Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Koh Phangan Interview with Mr & Mrs Danny Rampling

This season on Koh Phangan I was lucky enough to interview one of the original Kings of UK House Music, DJ Danny Rampling.  Back on Koh Phangan after a long hiatus - Danny Rampling was last seen on our island shores in the late 1990s.  It was a pleasure to welcome this ever youthful DJ icon back to Koh Phangan.  

Rampling & Rampling Phanganist.com interview
'Uplifting House with soul & spirit, whatever the genre, music that lifts the spirits rather than dull, downbeat, moody music: The world & life for many has enough problems & when we go clubbing it's an escape through music, a celebration of life.
'  Danny Rampling                
Showing testament to his youth and vitality all these years later is the young, beautiful, newly-wed wife on his arm, Ilona Rampling.  They had just spent their month-long honeymoon on the Thai island of Koh Chang, near the Cambodian border, which after Koh Phangan is one of our favourite islands in Thailand. 

Koh Chang is still as jungle clad as Koh Phangan, with the same stunning white beaches and azure ocean; still relatively undeveloped, it reminds us of Samui and Phangan as they were 15yrs ago.  Pablo and I spent a few months there ourselves over the last few seasons.  We even sent my brother Tim to Koh Chang, knowing he would love it. 

Even the die-hard Koh Samui boys have forsaken their over-developed first love of an island, my brother for the charms of Koh Chang… but I'm still a Koh Phangan girl at heart, even with the many changes we've all seen over the last two decades.

Idyllic island life on Koh Chang
Idyllic island life on Koh Chang
Koh Phangan still holds a timeless appeal for many, whereas Koh Samui has become too developed for us, with traffic jams and constant building on the once idyllic palm-lined ring road.  Part of the pleasure was always to drive around Samui, feeling the wind in our hair as we traversed this island of a million coconut palms...  Now getting caught up in snarling traffic jams is anathema to those of us who remember 'the good old days'. 

Koh Phangan, on the other hand, is still a pleasure to visit, and 'kindred spirits' Danny and Ilona - Rampling & Rampling - were in agreement with this statement, as you can read in the Phanganist interview linked here.

Haad Rin Queen ferry from Samui to Phangan
I've met Danny Rampling on the Thai islands before: 18yrs ago on the Haad Rin Queen! He'd just played the Backyard - an infamous set broadcast on Radio 1: 'Danny Rampling, Live At The BackYard' - which Pablo listened to and recorded, would you believe.  He's still got the tape in the attic somewhere. 

I've promised Mr Rampling I will try and dig it out this summer and get it down into mp3 format - blast from the past, or what?

And then my gorgeous friend Mark tagged me and Pablo with him in this recent Back Yard pic from 2013… a few weeks later when I took a proper look, imagine my surprise - if it wasn't only Mr Danny Rampling in the background, in green khaki hat.

Back Yard Koh Phangan
"Still got the same hat", says Tess! 
Rampling and Rampling interview
Well I never. How's that for a neat circle?

What I love about Danny's interview is that here is someone who remembers Back Yard Dave.  We all loved Back Yard Dave!  He played music that sent our souls soaring!!  (I'm hoping to collect all the old stories, and to write about the formative Koh Phangan music scene characters, Marc London included).  

Also, Danny's description of the BackYard is a classic, and still stands today, twenty years after any of us remember dancing our hearts out here for the first time, all those years ago: 
Artwork by Colin G Thomason
"The club was a free state of hedonism that would go on from night to late the next afternoon, evening... perched on the top of the hill overlooking the ocean; music, colourful backpackers and party people, partying hard, loving the music for hours... until the last man standing!"  Danny Rampling

Photo via @ Phanganist.com
What I loved about the interview with Ilona was her life philosophy: 
"Better to regret something you did do than something you didn’t!" 

With no further ado, here is the DJ Golden Couple's Phanganist.com's interview: