Trevor Fung invented Ibiza
The Ibiza origin story, made legend by Paul Oakenfold, sees Oakey, along with fellow London DJ/promoters Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker, discovering the sacred open-air dancefloor of Amnesia, with its uniquely cosmopolitan crowd, its genre-busting DJ Alfredo Fiorito, and its ‘ecstatic’ drug habits in the glorious summer of ’87. The quartet sampled the musical and pharmaceutical delights on offer, danced their socks off, and vowed to recreate this hedonistic sunshine vibe in London as soon as they could. And so was written the foundation chapter of acid house.
Less has been written about the hand that guided these Balearic explorers. The figure who introduced them to the music of Alfredo, the wonderfully mixed crowd of Amnesia – and the dancefloor emotions in a little white and orange capsule – was Trevor Fung, a young DJ and promoter who’d been playing and promoting on the British jazz-funk scene, and had been coming to the White Island since 1979. Trevor had even DJed at Amnesia as early as 1982. By ’87, he and his cousin Ian St Paul were running a little bar on the island called The Project Club, selling tickets and T-shirts for all the big clubs. As a DJ, Trevor Fung became a mainstay of acid house, playing at Shoom, Spectrum, Love, Rage, as well as at many of the M25 raves, including Sunrise, Energy, Biology and World Dance. In this wide-ranging and often hilarious interview he talks about the earlier DJs who influenced Alfredo, throws in a few wild tales of DJing at raves, and sets the story straight about the acid house creation myth.
Interviewed by Bill and Frank in Soho, 3.2.05
How did you get started as a DJ?
I’d met Steve Walsh who was doing his big Monday Soul Night Out with Tony Blackburn. I started playing in Slough as his warm-up disc jockey. And later the Lyceum, that was one of the main ones.
What was the thing in Slough?
It wasn’t a club; it was like a big hall. I’d been up there quite a few times. But a massive punch up broke out! We’d go up there, three coach loads from London and then one day this massive fight broke out with people throwing bottles. I ducked behind the DJ stand. Don’t know what they was fighting about, it was like this Slough – south London thing. We got on the coach, they smashed up the coach. Put all the windows through.
That’s how I met Paul Oakenfold. I was going to Slough, on the coach, and he sat next to us and started talking. He’d come to all these gigs before. I was probably 1 at the time. We used to do loads of things, Hammersmith Palais, was it LBC or one of those things that did the promotion.
What was he doing then?
He was a chef. He’d never played music in his life! He came up, quiet guy, started talking to him and it went from there. He was always asking me these questions. What’s this? Where do you get the records from? How’s this? He didn’t know fuck all about the music, but he wanted to know. I didn’t know he wanted to get in the business, all I knew was that he was a chef and he used to come to all these gigs. I started doing these spots at a place in Dartford
Yeah. I started getting some guest work up there with Colin Hudd, Jeff Young, Pete Tong stuff like that. I started getting involved in the soulboy thing. I was going up to Hilltop, going up to Dartford, Lacy Lady. Oakenfold used to drive us up these places, we used to make him! And in the worst car I’ve ever seen in my life. It was his dad’s, a brown Austin Maxi. Quick get out, don’t let anyone see us!
This was when the ‘Soul Mafia’ had things sewn up.
There was a core of people and to get in there you had to break that core. I was going to things like Caister and I wanted to get on to gigs like these, but there was no way. I couldn’t get in because of the usual suspects, Chris Hill. It got really stale. Same old music. You know, I could play those old things as well, but in the parties we did, I always put forward new music. Always.
We used to put on these gigs in Scamps in Croydon once a month on a Wednesday, and we used to book everyone: Hilly, Robbie Vincent, Jeff Young, Pete Tong. Also some other guys who used to work with us on the gigs, a guy called Tony Thorpe…
Of the Moody Boys [production and remix team]?
Yeah, and a guy called Mick McGuire. He’s a guy that used to work for Greyhound distribution, he worked at a record shop in Croydon and he now works in Japan playing techno! So by booking them, they started to return the favour. That’s how it works! Isn’t it? And I was telling Paul all of this!
Was he DJing by now?
