POSTCARDS FROM 88… Mr C, The Shamen

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 one of the most recognisable faces in rave, as the lead MC in The Shamen, co-founder of London’s The End nightclub and owner of the Superfreq label… it could only be Richard West, aka Mr C.

You can catch him, along with Danny Rampling, Eddie Richards, Colin Dale, Nancy Noise and a plethora of others at a brand new festival, Next Step Forward, taking place this weekend in London.

In the words of the ‘great philosopher’… naughty, naughty, VERY naughty… 🙂

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

I was DJing weekly at RIP in Clink Street in London Bridge. I was also going to as many underground house and techno music parties as possible and helping to push the scene into the wider mainstream of clubbing.

Q. When or where did you first realise that ‘something different’ was happening with music, particularly dance/club music?

I was working as a rapper with Jasper The Vinyl Junkie at The Cricketeers in Chertsey, Surrey, every week. In 1986 I decided I didn’t want to rap on hip hop any more, so I switched my style completely to house music.

This went down a storm everywhere I MC’d for Jasper and I knew then that something different was happening.

When I rapped over house music with Colin Faver and Eddie Richards in the legendary Camden Palace later that same year my thoughts were all but confirmed.

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

Picking one track from so many groundbreaking tunes is very hard, but I’ll go with Warlock by Todd Terry, under his Black Riot guise.

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?

Anyone who gets properly into cutting edge dance music and doesn’t just follow the crowds is going to want to know the roots of our culture. This is only a very small percentage of ravers these days, but those who do get ‘bugged’ are trapped. Too far gone and no way back… as Adonis said.

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

I wouldn’t give myself music related advice as I’ve always had great taste and been decisive when it comes to music.

But if it were the other way around, the me from now would tell the me from ’88 to not be so outspoken when it comes to my opinions on cheesy music. The 90% will always want lowest common denominator worm fodder for music and who am I to tell them what they should like.

I may have not been quite such a scary or intimidating character back then had I not been such an opinionated wanker.

[Thanks to Richard for this week’s interview. Kudos to Leroy Skibone for the YouTube upload. Postcards from 88 continues next week. Check out the other interviews in the series by clicking here]

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