Great article in FACT magazine featuring Terry Farley
“ALL YOU NEED IS A BASEMENT, A FLASHING LIGHT, AND SOME GOOD PILLS”: TERRY FARLEY ON THE HISTORY OF HOUSE
read the full article here
"He’s best known, though, for first being part of the motley crew that brought acid house and Balearic culture to London and its environs in 1987-8, founding the notorious Boys Own organisation with Andrew Weatherall, Cymon Eckel and Steve Mayes – and then for his years as prime representative of the intersection between British hooligan/casual culture and black American house music."
Through Junior Boys Own, Fire Island, Heller & Farley, Roach Motel, the Faith fanzine and parties, and several dozen other aliases and projects, he’s worked tirelessly to remind the international club scene of its roots – watching the rise and fall of superstar DJ culture, and never wavering even at the times when it looked like the original house sound’s time had past. So now, with house-as-such back at the top of clubland’s agenda, who could be better to a) remind a new generation once again where it all came from as he has with his sterling Acid Rain and forthcoming Acid Thunder box sets, and b) cast a wry eye over that new generation’s tastes and foibles?
A lot of people look down on the current generation of house ravers though…
… with their Joey Essex hair and Hauraches, yeah [laughs] But that’s how kids are isn’t it? It’s important to have your haircut and your special dance and your slang and the set of records that you all know and whatever. You’ve got to have your sense of belonging. Of course all the old bastards are laughing at them, but in reality within six months of acid house culture being in London we were turning our noses up at lilac Wallabies and dungarees and whatever else the next generation in the scene were wearing. This isn’t really any different.
When Oakenfold and Trevor Fung came back from Ibiza, it was really a ready made package too. If you played house in ’88, it was all the tracks from Chicago from the previous year, maybe ’86 too – there was a ready made record box you could pretty much get in one go. Same with Balearic: Oakenfold, Trevor Fung, Colin Hudd, Johnny Walker were basically playing Alfredo’s playlist from the year before – Finitribe, Woodentops, Code 61, Nitzer Ebb – but of course they covered up the labels so you wouldn’t know what they were. In fact, the first time I ever met Rocky [of Rocky & Diesel / Xpress 2] was in Rough Trade in Ladbroke Grove – I’d actually managed to wring a list of tracks out of Oakenfold and I was out hunting for them.
Of course, normally we were going to the shops that got all the US imports in, but these were weird industrial things and indie records, the sort of tracks that only John Peel would have. These would only be in places like Rough Trade, and in fact even they wouldn’t have sold any copies until suddenly this swarm of weird-looking people come in and grabbed them all. So I spotted this skinny kid bobbing about the record racks looking like some northern soul speedfreak, but with his hair in a little topknot.
But overall, it sounds like you reckon the climate is good for what you do…
It is. I really like the ones that are about 500 people or a bit less, good sound, the more mixed up crowd…I mean, who wants to go out dancing surrounded by people who are just like them? And it does feel like we’re into a period of good and bad – I mean, where that’s the category for choosing a record. I’ve always been really partisan, which is silly of course, because after that first burst of being inspired by Alfredo who was all about playing anything from anywhere as long as it sounds good, we all retreated into our own things – which for me and my lot was going to New York to go clubbing, looking down on anything that wasn’t vocal house and garage. But now I look back and see things I missed, like I’ve got into techno now – which I completely derided at the time, but now see for the really great music a lot of it is. And I can play anything, old or new, and the crowds will generally accept it, and that’s really good."