Danny Rampling Interview
Danny Rampling: Dance Music Pioneer.
Danny Rampling helped to create the modern UK club scene. After traveling to Ibiza in 1987 with Paul Oakenfold and Nicky Holloway, Rampling became deeply influenced by the Balearic sound. Upon his return to London, he launched the club night Shoom, which helped kick start London’s house scene. Danny recently wrote in to discuss being trapped behind the decks by a German Shepard, the early days of clubbing in Ibiza and his perspective on the evolution of dance music.
How old were you when you began DJing?
I started collecting records at a very young age. My passion for music developed through being fascinated by listening to the family radio daily, wondering how the music was broadcast and where the presenters talked from.
You started off DJing hip-hop and funk. What are some of your favorite hip-hop and funk records?
“The Message,” Grandmaster Flash; probably the best rap record of all time. All the early Def Jam releases I found so exciting… LL Cool J, Beastie Boys. I loved much of the early Brit funk; Light Of The World, Hi Tension, Loose Ends, Imagination.
Do you remember the first dance record you bought?
I believe it was “Stoned Love” by the Supremes, Tamla Motown records.
What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions about the early days of UK club culture?
Early UK club culture we were having the time of our lives to care about what anyone thought of us. The mainstream press attempted to rubbish acid house and through sensationalist stories actually promoted it to a wider audience, who all wanted to come join the party. It sure was a party. The whole of UK experienced rave culture. Many said it wouldn’t last, here we are over 20 years later with a global scene of dance music lovers. Dance music continues to inspire as it promotes enjoying one’s life in a positive way and having much fun on the dancefloor.
What do you remember most about your first trip to Ibiza?
Ibiza instantly inspires creativity. My first trip, I became in love with the island its people, music, culture. Ibiza is the global hub of music. The early days on the island are very different to the modern day ibiza. The scene was much smaller word and mouth in a couple of clubs where only Spanish, Italian resident DJs provided the soundtrack. The island was much more basic where as now the island has developed into an international platform for the music The island now hosts an abundance of great restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, beach bars. It will always continue to inspire all who are open to the energy of the Island.
What is it about the Balearic sound that made you knew it would work well in the UK?
The Balearic sound was played by DJ Alfredo in an open air club, under the stars, where rock, pop, hip-hop, funk, indie, latin, blended together with house music at the time. This was so refreshing coming from London, where music wasn’t played with such an open minded approach.
How did Shoom first come together?
Shoom happened after the trip to Ibiza with Oaky and co in ’87, we were all so inspired by the whole experience. It gave me the direction after several years of struggling to make it as a DJ to return home and create my own. One night club, Shoom, which brought the magic of the open air Ibiza dancefloor to an all night club in a gym on the South side of the River Thames. Every saturday hundreds would come to party until 5am, which was late for London at the time. It truly was a unique experience that changed so many peoples lives through a magical new music called house.
How did you first meet Paul Oakenfold?
I first met Paul when he was Djing in South London where we all grew up. I was introduced to Paul when he was promoting records. Paul kindly added me to the company mailing list and we got to know each other. We recently DJ’d at Ministry Of Sound for the first time in many years. It was a rocking night!
What are some of your favorite clubs to play?
Aura, Ibiza, Ministry of Sound, London, Cro Bar, Buenos Aires.
Where would you like to play that you’ve never played before?
The moon !! and throughout the USA .
What has been your craziest moment behind the decks?
Being trapped behind the decks by a snarling huge german shepard dog at an early rave: frightening experience. Playing a beach bar in Thailand at sunrise as everyone danced in the surf: magical DJ moment .
What makes a great record stand out to you?
The crowd going wild to any production makes a record great. Often although, a great record sounds fresh for eternity.
How do you feel that the dance music scene has evolved over the years?
Dance music continues to evolve, in recent years the digital revolution has changed the industry in a highly productive way. Sadly, we’ve lost so many great record stores as music sales have moved online. Music is now instantly available anywhere in the world to a wider audience. Internet radio, digital DJ software all continue to drive the scene with progress.
Who are some of your favorite up-and-coming DJs and producers?
Matt Playford, Chris Roberts Paris, Aeroplane, Alex Wolfenden.
You are very passionate about helping the environment and sustainability. How did your project building carbon-reductive houses come together?
I am concerned that the world my son brings his children up into potentially could be damaged by our consumption of energy carbon emissions. Creating an Eco housing development is a creative project. Creativity is my core driver in life, which can be short. I aim to leave a long lasting legacy with my work carried out in this lifetime by using time productive daily.
How do you define success?
Success is measured by one’s daily actions. You achieve it by playing full out with passion, motivation, commitment. Once experienced, one likes to repeat the experience and build upon success. Success seldom comes without struggle, challenge, which makes it so enjoyable when it happens.
What do you feel is your place in dance music history?
Early pioneer of the UK dance music scene, UK Ambassador for house music.
For more info on Danny Rampling, check out http://www.dannyrampling.com/