POSTCARDS FROM 88… Olivier Abbeloos

There’s no doubt that the summer of 1988 marked a watershed moment in the history of dance, as the house rhythms of Chicago, artistic exuberance of Ibiza, and electronic soundscapes of Detroit surged through club culture.

With this in mind, 909originals presents Postcards from 88, a new series that will see leading DJs, promoters, journalists, club owners, photographers, and of course the clubbers themselves, shed some light on just what went on during those halcyon days, 30 years ago.

This week’s Postcards from 88 comes from an artist that achieved pan-European acclaim for his work with T99 and Quadrophonia – Belgium’s finest, Olivier Abbeloos

Do you remember what you were doing as the Summer of 1988 started?

I was 19 years old and working as a seller and producer for Target Records in Aalst. Going out every evening from Thursday till Monday. Sunday was Bocaccio (nightclub) in Ghent. In short: a lot of music and parties.

When or where did you first realise that ‘something different’ was happening with music?

I discovered at the fashion shows that my father was doing that there was more to music than the usual overhyped, ‘every time the same’ stuff. I started collecting new wave, industrial, funk and soul, wave funk. At the age of 16, I started going out, together with my friend and brother in law Olivier Pieters. He played at a lot of clubs, including Boccacio, at that time, and I became influenced by a lot of music played at the big city clubs in Gent, Antwerp and Brussels.

Q. Was there a particular tune from the Summer of 1988 that stood out for you? Why?

There was so much going on in 1988. There was acid house, and in Belgium we had the New Beat scene. It’s hard to pick one, when you have Mr Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’, A Guy Called Gerald ‘Voodoo Ray’, Stakker ‘Humanoid’ happening in the same year .
Let’s go for Bam Bam ‘Where’s Your Child’ or ‘Jesus Loves The Acid’ by Ecstasy Club as an acid choice. And Zsa Zsa Laboum ‘Something Scary’ and The KLF ‘What Time Is Love (Pure Trance)’ for the New Beat scene. Why? Because of the darker edge.

Why do you think that people are still so interested in the origins of the dance scene, old school and everything that goes with it?

Inspiration. The TB 303 is getting a revival these days. The beginning of techno started then – the T909 and 808 – the layers in a track were set out. History is just repeating itself. The only difference is now you have 75% of the kick ruling in a track. In 1988 it was 30%; you had a lot more detail and elements happening.

If the ‘you’ from 1988 could give the ‘you’ from 2018 a piece of music-related advice, what would it be?

Don’t think too much. It’s the vibe that counts.

Postcards from 88 continues next week.

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