Interview / Rocky / The Yellow Book Remembered

Darren Rock AKA Rocky should need no introduction to Ban Ban Ton Ton “regulars. Alongside long-term DJ partner, Darren “Diesel” House, and Heavy Disco don, Ashley Beedle, he rocked dance-floors worldwide as X-Press 2. Spinning and producing incredibly energetic, enthusiastic hybrids of Chicago and New York house. Eventually topping pop charts with their David Byrne collaboration, Lazy. What a moment that was! 

As far as “the balearic beat” is concerned, when it arrived in London in the autumn of 1987, Rocky was there – bang at the start. Anyone who ventured out on “the scene” will have undoubtedly have caught countless flashes of his huge, trademark, smile. The first time I met Rocky was in Flying Records, where he was one of the legendary crew manning the counter. It was there in the basement of Kensington Market that he gave me membership cards for 2 landmark early `90s Covent Garden-based parties: The Yellow Book, at The Rock Garden, and Ophelia, round the corner at The Gardening Club. The soundtrack at the latter was an uptempo mix of US and Euro house – something that was covered in detail when I spoke to Ophelia resident, Steve Lee. The former, in my memory at least, “championed” an emerging “indie-dance” sound – productions and remixes by Paul Oakenfold, Terry Farley and Andrew Weatherall – ably assisted by Steve Osbourne, Pete Heller, and Hugo Nicolson. Packed full of refreshed music journos and similarly mind-altered musicians, I’m guessing it was a do where a fair few connections were made. The Yellow Book had the potential to be “too cool for school” but, man, I loved it there. I really did. If you wanted to hear all those tunes charted in Boys Own – that were impossible to find – The Yellow Book was where you needed to go. 

Pre-pandemic, still very much “out & about” the last time I bumped into Rocky was at Dean Thatcher’s Studio 45 Saturday night shindig at The Heavenly Social – which felt a little like a Flying reunion. This interview focuses, largely, on those late `80s to mid-90s days, with Rocky joining the dots – the places, and faces – from Special Branch to Shoom, to Boys Own and Flying – helping to map how “the scene” converged, and ultimately diverged.

Yellow books 2 Gardening Club redux

Where are you based?

Teddington, Middlesex. South West London suburbs. I’m originally from Hayes. Also in Middlesex, but a slightly less salubrious London suburb.

What inspired you to start DJing?

Hip hop. More specifically hearing the cut and paste edits of people like Double Dee & Steinski. It heralded the start of endless pause button mixes, made on my Murphy double tape player. I wish I still had those tapes. I think the DJ bug actually started at school. I was in the 6th form and there was an end of term disco. I remember helping a teacher to drag this big DJ consul thing out of a cupboard. It had 2 decks and a mixer – all built-in – possibly a Citronic or Cloud One. Myself and a couple of mates selected the tunes. That’s it. I was hooked.

I was buying a bit of hip hop but all sorts really. I was more interested in where the hip hop guys got their samples and breaks from. These were the tunes that I wanted, the original cuts that the samples and beats were lifted from. There were a couple of local shops in Hayes / Uxbridge that got the odd import, but wed also travel up to Groove Records, on Greek Street, in Soho. 

You started DJing professionally spinning hip hop and rare groove. Were your first gigs with Simon Dunmore? Where were these parties, and how did you know Simon? 

My first real gigs were at a local youth club with some mates. I then got asked to play at another mate’s birthday party – it might’ve been his 18th I think. They’d hired a local guy called Jack who had the decks and the sound system. I played a set using his gear. He said he had a couple of mates that put on nights and thought I’d be good to do a warm up for them. It was Jack who introduced me to Simon and Dean Thatcher, who was the first person I met at the venue – he was doing the door. I think the night was called Rhythm Zone and it was at the C & L Country Club just off of the A40 near Northolt.

Rhythm Zone C L Country Club Flyer

At this point was the other Darren, House, Diesel, doing something similar with Gilles (Peterson)? Warming up, etc? How did the two crowds overlap? Was it at things like The Belvedere or Nicky Holloway`s Special Branch dos on Tooley Street, the Zoo and the National History Museum? 

