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MOONBOOTS : PAID IN TAPAS & OTHER TALES

by Phil Thornton

 

For any Swine reader who doesnt know who DJ legend, Richard Moonboots is, let his myspace page allow you to form some kind of impression of the man:

Moonboots interests :

Balearic beats, cricket, Scandinavian design, Barbour jackets, Liverpool FC, fine wine, sea food, the rather fine English countryside, Metro maps of the world, beard growth, German orthopaedic footwear, Roberts Radios, Moleskin notepads, meat, Nordic crime, literature, cheesecake, photography, expensive socks, my daily Sudoku.

Our kind of lad then!

Moon has been at the forefront of the British and international Balearic scene since the early 90s and he and DJ partner, Jason Boardmans Sunday evening Aficionado night has been going strong for nigh on nine years now. Swine met up with Moon in a charming Lymm alehouse and asked him to give us life story in easy to digest sound nuggets. This was his reply.

When I was growing up I was into the usual kind of shit; The Cure, Bunnymen, The Smiths, Japan, even Simple Minds to a lesser extent which is kind of weird because in the Balearic world these are the kind of records people are being played as like lost Balearic classics. I was a total kind of indie rock kid, went to college, hung out with different people who were more into Stu Allen, hip hop and house that kind of thing. Didnt really get it but used to go to this place in Charnock Richard called the Park or something and theyd play early house stuff and people would jazz dance in spats and Id think this is fucking shit but Id go just to get pissed.

Then some kid decided wed go to Manchester, to the Hacienda which I assumed would be exactly the same. So we all dressed up in brogues and bad shirts and kecks and got totally knocked back so we tried again the next week, it was Wednesday and we wore slightly different clobber and we got in. That was the first time I felt I was in a club not a disco, I havent got a fucking clue who the Djs were, it wasnt Da Silva or Pickering or anyone like that but the music was great, made you look at things differently and we started going to the Hac quite a lot after that, usually Fridays and Saturdays when it was mostly house music. Still didnt get it, still didnt make any sense to me at all.

88 came, the Hot thing started, people starting waving their hands around, I was still coming to get pissed, still didnt get it. Went on a great pissed up blokes type holiday, came back and stood looking out onto the dance floor. Before we went away there were 15 people waving their arms around, two weeks later when we got back, there were 500 people waving their hands around. We were just like what the fuck is this? We still didnt get it.

Then I did an E, which was bizarre because I was totally anti-drugs at the time they were ridiculously expensive. We put twelve and half quid in each and half each. Bingo! Im not saying the music made any sense but the people waving their arms around did. I didnt do another E for about six months after that. The thing had happened, it had changed so there was no point carrying on doing loads of drugs, til later on when I could afford it.

The Hot thing, everyone thinks it was just an acid house night but it wasnt because (Jon) Da Silva at the time was one of the greatest Djs in the world and Da Silva was Balearic. Hed never admit to being Balearic but wed go early doors and Jon would do his warm up and it was fucking outstanding man. Hed play these really weird dubbed out reggae things and sound effects and slow disco things. Jon was incredibly Balearic. I mean no-one would play disco records at the time but Jon would make a disco record sound like a house record. At the time youd just think thats just another house record but listening back to tapes Ive got you think fucking hell, I cant believe he played that in the middle of a house set but he mixed it all in incredibly well,

The thing that interested me most wasnt the house stuff but the weird records that pushed me more down that Balearic route. Mike Pickering would just be plying banging acid records, Chicago, Detroit thing but wed queue up to get in. Once I was right at the front of the queue, sat there for an hour and half waiting to get it just so I could hear Da Silva play fucking Summer Rain Fall in the first five minutes, which is this BBC Sound Effects thing, just the sound of rain pouring down. Incredible! I think it was the tablet that changed things because before that I never danced but then I discovered if I had this little tablet, I was funky as fuck. It did open your mind to what was out there, whether you were into hip hop, black music or rock music or vice versa.

Then I started shopping at Eastern Bloc records buying acid house, early Detroit stuff but Justin Robertson was working there and he was always trying to give me things that were a bit wonkier, a bit more leftfield-y. Id tip off Justin about things and hed tip me off about things and we both moved along in that Balearic direction together. Then he started Spice which was a Sunday strictly Balearic membership, very semi-Boys Own wannabe. I went to every one and its been mythologized and loads of people say they were there. You werent fucking there! You had to have a membership card, it was Sunday and I knew virtually all the members, so anyone who says they were there, no you werent! (apart from the ones who were. Ed) It was crap! There were about thirty of us standing around with white jeans on.

