! Well, I’ve never played, let alone been involved in one ever. My feelings on these parties have always been the same. I am or was never against huge crowds of people having a good time together.

Even though I personally prefer smaller parties, I would never condemn these “raves” because of their size. What bothered me, were the “organisers” or rather “financial organisers” behind them. It was the way they continually manipulated people, charging unnecessarily high-ticket prices with continued false promises.

Telling people that certain DJ’s were playing on events with full knowledge that they were not. Even certain tacky DJ’s would “sell” their name to be used on these tickets, which disgraced me, even more. No sorry how could any decent person respect these parties.

The organisers defend themselves with saying “we don’t make people come, it’s their choice”, but how could these people possibly have known any better when they are continually fed this shit week after week. Of course, they are going to take another chance and continue buying these tickets, as there is no other alternative pleasure for most.

So with these feelings of the “overground” Acid House scene, I felt humiliated by this statement from the “Mail”. But I’m sure that was their intention anyway. When I started Shoom, my intention was to maybe be involved Glastonbury type events. When we felt ready, we contacted them to see if they would lets us hold a free party during their Festival. We were turned down flat.

Even influential people, who normally have good relations with Glastonbury, could not help, they just did didn’t want to know.From the main philosophy of Shoom, you can see that there is an urge of developing ideas. Shoom has encouraged these ideas and Danny himself has moved on to new projects with music.As far as music within the club is concerned, we tried to encourage members of the club to play live instruments.

Not just anyone, only the ones who we felt were genuinely talented. Such as Polo on the bongos, Pete Heller on guitar & Gordon on sax. New bands such as “Deep Joy”, who I helped and encouraged as much as possible. I believe that the club influenced the Beloved and they have produced some brilliant music, totally original with their own style for the 90’s.So, after 2 years, Danny and Jenni are enjoying their rewards for their hard work.

Danny certainly began life the same as most of us. I can’t help but admire his strength and ambitions plus the strong influence of Jenni. Together they are a strong team, giving us entertainment. They also influence a lot of today’s faces. 

They gave many DJ’s a chance to find their way and gave many people, the best two years of their life, so far.They still seem pretty ambitious: I wonder what they will shock us with next time.