Darren, Diesel, was part of  a little collective called POP – which I think, was started by Michael Speechley and Mark Jones, of Wall Of Sound, etc. They were providing visuals for lots of those Special Branch type doos that we were all going to. Darren and Paul Warren were the musical side of POP. The crowds were pretty much the same at all of these events. There was a big West London contingent that would make the trip to whatever and wherever Nicky, Simon and co. were holding events. I’d arrived a little bit later than lots of those that were going. I got involved with the Special Branch events, due in part, to Simon, but also my girlfriend of the time, who had gone to the Special Branch trip to Ibiza that summer. So I kind of missed out on Tooley Street, Doo at the Zoo. I think the first Special Branch event that I attended was the last night of The Metropolitan. I did pretty much go to everything after that though!

Special Branch Rockley Sands 1988 edit

Did you and Darren DJ on the same bill before DJing as a duo? 

I don’t think we did no. I’d cover for Simon at a little wine bar gig that he did on Sunday nights and I think Darren may have done another night there. We were pretty good friends by that point though, as he worked at EMI in Hayes, the same place I was at. We worked in different buildings so wouldn’t see each other often there, maybe in the canteen or pub at lunch. Our friendship was mostly cemented at the parties and clubs we were attending.

Rocky Trance 4

I read in an interview you did with Vice that your first gig as a duo was at Barbarellas on The Uxbridge Road. Can you tell me more about Barabarellas? 

Barbarellas was the first proper ‘disco’ that I got into. I think I was probably 17 or 18 at the time. It was one of the places – alongside Americas in Southall and Regals in Uxbridge – where you could chip in with your mates for a cab from Hayes and be there relatively quickly. I did go back there a couple of years later as Simon was putting on a night there called Soul City, and I went along with him to check it out. This would’ve been around 87. I think the venue is now a McDonalds.

Rocky Trance 3

The night was called Trance – was it just a group of friends throwing their own acid house party? Who else was involved? Jagz Kooner? How did you know Jagz?

It was in June `88 and I think it was mainly Jon Jules, Glenn Gunner and Jagz – with sound provided by Dave Raza. Jagz was something to do with a production outfit called Adrenalin MOD, that featured Richie Firmie, Maurice Bird and Daren Mahomed – all local Hayes boys – and they’d just signed a tune to MCA, so they did a PA on the first night.

I’d known Jagz a little while before this. He pretty much taught me how to mix properly. He lived above his family’s off license in West Drayton and had Technics and a mixer set up in his flat. I’d go round once a week and spend a few hours perfecting my mixing technique.

Rocky Trance 1

In writing this “history” – hopefully book – I’ve been trying to work out how everyone on the “balearic” scene was interconnected – how everyone knew each other. Looking at those associated with Flying and those associated with Boys Own – and trying to accurately record how everyone knew each other and how the scene developed. From the outside this isn`t always easy to establish. Were there two groups of people – brought together by Shoom and Future? 

I think lots of the people that went to Shoom and Future were the same people that would have been going to Special Branch, and all those kind of things, it’s just that the soundtrack changed.

Rocky Shoom Memorabila

I read somewhere that you were at the first Shoom – I think it`s a story told by Chris Butler in Luke Bainbridge`s book – How did you learn about Shoom?

It was the POP connection again that meant I was at that first night. POP were doing the visuals for this party that Danny was doing just over the river in Southwark. Michael and Mark’s van had broken down so they had no way of getting their kit over to the venue. They knew that my girlfriend had a van so asked if we could help, in return for free entry to the night. So we picked up some screens and other bits and went over. This was at a time when London was rare groove crazy. We were dressed in that uniform, baker boy hats, ripped Levis, DMs and big shirts. The crowd at the party were a mixture of people that looked like us but then you’d have these kids in big baggy jumpers and Converse doing this nutty, arms in the air, jacking, dance. We just stood at the side of the dancefloor and stared. “This is the dance they were all doing in Ibiza.” It was that night where you thought, this is it. Everything changes from now.

shoom fitness centre flyer 2

Did you know Danny already through the Special Branch Parties?

Only to kind of nod and say hello to really.