No. But we used to go round his house and play records. One day we said shall we do something? Started doing some little bars and parties. From there we found this little gay club in Streatham. Didn’t even know it was there, lived there for a good seven years before I found this place. It’s underneath a pub, great little place, holds about 350, dark, really dingy, with a stage. It was like a gay cabaret place. Met the guy; asked him for every Friday. He said yeah. It was called Ziggy’s at the time, terrible name. But we just didn’t think of a name so we went with that.
So you called it Ziggy’s too?
Yeah! And we started putting on our nights every Friday. Packed solid. Me and Paul and we had a warm-up guy called Carl Cox. We had that place for seven years, from about 81-89. We changed the name twice, it went from Ziggy’s to the Funhouse to Project. Same place.
By that time, I’d started travelling, I’d gone out to Ibiza in 1980 and ’81. I went out there every year, consistently from 1979 to 1994. So there was lots of different kinds of music, soul, jazz booking people like Tongy, but then as Funhouse we were trying to play different types of music.
The Project Club we were slowly bringing in hip-hop. Paul, at the time – fucking hell he done this fast – he’d started working for Def Jam. He’d get acts over to the UK, bring them on to Westwood’s show and afterwards he’d come down to see us. We had loads of people down there. Marshall Jefferson, Darryl Pandy, Run DMC, Beastie Boys. We’d shut at 2 o’clock, get everybody out and down a little side alley. Then half an hour later, we used to re-open and go on till 5 or 6 in the morning. No one troubled us. Police didn’t know. Alcohol, the lot. This went on for years. Some nights we wouldn’t even work, and Carl’d play for about five hours. Carl used to love it; he couldn’t get enough of it. He used to come up from Brighton, set up the sound system, take it down and go home. I swear, we only gave him about 30 quid, then it went up to about £50. I remember doing an interview once a long time ago and they said who do you think is your up-and-coming DJ and I always said Carl Cox.
What took you to Ibiza the first time?
I was working in the travel business; I got a free holiday with… Club 18-30! So I go over there on a Club 18-30 holiday and I had the wildest time. Loved it. I loved it because it was the first time I’d been down to the Café Del Mar. First time I’d been to some of these clubs.
What was Café del Mar like in 1979?
It was just a little bar. It wasn’t done up. There was hardly anything around it then, it’s not like it is now. It was the only bar there. There were no flats. So everybody would just sit there at sunset and listen to the music, including the locals.
Before Alfredo, the big DJ on the island was this guy called Carlos Diaz. Brilliant disc jockey. He used to play all the indie stuff. At the time, I thought where the fuck did he get all this stuff? I used to look through his records going ‘where did you get this from?’ And then I looked at the labels and it was all English stuff. It was from Leeds and places like that. It was way he played it. He had a really good style. He was the first disc jockey who really changed my views.
Where did he play?
Es Paradis in San Antonio. Es Paradis, at the time, was amazing. Nothing like it is now. San Antonio was not like that at the time. Nothing. Es Paradis was one of the biggest clubs. There was Es Paradis, Pacha and Glory’s.
Describe Es Paradis.
Not as built up as it is now, it just used to have that centrepiece. You’d go in there and it was mainly Scandinavian holidaymakers, Swedish, Danish. Then Germans. The English market was small then, maybe 10-15%, maybe even less. There were more English workers than holidaymakers. It was mainly Scandis. That’s why he used to play this kind of music.
What was the capacity?
About 1500. It was all outside and inside. There was only the centrepiece fountain that was covered. In those days, they used to put these fountains on every night. You walk into this place and all you see is fucking gorgeous women, and it’s not full of Spanish guys, because they were all working.
So you’ve got Carlos playing all these different kinds of music, things like Jellybean mixes, a bit of Madonna, a real mish-mash. A lot of American pop stuff remixed by Benitez. It just seemed and sounded different, probably because of the atmosphere. It was electric. I wasn’t even doing drugs. I didn’t even know what drugs was, at that time.
Did it look like people were doing drugs there?
Well, when I think about it now… Yeah! It was wild. I loved it in there. It was a combination of the people, the music and the atmosphere. Everyone was dancing all over the place, it was like a coliseum, so everyone danced on the steps and at the end of the night they put on the fountains, which came out of the middle so everyone in the centre got absolutely soaked.
How did you meet Carlos?
