Wickerman Festival 2009 - DJ Danny Rampling interview
Burning down the house
This article is from 2009.
Scotland’s alternative festival, Wickerman, has a particularly strong dance line-up this year. Henry Northmore talks to one of the acts, DJing legend Danny Rampling
It might not be on the same scale as T in the Park or Rock Ness but the Wickerman is happily striding forth into its eighth year as an alternative to the many big buck corporate festivals. Wickerman aims to create a friendly atmosphere and a good time vibe without ever neglecting the music. This year’s line-up on the main stage includes The Zutons, The Human League, Idlewild and Billy Bragg alongside a strong dance showing from the likes of Candi Staton, Utah Saints, Drums of Death and Dreadzone.
There’s also a dedicated Axis Reggae Tent, and a Jungle Boogie outdoor stage with Manchester’s Funkademia; the Gash DJs and Seele Dub head the For No Reason Mess Tent; the Skiddle ‘Showcase Skirmish’ dance tent features a DJ set from Hot Chip, Sonny Wharton and James Ryan while Lot 49 host tech-funk and breakbeat with Lee Combs, Meat Katie, Dylan Rhythms and Elite Force (for full details see www.wickerdance.com).
One of the DJ highlights is the legendary Danny Rampling.‘I’ve always loved more intimate festivals,’ says Rampling. ‘That’s where I really shine. I like having that connection with an audience; I perform better in those kind of arenas.’
Rampling was among the vanguard of DJs who brought house to the UK for the first time, having discovered early dance beats while on holiday in Ibiza in 1987 along with his friends Paul Oakenfold and Nick Holloway. ‘What we experienced in Ibiza filled us with inspiration and a massive desire to transport that experience back to the UK which is what we did.’ Together they founded the massively influential Shoom club in London, one of the first house clubs in Britain. ‘Let’s not forget, back then there was no power of the internet with the flow of information. It was a very word of mouth culture. I think that’s what made it so special actually.’
Rampling was at the top of his game from 1987 onwards but announced his retirement from DJing in 2005. ‘I got into my 40s and I needed to stop in order to make a significant change in my life, and it lead to a great deal of other opportunities, but also for my own personal development. It’s really strengthened my own character. I learned many different things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do when I was on the road.’
However, after his retirement, Rampling missed the music too much and he returned to the decks in 2007 with a new attitude – now far more selective and only taking on gigs that genuinely interest him.
Alongside a ‘party house’ and a ‘classics’ set, Rampling will be hosting a workshop for young aspiring DJs (places are limited to 50 and you must be under 18 – please email email@example.com for more info). ‘It’s about sharing your experience and skills with others when you reach a certain level of professionalism,’ says Rampling. ‘I think it’s an absolute crime to not share that with people who are interested in a given industry. I find it very, very satisfying and rewarding and at the same time I’m learning things that I didn’t know and that’s the power of teaching.’
The Wickerman Festival, Dundrennan, Kirkcudbright, Fri 24 & Sat 25 Jul.