Were you also going to Zigi`s – before and after acid house / balearic hit? Did you know Trevor and Paul?

No I didn’t go to Zigi`s at all. I was more West London soul doos. Zigi`s was the place for those kids in the baggy jumpers. I did meet Paul and Trevor, though, because they kind of crossed over too.

How did you know Chris? He tells a story about you driving back from Shoom with a silver X in the back of your car – can you explain more about that?

I remember the silver X. It was one of the props at Danny’s first party at the Fitness Centre. I don’t remember it being in the car though. It is 32 years now so I could be wrong. The first time I properly met Chris was in the July of `88. Myself and Diesel had been playing at an outdoor event on Wormwood Scrubs, alongside Nancy Noise, Johnnie Walker, Trevor and a bunch of others. We’d played fairly early in the afternoon and were heading off to this mystery tour thing later on that Terry, Cymon, Steve and Andrew were promoting. Diesel was going to someone’s birthday at Shoom first, then coming along after. Johnnie was going to the party too and offered myself and another Darren – Wood – a lift to Embankment to pick up the coaches. In the car, he introduced us to his mate Chris. He was funny and scary in equal measure, taking great delight in explaining what he was going to get up to that night! We’ve been mates ever since.

Clive Henry was a school friend, right? How about people like Glenn, Brandon Block, Steven “Lofty” Harper, Ali Jobe, Alan “Stripey” Tribe, and Jon Jules? Are Dean Thatcher, “Charlie” Chester and Phil Perry a little bit older? How did you know them? How do people like Fabi Paras and the “the 2 Kevs” – Swain and Hurry fit in?

Clive went to a different school to me but we had a similar group of friends – like Jagz and the Adrenalin boys, Richie is Clive’s cousin – as well as loads of other mates from around Hayes and Hillingdon. Prior to the Acid House thing and around the same time that I’d started going to Special Branch doos, we’d go to things like The Raid, The WAG, and Mudd Club. Glenn, Lofty, and Jon I’d met via Jagz. Kev Hurry and Fabi were part of the Special Branch crew. Most of the others I really met through the clubs we were all going to back then. I think Queens was a great meeting point for everyone. That’s definitely where I first met Ali and Brandon.

Berkshire Goes Balearic Queens Flyer_4

Brandon was DJing with Ali and Dean – at places like ZigZag in Ealing – did you go to these parties? 

Maybe once or twice, this was the thing at Broadway Boulevard I think. I know they played at Haven Stables a fair bit and we definitely went along to that.

As far as I can work out the first Flying event was at Queens – organized by Brandon and Dean – with Charlie only helping out at this point. Brandon says it was on a Tuesday, Charlie says Monday – did you go? Do you know which is correct?

Yes I definitely went and it was definitely a school night but, sadly I don’t remember if it was Monday or Tuesday.

Flying logo copyDid you know the Boys Own chaps before Shoom? Are you a Chelsea supporter? Did you know them from football?

I’m not a football fan and I didn’t meet Andrew and Terry until June `88. They were DJing upstairs at the Trip – Nicky’s night at the Astoria. I loved the music they were playing and got quite matey with them. I told the story when Andrew sadly passed away, about this little piece of yellow card from that night,  that I’d kept in an old Filofax. The card had written on it ‘Andrew AKA DJ Raunchy Loveromp”, and his phone number in Windsor. I bumped into Terry when I was shopping in Rough Trade the following week. I think he was looking for dub, I was after Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Woodentops stuff like that. I went up to him and said, ”You play upstairs at Trip don’t you?”

We got to know Andrew and Terry a bit better and they asked us to play at one of their parties – “Double Egg, Bacon, Bubble, & A Fried Slice” – which was held in under some railway arches over Lambeth way. We played a mixture of reggae, soul, disco, italo, and house. I remember that a few herberts tried to scale a wall to get in, and beer cans being chucked at them as they came over the top.

What was your week like in `88 / `89? Did you go to Spectrum on a Monday, Shoom on a Wednesday and Future on a Thursday? Did you manage to hold down a day job? 

