Trevor Fung is, without a doubt, one of the unsung heroes of “Balearic Beat”. I guess it may be a relatively well-known fact that it was Trevor who, in the summer of 1987, instigated The Famous Four`s – Nicky Holloway, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Johnny Walker – fateful stay in Ibiza. A summer holiday / adventure that, back in London, begat Shoom, Future, Spectrum, Trip, the legendary clubs / parties that played a huge part in sparking the UK`s so called Second Summer Of Love. What many might not know, is that by `87 Trevor had been already been DJing in Ibiza for years, and that he also made a crust by selling records to the island`s top DJs. There is a definite argument to be made that Trevor helped shape the “Balearic” sound. A “catalyst”, Trevor was also the person who gave the impossible to define “genre” a name.
While the others mentioned above seemed to take the bulk, if not all, of the credit, Trevor, stayed shy of the spotlight and focused mainly on DJing. He’s due to play at the upcoming Campo Sancho Festival, which gave me the opportunity / excuse to talk to him. Something that I`d been wanting to do for an absolute age.
Where are you from?
I was born in London and my parents are from South America, Guyana.
Where are you currently based?
I`m originally from London, now in the North.
When and how did you first become interested in music, and records?
From my parents. They were both into their music so much, that’s how I got my love of music. My dad had lots of great records. Being brought up, there was Motown, soul, lovers rock, reggae, funk, and jazz, playing every day in our house. After my father died, I found out that he was a DJ back in Guyana
What sort of music were you into? What parties and clubs did you go to?
I’m a soul, funk and jazz boy. Friday lunch times, I used to go to Crackers in Soho, with George Power, Paul Trouble Anderson, and Gaz Anderson DJing. Then there were Saturday lunch times at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, Tiffany’s on Mondays – with DJs Big Al and Pepe from Harlow – Tuesday’s was Scamps in Sutton with Marc Damon. Other clubs we went to were Goldmine, Pink Elephant, Cheeky Pete’s, Global Village….a lot basically.
Most of the people later involved in the London Balearic scene seem to have either been soul girls and boys, or known each other through football, often both – Boy`s Own / Chelsea for example…are you a football fan?
It`s not my thing, going to games. I’m what you call an armchair supporter. I don’t go to games but support Liverpool Football Club from the sofa and TV – but I’m definitely a long-term Soul Boy.
When did you first start DJing?
I started collecting music when I was 13, while still at school. I used to play penny up the wall, then I would head down the record shop to buy a 45 with my winnings. I purchased a Citronic Hawaii Sound System when I was 16 with a friend – who pulled out before the first monthly re-payment, so, I had to work to pay for it all! (laughs)
Your first gigs were with soul DJ Steve Walsh. How did you get those gigs?
I always use to go to his gigs, then he attended one of mine, and asked me to warm up for him. He was a real nice guy and didn’t / doesn’t really get the credit he deserves.
Where were you buying your records?
Contempo in Hanway Street, Soho; Record Corner in Balham. I also worked in Groove Records in Soho at the weekends with Jean (Palmer).
I know that you’re good friends with Colin Hudd. Did you meet Colin at Flicks?
I met him at Caister, and then use to go and see him at Flicks.
Did you DJ at Flicks?
I only played once, with Jeff Young and Robbie Vincent.
Did Paul Oakenfold and Pete Tong also DJ at Flicks.
Paul, I think, played once or twice, but I`m not sure about Pete.
Where did you meet Paul and Pete?
I met Pete when he was doing the Hilltops Club in Kent. I met Paul on one of the coaches we took to Slough to play an event, when I was DJing with Steve Walsh. Paul sat next to me, and we started talking. He was a chef at the time and wanted to get into music scene.
How did you know Nicky Holloway?
I knew Nicky from his Special Branch parties. I used to DJ at things like their “The Doo At The Zoo”.
When did you start DJing at the Caister weekenders?
I’m not sure, but it was before the organisers split. I think I was 1983, if not 1984.
(Left to right – Colin hudd, ?(sorry), Nicky Holloway, Pete Tong, Trevor, Froggy, Bob Jones)
There`s a great photo of you and Colin at Caister. Were you two of the first people to play house at Caister? What was the crowd reaction?
Yes we were! To tell the truth, it was a very special moment. We knew then that a change was coming. We both blew the roof off, the room was packed, and they didn’t want to leave. We went on till around 5AM, and the promoter, was asking, “Why do all these punters want to stay up till 5?” You could see that people were up for this thing called House. Caister didn’t want us back after that, and we weren’ t asked again….Oh dear!! Colin and I have always worked well together, and we still do now. He is a good friend and fab DJ.