I met him just going up and talking to him. I used go and pick up some sounds in the UK and take them to him.
So were you going over for two weeks at a time?
No I’d go for like five days. I’d got for weekends. Any time I could get out I’d go.
So you went more than once a year?
Oh yeah, I’d be going out there three or four times a year. I used to get flights for £15. I was earning quite a lot of money at the time cos I was working during the day and at night. Sometimes I wouldn’t go at the weekend, I’d go out Tuesday and come back Friday. Didn’t make any difference to me. Every night was a weekend out there anyway. Couldn’t tell whether it was Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Actually weekends were the worst because everyone would change over. During the week everyone settled down.
Tell us more about Carlos Diaz.
Carlos is one of the best Ibizan disc jockeys ever. Without doubt. This is where Alfredo got it from, this style of playing.
What was it about these guys that grabbed you?
Well a lot of these guys who lived on the mainland would go to Barcelona and Madrid so they’d be working in their clubs. It was a different concept. Pacha was unbelievable. Even though I’d be going to Ibiza, I hadn’t been to Pacha until my third or fourth year in. I’d never even touched that because I thought why do I need to go all that way when I’m having such fun here! [meaning Es Paradis] I was quite young as well then and it was a lot older at Pacha, so I think the music, because they’d spent the summer working in these other venues, they’d got better shops and they’d got time to prepare and know the music. Because they were working with different nationalities they had to do it in a way where they please everybody.
So in a way, the dancefloor’s cosmopolitanism shaped the music?
Exactly. But I liked that, I really did enjoy that.
And you tried to recreate that vibe in the UK?
There was a big difference between doing that abroad and doing that in England. This is what the Funhouse was about. We set it up in ’84 [in Streatham] trying to do this. It just failed miserably. A lot of the people hadn’t been to Ibiza so they didn’t get the experience of it without going to Ibiza.
It was a bit like that club that Rusty Egan and Steve Strange did… they had a club in Lyceum that failed, the one with the TVs and that. Steve tried it and that didn’t work either. I knew Steve; he used to come down, and Rusty.
Did you inject any other things like décor to try and get it to work?
I was trying to, but people were just like ‘what the fuck are you doing?!’
How early did you see the rich, jet set party side of things on Ibiza?
Later, much later.
Were you aware that it existed?
I wasn’t clueless… but I didn’t need it. I knew it was there, but I knew it was expensive.
Was Pacha were they hung out?
There was Pacha, there was Glory’s. Glory’s used to be in between Amnesia and the end of that road, before the roundabout. I think it’s a car showroom now. That used to be the after-hours club where everybody would go down from all the other places. That’s where you used to see the people mashed in there. They were the two best clubs, and Es Paradis, too.
When did you first go to Pacha?
’83. I’d decided that the music was going really well in the club. Jacked my job in and wanted to go and stay in Ibiza. Went over in April with my cousin Ian Paul, stayed there and came back in November. I met loads of people.
Ian St Paul?
Dunno why he put the St in there for! I was supposed to go with Ian but he bottled out the day before. I thought, fuck that I’m not hanging round for no one. At the time, there was loads of rare groove and I was bored of it and wanted to do something different. Met up with Carlos, and he started giving me little jobs in bars. I was working in a place called the If Bar. I’d do some nights at the Star Club. Met loads of Spanish people. Just little jobs here and there.
Did you speak Spanish?
No not really. I met a guy called Sid from Liverpool in 1979; met a good bunch of English people who had bars. I was doing loads of stuff with them. Just hung out for the summer. I used to fly back to London every month, go and see me good old pals like Johnny Walker, Mike Sefton, pick up loads of tunes and then I’d sort all the DJs out in the island. The two little guys at Pacha, can’t remember the names, but I’ve got all that stuff at home. I used to sort them all out. Ten copies of one record.
Must’ve been good for your standing among the other DJs
Of course. I never used to give it to them; I used to charge them, then whatever’s was left I took down the local record shop.
Were you hustling for gigs out there?
No not really. No! The reason why I went that year to Ibiza was because I worked for a guy at a place called Fred & Ginger’s at Old Burlington St opposite Legends. Two Belgian guys, it was. They bought a club; I went to play in Amnesia. I played in there. There was no one in there. No one. Dead. I played there for about two weeks. It had just been bought and they’d just got it going. Didn’t happen. Lost my job. So I went back to England did temping and went back the following season.
