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Exclusive Interview with Danny Rampling

"I'm back behind the decks with burning ambition and youthful energy"

Danny, how are you and the family?

Excellent thanks.

What are you up to right now?

My most recent project has been the release of my e-book Learn how to be a DJ, it's taken over 6 months to produce and covers everything from the basic stages through to the advanced of being a DJ, the psychology of being a DJ and there is whole section devoted to success. On the music side, we've covered everything including all the technology.....Traktor, Serato, Final Scratch, Ableton. It also has 25 years of my own experiences within the music business, coming through the school of hard knocks, so it really does give you a wealth of information. So yes, I'm really proud of having produced my first book.

If we rewind 3 years, you've announced you'll be retiring at the end of 05, you have a string of gigs especially an emotional one at Turnmills - playing into the early hours of the morning. Remind us why you decided to hang up the headphones?

3 years my mind was in a very different place and I needed a break from what I was doing, but I don't like that term "retirement", I never used it.

You never used it?

No, it was a press term, "retired" is ‘really tired', that's what it means. I got into a stage of my life where it felt like I was in a routine and that's not what DJing is about and I wanted to create some other opportunities for myself outside of DJing. I had a child and a lot changed in my life so I felt that I had to cut off the DJing, which was a difficult decision to make.

Really, on reflection all I needed was a sabbatical. I was planning to start a restaurant and I'm glad that didn't work out actually as now I have other businesses as a result of stepping down from DJing. I have spent a lot of time on personal development; attending business seminars and that has really improved all areas of my life over the last 3 years. It has empowered and developed a richer informed character and increased business opportunities. With two partners we are building 12 eco-friendly houses in East Sussex (one of my other businesses) and part of a new personal development business, Success University.

Tell us about then, what is Success University?

That's a business that offers empowering personal development information for $49 a month and also it's a referral marketing business, share it with people and you can create a business at very little cost, that is win win and can become very profitable. The website provides some of world's leading authorities on personal development and business.

Isn't it just a pyramid scheme though?


If you're not open to new ideas and change, then you'll never progress in the world. Pyramid schemes are a conventional system in which the people on the bottom do all the work and people at the top get rich. Success University is a referral marketing scheme, you tell your friends about it and get commission from it. That's win-win, not a scam. In the world we live in today, we're so conditioned by negative media bombardment and that's why people are sceptical and not open to change.

Most people are watching too much television and reading non-stop negative media reports about doom, gloom and credit crunch and people are living in fear. People are held back because they feed their mind the wrong information, if you feed your mind positive empowering information, on a daily basis then life improves in many areas.

On that basis, is that what changed for you to begin playing out again?

I'll tell you why I started playing out again. DJing is my core competence, that's what I absolutely love doing, I love music. After I stopped playing last time I didn't even listen to music for a year as was focused on opening a restaurant. The music is that deeply ingrained in my life and in my character.

Whilst I was attending a business course, with one of the world's leading business coaches Keith Cunningham, I was discussing my background with him and he said "what have you done? Why have you cut off something you absolutely love?". That really touched me, this man who had coached at the top of Corporate America was telling me to get back into it, he said "a tree should grow where it is planted and you are a mighty oak tree in your field of industry your roots are in music". I was deeply touched by Keith's wisdom. When I got home, after listening to some music, the phone rang with a gig offer and I took it.

So are you a full time DJ again?

That's right I'm back behind the decks with burning ambition and youthful energy and loving the music, there's an abundance of excellent music from all genres and much has changed in the scene in the space of 2 years.

How does it feel being back?

It's great! I'm filled with gratitude and blessed that I can come back and play to receptive audiences in the world of dance music. I've contributed to the world of dance music and I feel like that that's appreciated by many people across the world. I'm selecting places that I really want to play because there was a time when I was on the DJ jobbing circuit and it became tiring, so I'm being selective where I play and having an amazing time.

Last month, I also released a compilation with Cr2 records called 88-08, which is a collection of some original classics, undiscovered classics and updated remix versions.....so it isn't just about the same old classic hits that we know and have heard a thousand times.

So how would you describe your sound/style at the moment?

My sound is more electronic big room sound. I like to play all sorts of house music; house music that has energy and that has message, music that is uplifting, lifts the spirit. Dance music is a celebration of life and that's what I play, I play music to celebrate life.

