UK House legend Terry Farley recalls the genius of his friend and long-time collaborator Andrew Weatherall
An acid house original, Terry Farley grew up in the Windsor area, west of London, and in the 1980s befriended a local lad called Andrew Weatherall.
Both were into music and clothes, although wildly different music genres to start with — Terry was a soul boy, while Andrew was more of an alternative indie kid. They played a few DJ sets together in the mid-80s, but by the time acid house came along they were united by the power of this revolutionary new youth movement and sound.
Both were co-founders of Boy’s Own, initially chiefly a football fanzine that embraced more and more music coverage as it went along and became highly influential in the nascent London house music scene. While Terry went on to produce and remix Liverpool band The Farm in 1990 and inject them with a dance element, Andrew worked with Paul Oakenfold on the club remix of ‘Hallelujah’ by the Happy Mondays before remixing ‘Loaded’ by Primal Scream into an acid house anthem in excelsis. Weatherall went on to produce Primal Scream’s award-winning ‘Screamadelica’ album while Farley teamed up with Pete Heller to become a house music production powerhouse.
The pair veered off in wildly different
musical directions as the ‘90s progressed. After their Boy’s Own Recordings, Terry started the Junior Boy’s Own label that helped bring the music world Underworld, Black Science Orchestra and the Chemical Brothers. He’s produced numerous house music tracks, DJ’d all over the world, and is now part of the Faith collective that runs club-nights and publishes its own music magazine. Andrew, meanwhile, began groundbreaking projects such as Sabres Of Paradise, Two Lone Swordsmen, the Rotters Golf Club label, and generally became an underground dance music national treasure.
Terry and Andrew remained firm friends right up to Andrew’s untimely passing in February 2020. This is the first time Terry has talked publicly in-depth about his great friend, as the memories were too raw before.
Hey Terry, can you remember where and when you first met Andrew?
“I’m pretty sure it was either in a Windsor clothes shop called Cassidy’s that sold really sharp designer clobber — kind of like a Browns South Molton Street of Berkshire; Johnny Rocka, a mutual friend, worked there and it was a hangout on Saturday afternoons — or a pub a few doors down from Cassidy’s called The Adam & Eve, which was a cool boozer full of trendy Windsor futurist kids in long coats and ripped 501s. Andy held court in there with some lovely young ladies sporting early Bananarama-style haircuts.”
Was it music or football you bonded over first of all?
“Andrew never went to a football match willingly in his life, it was never a subject of debate. He had a charm and obsession with records that bonded us early doors. He was best pals and flat-mate with Cymon Eckel, another of the Boy’s Own founders.”
You had quite different musical influences initially didn’t you, is that fair to say?
“Yeah, I was a black music snob while he was very eclectic, into loads of early Factory and mad electronic stuff. We both loved China Crisis though.”
You were more of a rare groove man, Andrew was more indie… but Andrew went to funk & soul weekenders, didn’t he?
“We dragged him along, it was a laugh. We would do blues and drink beer while taking the piss out of the pyramid builders. He had a Joe Strummer mohican haircut done especially for one Caister [soul weekender], which definitely provoked the wedge-headed soul patrols.”
How did it work when you used to DJ together in the early days, pre-acid house?
“We only played a handful of gigs, we didn’t last long before being nudged off the decks by the clubs’ residents alarmed at Schooly D being badly mixed into Lou Reed. At one gig he started his set with the theme tune to sixties war film 633 Squadron and wedged the club’s smoke machine into full throttle. I think I remember a rather well-known soul DJ demanding our exit while shouting, ‘This ain’t soul…’.”
Why did you start the Boy’s Own fanzine?
“For a laugh, for something to do, and as a mouthpiece for what we loved and hated.”
As more and more music crept into its pages, it became quite influential didn’t it?
“Once acid house had kicked in, very influential… although I’m sure we made up half the names of records that didn’t exist.”
How come you started going to, and then playing at, Shoom?
“Gary ‘Acieeed’ Haisman dragged me down there early ’88. Nobody went south of the river unless you already lived there, even the taxi journey across Blackfriars Bridge seemed novel. When we pulled up the streets were deserted and pitch-black, except for a blue strobe-light escaping onto the pavement from the gym which Shoom first called home.”
