Trevor Fung on Ibiza, the Balearic Sound and Kickstarting London’s Acid House Revolution

From the DJ History archives: the veteran DJ looks back on his journey from soul-boy beginnings to a fabled trip to the island that changed British club culture forever

Trevor Fung Courtesy of Trevor Fung

Everyone knows how dance music conquered the UK. In late August 1987, Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, Danny Rampling and Nicky Holloway took a lads’ holiday to Ibiza. While there, they discovered eclectic sounds, blissed-out dancefloors and DJs such as Alfredo and Jose Padilla. Inspired, they went home and immediately started such fabled clubs as Spectrum, Shoom and the Trip. The rest is history.

DJ History

The only thing wrong with this commonly cited version of events is that another likely Londoner had got there considerably before them and was, in fact, responsible for inviting them to the island in the first place.

Trevor Fung’s story is one of 1980s soul weekenders, pioneering club nights and months of sun-soaked hedonism. In a conversation with Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, he looks back on Ibiza’s days as the cosmopolitan playground of jet-set European dancers and British resort workers, the freewheeling aesthetic of island venues such as Es Paradis and Ku, how the scene reached its eventual corporate tipping point and his own role in changing the face of UK music culture.

How did you get started as a DJ?

Steve Walsh was doing his big Monday Soul Night Out with Tony Blackburn. I’d met him and I started playing in Slough [in Berkshire]…I was like his warm-up disc jockey.

What was the thing in Slough?

Don’t know. It wasn’t a club – it was like a big hall. I’d been up there quite a few times… We’d go up there, like three coach loads from London, and then one day this massive fight broke out with people throwing bottles. I ducked behind the DJ stand. Don’t know what they were fighting about…It was like this Slough/South London thing. We got on the coach, they smashed up the coach, put all the windows through…that’s how I met Paul Oakenfold. I was going to Slough on the coach and he sat next to us and started talking. I was probably 18 at the time.

What was he doing then?

He was a chef. He’d never played music in his life. He came up, quiet guy, [I] started talking to him and it went from there. He was always asking me these questions. “What’s this? Where do you get the records from? How’s this?” He didn’t know fuck all about the music, but he wanted to know. I didn’t know he wanted to get into the business. All I knew was that he was a chef and he used to come to all these gigs. I started doing these spots at a place in Dartford [in Kent].

Flicks [nightclub]?

I started getting some guest work up there with Colin Hudd, Jeff Young, Pete Tong, stuff like that.

So, this was the proper soul scene? Was it predominantly white?

Yes. Very white, very dressy, brilliant crowd. The more you came into London, the more it was mixed, and the more you went into the suburbs, the more white. I started getting involved in the soul boy thing. I was going up to the Hill Top [in West Kingsdown], going up to Dartford, [the Lacy Lady in Ilford]. Oakenfold used to drive us to these places. We used to make him, and in the worst car I’ve ever seen in my life. It was his dad’s, a brown Austin Maxi. “Quick, get out, don’t let anyone see us!”

Was it the same crowd that you’d see at all these places?

Yeah, it was quite mixed. We had a really good crowd and, to tell you the truth, a lot of us are still together now, we’ve been through the whole club scene. You know, we’d meet people all the time, I was always out there talking, networking.

It was electric. I wasn’t even doing drugs. I didn’t even know what drugs were at that time.

Was it obvious that some people were happy with the status quo and others weren’t?

I think so. I think what it was in those days, there was a core of people, and to get in there you had to break into that core. It wasn’t the only way. There was another way, but we’ll come on to that in a sec. I was going to things like Caister [Soul Weekender in Norfolk], and I wanted to get on to things like these gigs, but there was no way. I couldn’t get in because of the usual suspects, [like] Chris Hill. It got really stale. Same old music, you know, I could do those old things as well, but at the things we did, I’d always put forward new music.

So, if you played at Flicks, what would you be playing? Would you playing newer things there?

No, it was only at things that we started to do.

And you were doing them because of the limitations elsewhere?

Yeah. I thought if I can’t beat them, join them. So, what we used to do was put on these gigs at Scamps in Croydon. We used to hire it once a month on a Wednesday, and we used to book everyone: Hilly, Robbie Vincent, Jeff Young, Pete Tong. Also, some other guys who used to work with us on the gigs, a guy called Tony Thorpe.

Moody Boys?

Yeah, and a guy called Mick McGuire. He used to work for Greyhound distribution – he worked at a record shop in Croydon, and he now works in Japan playing techno. So, by booking them, they started to return the favor. That’s how it works, isn’t it? And I was telling Paul all of this–

Was he DJing by now?

No, but we used to go round his house and play records. One day we said, “Shall we do something?” We started doing some little bars and parties. From there, we found this little gay club in Streatham – didn’t even know it was there, lived there for a good seven years before I found this place – it’s underneath a pub, great little place, holds about 350, dark, really dingy, with a stage. It was like a gay cabaret place. I met the guy, asked him for every Friday. He said yeah. It was called Ziggy’s at the time – terrible name, but we just didn’t think of a name, so we went with that.

So, you called it Ziggy’s too?

Yeah, and we started putting on our nights every Friday. Packed solid, me and Paul, and we had a warm-up guy called Carl Cox. We had that place for seven years, from about ’81 to ’89. We changed the name twice. It went from Ziggy’s to the Funhouse to Project. Same place.

What were the name changes to do with?

By that time, I’d started traveling. I’d gone out to Ibiza in 1980 and ’81 – I went out there every year, consistently from 1979 to 1994. There was lots of different kinds of music, because, at the time, we was playing soul, jazz and booking people like Pete Tong, but then the Funhouse thing was about putting on different things and trying to play different types of music.

Project was when we were slowly bringing in hip-hop. Paul, at the time, he’d started working for Def Jam. He’d get acts over to the UK. He’d bring acts on to Westwood’s show and afterwards he’d come down to see us. We had loads of people down there. Marshall Jefferson, Darryl Pandy, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys. What we used to do at that time was shut at 2 AM, get everybody out and down a little side alley. Then, half an hour later, we used to re-open and go on until five or six in the morning.

This went on for years. Some nights, we wouldn’t even work and Carl would play for about five hours. But Carl used to love it – he couldn’t get enough of it. He used to come up from Brighton, set up the soundsystem, take it down and go home. I swear, we only gave him about 30 quid, and then it went up to about £50. I remember doing an interview once, a long time ago, and they said, “Who do you think is your up-and-coming DJ?” and I always said Carl Cox.

OK. So, tell me why you went the first time to Ibiza.

I was working in the travel business. I got a free holiday with Club 18-30 so, I went over there on a Club 18-30 holiday, and I had the wildest time. Loved it. I loved it because it was the first time I’d been down to the Café Del Mar, the first time I’d been to some of these clubs.

What was Café del Mar like in 1979?

It was just a little bar. It wasn’t done up. There was hardly anything around it then. It wasn’t like it is now. It was the only bar there. There were no flats, so everybody would just sit there at sunset and listen to the music, including the locals. Before Alfredo, there used to be this guy called Carlos. I didn’t meet him that year, I met him later.

So, Carlos played at Café del Mar?

No, I’m talking about Ibiza generally, and Carlos is before Alfredo and José [Padilla]. Brilliant disc jockey. He used to play all the indie stuff – I didn’t know it was indie, I thought it came from the States. At the time, I thought, “Where the fuck did he get all this stuff?” What I used to do was bring him stuff that he used to buy from me, and I used to look through his records, asking, “Where did you get this from?” Then I looked at the labels and it was all English stuff – it was from Leeds and places like that.

Carlos was brilliant. He was the first disc jockey who really changed my views on the way music was played.

Do you remember what kind of records?

I’m talking about things like Japan… Not Japan, I knew them, but more indie stuff. I thought, “What the fuck’s going on here?” It was the way he played it. He had a really good style. He was the first disc jockey who really changed my views on the way music was played.

Where did he play?

Es Paradis in San Antonio. Es Paradis, at that time, was amazing – nothing like it is now. San Antonio was not like that at the time.

Describe Es Paradis.

You’d go in there and it was mainly Scandinavian holidaymakers, Swedish, Danish, then Germans. The English market was small then, maybe 10-15%, maybe even less. There were more English workers than holidaymakers. It was mainly Scandis. That’s why he used to play that kind of music.

What was the capacity?