The events of the summer 21 years here must be like a dream. What are your most vivid memories of Ibiza and Amnesia that summer in 87?

Being overcome with joy and excitement that this music was emerging and hearing house music in open air clubs under the stars. I'd never danced in an open club so it was a complete revelation. Of course it also gave me the opportunity to be a professional DJ. The scene didn't get going until 1988 in the UK.

We started Shoom in November 87 and Oakie started The Future about the same time and the scene really exploded in 88.

But my endearing memory is DJ Alfredo playing the most amazing music and us being greatly inspired to go out there and model what he was doing. I modelled myself on Alfredo's sound and style, it was the first time I'd heard a DJ play music that way with the mix of different styles which we termed Balearic beats.

From that whole period, there were many positive and negative tags attributed to you.....

Yes, "Godfather of Evil Acid House" *laughs*

.......but how does all that sit with you now? Is there any burden that goes with it?

I am very proud; we're going to leave a legacy. We changed our world, we didn't change the whole world, but it certainly changed the world of youth culture. It really really DID completely change the world of youth culture, and that was a marvellous experience for everybody who was part of it. It's still so strong today because it's positive music and it sends out a positive message. At the beginning, there was so much idealism behind the scene because the world was changing rapidly and this collective consciousness of positivity, love and unity came together and the world was our oyster.

I was reading an old interview recently, were you commented on maybe doing Glastonbury type events and how they refused you flat out. Now it's come full circle Glastonbury type artists are playing at dance festivals.

Back in 88 they didn't get it. Just a no! We were gutted at the time, but they didn't have their finger on the pulse. They didn't want to be associated with anything that was acid house/rave. But I think it's great that there is the cross over of rock and dance acts now, it's just people enjoying different types of music.

There must have been times when you wouldn't have believed this would last anywhere near 20 years..........when did you think the magic was over or the end was nigh?

Oh yeah, definitely, here in Ibiza in 1991 or 1992, this islands club's became flat and a lot of brits didn't come that year, there was little soul left in the ibiza scene, the energy wasn't here and that was a big turning point. Also, when the rave scene exploded and became overrun by criminal activity and then everything moved back into the clubs.

At the time, many of us thought this is the end of the scene, but it was the just the end of that period of people were dancing in fields. A lot of people didn't take notice of the bill at the time, particularly from the club scene, because people were already into Ministry of Sound and Cream.

I remember there was a rally at Hyde Park that attracted 100,000 people, Tony Benn gave a speech; It was important we opposed the bill because it was an infringement of our civil liberties. To this day, the authorities are still in fear of parties, you know it's like, how dare people celebrate their life and dance to the early hours of the morning.

This year on Ibiza the police appear determined to ruin the nightlife which is a huge mistake Ibiza attracts all walks of free spirited party people including super wealthy party people if they continue to stop the fun they will impact the islands economy which will therefore benefit nobody. But I don't feel it's such a bad thing having to close a club at 6 or 7, you know you can go home and enjoy the day in Ibiza as well.

What else are you up to then, other than DJing commitments?

I'm writing a book about the scene, about my whole experience. A publisher approached me and said it's time to tell your story. I read Oakey's book recently and I think that's a fantastic account of his musical career. So I'm writing it at the moment.

You've talked very passionately about many things, you are obviously still a very ambitious person?

Yes, I live every minute of my day to the maximum.....life full, die empty. It's about living your life and contributing and getting to the end of your life and having no regrets and fulfilling your ambitions. Commitment, passion and focus will get you to where you want, you can do whatever you want, and it's only the mind that holds you back.

How do you relax away from work?

I'm a person who doesn't sit still for long; I seldom watch television although I love youtube videos. So to relax, *long pause* I spend time with my son or I come to Ibiza or maybe take some Chinese healing, cupping or acupuncture and running... that's when I really switch off!

Finally, describe to us your perfect day in Ibiza?


I'd wake up early and head to Aiguas Blancas, Es Cavallet, Es Torrent and have a beautiful day at the beach, back for a meal in Dalt Vila and then to Pacha, that's my favourite club, that's where I feel most at home, probably with the Def Mix family playing.

Thanks Danny and good luck. Read more about Danny's book here: www.learnhowtobeadj.com

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