What was the best part of playing at those early acid house nights like Spectrum and The Trip and all that?
WHO IS THIS KID & WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE RECORDS? BY BRIAN SWEENEY
“The fact that everyone was on E and you literally could play any record you loved and everyone would love it as well. There were no rules — the DJs and the dancers made up the rules as they went along. That open-mindedness was perfect for Andrew’s eclectic taste, plus the fact I had loads of soul/disco and funk records with the word ‘Ecstasy’ in them. The most common thing was E’d up sweating kids coming up absolutely sure that Curtis Mayfield or Barry White knew all about MDMA when they wrote this song.”
Boy’s Own was initially a bit of a tribute to The End, the Farm’s fanzine, but how did you end up working with the Liverpool lads?
“Yes, 100% — they printed a couple of my rather daft letters, ha ha. I think it was [vocalist Peter] Hooton who asked me to remix ‘Stepping Stone’. The first time we met I rocked up at the studio they was in wearing Lee dungarees and red Converse, and they took the piss. The original ‘Stepping Stone’ was a house track that was about 128bpm. I somehow convinced them that ‘House was over’, so let’s slow it down… I was both wrong and right.”
While you produced and remixed The Farm, Andrew started reworking Primal Scream. What did you think when you first heard Andrew’s remix of ‘Loaded’?
“I had a Thursday night residency at Future (with Nancy Noise), and one week Andrew was guest and played a fresh acetate of ‘Loaded’ — it was rather spiritual and emotional. Everyone was so made up that one of our pals had actually made a record so fantastic. The kids were screaming for that tune.”
After the success of ‘Screamadelica’, Andrew went on to do the Sabres Of Paradise group, the Sabresonic club-night, to get into techno and so on — did you still stay good pals throughout the ‘90s?
“We were always pals but the ’90s was super-busy for Pete [Heller] and myself work-wise, and to be honest I didn’t like European techno so never frequented the clubs he played — still don’t much, if I’m honest. So I never went to many of the same parties, we had a very different musical path.”
What were your favourite projects that he did?
“The two Bocca Juniors records we did together (with Pete Heller and Hugo Nicolson) are still faves, and obviously Andrew’s version of LB Bad’s ‘New Age Of Faith’ — the ‘Smokebelch II’ original — is wonderful, but ‘Weekender’ by Flowered Up (a band we at Boy’s Own adored and who were very close to all of us) and St Etienne’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ are peak Balearic Andrew.”
He became quite a sartorial gentlemen as the years went by, didn’t he? Why did clobber — what you wore — remain important for you both as the years went by?
“He was always a fashion bod from the word go, it was important in the era we grew up in. You could get a kicking for wearing the wrong trousers or jacket. I remember an amazing Beastie Boys logo he drew on my wife’s leather jacket when we all went to the first tour they did in the UK. He was always sharp, always very artistic and open to music and ideas. Clobber and music is eternal — they go together perfectly. I love the idea of telling someone’s musical taste by the shoes they wear.”
It was tragic when he was taken from us before his time. When was the last time you saw Andrew?
“Probably a couple of months earlier at Love Vinyl records in East London. He had actually bought a Boy’s Own bag from Dave Jarvis at the shop. I tried to give him his dough back but he laughed.”
What are your fondest memories of Andrew, and what is his legacy?
“Oh, playing the Style Council’s ‘Shout To The Top’ at 3am in a Boy’s Own warehouse party, with the crowd getting it totally — he was in complete control of the situation. It was a complete 180-degree U-turn from days when nobody, apart from our lot, really got what was going on. Also, when Jenni and Danny [Rampling] got him to play at a Shoom On The Farm party with loads of industry bods off their faces, who were like ‘Who’s this kid and what the fuck are these records?’ It was the night that I believe opened the doors — and his eyes — to what he could achieve.”
Words: Carl Loben
Photographs: Brian Sweeney –
Paninaro would like to thank Terry for his company and also to Robin Matt and Carl, at Heavenly, for letting us use The Social for our shoot.