Acid House

Acid House: One of the most prominent genres to ever hit raving and dance music in general. It was a worldwide sensation back in the late 80’s and a huge influence on my career. So I thought I’d dive in and see where it really came from.


Chicago is where Acid House was conceived. Early on, it mostly stayed very underground, coming into existence primarily thanks to the Roland TB-303 and a group of very creative innovators from the poorer side of town. Chicago house in general was created by a small group of people who had a ton of passion for music. They used cheaper, more accessible equipment to string together new sounds that drew listeners in, that incited a new vibe and style of dancing. This was fascinating music back then as there was virtually nothing like it at the time. DJs like Marshall Jefferson, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, and Farley “Jackmaster” Funk to name a few, helmed the house movement that was the seed for Acid!.

Acid House Pioneer DJ Pierre and his 1st Acid release
Acid House Pioneer DJ Pierre and his 1st Acid release

And what was already new would become even more innovative.

The aforementioned Marshall Jefferson collaborated with Earl “Spanky” Smith Jr., Herbert “Herb J” Jackson, and DJ Pierre (Nathan Jones) – a group called Phuture – to come up with a new record. DJ Pierre is noted as the first person who utilized the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer to come up with the first Acid House sound. The distinct squelching bass sound was born. The Trax Records releases that combined technology and danceable beats would later take raves by storm.

Spread Like Wildfire

The new Acid sound spread like wildfire in the underground scene. It spurred on numerous other DJs and producers to start experimenting with their own TB-303’s, and more acid house tracks were born. Everyone in the scene was putting their own twists on it. In 1989, even myself and DJ Lime sampled one of the big Acid tunes from 1987, Armando – Land Of Confusion. This would become our 1st ever SL2 release.

People everywhere were drawn to the new sound. It was completely new and nobody had heard anything like it. And most of all, it was infectious. Basements and warehouses alike ballooned with people dancing to this fresh new music. It very quickly seeped out of the underground scene of Chicago to infect the other continents, especially us here in the UK.

Amnesia Ibiza 1987
Amnesia Ibiza 1987

Acid House Travels to England and Ibiza

After coming home from a trip to Ibiza, where they witnessed DJ Alfredo spinning Acid House tunes to crowds of enraptured clubbers at Amnesia, DJs Nicky Holloway, Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, and Danny Rampling were inspired. Danny Rampling played Acid House at Shoom, an event held in 1987 that served as a sort of base for the raving scene we know and love today. Nick Holloway also spun it at Trip, and it also became hugely popular in Manchester.

Oakey at Shoom in 1987 and the famous Sun Newspaper headline
Oakey at Shoom in 1987 and the famous Sun Newspaper headline

People, especially authorities, later associated Acid house to a new drug in the 80’s: Ecstasy. People all over the UK started taking the drug and dancing to Acid House. That’s a fact. This obviously drew the ire of the media and the government alike, and Acid House and raving made front page headlines everywhere.


In 2018, I’m very happy that Acid House music is still being made, even by younger artists. I’d go as far to say that there’s a bit of a revival going on. One cannot deny the influence it’s left on not only the raving scene, but on music at large. Acid House was a magical musical phenomenon in my book, and long may it live on…

Slipmatt :)

Acid House Smile
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