There are only a few veterans of Dance music that have the credentials like Terry Farley. Producing instrumental house tracks under various different guises and starting the seminal Fanzine, "Boys Own" with Steven Hall in the nineties, he is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the origins of deep house and early acid.
He continues to educate and curate younger minds, ensuring that the origins of our beloved scene are correctly remembered and the roots well celebrated. This July he returns to the Woods, bringing his unmissable selection of dancefloor bangers for Farr Festival 2018.
So hows things Terry? it's an honour to be able to speak with one of the original purveyors of House. For some of our "younger" readers, tell us a little about how it all started for you and some of your early inspirations?
So let's start at the beginning - there were DJ's who just played House late 86 / early 87 but I wasn't one of them. I had a great job warming up for 2 young DJ's Paul Oakenfold and Pete Tong at a night called The Raid which moved around town doing legal and illegal venues. I would play Reggae, 70's Funk, Jazz, NY Garage style stuff, Electro, party hip-hop and early House. The kids back then loved the eclectic styles and it was all about fusing them together.
Most, if not all, DJ's were record collectors, obsessive kids who spent more time than everyone else in record shops hunting down the latest Japanese jazz import or cut out 70's Rare groove track, you had to hunt down the music.
Back in the late 80's you are credited for bringing Acid/Balearic house to the ears of the masses in the UK. Tell us about some of the obstacles/hurdles that you had to overcome during that era?
As I said that was not me, bringing the Ibiza vibe back to the UK you have to look to DJ's Nancy Noise and Trevor Fung who invited the 'Balearic Beatles / Fab 4 ' to the island and the rest is history , what we did at Boys Own was to be the first people to talk about the scene at Amnesia / Glory's etc and the man who wrote that infamous 'Bermondsey goes Balearic ' article was Raid club DJ Paul Oakenfold.
What do you think has given House so much longevity over the years with so many generations falling in love with those repetitive four to the floor beats?
4 x 4 is the same stomping beat as Motown and Northern soul so its ingrained in British youth culture's DNA its what my parents and the HOUSE kids of today's Grandparents danced to ( and probably popped a few pills too) in the 1960's during the Mod scene.
You're known nowadays a scene curator and archivist, how important is it to maintain the integrity of the roots of House music and how do you go about curating a scene?
Like a tree once the roots die slowly or quickly the tree will fall down. Thankfully there seems to be a slow but sure realisation of the Gay and African American's who in the 70s and early 80s forged the Disco and House scenes in the major cities in the US. It's important to know where the things you love come from. I was recently in Tulum Mexico and chatted in a coffee shop with some twenty-something Americans from Detroit who despite a quick history lesson, they really couldn't grasp that techno wasn't from Ibiza but their hometown.
Over the decades you have gone under many aliases, what do you think has been the most successful/memorable?
The Roach motel partnership with Pete Heller was and remains my fave. Pete like me loved the early 90s NY scene and we tailor-made music for DJ's like Frankie Knuckles and Junior Vasquez who supported our music and help give us credibility back here in the UK. Pete Heller is an extremely talented music maker I wish he would do more new stuff.
Hows the last few been gig wise? What parties/Festivals have been the most memorable and why?
Shindig in Somerset recently was a wonderful festival a real mix of ages, classes and tribes. I'm very lucky to play for them at their 'Stardust stage. Alfresco was another cool festival I played recently and had a chance to go back in time and play a 70's Roots inspired Reggae set that was lovely and it seemed to really connect with the beautiful summer vibes
Its great to see you back at Farr Festival this year, it seems like you almost a resident there! What makes Farr Festival so special for you?
So happy that Farr sees me in that way, first time I was asked to play for Farr it was in a tiny tent and the atmosphere was insane. I think where promoters like Farr get it right is they see an eclectic musical route as the way forward. You won't get stages full of Ket vest tech house DJ's playing one after another, you will find the DJ's have a freedom to play what and how they want. The crowd is super friendly and very open to hearing music that perhaps they would not find naturally. Gilles Peterson played the Boys own stage a few years back and mixed up Cuban 1970's Jazz with 90s' rave and House classics with Hip-Hop, Gilles, in my opinion, is the definition of a club icon.
Have you got any memorable stories from any of the Farr parties you can (or allowed) to share with us?
Well, I'm only just recovering from doing my back in at last years Farr. At my age, I guess attempting 18 hrs of partying was a silly decision especially considering my footwear choice. I ended up being laid under one of those wooden tiny huts in absolute pain while Young Marco was playing 'last Xmas ' it was quite surreal. However, 99% of my memories of Farr are of a 'smiley not Snidey ' culture amongst the dancers and we expect nothing less this year.
If you could relive one night that you had had in your illustrious career as a deejay, what would it be and why?
I finally got asked to play 'YELLOW ' in Tokyo a club whose history is legendary and I was terrified of fucking up and embarrassing myself in a booth that people like Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and FK had graced. Thankfully the people running the club and the crowd were wonderful and that spirit saw me through the 4 hrs. I really did feel the spirits of the DJ's who had come before me there. As we drove back to my hotel around 7 am across Tokyo's Rainbow bridge a massive 'rising sun ' was shining down and I felt that this is as good as it gets.
At the start of this year you CYMON ECKEL relaunched Boys own with a new website and merchandise, what made you do this and what are your future plans?
We found internet bootleggers were selling our old T-shirts at silly prices and decided to stop this by filling the demand ourselves. Our old crowd ( mostly the 1988 original crowd ) also love a good party and enjoy hearing new music as much as the classics we have had DJ's like Dixon, Lil Louis, Frankie Knuckles ( rip ) and Honey Dijon rock our nights since we came back a few years ago , I think House is a cultural thing like Jazz, reggae or hip-hop it belongs to everyone, not just the kids going out weekly it a 'generations of House ' culture nowadays.
If you had the chance to change or introduce a law in the UK to help the millennial generation, what would it be and why?
I would legalise weed, never been a smoker myself but come on every generation smokes weed and its a waste of police resources chasing people, as one Tory minister said this week 'the war has been lost ' in the fight against marijuana. It's also very important to bring in drug testing at festivals and clubs, we can and we should be protecting not prosecuting.
As a footie fan, what are your predictions for this world cup?
The World Cup where do you start, I’m missing the Italians as a Chelsea match goer we have a connection with them and no World Cup should not have Italy. Who will win it? Germany and Argentina both look average and Brazil look poor, but stick a cockle on Croatia as an outside bet and c’mon England!
You're stuck on a desert island with a solar-powered iPod that can only hold 5 tracks, what would these 5 tracks be and why?
John Coltrane - Nature Boy one of my fave Nat Cole standards, would be perfect for sunsets
Nelson and Elkin - Jibaro, The Ibiza classic, a 1970's Spanish rock record that has made every generation of Ibizan clubbers go wild since Alfredo started playing it in the mid-80s
Barbra Streisand - Don't rain on my parade - everything about this record is amazing, perhaps most House DJ's don't have Babs obsessions but i do
James Carr - These ain't Raindrops, imagine this playing as a tropical storm hit the island.
Alton Ellis - I'm still in love, Studio 1 is Jamaica's greatest ever record label and this is one of its jewels
Catch Terry Farley x Daren Nunes x Stuart Patterson B2B at Farr Festival on July 7th at the Ma Dahu's - Boys Own stage between 7:30 pm to 11.30 pm
Tickets still available here