When was the first time you went to Ibiza?
When I left school in 1976, at the age of 15, I started working for my friend’s parents travel agency in London, just for the summer. I got 2 free holidays, the perks of the job! One was with Club 18-30 to Ibiza, the other was a 5-star holiday with British Airways to Nice. I never went back to do my O levels that summer. I`d got the travel bug, and if it weren’t for Club 18-30, I’m not sure what I would be doing now.
Did you know anyone out there?
Not at the time. I did meet my Club 18-30 rep, Sandy, from Liverpool, and she showed me around, and we are still very good friends now. I used to try and get back as Ibiza as many times as possible in the following years, and she would sort my accommodation out for me. I`d go up to between 4 and 6 times a year. I was so intrigued with Ibiza and spent 7 years, thinking how I can make this work for me?
When did you start DJing out there?
I started when I was asked to be a resident in Amnesia in 1983.
Can you tell me more about Es Paradis and Carlos?
I was fascinated by Carlos. He was the DJ at Es Paradis, and originally from Argentina. His music was multi genre…basically the idea of “Balearic” music was from him, so he deserves all the credit. He was playing Indie, soft dock, pop dance etc, etc…all blended into a fantastic set.
When did you first go to Es Paradis and meet Carlos?
I met Carlos in 1983, with Jose Padilla, who was also a good friend. They both used to buy records from me. Jose had a wonderful collection.
Is Carlos still around?
He eventually went to work at Tito’s Palace in Palma and my friends, Kay and Manolo, were the only way that I could contact him because I’d lost touch with him directly. I tried to find him in the late `90s but he had gone from Palma and I don’t know where he lives now.
It would be great to learn more about him, as he seems to been written out of the “Balearic beat” history.
Most of the Balearic history starts from 1987, Carlos was way before this. He left Ibiza in 1986. Carlos and Jose were a massive part of my development as a DJ, along with Alfredo and Leo Mas.
When you had your residency at Amnesia were you playing a similar mix of music as Carlos, or were you playing a more Flicks mix of soul, jazz, disco, funk?
I only had the residency for a month because there was no promotion, no crowd and no planning. The place shut down that summer. I wanted to make it more of a mix of the UK soul, funk, jazz sound with the Ibiza sound, so a slight change. I thought it could work, but wasn’t given the time.
Are there any records in particular that remind you of Carlos?
Endgames – Ecstasy
Caiphus Semenya – Angelina (Part II)
Heaven 17 – Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry
I.R.T – Watch The Closing Doors Dub
Data – Data Plata
Alex Bauer – Cargo
Le Club – Un Fait Divers Et Rien De Plus
Exotica Maximus – Western Fields
La Batterie – Shogun
I can go on and on, but mainly new wave, electronic, dance pop and Indie.
Was it Carlos who got you slots spinning in places like Exstasis?
Yes it was, and lots of other clubs and bars
When did you start selling records to the DJs on Ibiza?
1983…..When I lost my job at Amnesia, I had to earn money. I was also doing mixed soul, funk and jazz tapes for bars. I was also selling t-shirts on the beach.
Can you remember any of the records that you sold them?
No, not specifics, but there were a lot of promos from various record companies. I got a lot of help from promo managers like, Johnny Williams, Ian Dewhurst, Lisa Horan. Johnny walker was a great help too, and many others
Were you involved in the Special Branch trip to Ibiza in `85?
I was the one that organised the trip with Nicky. I took care of the travel arrangements and sorted most of the clubs. I also did the Special Branch one to Corfu, and then one with Tommy Mack and Alan Warman to Ibiza the following year.
What made you decide to hire the bar in San Antonio?
I worked the summer of 1984 in Ibiza, so two summers on the trot. I wanted to do the bar in 1985 but got too busy with work in the UK. So, I went back in 1987 and went for it. It really was a now or never moment, and it was so the right decision.
What time would the bar close? Did you all go onto Amnesia after that?
We`d close at around 3 or 4AM, then cash up and the head to the clubs – mainly Amnesia, Es Paradis, Ku, and Pacha, then also hit the after clubs if I wasn’t too tired.
What time would Amnesia close? Were there any names in that original crowd that would now be familiar to us – Nancy, Lisa? Anyone else?
I think it was 6 or 7ish, then we would go out again to the after clubs, like Glory’s in Ibiza town or Manhattans in San Antonio. Lisa and Nancy are the main names, but the workers in ’87 played a big part in bringing the scene to the UK. It wasn’t just the well known names and DJs. The Ibiza workers from 1987 have got some good stories to tell. There was a time when I wanted to pull something together and share their experiences, but in the end I never got around to it.
