Alfredo Fiorito, dubbed the “father of the Balearic beat”, paved the way for superstar DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling, Trevor Fung and Johnny Walker with his unique blend of Chicago house, soul, funk, indie and Euro-pop throughout the 1980s.
Thanks to Alfredo, dance music became the global phenomenon that it is today, inspiring DJs the world over with his eclectic style and his Balearic twist on the White Island, otherwise known as Ibiza. He was also indirectly responsible for the explosion of acid house in the UK in the late ’80s after Rampling and Holloway cribbed his sound and unleashed it on the masses in their own acid house clubs. Here, in his own words, is how it all began…
“When I first moved to Ibiza it was blessed with a fantastic atmosphere. There was no TV, no video, no mobile phones, no internet, it was very cheap to live and it felt very free. At the time I was working in this bar down Ibiza Port called Bebop. One of my friends had to go to Goa one night and he asked me to play in his bar while he was away. I’d been into music all my life but I’d never had the chance to play any records. But there were all these jazz, soul and funk records behind the bar so I just picked them up and started playing them. It was a fantastic feeling that first time back in ’82. As soon as I got on the turntables I thought, “Wow this is the dream of my life”, and as I played each record, I just thought, “Wow the music is coming”.
From there I carried on DJing for about two years in different bars before I started playing in Amnesia. It was funny because when I first started DJing in that club, there was nobody there. In fact for a whole summer, not a single person came in. It was the least successful club on the island but I liked it because it was the most alternative. Then one night we were waiting to get paid and my work colleagues just asked me to carry on playing for them after the club had finished. Some people came down from the Ku club as it was known then, heard my music and ended up staying for the rest of the night. The next day there was 300 people there, the day after 500 and four days after there was 1,000 people in the club. It felt like a miracle because within a week it had all turned around just like that.
During that period I played a very eclectic set because everybody was quite cosmopolitan. I was playing different types of music including Italian disco, Bob Marley, Tears For Fears and some electronic music from Belgium. I ended up getting most of my records from Germany, Italy and Switzerland because I couldn’t get into the UK. The reason why was because I’d been travelling with an Argentinian passport and it wasn’t long after the Falklands war so I was unable to enter the country. Eventually I ended up turning to my friends in Italy, Germany and my son in Switzerland for help.
In 1987 DJs like Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Nick Holloway came over to Amnesia to listen to my music for the first time. All of them were very enthusiastic about my music but it had the biggest impact on Rampling and Holloway because they wanted me to play in England. The way I saw it, Amnesia had continued to grow in popularity but the people I worked for were also getting more demanding. I felt like I’d lost the freedom to play in some ways because before I could play what I wanted. Now the club was more specific about what they wanted. So I went to live in England for two or three winters between ’88-’90.
When I first came over the reaction to my music was massive and I was very proud because all these DJs had brought my sound to England and exploded the market. It was kind of a shock at the time because it had all started off on this tiny island and now it was beginning to spread across the world.
It was around this time that acid house started to come to the fore. Strangely some of the original records I’d purchased during this period had an acid vibe on them. I did some Pink Floyd remixes which had that vibe and one of the first acid tunes that broke at the time was one of their songs. But I never even realised the stuff I was playing had an acid melody. What was even more bizarre was the symbol for acid music. It was something I originally found in Italy that had nothing to do with music or acid house for that matter. But before I knew it acid house fans across the country started using the symbol as a sign for this acid house movement. After that as we all know acid house exploded in the UK . . . and the rest as they say is history.”
You can visit JUNOdownload.com to listen to and purchase a selection of the Acid House classics discussed in our retrospective.