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Peach is back and it’s just as juicy! Graham Gold gets put in the hot seat

Reported by mostwantedkat / Submitted 19-03-07 12:03

In 1993, in a small bar in London, a phenomenon was born. It wasn’t hyped up in the papers, it wasn’t advertised in the magazines. It didn’t take the forums by fire, quite simply because there weren’t any back then. But bit by bit, clubber by clubber, word of mouth took over until there was a global storm raging. And only one word was blowing in the wind — Peach.

Breaking the likes of Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, the Flash Brothers and Abel Ramos into the UK, Peach took over first Legends, then the decadent Café de Paris, went underground at the Leisure Lounge before returning to the forefront of clubland at the immense Camden Palace. Selling out from the very first night they opened their doors and repeating the feat every single week, over the course of 12 glorious years Peach was the benchmark for truly passionate clubbing. With a music policy that embraced everything as long as it was the very best, the Peachy Ravers as they became known were treated week in, week out to set after set after set that absolutely blew the roof off.

Steering this giant Peach into the realms of clubbing legend was a dance music icon in his own right. Graham Gold, the one-time Kiss motormouth, was the driving passion behind the whole party. His boundless enthusiasm, uncontained energy and sheer love of the dance floor and all those on it to this day remains completely unstoppable. He bought in DJs that he believed in, pushed music that he loved and created a place where clubbers from London, the UK and all around the world came to call home.

Now Peach is back and it’s taking on the most iconic club in the whole of London — Heaven. With three massive rooms, a sound system that is unsurpassed and a 6am license and air conditioning throughout the whole venue, it is completely unrivalled in the capital. But Heaven has that ‘something more’, the same something that Peach had. There’s an air, a feel, a vibe that you can’t quite put your finger on but something that welcomes you inside for the night of your life. In short, the daddy of all nights is back at the mother of all clubs — and London, you know that it’s going to be one hell of a love affair.

We caught up with Graham Gold at his home in Brighton and got the lowdown on what’s going on with him, Peach and the whole juicy shebang.

Graham Gold get his music on

So Graham, Peach is back! How does that make you feel?

How do you think!! Brilliant!! It was always the best night ever, and our new home at Heaven is so perfect.

What should clubbers expect from Peach this time round? Do you think it will be able to encapsulate the feel of the original night?

Well more variation musically for a start as we have three rooms to play with. I have been very thorough on line ups and once again, we will be bringing DJs for the first time to London. And yes I honestly do think it will have the same buzz, if not better, as it has been missed for quite some time.

Obviously Peach was an absolute clubbing phenomenon and a London institution. The Peachy Ravers say that it was more like a family than a club. Are there any particular family members that you’re looking forward to meeting up with again?

It certainly was that, and I am not going to single out any particular ones, cos that would be unfair. That said, I have seen the posts by so many of the original crowd, that they will all be welcomed with open arms. And again, I will be on the door for a while to make sure that happens!

Peachy Ravers in full on action

Your new venue is Heaven, which is iconic in the capital in its own right. How did the partnership come about?

Basically I was approached by Lee Bridle, who is himself a bit of an institution on the scene and is responsible for the Pure Sessions Friday night branding at the club. A guy who owns bars in the Midlands heard about the fact that the Peach brand was available, and it all just happened. Thankfully he is prepared to invest and I have zero doubt that we pull it off big time. Originally it was going to be just four parties but then monthly came up from June onwards so….

Actually with the exception of October, when we may do another Peach Goes To Amsterdam or something like that — or it may even be a big boat party — we’re not so sure yet. But as our legendary birthdays fall in September, it would be nice to do something different for that month anyway!

What qualities does Heaven as a venue bring to the Peach party?

Well, as I said before, three rooms is a huge plus. Also it is a tried and tested venue, and I was always at Digweed’s Bedrock nights, so I know how it feels to party in there. The management there are also really good and the club has a perfect lay out, and even a vibe when no-one is in it. Unlike Camden, it really does look great with the lights on!!

You’ve got Johan Gielen, Tilman Uhrmacher, John O’Callaghan, the SoulAvengerz, Darren Pearce from JDS and of course your good self headlining. That’s a pretty diverse line-up! What is your music policy from the night and why do you think that these particular acts will work together?

