POSTCARDS FROM 88… Bill Brewster

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 a self-confessed ‘vinyl nerd’ who traded punk rock for house music in the late 1980s and hasn’t looked back since, as a label owner, DJ, author and raconteur… Bill Brewster.

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

I was living in a squat in Hackney Wick on the Trowbridge Estate (long since demolished), listening to Kiss FM regularly.

I’d been to a few house nights but very early on (late 1987) and didn’t really enjoy them. I was more into the rare groove side of music then, so I was going out to warehouse parties.

Every day seemed to be sunny that summer, though I’m sure it wasn’t. Kiss FM always sounded better when it was sunny.

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?

Well, firstly, the origins of the dance scene go back a lot further than 1988. It’s certainly the start of a different sort of dance scene, but I’ve been going out clubbing since 1976 and there were Americans dancing to black music in the 1920s.

Why wouldn’t you be interested in the origins of all of this? It changed people’s lives, it changed the direction of their lives. People started new careers, new relationships, altered their perceptions, it had a huge impact on society.

It seems entirely logical to me that you would be interested in the how it all started, but it’s important to remember that a lot of it did not start in the UK and goes back much further and deeper than that.

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

I’m not sure I’d offer any advice. I did go through a period from 1989 to 1993 of only really listening to one style of music (house) but I also went through that as a teenager with punk, too. They were aberrations.

Having grown up as an avid John Peel listener, I’ve always tried to be open to all forms of music and I was in 1988 and I am now.

Apart from gabber, obviously. Even I have my limits.

[Thanks again to Bill for this week’s interview. Postcards from 88 continues next week. Check out the other interviews in the series by clicking here]

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