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 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.

The penultimate ‘Postcards from 88’ in the series features a legendary female ragamuffin MC, whose Everything Starts With An E (under her MC Kinky guise) was one of the more controversial hits of the acid house era.

Still releasing top tunes to this day (her most recent release, alongside Frederick & Kusse, came out on Toolroom Records in August), and still shaking up the music industry, we are, of course, talking about Caron Geary, aka Feral is Kinky.
 

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

That was the first summer that I went to Ibiza with a large group of friends.

I’d written Everything Starts With An E in 1987 and I was performing at Amnesia, as well as having a holiday. I remember the night pretty well, Jose and Sandrine were running Amnesia, the roof was off, and there was so much open space, which was a new experience for London clubbers.

My track hadn’t yet charted and it took several releases and loads of shows at illegal raves before it hit the UK Charts at No. 15. It was still very much a boy’s game back then, as it is today.

There was a huge crowd from London at Amnesia that night, including ex-football blokes who had discovered E and MDMA and had joined the party.

I recognised some of them from where I grew up and remember getting on the mic and telling them to ‘fuck off and get out of the club’, which freaked them out a bit, because they were so loved up… ha!.

The summer of 88 was when ‘the normals’ came to join the international freak party and dance non-stop, leaving the trouble on the terraces behind. We were all still dancing, running around and hanging out by the small, mirrored pyramid well after sunrise. I think, somewhere, there are photos of us as we left the club.

We went exploring, walked around the town, went clubbing in other venues and to the beaches. It was a brilliant trip. I haven’t fallen out of love with Ibiza… I’m heading back there after this weekend.

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

I’d started DJing in the mid 80s, playing a multi-genre set, pre house music.

I had a residency at the members club Fred’s [in Soho], and before that I was playing alongside Rachel Auburn in places like the Tabernacle, near Portobello, and La Palace in Paris.

In the early 1980s I noticed a change in reggae and dancehall music, it became more electronic and digital, new sounds were being used and mixed up with analogue sounds.

Hip hop was being imported from the US and homegrown artists were beginning to emerge. Something called ‘dance’ music arrived, to challenge rock, pop, soul, disco and hi-NRG, and more and more clubs and nights opened with DJ playing these new sounds. This was global, but with a lot of tracks coming out of Europe, the UK, London, Liverpool and Manchester.

The dance music from the early 80s through to the mid 80s, morphed into acid house and house music, which in turn evolved into the massive scene it is now.
 

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

There were several tracks that were getting played in 88. Some of the ones that had a big impact were Strings of Life, Voodoo Ray and French Kiss; the latter for the genius ‘slow down/build up’ section that used to send everyone mental on the dancefloor.

There were a lot of tracks that really stood out then and had their own personalities. The scene was new, people were experimenting and there weren’t any rules in terms of production

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?

I’m sure everyone has their own reasons, but maybe one of them is that it was one of the first mass movements shaped by music since punk in the late 1970s that wasn’t retrospective and inclusive, if we exclude the Two Tone era in the UK.

People from different backgrounds partied with other types of people that they might not have ordinarily come into contact with socially. Racial and class divisions became blurred and the period was genuinely exciting and felt really fresh.

You wouldn’t know where the raves were going to be until the very last minute; even when you were performing. Once you arrived you were with thousands of people, who just like you, came to dance and hang out in the open in an environment that promoted unity and love.

It didn’t really matter that drugs were facilitating this phenomena to those involved, the effects were real.

The Tory government under Thatcher realised they were witnessing change – and a mass movement – and took huge measures to shut it right the way down.

There hasn’t been a scene with that level of unity since… maybe people are nostalgic for that feeling of unity and belonging, regardless of background or colour. If we were to treat the right wing with MDMA in controlled measures, Im sure they would see their ideologies are misplaced.

Maybe it’s time. 🙂
 

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

There is some advice I’d give myself now to relate to back then and it may sound contrary in relation to the tone of the interview!

It doesn’t relate to the music itself, more the music business, and how, as a young female in her early 20s, without an agent or management, I had to navigate my position.

My retrospective advice to myself would be to be way tougher with everyone and tell them all where to go… and be less cool and accommodating.

The advice would be try and be less concerned with controlling bullies like Boy George and his management when I signed to More Protein, and people like Maxine Stowe at Columbia Records.

Thankfully, I stood up against both of them and came out with something, and as most people in the business will tell you, a small percentage of something is always better than 100% of nothing.

If we had the insight retrospection affords us, we’d all be running the country and running it well.

Q. What are you up to these days?

I’m overseeing a new young artist/ producer/ writer DJ at the moment called City Kudu. The main advice I give him is to create, keep evolving, and hold on to his integrity. Personally, I’m not really into the old school scene, but occasionally perform Everything Starts With An E on special occasions…

The best advice I would give myself would be to keep doing what you love, and I have done just that.

[Thanks to Caron for this week’s interview, pictures taken from www.feraliskinky.com and Feral is Kinky’s Facebook page, photo by Zoe Campbell for Phaze Event. Kudos to Massive Ego for the YouTube upload. Postcards from 88 continues next week. Check out the other interviews in the series by clicking here]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: