British house producers/DJs don't come more legendary than Terry Farley, acid house stalwart, original Junior Boys Own alum and one half of production duo Fire Island (not to mention many, many more). With the recent release of the exhaustive, 5 CD "Acid Rain" compilation on Harmless, I sent Terry some questions about acid, house music and the current UK club scene to twist his melon round:
This compilation is pretty exhaustive! How long did it take to put together, and was there any criteria (beyond "original acid and deep house") for the selection?
It's taken about 9 months from myself chucking lists of records across to the label, me asking Miles Simpson about any tracks he would like to see released that i missed, and then getting knocked back from just about every crazy American producer and label from the 80s and having to start all over again.
Was there anything you wanted on there that you weren't able to get?
Loads - i wanted a few DJ International tracks but they were in dispute with the publishers. We wanted some Gherkin tracks, especially Mondee Oliver, but we chased that cat all over Ohio via contacts in the States and still could not find the label owner. Then there was a couple of Dance Mania tracks but Ray Barney has started to repress Dance Mania so that was out ... Lil Louis wanted to keep all his shit for a film he's bringing out this year… Those Chicago guys are a nightmare.
Acid house had a huge impact on UK clubbing when it emerged in the 80s. Were you directly affected by this, and if so, how?
I got dragged along to Shoom by Gary Haisman, an old 70s dancing spar of mine (he made that D Mob "ACCCIIIED" track) and immediately I knew this concoction of music, dancing, drugs, clothes and attitude was going to change everything. People said 'Dont tell anyone about this' and 'Look keep it a secret '. Of course, exactly the opposite happened and we became disciples. Monday night at Spectrum went from 110 people on the first night to 2,500 inside and a thousand locked out within 6 weeks .
And how do you see the club scene in this country has changed in the 25 years since the original Summer Of Love? Do you think we could do with another Summer Of Love?
We could do with the ordinary punters realising that there role is just as important as the DJ. Kids in the main rock up in t-shirts and jeans, stand at face the DJ and shuffle about a bit. They need to realise THEY are the stars and the important ones not the girl or guy playing the music. I read once that Frankie Knuckles said the centre of the party should not be the dJ booth but the middle of the dancefoor, and I'm 100% behind that idea.
For myself as a DJ I always get pushed a little harder by a crowd who
look like they have made a effort, who know what there role is for the
night, who understand their importance. The times I've played at the
Dalston Superstore i felt this, it's a lovely pressure that makes a DJ
play better. You don't get people gawping towards the dj there as they
are to busy dancing and checking out how fabulous everyone looks.
Similarly "deep house" has come to mean something different now to what it did then. How do you personally define "deep house" and do you have any gripes with what passes for "deep house" in 2013?
Deep House is a form of African-American music that stirs your soul and makes you wanna close your eyes and raise your hands. The download sites realised that tech house was on its arse so rebranded tech house as Deep House and most people it seems fell for that shit. The Deep House template to me is Ten City 'Love Will Find A Way'. Anything that matches up to that gets my vote and my attention and my dollars.
What do you think of the modern music coming out of the black/gay undergrounds in the States, stuff like footwork/juke and ballroom/Jersey Club?
Mike Q and all those guys? I think its something I would need to experience personally rather than by a YouTube clip to fully appreciate. I admire the dancing and walking styles but the music itself seems a bit crazy for a old timer like myself.
Do you think house music will ever again be a global movement/force like it was in the 80s and 90s?
I think it is… think of DJ's like Jamie Jones, Villalobos, Troxler - they are playing to big crowds on every continent and kids are suddenly getting back in House music , even my show tune lovin 17 year old has started to appreciate the values of a good Moog baseline!
The comp is strictlly US-focussed, but what are your 3 favourite acid house productions form the UK, and why?
PAUL RUTHERFORD - GET REAL
When Paul showed up at Shoom everyone was in awe of him being such a major face but he quickly became everyones friend and very much part of the family . Its such a amazing record that twists and turn emotionally as well as being a straight up jacker.
JOLLY ROGER - ACID MAN
One record you heard at every warehouse, every club or every party. Intense track that always worked best with strawberry flavoured smoke.
BANG THE PARTY - RELEASE THE ACID
My all time fave UK House record is the A side to this 'Release Your Body '. Produced by Kid Batchelor and his confusion Crew, they were House musics version of Soul 2 soul.
What do you think it is about the acid sound that is still so appealing?
It's druggy, intense, it evokes memories of memorable nights and long lost friends… And it's also a bit scary.
Name one acid record you really HATE and why?
Oh there are far to many, in fact I'd say I actually only love about 5% of all the Acid records ever made simply because to get it right is quite a hard task. You need the actual machine itself not some lame plug in, and the bassline you programme needs to be perfect.
Everyone thinks they can do an Acid track easily, that's why there have been so many made and most of 'em tragic. But when it's done correctly you get an 'Acid Over ' or an 'Acid Life' and then it all makes sense again.