It was pretty much out 4 or 5 nights of the week. Yes Spectrum then Shoom on the Wednesday once it had moved. I think Shoom was our main big midweek night. I went to Future a few times, and Loud Noise – another party hosted by Nancy Noise and Lisa Loud at The Soundshaft. I can’t remember what night of the week that was but it was a lot more Balearic flavoured, with stuff like The Cure, and Hong Kong Syndikat getting played.

Did you also go to places like Delirium, Jungle, Hedonism, etc  – parties in London where house was first championed?

I went to Delirium a fair bit when it was on Saturdays at the Astoria and I think Go Global on the Friday. I didn’t go so much when they moved Delirium to Heaven on the Thursday. I never went to Hedonism or Jungle.

schooly D at delirium resize

Did you attend or DJ at parties like Passion at Valbonnes or the dos at Haven Stables?

Yes we DJed at both Haven Stables and Passion at the Valbonne. Both were proper Sunday night end ups!

Berkshire Goes Balearic Passion Flyer

With Flying can you remember which came first – the shop in Kensington Market or the move of the party to The Soho Theatre Club? 
I think the club moving to Soho Theatre was first. I’d moved out of my mum’s and was sharing a house with my girlfriend and a mate in Harlington. We had a load of people back to ours one night / day and Charlie was there. It was then that he asked if I wanted to work in the shop. I think this would’ve been sometime in `89.

Were you working in the shop right from the start? Who else worked there regularly – Dean, Brandon, Lofty, Max Mackie?
I think early on it was myself, Dean, Lofty, Clive, Brandon and Paul Payne. I think Max came along a little later as well as a host of others.

What sort of records could you find at Flying that you couldn’t get elsewhere? Where was the shop sourcing its records from?

We’d get the usual deliveries from all the importers / distributors that were servicing the other shops in London at the time – Record Corner, Amato, Greyhound, Soul Trader, etc., etc. As well as lots of labels and producers that would pop in and drop a box or 2 off of their product. Dean and Charlie were also going on buying trips to Italy and bringing back boxes of Elkin & Nelson and Irma records, that we’d shift 100s of over the week. It was always pretty exciting unpacking those parcels and checking what was in them. That whole Italo Scream Up thing was huge by this point and we had a direct in to get it all. Pretty much all of my wages went back into the shop.

rocky the bone flyer

Didn`t you also organize a series of parties called The Bone?

The Bone was originally myself and Clive. We did the first one in a warehouse space above a shop in Southall. It was an old mate of ours’ parents’ shop. I remember we played, I think Terry may have too. We then did a few more at various different spots. There was one at a photographic studios in Battersea and a big one – with Stuart Patterson – at the David Lloyd fitness club in Harlington. We also did an all-dayer down on the coast somewhere. They probably only lasted a year or two. The nights then kind of morphed into Gosh, and Charlie got involved.

rocky the bone flyer_2

Didn`t you revive The Bone parties later? I’m pretty sure I went to a few at Corts, in the city – maybe `93? I’m sure there was a New Years Eve one – Richie Havens Going Back To My Roots being mixed into Mr K`s Mix Max Style after the chimes at midnight?

I do remember doing the parties at Corts. I’m not sure if they were strictly Bone events. I’ve a feeling Mark Wilkinson may have been involved with these. It was the boys that worked in the shop – Flying – I think.

How long did you work in the shop for? It moved twice – up to the first floor of the indoor market and then to Soho – were you still involved at this point? 

I left the shop a while after it had moved upstairs in Kensington Market. I think Charlie had sold his interest in it by the point that I left. Myself and D had started making music and had got a lot busier DJing as well. I do remember having the conversation with Farley along the lines of him saying to me, “Do you want to make records or carry on selling other people’s?” This was around `92. We`d just made Muzik Express, and it had all started to get a bit mad.

How did Lazy making it onto Top Of The Pops and to the top of the charts change things for you? How easy was it to hook up with David Byrne? What was he like to work with? 

It changed things in that we started getting booked to do these events where people thought the music we were going to play would be all like Lazy. At the time we were really into that tribal, techno, minimal sound. It did mean that things went nuts for a few years though. We were traveling all over the world and playing some incredible places.