About 1,500. It was outside and inside. They used to put these fountains on every night. OK, so you walk into this place and all you see is fucking gorgeous women, and it’s not full of Spanish guys, because they were all working. Es Paradis was one of the biggest clubs at that time. There was Es Paradis, Pacha and [Glory’s]. So, you’ve got this guy, Carlos, playing all these different kinds of music, things like Jellybean [Benitez] mixes, a bit of Madonna, a real mishmash…lot of American pop stuff remixed by Benitez. It just seemed and sounded different, probably because of the atmosphere. It was electric. I wasn’t even doing drugs. I didn’t even know what drugs were at that time.

Did it look like people were doing drugs there?

Well, when I think about it now, yeah. It was wild. I loved it in there. It was a combination of the people, the music and the atmosphere. Everyone was dancing all over the place. It was like a coliseum, so everyone danced on the steps, and at the end of the night they put on the fountains, which came out of the middle, so everyone in the center got absolutely soaked. They used to do it every night in those days.

How did you meet Carlos?

Just going up and talking to him. I used to go and pick up some sounds in the UK and take them to him.

Was this from the first trip?

No, it was gradually.

So, were you going over for two weeks at a time?

No, I’d go for like five days. I’d go for weekends. Anytime I could get out, I’d go.

So you went more than once a year?

Oh yeah, I’d be going out there three or four times a year.

Did you wangle it free through work?

I used to get flights for £15. I was earning quite a lot of money at the time, because I was working during the day and at night. Sometimes, I wouldn’t go at the weekend – I’d go out Tuesday and come back Friday. Didn’t make any difference to me. Every night was a weekend out there, anyway. You couldn’t tell whether it was Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Actually, weekends were the worst, because [the holidaymakers] would change over. During the week, everyone’s settled down.

Do you remember Carlos’s last name?

No, but I could get it. Carlos is one of the best Ibizan disc jockeys ever, without doubt. [Carlos] is where Alfredo got it from, that style of playing.

What was it about these guys that grabbed you?

Well, a lot of these guys who lived on the mainland would go to Barcelona and Madrid, so they’d be working in clubs [there]. It was a different concept. Pacha was unbelievable. Even though I’d be going to Ibiza, I hadn’t been to Pacha until my third or fourth year in. I never even touched that, because I thought, “Why do I need to go all that way when I’m having such fun [at Es Paradis]?” I was quite young as well, and it was a lot older at Pacha, so I think the music…because they’d been working in these other venues [in places like Barcelona and Madrid], they’d got better shops and they’d had time to prepare and know the music. Because they were working with different nationalities, they had to do it in a way where they pleased everybody.

It was like a coliseum, so everyone danced on the steps, and at the end of the night they put on the fountains, so everyone in the center got absolutely soaked.

So, in a way, the dancefloor’s cosmopolitanism shaped the music?

Exactly, but I liked that. It was a big difference between doing that abroad and doing that in England. That’s what the Funhouse was about. We set it up in ’84 trying to do that. It just failed miserably.

When you did that, did you inject any other things – such as decor, for example – to try and get it to work?

I was trying to, but people were just like, “What the fuck are you doing?”

Do you remember any of the records you played that bombed?

I can’t remember, but I’ve got that stuff at home, so I can look it up. This is way before it took off. It just never happened. It failed miserably. Also, a lot of the people hadn’t been to Ibiza, so they didn’t get the experience of it.

How early did you see the rich, jet-set party side of things on Ibiza?

Later…much later.

Were you aware that it existed?

I wasn’t clueless, but I didn’t need it. I knew it was there.

Was Pacha where they hung out?

There was Pacha, there was Glory’s. Glory’s used to be in between Amnesia and the end of that road, before the roundabout. I think it’s a car showroom now. That used to be the after-hours club where everybody would go from all the other places. That’s where you used to see the people mashed. They were the two best clubs, and Es Paradis, too.

When did you first go to Pacha?

In 1983. I’d decided that the music was going really well in the club, jacked my job in and wanted to go and stay in Ibiza. I went over in April, stayed there and came back in November. I met loads of people. I was actually going with my cousin Ian Paul.

Ian St. Paul?

