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We chat to Danny Rampling ahead of Shoom 25th Anniversary

In the beginning there was Shoom. Fresh from a life-changing trip to Ibiza, newly inspired by the eclectic tastes of Alfredo, Danny Rampling and his compatriots set in motion what is recognised today as the spawn of the UK clubscene. Bringing the Balearic sounds of The White Isle to generation of potential party animals ripe for the plucking, Shoom – opened within the tunnels of SE1 in '87 – sits as a seminal milestone of our musical heritage. Tagged as a launch pad for acid house, it helped trigger a craze followed by innumerable others, importing sounds at the time explored across the Atlantic and parts of Europe like Italy and Belgium. The result was an explosion of halcyon colour we know today as rave culture, a period looked upon nostalgically as the “second summer of love”. It changed everything.

25 years later, underground club culture is the unstoppable force it is today. London, still the hub of the UK scene, home to a network of high-class venues supporting a bustling industry envied worldwide. Despite its conception on US soil, dance music has finally exploding in a big way and club music embedded into the cultural fabric of cities like Berlin and Amsterdam. Amid all this, Shoom is still relevant, a reference point to the what, where and how of the club world we live and breath today, so it's with baited breath we wait for its one-off 25th Anniversary celebrations at Cable this weekend. We checked in with Danny himself to hear more about it...

So Danny, how's it going?

“Hi, loads going on with preparations for forthcoming Shoom weekend.”

Where you been and what you been up to?

“Just got in from a great gig at El Divino, Belfast, a very stylish Ibiza influenced, designed club. It's the best I've seen recently on my UK travels. I'm also working flat out with event planning for Shoom 25, to ensure the party brings much pleasure to all who attend.”

How do you feel knowing that Shoom is just about to turn 25?

“Well 25 years, funnily enough, feels like yesterday. Time passes so quickly! Shoom was very pivotal in shaping the 'House' and 'Dance' scenes as one of the original clubs in London. It ended up being the blueprint for the rave scene. We collectively created a movement, transformed youth culture and feel this major milestone is a cause for a celebration.””

What's been the most rewarding aspect of your dance music career?

“Being able to do something I love in life. Still enjoying playing music for people and loving what I do 25 years on. DJing is a lifestyle and certainly not a job.”

What's been the most challenging?

“My premature departure from Radio 1 many years ago was probably the darkest period of my long career. It took me years to recover from that experience. Very difficult!”

Why did Shoom finish in '90?

“Shoom finished in '90 as the scene turned very dark and people had become more interested in getting wasted than the music. Peace, love and unity which was the scene's core driver in the UK so it was time to change and move forward with a another clubnight called Pure Sexy.”

What's your fondest Shoom memory?

“Every party was special as after years of wanting to become a professional DJ my time had come and that was worth more than any experience money can buy. Bringing New Jersey DJ Tony Humphries to Shoom at Busby's was an amazing night. It was Tony's first UK visit and he played on three decks and two reel-to-reel tape players. The crowd loved him.”

Why did you choose Cable as the venue? How does it feel to be returning to SE1 for the anniversary?

“I began my DJ career in SE1. It was the area where I first played music in bars as an unknown and subsequently years later became the home to Shoom at the fitness centre. Cable would have been the original home to Shoom if it was there in '87/'88, its a great club. It's perfect for this special event and I feel its important to celebrate the occasion in the local area.”

What makes the event relevant today?

“Shoom 25 is not a reunion but a celebration of music and our culture combining past and present musically. Shoom was then and is now about new music, DJs and ideas. We need more unity on the club scene. Today, some of that vibe has been missing from the scene. That is the ethos of Shoom 'Time for Love', its all about the music with a broad selection of talented DJs who will entertain the crowd.”

Expect to see many original heads at the event?

“There will be many original clubbers alongside today's clubbers, who go out every week. Shoom will give those who never experienced the original scene an opportunity to experience the club in the present day.”

Shoom was responsible for changing the face of UK clubbing, especially in London. How do you see the state of the scene today?

“The scene is always evolving, its so exciting. Here we are 25 years later and the USA has finally embraced electronic music, which is very exciting. It's a great time to be a DJ and producer right now.”

Lastly, would you say the Ibiza scene measures up to the potential you saw all those years ago? 

“Ibiza is a very different island to what it was 25 years ago. Ibiza is now aimed at high spenders and sadly has lost a little of its raw magic in recent times. However, it's still one of the best 'holiday clubbing' experiences worldwide.”


VENUE: Cable, London | DATE: Saturday 8th December | TIME: 9pm – 6am | PRICE: £25

Derrick May | Danny Rampling | Bushwacka!, Farley + Heller | Alfredo + Leo Mas | Mark Moore |Trevor Fung | Antz | Dom Moir | Kris Di Angelis | Ilona Inc | Legendary Children


VENUE: Cable, London | DATE: Sunday 9th December | TIME: 8pm – 5am | PRICE: £25

Derrick May | Danny Rampling | Alfredo & Leo Mas | Larry Tee | Mat Playford | James Priestley |Farley & Heller | Kris Di Angelis | Luke Howard & Ilona Inc


Words: Adam Saville