The first three you mention and me of course play the main room which will be trance, and JDS and Soul Avengerz head up Room 2 for house and breaks. So that will be one big difference to our days at Camden, where the night started housey and prog then breaks then trance, which you got all in one room. The reason for house is that a lot of the original Peach crowd have got older obviously and musical tastes mellow. By not having a room that was totally dedicated to that genre, we maybe have alienated them and I didn’t wanna take that risk.

What do you look for in a Peach headliner?

Obviously a name that people recognise, which sadly seems to happen now mainly cos of their productions, and we all know that great producers don’t always make great DJs. So, it’s people I know deliver and deliver what I want them too, which is conducive to giving people the best night out ever…. Every time!

If you could sell Peach to someone that hadn’t been before, what would be your pitch?

50p a pound!! LOL! Peach was a club that ran longer than every other major brand on a weekly basis — no-one went 12 years every Friday! (And also bear in mind we weren’t a Saturday night brand which is surely easier anyway.) We achieved this success not by advertising in all the major music mags (so missed out on constant editorial). It’s success was achieved on its merits, which basically was the total dedication of all the resident DJs to constantly embrace and push new music, and take risks in their sets — sadly something so many residents just don’t do. And the dedication of its clubbers was more than any brand could ever hope for: you only have to go back to the forums and read what clubbers said who came from places like Sheffield and Birmingham. Come and experience a night where the hype wasn’t bought — it was genuine!

You were responsible for breaking some of the biggest artists into the UK, including Tiesto and Ferry Corsten. Who’s catching your eye this time round that you’d like to introduce us to?

Well I am gonna add Armin, The Flash Brothers and Abel Ramos to that list too cos Peach was also the first club they played in the UK!!! This time there is even more choice, so we have locked down Aly & Fila, Bobina and Mike Shiver to name a few until towards the end of the year, and I am not letting any other promoters know what’s up my sleeve!! I obviously wanted to use Ben every month as I truly believe he has the talent and attitude to make it as big as anyone out there, but he does play The Gallery and that is obviously important for his profile, so he is playing twice a year. The huge difference this time is that we can have more than one guest, which was always a problem when Kiss owned the brand — sometimes we didn’t have a guest at all — which actually makes its success even more amazing I guess!!

Johan Gielen

If you could have anyone to play at Peach, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

God! Chris Hill, who is alive by the way, as he was the very first superstar God-like DJ, though musically he’s died on his arse! But if he was into trance then…. I think it would be amazing! And Larry Levan, just cos I never went to Paradise Garage. I could have said the obvious but they have all played anyway!

Obviously the first time round the night was owned by Kiss. Is there any involvement with them this time?

No, thank God! Ok that wasn’t meant to be derogative honest, it’s just they put so many constraints on the brand, and never allowed it to be the global thing it could have easily become. But when they launched it at Legends back in 1993, there was a 100 per cent total commitment from them, and it obviously made my name too. But that was the Kiss of old, when it was only about the music.

You’re also running a Peach night at Zap in Brighton. How do you think that will go?

We had our launch night on Friday and it was excellent I hear. I was booked for Russia a long time ago, so couldn’t make it, but we have teamed up with Russell from the old Euphoria promotions, who was the original Hard South promoter there, and he is just awesome. Plus we are using the best local talent in Brighton by way of DJ Drummer, DJ 75, Coxy and Just le Funk. We launched with Mark Sherry from Public Domain who made his Brighton debut, and we have lots more exclusives every month. The Zap is the number one choice in Brighton for the proper clubber — no chavs and you never get fights!

Who’ve you got playing at the next one?

Well me, me, me, me, me! Hahahaha! Aly & Fila make their UK debut there ahead of playing London in June and Ben Gold.

What are your plans for Peach as a brand? Where do you want to take it and how do you think it will translate outside of London?

We wanna take it out of the UK and have the wheels in motion for this, but this can’t happen till next year really. We need to be totally out there and have the brand back on the map of today. Obviously different cities reflect a difference musically so it will be cities where we know a trance crowd is ready for us. But look out for Peach Sundae launching in Ealing weekly on err, a Sunday! Nice play on words I think! Should see that happening near the end of April.