Dunno what he put the “St” in there for…I was supposed to go with Ian, but he bottled out the day before. I thought, “Fuck that, I’m not hanging round for no one.” At the time, there was loads of rare groove [in London] and I was bored of it and wanted to do something different. I met up with Carlos, and he started giving me little jobs in bars…I met loads of Spanish people, just little jobs here and there.

Did you speak Spanish?

No, not really. I met a good bunch of English people who had bars; I was doing loads of stuff with them. Just hung out for the summer. I used to fly back every month, go and see my good old pals like Johnny Walker, Mike Sefton, pick up loads of tunes and then I’d sort all the DJs out on the island. The two little guys at Pacha, I used to sort them all out – ten copies of one record.

Must’ve been good for your standing among the other DJs.

Of course. I never used to give it to them, I used to charge them. Whatever was left, I took down to the local record shop.

Were you hustling for gigs out there?

No, not really. The reason why I went that year was because I worked for a guy at a place called Fred & Ginger’s on Old Burlington Street, opposite Legends. Two Belgian guys, it was. They bought Amnesia [in 1984]. I went to play in there. There was no one in there – dead. I played there for about two weeks. It had just been bought and they’d just got it going. It didn’t happen – lost my job, so I went back to England and did some temping.

What was Pacha like the first time you went there?

It was unbelievable. It was richer, much older people. Really glamorous – all models, mainly. You could tell that people were just flying in for the weekend, then flying out again on Monday. Drinks were really expensive. I was really young then. I didn’t have money to enjoy myself. I was just dancing, hanging round the DJ booth.

How was the music, compared to Es Paradis?

Completely different. Nothing like Es Paradis. It was pure dance music – quite forward. What I’ll always remember about Pacha, before it started to change, a lot of it was quite tribally, a lot of drum music.

George Kranz – Din Daa Daa

Stuff like George Kranz?

Yeah, like that. In the old days, the girls that used to dance with the guys, there’d be about seven of them and they’d all be dressed up to the nines. I’d be there with my eyes hanging out.

And the DJs were these two little guys?

Yeah, two guys from Madrid. There was another one that joined them from Barcelona. I used to go to Ku as well. That used to be amazing in the early days, before it had the roof on it. A lot of the clubs were amazing before the roofs went on. I think it was about 1990 when that happened.

[Ku] was like a massive playground. It was completely wild. People jumping in the pool, doing anything, anywhere, anytime. There weren’t any restrictions. Completely different type of people, though, which is why I think the behavior was different. It wasn’t aggressive. It was all fun.

It used to amaze me that in Ku there’d be 5,000 people. In Es Paradis there’d be 1,500 people and in Pacha you’d have a couple of thousand but, fuck me, you’d never see anyone during the day. Where did they all come from?! You’d turn up at Ku and the car park would be packed solid, the club would be packed solid. It was brilliant. I’ve seen Roxy Music playing there. James Brown. Visage.

After that year, I came back. That’s when I started to do the Funhouse, which we did around London… [We were] still doing the Friday night, with more hip-hop stuff. When I got back, everything started to come together. I started playing at Caister. All of a sudden, you come back refreshed and it’s happening. I was doing a lot of things with Nicky Holloway.

What was your first experience of ecstasy?


So, you’d been going quite a while before you realized?

Well, this is a funny story. I used to go and play this board game with this guy [I knew]…really friendly guy. Knew him really well, knew him for years. I used to go and see him all the time. People would come and see him, and he’d say, “I’ll be back, one minute.” One day in 1986, he says, “Hey Trev, do you want some of this?” I looked at it and said, “What’s this?” He said, “Ecstasy.” He gave me some and said, “Here, try it…” Well, that was it! [That guy] went on to buy a club.

When you’d done it, did you realize, retrospectively, what had been going on in these clubs?

Definitely. Everything came into the picture. I remember when I went to the Paradise Garage. I was only 17 at the time. Me, Oaky and Paul. We was in the Garage at 1 AM. Where is everyone? Three AM. Where is everyone?! Went to buy a drink: “No, we don’t serve alcohol.” What the fuck’s going in this place? Hung around a bit more and everyone started piling in, and then everything just went BANG! And then it clicked: They’re all on drugs, the whole bloody lot of ’em!

How gay was Ibiza?

It was mainly gay.


Gay, mainly.

You said you met Alfredo through Carlos...