What was Pacha like the first time you went there?
It was unbelievable. It was richer, much older people. Really glamorous, all models, mainly. You could tell that people were just flying in for the weekend and then flying out again on Monday. Drinks were really expensive. I was really young then, I didn’t have money to enjoy myself. I was just dancing, hanging round the DJ booth.
How was the music compared to Es Paradis?
Completely different. Nothing like Es Paradis. It was pure dance music. Quite forward. What I’ll always remember about Pacha before it started to change, a lot of it was quite tribally, a lot of drum music. A lot of tribal music.
Stuff like George Kranz?
Yeah, like that. In the old days, the girls that used to dance with the guys, there’d be about seven of them and they’d all be dressed up to the nines. I’d be there with my eyes hanging out!
And the DJ were these two little guys?
Yeah, two guys from Madrid. There was another one that joined them from Barcelona.
I used to go to Ku as well. That used to be amazing in the early days. Before it had the roof on it. A lot of the clubs were amazing before the roofs went on in 1990. Ku was like a mixture of the two, but much wilder. It was like a massive playground. It was completely wild. People jumping in the pool, doing anything, anywhere, anytime. There weren’t any restrictions. Completely different type of people, though, which is why I think the behaviour, was different. It wasn’t aggressive. It was all fun. It used to amaze me that in Ku there’d be 5,000 people, in Es Paradis there’d be 1,500 people and in Pacha you’d have a couple of thousand but, fuck me, you’d never see anyone during the day. Where did they all come from?! You’d turn up at Ku and the car park would be packed solid, the club would be packed solid. It was brilliant. I’ve seen Roxy Music playing there. James Brown. Visage.
After that year, I came back, that’s when I started to do the Funhouse, which we did around London. Still doing the Friday night, with more hip hoppy stuff. When I got back everything started to come together, started playing at Caister. All of a sudden you come back refreshed and it’s happening. I was doing a lot of things with Nicky Holloway.
What was your first experience of ecstasy?
So you’d been going quite a while before you realised?
Well, this is a funny story. I used to play carrom, this game where you knock pieces into the corners. I used to go and play it with this German guy Walter. Really friendly guy. Knew him really well. Knew him for years. Used to go and see him all the time. People’d come and see him, he’d say, ‘Be back in a minute’, ‘Yeah, alright’. One day in ’86 he says, ‘Hey Trev, do you want some of these?’ Looked at it and he had this little tiny tub. I said, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘ecstasy’. Gave me a couple and said, ‘here, try it…’ Well, that was it!
So you did them at his house?
No I was out, I went out with Ian. Cos Ian came out with me the following year, in ’84. But that same guy, he went on to buy a big club on the island.
What did you do the first night you did ecstasy?
I was working! At the end of the night we done this thing, we’d finish at 3 and go to Es Paradis. He said, ‘Only take a half, don’t do it all at once’. Eugh, disgusting this powder. Done it. From when I walked from the bar to the club I started chucking up. My body didn’t know what it was and I’d been drinking loads. Then… I started to feel alright. Ooh, this is great. Ian has a different resistance to drugs than me, and he swallowed the whole lot. He was off!
It was a powder, then?
Never forget it: it was an orange and white capsule. I saw loads of them after that! To tell you the truth, the first one was a bit hazy, but the next one was better. That was late in ’86 and I’d only been there for the weekend.
When you’d done it did you realise, retrospectively, what had been going on in these clubs?
Definitely. Of course. Everything came into the picture. I remember when I went to the Paradise Garage in New York. I was only 17 at the time. Me, Oakey and Paul. We was in there at 1 o’clock. Where is everyone? Three o’clock. Where is everyone?! Went to buy a drink: ‘No, we don’t serve alcohol’. What the fuck’s going in this place. Hung around a bit more and everyone started piling in and then everything just went BANG!. And then it clicked: they’re all on drugs, the whole bloody lot of ‘em! Fucking mad. It’s that gay scene.
And in Ibiza?
It was mainly gay. Mainly.
Where you aware of that straight away?
Oh yeah. I’d worked with people like Steve Strange, you don’t miss much.