You’ve mentioned in interviews that you knew Alfredo`s sets by heart, that you knew which tune was coming next. People in these Shazam-busting days might think that sounds boring, but, I guess, when you could only hear those tunes there, then it added to the excitement? Thinking “oh my favourite`s coming up”. Did you have a favourite Alfredo tune?
Yes, mine was definitely House Nation – and Bam Bam`s Give It To Me. I loved Acid House and still do today.
How long did you run The Project Club in San Antonio for? Why did you stop?
Only for one summer in 1987. The scene exploded in the UK. That’s why.
Were there any other English bars out there at the time?
Loads but different from ours, we had the music! (Laughs)
Would you be able to answer some questions about Amnesia and ecstasy? I don’t think that second summer of love would have happened without ecstasy.
That’s certainly true, ecstasy was massive part of the scene.
When I spoke to Alfredo he said that he would just have a huge pile of powder dumped by the decks…and when I spoke to Leo (Mas) he told me that the E would be in the drinks…Was there some kind of free spiked punch -like they used to do in the New York clubs? In my head, I’m wondering, if you were a British kid with no cash in say 86, 87, could you blag a free pass / comp into Amnesia and then drink free ecstasy-spiked punch?
You could blag your way in, but you had to buy the drinks. I knew most of the kids, and always got them in for free. I got over 70 people in free one night in Amnesia. That was funny!! In Ku they had a drink called Coco Loco that was spiked, so if you wanted to…But in Amnesia we were buying pills. They were about £25 each, and they were excellent!
When did you first start throwing parties at Zigi’s in Streatham? Were you living in south London at the time?
I can’t honestly remember, it think it 1984?…and yeah, I lived in South London.
Did Funhouse come before The Project Club?
Yes it did. The Funhouse started after Ibiza in 1985. The whole idea of the FunHouse was to play the Ibiza style of music to the UK crowd, but at that time it didn’t work – though we did keep trying for a few years. So, I was trying to bring that sound to the UK way before it kicked off in 1987. Rusty Egan and Steve Strange started a brilliant club, callled the Playground at the Lyceum, with Colin Favor and Eddie Richards DJing, and that was the nearest at the time to the sound that I wanted…and the Watson brothers, Noel and Maurice, with Delirium who were also playing the music that I was into.
How did the music played differ between the two parties?
Zigi’s was on the lines of soul, funk, rap, hip-hop, all the new music of the time, Balearic & House for The Project was Balearic and hosue.
Who DJed at Funhouse? Who DJed at The Project?
It was the same for both clubs: Myself, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, and Tony Wilson, plus guests.
Did Danny (Rampling) DJ at The Project Club, before the famous Ibiza trip?
I don’t think he did. He might of after I left.
Did Carl Cox supply the sound for both parties?
I supplied the decks at first, and Carl the speakers and amps. Then after a while Carl supplied all the sound.
How did you meet Carl?
I knew Carl way before I met Paul. It was through mutual friends, Gary Hicks and Ray Lock – we all lived in the same area. We played at a lot of parties at local venues and peoples homes.
I know that Carl also supplied the sound for Tony Wilson in the east end. Did you meet Tony through Carl – or was it vice versa?
No, I met Tony via our ex-girlfriends.
Did Jonathan Moore / Leftside Wobble DJ at The Project Club?
Not when I was there but he did after I left.
Was there any connection between The Project Club and Ben and Andy Boilerhouse?
Not at all, but we were all friends. The Funhouse played at a venue called Scarlett’s in Purley, and Boiler House also had a night there. We just shared the same venue.
When you came back from Ibiza in `87, how quickly did Future start?
I think it started in early 1988… I just played. Ian (St. Paul) and Paul ran it. I wasn’t involved in Future, or Spectrum, other than sometimes DJing.
(Left to right: Ian (St.) Paul, Paul Oakenfold, Trevor)
Who initially DJed there?
Paul Oakenfold, Nancy Noise, Lisa Loud, Terry Farley, and Tony Wilson. I only played when I was asked.
I know that you and Colin took Spectrum to Legends, in Manchester, most Mondays. What was that like?
Some great nights we had. I spoke to someone recently and they said that those nights are legendary in Manchester, so they must have been good.
Did ever DJ at the other Legends, in London, on Old Burlington Street?
Yes I did many of times.
Whose idea was the Balearic Beat compilation?
Pete Tong asked me to supply the tracks for the compilation. Pete wanted to call the comp, “Balearic Dance”, but I preferred Balearic Beat. So that’s how the term came about.
Was it you that chose the track-list?
Yes it was. I supplied 14 tracks and 8 were used.
Did the comp make any money?