I met him when I was selling records. I met Alfredo when I was with Carlos. He used to look up to Carlos. But then everybody did. He was the disc jockey. And I could see where Alfredo got that from, I could see where that influence came from.

So, Carlos was the granddaddy of that style?

Oh yeah. Carlos left in ’85. He went to work at a place called Tito’s Palace in Mallorca. He was there for about three years, then he left and I lost touch with him. I’d love to find him. I’ve got some friends who live in Mallorca who used to see him and they don’t see him no more. I tell you what, top disc jockey. He was the one.

Better than Alfredo?

Well, Alfredo didn’t come on to the scene until ’87, really.

Did Alfredo rip Carlos’s style off, though?

No. He was bringing his own style to it.

So, you can’t take it away from Alfredo, then?

I wasn’t doing that. I was just saying that’s where he got the influence from. In 1987, I went over to work again. I thought, “Right, if I’m going to go over to Spain, I need to do something or have something.” So, we rented a bar in San Antonio, me and my cousin.

What about gangsters in Ibiza?

I think there was that stuff, but you’re talking about bigger clubs. With Ku that was definitely some kind of…money. Es Paradis was privately owned and Pacha was. But Ku, definitely. I know that for a fact. I used to know people who used to go there and buy coke over the bar with a credit card. God’s honest truth – and the card was bent! The thing is they knew it was bent, too, but they knew the banks would pay it out. The guy would come round and say, “Meet me in the toilet, I’ll sort you out.” Without a doubt! Everyone on the way back to England would pop into Ku Club, get a couple of t-shirts and fuck off back to England. It was the norm, everyone knew it!

Anyway, your bar...

We rented this bar and called it the Project Club. We changed the name of the club in Streatham at the same time. The Project Club in San Antonio was already a club downstairs, but we rented the upstairs bar. We set up the soundsystem. We were just playing music and selling drinks. We used to be packed every single night. We weren’t just packed in the bar, it was packed in the street, too. Slowly we’d meet people in the clubs, and we started selling their t-shirts – Ku, Pacha – we started selling their tickets, so people would come to us. We had the tickets, we had the t-shirts, we had everything.

Were you the only Brits doing this?

No, there were loads. There was a community there. That was a good thing.

Was it still mainly non-Brits?

It had started to change. More and more workers from England. In ’87 [it was] about 30-40% Brits, but a lot of working Brits there. I was playing all the Chicago stuff mixed in with Prince, because that Sign “O” The Times album had just come out, but it wasn’t to do with the music in that bar, it was to do with the people. In the crowd, there was Nancy Noise, a young worker, and Lisa Loud. Loads of people used to come over and see us. We had a brilliant time. It was a fantastic summer. That was when Amnesia started to kick in. The music from Amnesia is imprinted in my head. It’s like I know Alfredo’s set from start to finish. I know it…I know what he’s going to play after this song, I know what he’s going to play after that one. I’ve got a few of his tapes from this period. I could copy them. I know [them] off by heart…but it worked. Even though you knew what he was playing, it was brilliant.

Frankie Knuckles - Your Love

What did he do that was different to Carlos?

I think he was a lot more dancey. The house thing was completely different. When you hear something like Frankie Knuckles’ “Your Love,” fucking hell. Just the beginning bit, everyone on E… God almighty, everyone used to go mad to that record. It was a mixture of things – being out there, listening to the music, and, you’ve got to remember that a lot of the people out there were [people who were working there]. I think Ibiza mainly started with the working people.

Amnesia finished quite late, didn’t it?

Yeah. We used to finish at three or four o’clock. By the time we’d get out, it would be four and we’d go down there. It used to go on till 12 [PM]. That was when the modern Ibiza started. The old Ibiza – which I knew but not a lot did – that went…That’s when it first started hitting the British scene.

Reflecting upon it now, what’s happened subsequently, do you think we ruined it?

Not necessarily. I don’t think it’s the Brits’ fault. I think it’s the Spanish’s fault for being too greedy. I don’t think you blame the English – they’re gonna want that experience. I think what’s really fucked it up is that it’s too damn expensive.

But didn’t they do that intentionally, to try to cull numbers?

They knew people would take it.

So, it’s a double-edged sword for you, really, because ’87 kicked it off, but also helped kill it, too?