You said you met Alfredo through Carlos…
I met Alfredo when I was selling Carlos records. He used to look up to him. But then everybody did. He was the disc jockey. And I could see where Alfredo got that from, I could see where that influence came from.
So Carlos was the granddaddy of that style?
Oh yeah. Carlos left in ’85 he went to work at a place called Tito’s Palace in Majorca. He was there for about three years, and then he left and I lost touch with him. I’d love to find him. I’ve got some friends who live in Majorca who used to see him and they don’t see him no more. I tell you what: top disc jockey. He was the one.
Better than Alfredo?
Well, Alfredo didn’t come on to the scene until ’87, really.
Was Alfredo copying Carlos’ style?
No. He was bringing his own style to it. But that’s where he got the influence from. This is what I like about Alfredo. I used to get a lot of my stuff from Jazzy M in Croydon. In ’87 I went over to Ibiza to work again. I thought right, if I’m going to go over to Spain I need to do something or have something. So we rented a tiny bar in San An. Me and my cousin Ian. It was really hard because you have to have people from Spain involved and special permits.
What about gangsters?
I think there was that stuff, but you’re talking about bigger clubs. With Ku that was definitely some kind of… money. Es Paradis was privately owned and Pacha was. But Ku, definitely. I know that for a fact. I used to know people who used to go there and buy coke over the bar with a credit card. God’s honest truth. And the card was bent! The thing is they knew it was bent, too, but they knew the banks would pay it out. The guy would come round and say meet me in the toilet I’ll sort you out. Everyone on the way back to England would pop into Ku Club, get a couple of T-shirts and fuck off back to England. It was the norm, everyone knew it!
Anyway, your bar…
We rented this bar and called it The Project Club. We changed the name of the club in Streatham to the same, at the same time. The Project Club in San An was already a club downstairs, but we rented the upstairs bar. We set up the sound system. We were just playing music and selling drinks. We used to be packed every single night. Not just packed in the bar, it was packed in the street, too. We’d be meeting people in the clubs, we started selling their T-shirts: Ku, Pacha etc; started selling tickets. So people’d come to us.
Were you the only Brits doing this?
No there was loads. There was a community there. That was a good thing.
Was it still mainly non-Brits.
It had started to change. More and more workers from England. In ’87 about 30-40 percent Brits, but a lot of working Brits there. I was doing the music, Ian was serving the drinks. I was playing all the Chicago stuff mixed in with Prince cos that Sign O The Times album had just come out. But it wasn’t to do with the music in that bar, it was to do with the people. And in the crowd, there was Nancy Noise, a young worker, Lisa Loud. Loads of people used to come over and see us. We had a brilliant time. It was a fantastic summer. That was when Amnesia started to kick in. The music from amnesia is imprinted in my head. It’s like know Alfredo’s set from start to finish. I know it. I know what he’s going to play after this song, I know what he’s going to play after that one. I’ve got a few of his tapes from this period. I could copy them. I know it off by heart. He done the same thing, but it worked. Even though he knew what he was playing, it was brilliant.
What was it he did that was different to Carlos?
I think he was a lot more dancey. The house thing was completely different. When you hear something like Frankie Knuckles’ ‘Your Love’. Fucking hell, just the beginning bit, everyone on E. God almighty, everyone use to go mad to that record. It was a mixture of things; being out there; listening the music. And, you’ve gotta remember that a lot of the people out there was working people. I think Ibiza mainly started with the working people.
Amnesia finished quite late didn’t it?
Yeah. We used to finish at three or four o’clock by the time we’d get out it would be four and we’d go down there. It used to go on till 12. That was when the modern Ibiza started, the old Ibiza, which I knew but not a lot did. That’s when it first started hitting the British scene.
Reflecting upon it now, what’s happened subsequently, do you think we ruined it?
Not necessarily. I don’t think it’s the Brit’s fault, I think it’s the Spanish fault for being too greedy. I don’t think you blame the English, they’re gonna want that experience. I think what’s really fucked it up is it’s too damn expensive.
But didn’t they do that intentionally, though to try and cull numbers?
They knew people would take it.
So it’s a double edged sword for you, really, because ’87 kicked it off, but also killed it, too?