I wasnt Djing at the time, it was just Justin and Greg (Fenton). Justin was a bit more London, Boys Own lead, hed play Weatherall mixes of any old shit because it was Weatherall whereas Greg would play records hed have or found himself and fit it around that kind of sound. After Spice finished, Justin did Most Excellent and Greg did Glitterbaby and I did the lights at both. I just used to do an E and stand there next to the strobe machine and when there was a breakdown, Id press the light that made the most light and then put the strobe back on. I got ten pound a night for that but all the way through this Ive got 1000s of records which are quite rare in that kinda scene.

Obviously Id take records to parties but didnt have a clue how to DJ. I knew how records sounded but how to make em sound alright together, I was absolutely terrible. Then there was a thing called HPs which was after Most Excellent and that was my first proper DJ gig. I was absolutely shit Im sure, but people danced. It was all kind of dubby On-U Sound stuff but dreadfully put together. I didnt think I had a particular talent but I was obsessed with putting things together and 20 years on I still cant really mix that well but at the time, thats what people did and its what I wanted to do. With time I realised that if youve got enough good records, you dont need to mix them all together.

Then I got Justins job at Eastern Bloc and when you work in a record shop, people think youre a DJ anyway. People would come into the shop and go do you wanna play here? do you wanna do here? They could put E Bloc on their flyers and I got a lot more DJ work just because I worked in in a record shop but even then I was playing records from beginning to end. The way Eastern Bloc was designed with the big long counter opposite the doors, wed stand behind the counter and look at people coming in and go look at that cunt before theyd even got to the counter. We were horrible, really really nasty, fucking arrogant pigs to people. It didnt help that you were out caning it on a Friday night and then going to work on Saturday, fucking snorting wizz downstairs to keep you awake on a Saturday afternoon. We were horrible but wed get away with it because there were so many people in there, it was like Zulu man. People thought that if you worked there, you had some level of coolness that would bring something to their party, til they actually heard you DJ!

I was guesting all over the place and I did do one residency at the World in Warrington. Kelvin Andrews was promoting it and it was a the time when the Idjut Boys and all that dubby disco stuff was coming out and thats what they wanted. It was alright but I got sacked in the end because they wanted stuff like Carl Cox and I was like Jesus! This isnt what I want to be doing so in 98 me and Jason (Boardman) decided to do our own night on a Thursday at a place called Aqua which used to be an American theme sports bar with tellys everywhere and a vast open space. We used to get paid in tapas and free beer but it was quite good because we got about 40 good people coming down every Thursday. They had a giant Jenga puzzle and wed put albums on and play jenga. We fucked it off after a bit and decided to start it up again on a Sunday as a kind of homage to Spice at a place called Zumbar opposite the BBC studio, We got paid in pizza there. Well play for food! It was absolutely heaving and the decks and the mixer were in a build it console you could just take out, no slip mats or anything. We were a bit snooty I suppose, calling it Aficionado and playing original records, no bootlegs, remixes or re-edits, just original vinyl copies. Its kinda dropped off a bit since then but if you played a re-issue you had to wear the sleeve on your head all the way through.

We didnt try to make out we were a cool night at all, it was if you wanna come and play then youve got to play original records. I didnt care if youre playing Detroit techno or electro or whatever just dont play any bootlegs, re-issues or compilations. And it worked straight away, I was absolutely fucking amazed that it was a Sunday and people still wanted to go out. I mean there was nothing on a Sunday happening at the time. We never charged to get in, it was always free. Weve always had to rely on the bar take to make any money which is alright because we know a lot of drinkers. Weve had loads of different venues for it and we also took a year off because wed been doing it every fucking Sunday for about 7 years and you begin to lose interest in it because you start taking the same records and playing them in the same order. Since weve started it again at Odders which is the same place as ZumBar, were doing monthly which makes it more of an event. The good thing is we can play things that people will hate on first listening and then after 8 weeks or so, theyll be jumping around to it. When I first played The Chaplin Band (Il Veliero) record which was about 3 years ago now and its a long fucking record, people walked out of the bar at first but if you keep on playing something and force feed it, hopefully people will understand.

Next month Moonboots on fly fashion, flags of the world and fencing for fuckwits.

For all information on Moonboots and his many and varied interests check out

www.myspace/com/bocamoonia.

 

 

 

             

 

    

 

   

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 


 

 

 
   
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