It was fairly easy to hook up with David. We’ve told the story a lot, but when we did the Ballistic Brothers stuff in the `90s, he got in touch and wondered if we’d be interested in supporting him on a European tour, believing that we were a proper band. We told him we were a group of DJs. He wasn’t up for the DJ thing so we thanked him very much and kind of forgot about it. Fast forward to 2000 and we’re making tracks and one sounds like Talking Heads – according to James Brown, our engineer – and we’re reminded about the earlier encounter. Our manager knew David’s manager so he dropped him an email and the rest, as they say, is history.

The track was produced and worked on remotely. We made the backing track, sent it to New York and David wrote and recorded the lyrics and sent it back to us for completion. So we didn’t actually meet him until after the song was done. We did a few press things and of course, Top Of The Pops.. He was excellent fun to hang out with.

Dieter Meier was another musical hero who we got to work with. Again his vocals were done remotely, but we got to meet him in Ibiza, when we played Pacha that summer. He was brilliant. He turned up in full black dinner suit, dickie bow, cummerbund, the lot. We had dinner together and he regaled us with stories. 

Kurt Wagner was also ace. I used to do this mix of Lambchop`s Up With The People and a Peace Division record – so it felt like a good idea to get Kurt singing on one of our tracks. We played him a few ideas and he went off and wrote Give It. Then a few weeks later, he called up saying, “I can get a choir. What do you think?”

How did the Ballistic Brothers collaboration with Dave Hill and Uschi Classen come about, and who wrote those brilliant London Hooligan Soul sleeve notes? 

Ballistic Brothers came about off the back of a track that Diesel and I did  as The Transplant for One Off Recordings called Come Together. We did a downtempo kind of breakbeat mix for the b-side called Afrocentric. I think it was Ashley that said, ‘Why don’t we make a whole E.P. / album of this kind of thing?’ So that was how the idea came about. We went into a little studio called Jamestown in East London and over about 5 days we made the whole Ballistic Brothers Vs Eccentric Afros E.P. It was Ashley who wrote those sleeve notes and Dave who took the picture at the poll tax riots.

london hooligan soul

london hooligan soul text

Are you still DJing and making music, with D, or anyone else? Do you do any radio? What do have planned once the lockdowns are lifted?

Yes still DJing. I had a fair few gigs postponed or cancelled this year but I’ve already got 4 or 5 in for 2021. Hopefully I`ll be getting back in the studio once it’s safer to do so – fingers-crossed – autumn time.

Sorry, I’m really jumping around here but how did you get the gig DJing at The Yellow Book? Can you remember when it started? Was it the spring of 1990? 

I believe it was early 1990 yes. We got the gig via Steve Bicknell. I can remember him calling me one day from his mate’s, Frank Perkins, office and saying that Frank was wondering if we’d be interested in a residency at his new night.

Who were the residents? You, Darren, Terry and Stripey (Alan Tribe)? Did you also have guests?

Yes that was basically it. The 4 of us. We may have had the odd guest when one of us couldn’t play. I think Yellow Book was the night that kind of established us, myself and D.

Frank was the promoter, was Shelley Boswell also involved at this point? Do you know what happened to Frank?
I think Shelley was the manager / promoter at The Gardening Club when that opened up, so she got involved once the whole thing moved from the Rock Garden to the new space round the corner.I still see Frank occasionally. His brother is married to a friend of my girlfriend.

yellow book rock garden poster copy

Do you know who came up with the name “The Yellow Book”? Its a fairly obscure literary reference****. 

That would’ve been Frank. He came up with that and Ophelia. Again, pretty literary.

I loved The Yellow Book – I really did. It was full of indie bands and NME journalists – Primal Scream, Jack Baron…. Tunes I associate with it are things like Gary Clail`s  Beef, The Soup Dragons, Terry Farley`s remix of Stepping Stone, That Petrol Emotion, Sting`s If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, Foxy Brown`s Fast Car….all those early Heavenly 12s. How did you get into remix and production work? Was the Soup Dragons track the first remix you did? 