Yeah, it is sad in a way. 1994 was the first year I’d not been. I’ve seen it slowly change. In a way, I was part of making that happen, though!
How did the fabled quartet end up coming over then?
What happened was, it was someone’s birthday, not sure whose, I think it was Paul’s Paul had come over earlier in the season, but he didn’t like it and went back. Anyway, he rang us up again and said he wanted to come out and he wanted to bring Nicky, Johnny, Danny. We found them a place to stay. I said, ‘you’ve gotta come over and see the place, it’s going mental!’
Had you told them about Es?
Not to Danny or the others but to Paul.
Were you going back to England at all?
Yeah, backwards and forwards all the time.
So you’d had a chance to see the whole combination working in Ibiza, of house music and drugs?
Down in London there was only a few places playing it, Eddie Richards, Colin Faver and Mark Moore. And Jazzy M was selling it. But over there, yeah, it was kicking off. When they came over, I took them to the bar. And they were like fucking hell, can’t believe this, which I think was more to do with the staleness in the scene at the time. Then we went to Amnesia. Fucking hell! We was all off on there. Danny Rampling skipping round the room and jumping speakers. Chaos. Wish I had pictures, they’d be worth something now.
What was Nicky doing?
I don’t remember seeing Nicky much that night, but Johnny… Johnny was sitting in a speaker. Danny was jumping up and down. Paul was like ‘I can’t fucking believe this, it’s changed since I’ve last been here!’
And you said, ‘Do you wanna try one of these?’
Oh yeah, I’d give them all one at the bar. I didn’t want to say too much, I just said, ‘Try this, it don’t do too much to you’ [laughter]. That was it. Came back and started to do things with Paul.
When you came back didn’t you try and replicate the Ibiza vibe in Streatham?
We was doing that. But it wasn’t the same type of vibe. It was the music. It was okay, but a lot of our crowd there was still out in Ibiza.
So it was starting to work?
Yeah. But it was different still.
How or when did someone bring Es into the UK for the first time?
Straight away. Not from Ibiza, from Holland. I know someone who supplied.
How long did it take you to get something together?
Not long at all. At the time I used to go and see Colin Faver, he was playing at Delirium on a Thursday at Heaven and they were thinking of stopping. They offered us next door, Soundshaft. Spectrum started after Christmas.
How involved were you in Spectrum or was it Paul’s baby?
Nothing to do with Paul. It was Ian St Paul’s club. Ian ran Future as well. Paul was only doing the music side of it.
Where were you?
I was doing music.
Is it true you brought Alfredo over to the Project Club?
How did that go?
It went really well, but it was small, very small. We did it a few times. It wasn’t the same atmosphere as, say, Spectrum or Future. It was more local.
What was the night where there was a decent supply of Es in a club in London?
We’d tried to get in this club and it had fallen through. And we all went up to Babylon something [Thursday night, vague memory on this]. Anyway this guy had a load of Es lined up. But we didn’t have no party lined up so we had to go to someone else’s. It was quite funny seeing these kids like this… I thought, I don’t think London’s ever seen this before! All the gays in the club going, what the fuck?! Heaven was the ideal place for us to start Spectrum and Future, because it was a gay club. We’d mustered up about 250 people from the summer, said we was gonna put on a party, but then it fell through. So instead of putting it off we went to Babylon wotsit. Brilliant night. Everyone dancing funny. What does this look like: fucking hell. The club owner, Paul Churchill, came to us, and we said we wanna do something straight away and the next week we was doing Future. So Thursday became Future and Monday was Spectrum. I worked with Kevin Millins at Rage which opened at the same time.
The story Oakey tells is it wasn’t that good for the first few weeks.
No it wasn’t. It was slow, but then a month later you couldn’t get in there. We had kids coming from everywhere.
How did they find about it?
Word of mouth. You see, all the [Ibiza] workers, they’d come from everywhere: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds. They’d get people together and they’d come down. At the time we had a lot of northerners. They weren’t all London kids. It grew from a core of about 200 and expanded from there.
Danny said you gave the name for Shoom.
Yeah. There was a friend of mine from Wolverhampton who always used to say it and I picked it up from him.
What was the difference between Shoom and Spectrum?