Graham in action at Pacha

The first night at Heaven is obviously going to be a big reunion night with lots of the original party goers. How do you plan to keep them coming back for more once the initial buzz about Peach being back is over?

Because even when were weekly, there was a huge buzz every week. Fact — the clubbers counted down the days and hours to the next Friday. OK we are in different times I agree, so it will be attention to detail this time, the little things we have planned on each night. As well as, of course, the best music that creates the best atmosphere-and you can never have enough of that!

What have you got going on personally outside of Peach? How’s the music going?

Well I won’t lie. The last three years have been the hardest in my career, but I never got given any of the success I previously enjoyed. I worked my arse off to make it happen, even back in the soul and pirate days of the 80s. I have been up there three times, and when it slips you can blame bad luck for some it. This time it was a combination of things — Peach closing, Kiss rebranding and dumping most of its specialist DJs. And me being a dickhead who never saw the whole producer thing taking over from how most of us got there in the first place — by being what I hope people perceived us as — really good DJs who were/are passionate about their music.

So to come to the question, I have had my own studio now for two years. I always worked with an engineer before cos I didn’t think I could ever learn it, but when you have to, you do it!! I have help finishing off the tracks, like JOOF comes round and helps with the EQs (cos my ears are pretty fucked in the top frequencies now!!). Or Adam White will say I need to add this or that, or Ben (my son Ben Gold) will just say it’s shit and I start again! And I do play quite a bit abroad anyway, I’ve been monthly resident at Slinky… so I was still around, just not as before.

Tillman Urhmacher

Your list of radio shows is immense, but it mainly seems to be broadcast outside the UK. Do you have any plans to get back into mainstream UK radio?

Since the breakfast show went on Kiss, I haven’t done mainstream radio anyway now for 15 years! But I do want to live FM again badly, I just haven’t had the time to really make that happen. I did have an idea for a show on Heart, believe it or not, which sadly didn’t quite happen — but who knows! But so many people said I was a natural at it, so I would hate to think those days are gone for ever. I love radio! Syndicating the shows abroad obviously helps with an international profile.

You’ve been in this industry for so long now, so you must have an excellent perspective of the state of dance music as a whole. What do you think of the scene at the moment? Is there anything you’d like to see happening?

Well it has been my total life for sure. It just constantly evolves doesn’t it? Or goes round in circle depending on how you judge it. Obviously the whole electro thing has put house back in the mainstream, so goodbye R&B for another few years! Thank God!

That said I still play a lot of my soul records from the 80s but that was when soul was soul! I don’t think electro will last for too much longer, but it has paved the way for dirtier house to have a bigger look in. Look at what Jo Mills, Kate Lawler, Miss Deckstress and Lizzie Curious are playing. Jo particularly has been championing it for quite some time. And isn’t it great to see those great house classics reworked by people like Seamus Haji and Emmanuel. Or Dennis The Menace and Joey Ropero. And with acts like the Soul Avengerz (whose Dirty parties at Pacha, London, I always go to if I am not working), Hoxton Whores and The Freemasons making awesome uplifting funky house.

The one thing I would love to see and have said it for the last 12 years, is that wouldn’t it great to go back to ‘92–‘95 before house was broken down into genres. When you went to a club and heard Underworld ‘Rez’, JC001, The Disco Evangelists ‘De Niro’, Robin S, Glam, Direkt, all in one night in one club. That was what happened at Peach and the other great clubs of the day. It was an ethos that we carried on at Peach all the way through. A night that built, as I said at the beginning of this interview.

Where do you think you’ll be in the next ten years?

I have lots of ideas where I wanna be — if just one of them happens, I will be a happy bunny! I have always said this is the best job in the world, and to be in it, you have to sacrifice almost everything else to make it happen. And that’s what I will keep doing! It might not be here — at least I know I do wanna be based in the sunshine — I need the sun!!

You’re renowned for your endless energy and passion! Do you think it’s actually possible for you to stop doing what you do?

No! I hate it when people say at this age you gotta stop this, at that age you gotta stop that. If you still love what you do, people still wanna hear and you never lose that passion for hearing and wanting to play new music, and still get ecited when you walk into a club, why should you stop. As long as you deliver!!

Thanks a lot Graham, we’ll see you at Peach!