The Soup Dragons` I’m Free was a Terry remix. I’d just sat in the studio with him but he stuck my name on the credits (smiles). I think our first remix was due to Terry. He’d been remixing the Farm’s Groovy Train and had some spare time left at the end of the session. He asked if D and me wanted to come down and do a remix. We turned up with a couple of break beats and an Alan Ginsberg album. I think we came out of the studio at about 5 o’clock the following morning. Shortly after we remixed the Moonflowers for Jeff (Barratt) at Heavenly.

Would you be able to give me a personal Yellow Book top 10?

Demo Motor – DJs Pleasure

Bunny Wailer – Back To School

Hiroshi and K.U.D.O. ft. DJ Milo – Return Of The Original Artform

Snap! – Cult Of Snap!

Rio Rhythm Band – Carnival De Casa

FPI Project – Rich In Paradise

Bad Bascombe – Black Grass

Shabba Ranks ft. Krystal – Twice My Age

Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Was Yellow Book running at the same time as The Raid at The Limelight? How long did Yellow Book run for?

I’m not sure if they were running at the same time to be honest. I do remember Farley being resident alongside Oakey, Steve Lee and the 2 Kevs. We stood in for Terry once or twice in the basement. So maybe they weren’t on at the same time at all. I don’t think Yellow Book lasted that long. Maybe a year or so. There were a few issues with undesirables and it started to get a bit heavy.

What was your involvement with Ophelia? Were you a resident or a guest DJ? Were the residents Steve Lee and Glenn Gunner? Were the TAG boys also involved? 

I think we were residents too, but there was more of a selection at Ophelia. You mentioned Steve lee and Glenn. We also had Nancy (Noise) and Shane Gibson on board too by that point. I think the TAG boys came a little bit later. I think Chris and James had some involvement – as they did Garage City there – and so did Harvey, since Moist was also at The Gardening Club.

Can you tell me anything more about Shane Gibson? Searching for him so far has come up with nothing – other than a photo in Boys Own. 

Shane was Frank’s cousin. He was an excellent DJ. He played at many of those Yellow Book / Ophelia events.

Ophelia Art Edit

Did the music you played at Ophelia differ to that at Yellow Book? My memory is that it was a lot more uptempo – stuff like Nitelife Cityrama`s Running So Hard, Rio Rhythm Band`s Carnival de Casa, and the live version of Depeche Mode`s ​Just Can`t Get EnoughBut we were alternating Saturdays between Ophelia and Flying so my memory is a little blurred.  Again would you be able to give me a personal Ophelia top 10? 

Yes, it definitely went a bit more uptempo at the Gardening Club. It was the tunes that we were buying and started getting into.

Anima Ladina – Anima Ladina (Technicida Version)

TC1991 – Berry

Black Box – I Don’t Know anybody Else (Acapella)

Ultraworld – Life After Death (House Of Aviance Mix)

Public Enemy – Can’t Truss It

Antico – We Need Freedom (1991 Jazzy Max Mix)

Double Dee ft. Dany – Found Love

The Utopia Project – File #1

Ramirez & Pizarro – ¡Hablando!

L.U.P.O. – Keep It Up

What clubs did you play at on the Flying IBIZA 90 trip? 

I think we played early in the week at Summum, then Thursday night at Ku. We also played at the Star Club – now Eden – I think. The Flying Ibiza trip was my introduction to the island. 1990 was the year that roofs were put on all the open-air clubs, and I was gutted to have missed out on that. Although I have to say when DC10 opened it did feel how I imagined it to have been in the earlier days. I think I’ve been pretty much every year since, and been lucky enough to play out there every year as well.

IBIZA 90 LOGO

Do you think that IBIZA 90 changed the scene? If so how?

I’m not sure that IBIZA 90 changed the scene. I think it would have probably changed anyway whether that holiday happened or not. Those of us that were there, all then started playing at each others nights all over the place.

To me things seemed to get a lot bigger, but also more divided. The “balearic network” was formed – which saw folks like yourself traveling up and down the country – rather than holding down residencies – and musically there seemed to be two camps – UK progressive and US house. It was a natural evolution but do you think that by about 1992 “balearic” had sort of disappeared? 