I just got a fee, but to buy now the CD – in good condition – they are going for £40, and the vinyl from £35, up to £75!
I always thought that Rage was later, after Land Of Oz finished, but it ran at the same time, but on a Thursday, is that true?
Yes. Both were in Heaven. Oz was on Mondays and was running the same time they were just on different nights
Can you tell me anything more about Kevin Millins?
He’s a lovely man with great ideas. He’s also a very private person. But, I have just spoken to him, and he said watch this space.
How involved were in Rage? Were you organizing and DJing?
I worked every Thursday, with one my heroes, Colin Favor. We worked the main room at Rage for years. I helped a lot with organising the guest DJs. We had Frankie Knuckles, Frankie Bones, Lenny Dee, Westbam, and many more. Thank you! to Westbam and Marisa for getting me into Germany. I used to play in Berlin a lot in the late `80s, early `90s – playing Techno. One night I was working on a docked ship in Berlin, with all my Techno heroes, like Underground Resistance, Kevin Sanderson, Reece & Santonio, Blake Baxter, and Eddie Flashing Fawkles…What a night!!
How did you find Fabio and Grooverider?
Me and Colin played in the main room and Fabio and Groove Rider were brought in by Kevin.
Who were the other regular DJs?
Quite a few – off my head there was Dominic Spreadlove, my brother Rob, Matthew B, and many more. There were 3 rooms at Heaven.
How did the music policy differ from Land Of Oz?
Rage was more all genres: Me and Colin played, house, techno, italo, hip-house, acid, new beat, indie…and the Oz was more on the Balearic side.
When and why did Rage stop?
It stopped after I`d left. I think Kevin thought it had run its course.
What did you do next?
I was playing all over the world at the time, plusI got involved with a recording studio called 51st State. I was also running a label called Lingo Records in my downtime, and I was bringing in artists to produce and work with. One was called Pete Lazonby, who had given me a tape with a track one it was called The Charm. It became a big track! So, I did all the production on all the releases. I left after my father died, and things did not work out with my so-called friends at the time. Definitely a lesson learned.
Didn’t you also work for a few record labels as well?
Apart from my label, I worked for Champion Records, but I wasn’t really into working in the music industry in that way. I have done a few finder deals with labels. I prefer to DJ and create.
Right now, I`ve got three new releases, and will be staring a new label via Prime, watch this space.
Did you ever take a break from the scene, and DJing?
A few times, to reenergize, and to think about where I wanted to go with my music. I`ve always been an underground DJ, and always played new music. A lot of people associate me with Hardcore but that’s not the music, one bit. I was playing it in its infant days, but I was more into Detroit Techno. If I’m asked to do 1988 sets, Disco, Soul & Funk nights I can do them, but always try an introduce a new tracks to my set. So, watch out for a surprise at Campo Sancho. It’ll be my first time at the festival, and I’m really looking forward to it.
You stopped going to Ibiza in 94. What was it that made you stop going?
I never stopped going, I just stopped the clubbing side. Ibiza had changed a lot for me, also it became a lot more expensive and commercial. I preferred to stay in places where it was quieter. Or in and out in one day. Before the pandemic I was still going back at least once a year.
Following “the second summer of love” in 88, did the huge influx of English spoil the scene and clubs in Ibiza? In a lot of respects, did they seem to take over, and the place, maybe, lose its cosmopolitan and bohemian feel?
Things are always changing, and there is positive and negative side to everything, but my love for the island was changing.
Do you, did you, ever get cheesed off that others seem to get the bulk of the credit for kick-starting the second summer of love?
Not really, I didn’t get much credit, but for me it’s all about the music. So many people are trying to claim credit for a lot of things but if you know, you know. I’m getting work from it, so there is a positive side.
Would you be able to finish with 2 or 3 tunes that we might hear you play at Campo Sancho?
Ecstasy, Passion & Pain – Touch & Go (Joe Claussell Dub Mix)
Montana Sextet – Who Needs Enemies
…plus a few surprises, you can’t give too much away…To tell the truth I never actually know what I’ll will play until I get on the decks! I will check what’s going down on the day, and feel the vibe from there – but you can expect deep disco, some good house, and some fun tracks thrown in for good measure.
I must admit, I can’t wait for Campo Sancho. The weekend falls on my birthday and I didn’t get the chance to celebrate properly last year.
Campo Sanchez return for their 6th Festival. Taking place at Walkern Hall, near Stevenage, over the weekend of July 29th to the 31st, you can find out more here….and book tickets here.
One thought on “Interview / Trevor Fung / Balearic Beat Original”
Rob – Another great interview
Cant believe Playtime Toons – Shaker Song didnt get a mention as such a big record at the time