Photos courtesy of Graham Gold. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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Other Features By mostwantedkat:
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Graham Gold says Cor, it's Fijneman
Darren Tate's Perfect World
Save the Birch for Knowwhere
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: steelo kuchiki on 19th Mar 2007 12:31.11
big up the balconies

From: Traxx on 19th Mar 2007 12:45.10
Can't make it, i have exams the next day... Frown

Have fun!

From: JC-TAKTIKAL on 19th Mar 2007 12:47.09
take your keys and mobile phones out of your pockets! yes yes

From: steelo kuchiki on 19th Mar 2007 13:45.24
what time is graham gold on?

From: Gordon Darley on 19th Mar 2007 15:08.27
Peachy, Peachy....

Looking forward to this immensely, long overdue return for a night that sparked a passion in so many people. [/blub]

From: Pandora S-K on 19th Mar 2007 16:30.44
"Looking forward to this immensely, long overdue return for a night that sparked a passion in so many people"

Couldnt have put it better myself Gorden!

From: dave_irvine on 19th Mar 2007 16:32.29
Yes Graham, legend!
Big up security, looking forward to the 30th. If you look really closely at he pic of peachyravers you can see a younger mr irvine haviong the time of his life ha ha. Ah the memories!

From: Gordon Darley on 19th Mar 2007 16:41.00

From: dave_irvine on 19th Mar 2007 16:42.04
''Mash Gordon''

From: Danny Gilligan on 19th Mar 2007 17:48.48
a true legend! remember the good old days at peach mr g!

From: Mizz_behavin on 19th Mar 2007 18:38.36
I had some wicked Friday nights at Peach, great to see it back!! Heartbeat

From: Greg Blaquiere on 19th Mar 2007 20:01.42
Great to see it back. As its been said before; Peach has played such a big part of people's clubbing lives. Long may it continue!

From: Darz on 19th Mar 2007 23:17.35
woo! remember playing for peach at hidden (studio 33) and graham was the nicest promoter i have EVER played for. made me feel so welcome, I'm delighted to see Peach back!

From: KrAzB on 20th Mar 2007 13:20.57
Absolute legend! Cannot wait for the Aly and Fila night!

From: Matt Smallwood on 20th Mar 2007 16:03.40
Haha! Go on Dave, right amongst it mate! See ya on the 6th :o)

From: Becka on 20th Mar 2007 16:38.42
Great read, was so lucky to experience Peach the first time round even if a little young! Cant wait for the re-launch in London, have not been so excited about the scene for a very long time. All the luck in the world to Graham and everyone invloved! See you down the front!

From: Andy Dunford on 20th Mar 2007 18:17.41
Whenever I've met Graham he's always come across as a top bloke and ready to chat to anyone. And although I've only been into clubbing for 3 years and so never went to Peach back in the day, it should be a success because the attitude of the promoters often comes across in the production of a club night. I'd echo what's said above about Ben as well - every time I've seen him dj he's been bang on.

Oh and every time I read more about Peach, Graham lets slip another booking Laughs out loud - Mike Shiver!! He's somebody I've wanted to see for a while now.

From: TheManWithThePlan on 21st Mar 2007 13:08.38
'in the mix'

From: Gordon Darley on 22nd Mar 2007 04:40.30
"Peach, where are ya?"

From: Adam White on 24th Mar 2007 17:26.59
A true credit to the dance music industry and one of my best friends too.

Great read Graham and best of luck with Peach Smile

From: miss marie on 26th Mar 2007 12:30.28
This is going to be fun....Go go go

From: GJB on 28th Mar 2007 09:57.23
"Glow sticks, glow sticks.....get ya glow sticks"

From: James Terry on 28th Mar 2007 14:53.22
Graham is the daddy!!!!!!!

I have missed Peach soooooo much!

From: rossy on 28th Mar 2007 15:58.01
Woooooot! Bring on friday, great interview ! Smile

From: ~deleted12332 on 30th Mar 2007 12:41.57
great stuff. Have great memories of Peeach at camden palace.

From: sexyminx on 4th Apr 2007 22:06.24
Mass Nuff respect innit to you Mr Gold. Glad it went well for you Friday. What a shame wasn't there. Keep up the good work & all the best for the future x

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