Placid is part of the furniture in the UK acid scene. He’s been in the room since 1988 and behind the decks at some of the most iconic raves of the nineties. Now he’s a resident DJ on the touring ‘I Love Acid’ club night, regularly sharing setlists with Paranoid London and Luke Vibert. Always on the hunt for rare wax, he also runs the We’re Going Deep record label and Facebook page, where a cult community keeps the hunt for white label gems alive. With the third instalment of We’re Going Deep’s V/A compilation series about to drop, I spoke to the man himself about warehouse raves, curating new releases, and the changes in rave culture since the nineties.
We started at the beginning; childhood and formative records. He tells me, “I have never been into bands and real people playing real instruments,” Hip-hop was what piqued his interest at first, “Mainly due to my older brother liking it.” By the time he was seventeen, he had discovered Acid House. “I loved the music but was not really immersing myself in the clubland experience. I looked very young, so I struggled to get into ‘proper’ clubs when I was seventeen.” Luckily his mates had good taste, “A friend of mine had the House Hallucinates LP, which we used to listen to all the time… That was the foundation on which my taste in music was formed.”
One year later, he was finally dipping his toe in the club scene, “It was 1989 when I started going out properly. I used to go to The Fridge in Brixton as well as a night called Boiler House in Kingston, where I lived at the time,” But that wasn’t enough for him, “clubs were only open until two, so the big warehouse parties were the places to if you wanted to rave later.” So a young Placid found himself upcountry, at spots like the Santa Pod Drag Racing Track. “I’ll never forget hearing Definition of a Track, KC Flight, 28th Street Crew, the fairground and the carefree attitude of the people who frequented it.”
Thirty-three years later, Placid has had enough experience in the scene to run his own label. We’re Going Deep periodically curates a small selection of new music, a lot of which comes from contacts made through his Facebook page, “I try to have a balance on each EP and not too heavily packed with one specific sub-genre. The criteria is something that I can’t really put my finger on. It’s just a gut feeling I have when I listen to a track.”
WGD-001 and WGD-002 sold out, and 003 is close on the horizon, “I’ve been getting lots of positive feedback for 003, so I’m really looking forward to that being in the shops. People always tell me they have different favourites, which is exactly what I want.” The 12” features Moy, Rekab, Garrett David, and Moody Waters.
Placid’s also already got his sights set on 004, but delays on the pressing of 003 means we won’t see an official announcement until at least late June. “I will be keeping the V/A format as it seems to be working quite well… [although] I will also be releasing some solo artist 12s, but it's too early to divulge that information.” WGD is yet to release any solo records, so it’ll be interesting to see who gets the debut release. Earlier WGDs have featured heavy hitters like Posthuman, Placid’s co-resident at I Love Acid.
Now that COVID restrictions are winding down, “I Love Acid is back across the country using me, Luke Vibert, Jon Dasilva and of course Posthuman as residents.” Their 2021 tour kicks off at Kitchen St, Liverpool, on July 25th, and Placid will be appearing at a resident’s night at Pickle Factory, London, on August 14th alongside Luke Vibert and Posthuman.
On getting back in the club, I asked if he’d seen any significant changes in the culture since he started back in ‘88. “Phones have really been my main bugbear. I’m guilty of using one myself to take a short video, or a photographer on the night taking some shots for the night to use. Still, the whole hoards of people all around the decks directing the phones at the DJ is too much. Club nights and music should be an immersive experience, losing yourself in a speaker. If you’re viewing it all through a phone, you’re not really getting it.”
Also, the drugs being used in raves have also seen a shift, perhaps for the worst. “Not condoning their use, but the drugs currently on the go aren’t geared up for having a good time. They’re not giving you an enormous sense of well-being, making music sound brilliant, vocals as if they’re speaking straight to you and feelings of togetherness; they’re doing the opposite. I’m possibly slightly out of the loop on what current synthetic drugs have to offer but, when I’m out and about, I miss seeing people walking around smiling. I do see lots of totally wasted people who don't look like they're having a great time.”
To cap things off, we looked at the state of finding new music in 2021. Obviously, in-person digging has been a no-go, “I wish I could take a risk on a white-label, but I don’t think I’ve been to a record shop in over a year. Sad, I know.” Luckily, Placid’s got his community of diggers online, “I find loads through the group and mail outs from the online sellers who generally send you lists of records they think you’ll be into.”
One thing Placid thinks the online community can improve on, something for which there’s a lot of sympathy in comment sections everywhere, is uploading mixes without IDing tracks. “If people want to find good music, why make it more difficult for them? Why not provide tracklists with mixes and support artists and labels with sales?”
WGD-003 is on pre-order at Phonica Records. The We’re Going Deep Facebook page can be found here. Catch Placid at the Pickle Factory on August 14th, and check out the I Love Acid tour dates at iheartacid.com.