For me, Balearic was always about Ibiza. So it has never gone away. Be that Alfredo at Amnesia, Space – it’s terrace or the indoors to be honest, DC10, Jose at the Café, little deserted beaches that you have to walk an hour to find, hanging out with Dieter Meier – and DJing with him doing a PA with us at Pacha, wonderful meals on beautiful outdoor terraces, chupitos at the Rock Bar, Fiesta San Juan, Villas in the hills, etc., etc. The “Balearic Beat” has become something that means different things to different people. I like that. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. I think Farley once said, “Balearic beats are any record that Alfredo played between 1985 and 1988.’ I kind of like his view as well. Personally, it’s difficult for me to pin it down. It’s something that I could imagine hearing on the island. Whether that’s in a club or just relaxing with a drink in the sunshine.

Do you know of any parties that didn’t go “house” and carried the torch for the original more eclectic “balearic beat”?

Justin and Greg’s nights in Manchester kept the flag flying.

Most Excellent Logo

Do you attend any current parties that you describe as balearic?

Sadly no.

Are there any current labels, DJs or artists that you would describe as balearic?

I guess Phil’s (Mison) Cantoma could be considered as such.

As you said everyone`s idea of balearic is different…one person’s poison is another’s…..but could you give me three new tracks that you`d classify as balearic?

Hania Rani – Eden

A wonderful emotive piano piece. I could hear this whilst sat at Hostal La Torre – one of a few places on The White Island that still retains that original vibe – having dinner, while Alfredo plays, as the sun’s dipping down over the horizon. Bliss.

Phil Kieran – Find Love (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Not particularly new but someone posted this after the very sad passing of Andrew. It came out in 2016 but I missed it. It’s just got that something that I can’t quite put my finger on. I can picture this pumping out of the speakers either at a club or whilst I floated around in the pool, inhaling the smell of the pine trees, after a big night out.

Grand Brothers – Ezra Was Right

Again, something that’s not particularly new, although I hadn’t heard it until a few weeks back when Gilles P played it on his show. One of those songs that I could imagine Jose playing at the Café Del Mar back in the day. The sort of track that would’ve been a bit of a vibe changer. Going from the sunset into the early evening. Simple, beautiful music.

*****The Yellow Book lifted its name, and its Aubery Beardsley artwork, from a 19th Century literary journal. The publication promoted writing deemed to be sexually decadent – like Beardsely`s illustrations – and was linked to Oscar Wilde – during the Victorian era. Ophelia took its artwork from a 19th Century Pre-Raphaelite painting by Sir John Everett Millais – inspired by the story of Hamlet`s doomed bride.

Beardsley Yellow Book Edit

Pulling the music together to accompany this interview it was really interesting to compare the big tunes from The Yellow Book to those played at the Bizarre Barn Party. While only separated by a year – at most – I was surprised how significantly the music had changed. Things move so quickly when you’re caught up in something that I guess you don’t notice. A big thank you to Andy Thomas and John Matthews for the additional memories and track IDs. 

Track-list

Bunny Wailer – Back To School
Afrika – History
Saint Etienne – Kiss And Make Up
Family Tree – Family Tree (Mr K Edit)
The Farm – Stepping Stone
That Petrol Emotion – Abandon
Gary Clail – Beef
Horses Without Heads – What`s Your Name
Snap! – Cult Of Snap!
Fluke – Joni
Demo Motors – DJs Pleasure
Bad Bascombe – Black Grass
Deee Lite – What Is Love?
Sly & Lovechild – The World According To…
FPI Project – Rich In Paradise
Liz Torres – Payback Is A Bitch
Rio Rhythm Band – Carnival de Casa
Major Force – Return Of The Original Art Form
Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
The Soup Dragons – I`m Free
Moonflowers – Get Higher
Sister Sledge – Thinking Of You (Remix)
Pressure Zone – Johannesburg
Shabba Ranks & Krystal – Twice My Age
Foxy Brown – Fast Car
Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Moodswings – Spiritual High

2 thoughts on “Interview / Rocky / The Yellow Book Remembered

  1. Great stuff. I remember interviewing The Ballistic Brothers for a front page spread in Jockey Slut, and another one with Harvey around the same time.

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