Yeah, it is sad in a way. 1995 was the first year I’d not been. I’ve seen it slowly change. In a way, I was part of making that happen, though.

How did the fabled quartet end up coming over then?

What happened was, it was someone’s birthday… not sure whose, I think it was Paul [Oakenfold]. Paul had come over earlier in the season, but he didn’t like it and went back. Anyway, he rang us up again and said he wanted to come out and he wanted to bring Nicky [Holloway], Johnny [Walker] and Danny [Rampling]. We found them a place to stay. I said, “You’ve gotta come over and see the place, it’s going mental!”

Had you told them about Es?

Not to Danny or the others, but to Paul.

Were you going back to England at all?

Yeah, backwards and forwards all the time.

So you’d had a chance to see the whole combination working in Ibiza, of house music and drugs?

Down in London there was only a few places playing it, Eddie Richards, Colin Faver and Mark Moore, and Jazzy M was selling it. But over there, yeah, it was kicking off. When they came over, I took them to the bar. And they were like, “Fucking hell… can’t believe this,” which I think was more to do with the staleness in the [London] scene at the time. Then we went to Amnesia. “Fucking hell!” We were all off on one there. Danny Rampling skipping round the room and jumping on speakers. Chaos. Wish I had pictures, they’d be worth something now.

What was Nicky doing?

I don’t remember seeing Nicky much that night, but Johnny... Johnny was sitting in a speaker. Danny was jumping up and down. Paul was like, “I can’t fucking believe this, it’s changed since I last came here!”

And did you say, “Do you want to try one of these?”

Oh, yeah, I’d given them all one at the bar. I didn’t want to say too much, I just said, “Try this, it don’t do too much to you.” [Laughs] That was it…came back to England and started to do things with Paul.

When you came back, didn’t you try and replicate the Ibiza vibe in Streatham?

We were doing that, but it wasn’t the same type of vibe. It was the music. It was okay, but a lot of our crowd there was out in Ibiza as well.

So, it was starting to work?

Yeah, but it was different still.

How or when did someone bring Es into the country for the first time?

Straightaway. Not from Ibiza, from Holland. I know someone who supplied.

How long did it take you to get something together?

Not long at all. At the time, I used to go and see Colin Faver, he was playing at Delirium on a Thursday at Heaven and they were thinking of stopping. They offered us [the place] next door, the Soundshaft. Spectrum started after Christmas.

How involved were you in Spectrum? Or was it Paul’s baby?

Nothing to do with Paul. It was Ian Paul’s club. Ian ran Future as well. Paul was only doing the music side of it.

Where were you?

I was doing music.

Is it true you brought Alfredo over to the Project Club?


How did that go?

It went really well, but it was small, very small. We did it a few times. It wasn’t the same atmosphere as, say, Spectrum or Future. It was more local.

The club owner at Heaven came to us, and we said, “We want to do something straightaway.”

What was the night where there was a decent supply of Es in a club in London?

We’d tried to get in this club and it had fallen through. And we all went up to [a place called] Babylon something [at Heaven]… Anyway, this guy had a load of Es lined up, but we didn’t have a party booked, so we had to go to someone else’s. It was quite funny seeing these kids like this. I thought, “I don’t think London’s ever seen this before!” All the gays in the club going, “What the fuck?!”

Heaven was the ideal place for us to start [Spectrum and Future], because it was a gay club. We’d mustered up about 250 people from the summer, said we were gonna put on a party and then it fell through. So, instead of putting it off, we went to Heaven… Brilliant night. Everyone dancing funny. The club owner came to us, and we said, “We want to do something straightaway.” The next week we were doing Future. So, Thursday became Future and Monday was Spectrum. I worked with Kevin Millins at Rage, which opened at the same time.

The story Oakenfold tells is it wasn’t that good for the first few weeks.

No, it wasn’t. It was slow, but then a month later you couldn’t get in there. We had kids coming from everywhere.

How had they found about it?

Word of mouth. You see, all the [Ibiza] workers, they’d come from everywhere: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds. They’d get people together and they’d come down. At the time, we had a lot of northerners. They weren’t all London kids. It grew from a core of about 200 and expanded from there.

Danny Rampling said you gave Shoom its name.

