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. Acid house had arrived.
With this in mind, 909originals presents ‘Postcards from 88’, a series that sees 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 individual who catalogued first hand the emergence of acid house with the legendary Boys Own fanzine and label (alongside Pete Heller and Andrew Weatherall), and remains one of the founding fathers of the UK house scene: Terry Farley.
Q. Do you remember what you were doing at the start of 1988?
Yes, the first Saturday of January in 1988, Chelsea had United away in the FA Cup 3rd Round, and a little crew of us went up to the Hacienda for the Friday night and stayed over. I expected it to be all house music and quite ‘Manc’ but musically it wasn’t that much different from, say, the Mud Club in London. It seemed half full of home counties students.
The ‘Summer of Love’ started probably late Autumn ‘87 at Shoom/Ziggy’s/Future, for the workers and grafters who had returned from living in Ibiza that summer. For me, it was probably being taken to Shoom, I guess in March 1988, when everything went tits up!
Q. When or where did you first realise that ‘something different’ was happening with music, particularly dance/club music?
Early house certainly didn’t sound different from electro or New York club tracks until Acid Trax was created. In London it was just a part of the rich tapestry that was the soundtrack to a million warehouse parties between 1986 and 1988. Ecstasy changed everything – not house.
Q. Was there a particular tune from the Summer of 1988 that stood out for you? Why?
Hundreds of them – but the one we all wanted but couldn’t buy was Elkin & Nelson’s Jibaro, a Spanish folk-rock-percussion track from 1974. It was the epitome of Ibiza dance culture and remains for many the ultimate Balearic anthem.
Q. 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?
The young uns because they weren’t there. The older heads because they were, and it was the best time of their lives. Also, it was Chicago’s most creative moment!
This was a time when young kids were creating something similar to punk in London in 1976/77. This was kids creating music on machines they could barely play, and creating magic that real musicians simply can’t emulate.
Q. If the ‘you’ from 1988 could give the ‘you’ from 2018 a piece of music-related advice, what would it be?
Stop worrying about details – it’s all about a vibe. Get the vibe right and everything else falls into place.
[Thanks again to Terry for this week’s interview, and kudos to Stefano Vanzin for the YouTube upload. Top photo by Dave Swindells. Postcards from 88 continues next week. Check out the other interviews in the series by clicking here]