Light heartedly fusing the groove of Chicago with the hard hitting club sounds of Detroit, Mark Moore put his own distinctly British slant onto dance music.
As his ‘Theme From S’Express’ puzzled the elders, it stormed the charts and into the minds of the youth soaking up the brave new world of dance music.
Mark tells Clash about how the London scene and its various players inevitably fused to galvanise the foreign influence – and make it very much a British party…
“There’s the famous saying that if you can remember the Sixties you weren’t really there. After acid house I have a problem remembering anything, let alone acid house and the Eighties.
Through the strawberry flavoured smoke machine of my foggy mind I remember a few flashes. It started off quite sane. I had done most of my experimenting of LSD, mushrooms and the like in my teens. By 1986 and ’87 I was merely a stoner. I played strange records from Detroit and Chicago at the Pyramid (in Heaven) and The Mud Club while Colin Favor – the first person I heard play a Chicago record – spun at both Pyramid and The Jungle. Next thing I know Paul Oakenfold (who would come to my nights armed with records from the promotion company he was working for) is telling me to come to his club The Future. Meanwhile Danny Rampling is asking me if he can have a copy of a record I had just made (“You know Mark – the one that goes “I’ve got the house for you!””), which hasn’t been pressed up yet but is being played by me at Pyramid off a cassette. He also asks if I’d like to spin at his club Shoom.
Now while Pyramid was largely gay, culturally mixed, pissed up and ever so trendy, Shoom and The Future were very white, suburban and under the influence of ecstasy. It was the first time since Taboo a few years back that I had seen the likes of such Bacchanalian ecstasy taking. This delightful riff-raff, who I gather had emerged from the ’80s soul scene, were devouring it in huge amounts after discovering it in Ibiza along with discovering Alfredo who was coming on all Balearic over there. I knew that this small scene was literally the future – they had the drugs and they had the nutters. They were the only places other than Pyramid, Mud, Jungle and Delirium that had embraced the house sound in London but with a whole new energy. The cool clubs in the West End of London were then dominated by hip-hop and rare groove and weren’t having any of it. In my first interview for the NME I said that London’s drug of choice was weed and if the drug changed the choice of music would change too. To the old school, house music was equated with fag music and until they popped their first pill they just plain didn’t get it. But boy-oh-boy, when that first pill exploded in their unsuspecting minds did they get it with a born-again vengeance.
So it’s all going along rather nicely, especially Shoom. The family of loved up regulars, those in the know, and their lucky friends grew larger through word of mouth. People start getting all mystical about it, bonding with anyone dancing next to them as their consciousness expands. The second summer of love is coming
Paul Oakenfold has the masterstroke of opening Spectrum on a Monday night at Heaven. The first night has about 200 people in a place that holds about 1500. By then I have had a hit record (you know… the life changing one that turned all those fifteen year old Smash Hits readers into drug addicts). I go off to Europe for a couple of weeks’ promotion. When I come back I go straight to Spectrum and find a queue going right round the block! The fuse is lit – only a matter of time until the explosion.
KABOOM! Nicky Holloway opens The Trip at The Astoria (the same place where the Watson brothers did Delirium playing house music behind wire mesh to protect themselves from bottles thrown by hip-hop kids). It’s huge and it’s on a Saturday night. The atmosphere is like the winning goal at cup final prolonged for the entire night. When it shuts, ravers dance in the fountains outside and wave their arms screaming “Acieed” when the police turn on their sirens. Suddenly there are a lot more black faces in what was previously a very white scene.
And still no mention of drugs in the press! The Sun is even offering a Smiley t-shirt to its readers! Then comes that fateful day that *name censored* did a warehouse party, Apocalypse Now, and invited News At Ten to film it. Jenny Rampling rallies the troops and insists that no one go or deejay there. I can’t resist and go anyway. “They just want to show what a fantastic atmosphere it is”, *name censored* naively insisted. The next night they broadcast monged out ravers trance dancing in a typical ‘this could be your daughter’ exposé. The Sun pull their t-shirts and brand acid house EVIL while running ‘Evil Acid Baron’ articles and more pictures of gurning ravers. Today newspaper prints a picture of me with ‘ACID HOUSE sex, drugs and music cult risk to our children’ under it even though I actually look quite cute and cuddly in the picture. The BBC ban any record with the word ‘ACID’ in it and come Xmas Top Of The Pops they censor the “Enjoy this trip” bit of my record.
All of this combined is the best advertisement for acid house and drug taking you could ever hope for. Overnight the nation of Great Britain changes. Tomorrow… the world.”
You can visit JUNOdownload.com to listen to and purchase a selection of the Acid House classics discussed in our retrospective.