Yeah. There was a friend of mine from Wolverhampton who always used to say it, and I picked it up from him.

What was the difference between Shoom and Spectrum?

Smaller and more select. You know Heaven… just trying to get 1,500 people through that door on a Monday, you can’t afford to pick and choose. I did like Shoom. I did the first ever one there. That bloody smoke machine! Then Nicky did the Trip, and he really took it to the masses then – Saturday night.

Was it easy to find those Balearic tunes?

Well, there were a couple of Spanish things that were hard to find, but I got hold of them. There was another James Brown-sounding thing… Enzo something. That was really hard to find. That’s when Pete Tong came up and asked me to do the Balearic Beats album.

Do you think Alfredo’s something of a forgotten figure in dance music, given what a massive influence he’s had on UK club culture?

I think he is, but it was the Brits that made it happen.

Yes, but Paul Oakenfold lives in a mansion in LA and Alfredo is living in obscurity. It’s about context.

No, I agree with you. Most people like him never are remembered. To tell you the truth, I thought I was the catalyst for a lot of this stuff… the to-ing and fro-ing and so on, keeping it going, trying to make it work.

Looking back, what would you describe as the thing you brought?

Well, the reason I went out there in the first place was because I thought it was too stuffy… the clubs, the people, the music. With Ibiza, it’s changed people’s ideas of clubbing – to certain extremes, admittedly – but it’s changed the way you go out and the way you enjoy yourself.

So, what’s the bad thing?

Too many drugs – out of control. Drugs are for enjoying yourself at the club. It was mad back then, though. I was doing Energy, Sunrise, all of those. I was doing five gigs on a Friday, six on a Saturday. I remember going home to see my mum and she said, “Trev, you don’t do any of these drugs and play music to these crazed people do you?” “No, come on mum, don’t be so stupid.” Anyway, at that same time there was a newsflash and they were talking about acid house and they scanned in on the disc jockey, and I’m standing there DJing!

Did she see you?

Course she did!

Did you feel a little bit proud to see all of this happening?

I didn’t really look at it like that, but I was glad to see it there. It was a shame to see Ibiza go the way it did, but then I liked Ibiza the way it was. Mixed feelings. I go two or three times to Ibiza each year and I play with Paul at the closing party at Pacha, which I’ve been doing for the last four years. I do my deep house thing and then he does his trance thing.

What was it like doing those outdoor parties?


Kariya - Let Me Love You For Tonight (Original House Club 12" Mix)

What were the more memorable ones?

Sunrise, in Oxfordshire. Brilliant. 20,000 people. I’d done about four gigs and I got down there, and I was coming on at 7:30 in the morning. I remember standing there, with three juggernauts, two with speakers either side of the one in the middle with mixing desks and decks. I went all the way round and I remember that feeling of putting on the first record. I stopped all the music. I put on Kariya’s “Let Me Love You For Tonight.” You’d think people would be dying at that time in the morning, but everyone just went mental. Brilliant moment. I know how rock stars feel now. There was some bad times, too. When all the gangsters and the serious drugs came into it, it killed it.

There must have been gangsters in it before, dealing drugs in clubs and so on?

Yeah, but on a different level, though. I remember I was doing Energy in West London, I think it was, and I’m walking in and there are people going, “Es, Es, do you want Es?” Fuck that, it ain’t nice. It’s always gonna happen.

I used to get gigs, and there’d be plastic bags full of money on the floor and they’d go, “Just go and help yourself.” Seriously! Then there’d be other times, and I’d go, “Look, I need to get off, I’ve got another gig. Just need to pick up my money,” and there’d be a big bouncer there, and he’d pull his jacket aside to show me his gun. And I’d go, “Just tell him I need the money, alright?” That was at Linford Studios.

Then, there was this other one I did in Ripon, north of Leeds – big outdoor thing, and I had to do another gig in Hull straight afterwards. I stuck a record on and the promoter came up to me and said, “Listen, everyone’s turned him down, but we need to put this act on now.”

I said, “Who is it?”

“It’s Orville and Keith Harris.” So, I played two records, went to the office, collected £700 and drove over to Hull for the next gig!

This interview was conducted in February 2005 in London. ©

By Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton on January 11, 2019

On a different note