Smaller and more select. You know Heaven, just trying to get 1500 people through that door on a Monday, you can’t afford to pick and choose. I did like Shoom. I did the first ever one there. That bloody smoke machine! Then Nicky did The Trip and he really took it to the masses then. Saturday night.
Was it easy to find those Balearic tunes?
Well there was a couple of Spanish things that were hard to find, but I got hold of them. There was another James Brown sounding thing Enzo something. That was really hard to find. That’s when Pete Tong came up and asked me to do the Balearic Beats album.
Do you think Alfredo’s something of a forgotten figure in dance music, given what a massive influence he’s had on UK club culture.
I think he is, but it was the Brits that made it happen.
Yes, but Paul Oakenfold lives in a $2.5 mansion in LA and Alfredo is living in obscurity. It’s about context.
No I agree with you. Most people like him never are remembered. To tell you the truth, I thought I was the catalyst for a lot of this stuff. The to-ing and fro-ing and so on. Keeping it going, trying to make it work.
Looking back, what would you describe as the thing you brought?
Well, the reason I went out there in the first place was because I thought it was too stuffy here, the clubs, the people, the music. With Ibiza, it’s changed people’s ideas of clubbing, to certain extremes, admittedly, but it’s changed the way you go out and the way you enjoy yourself.
So what’s the bad thing?
Too many drugs. Out of control. Drugs are for enjoying yourself at the club. It was mad back then, though, I was doing Energy, Sunrise all of those. I was doing five gigs on a Friday, six on a Saturday. I remember going home to see my mum and she said, ‘Trev, you don’t do any of these drugs and play music to these crazed people do you?’ ‘No, come on mum, don’t be so stupid’. Anyway, at that same time there was a news flash and they were talking about acid house and they scanned in on the disc jockey and I’m standing there DJing!
Did she see you?
Course she did!
Did you feel a little bit proud to see all of this happening?
I didn’t really look at it like that, but I was glad to see it there. It was a shame to see Ibiza go the way it did, but then I liked Ibiza the way it was… mixed feelings. I go two or three times to Ibiza each year and I play with Paul at closing party at Pacha which I’ve been doing for the last four years. I do my deep house thing and then he does his trance thing.
What was it like doing those outdoor parties?
What were the more memorable ones?
Sunrise in Oxfordshire. Brilliant. 20,000 people. I’d done about four gigs that night and I got down there and I was coming on at 7.30 in the morning. I remember standing there, with three juggernauts, two with speakers either side of the one in the middle with mixing desks and decks. I went all the way round and I remember that feeling of putting on the first record. I stopped all the music. I put on Kariya’s ‘Let Me Love For Tonight’. You’d think people would be dying at that time in the morning, but everyone just went mental. Brilliant moment. I know how rock stars feel now. Carl Cox was on acid at that thing. I never even realised he did drugs. He was falling all over the place! ‘Carl do you do drugs?!’ Oh my God! There were some bad times, too. When all the gangsters and the serious drugs came into it, it killed it.
There must have been gangsters in it before.
Yeah, but on a different level, though.
How quickly did that creep in?
Didn’t take long. Certain ones were plainly set up with that in mind.
Is it true that some of the ICF were out in Ibiza in the first place, so they were on it in the first place?
Yeah. They were well on it.
Were they fairly benign?
Yeah. I remember I was doing Energy in West London, I think it was, and I’m walking in and there are people going ‘Es, Es, do you want Es?’. Fuck that, it ain’t nice. It’s always gonna happen. I used to get gigs, and there’d be plastic bags full of money on the floor and they’d go: ‘just go and help yourself’. Seriously! Then there’d be other times, and I’d go, ‘Look I need to get off, I’ve got another gig. Just to pick up my money.’ And there’d be a big bouncer there, and he’d pull his jacket aside to show me his gun. And I’d go, ‘Just tell him I need the money, alright?’ That was at Linford Studios. There was this other one I did in Ripon, north of Leeds, big outdoor thing, and I had to do another one in Hull afterwards. I stuck a record on and the promoter came up to me and said, ‘Listen everyone’s turned him down, but we need to put this act on now’ I said, ‘Who is it?’ ‘It’s Orville and Keith Harris’. So I played two records, went to the office collected £700 and drove over to Hull for the next gig!
© Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton