The legend returns for the 20th Birthday as Ibiza beckons once again
For a few glorious years in the 1990s there wasn’t a night that could touch Clockwork Orange in London or Ibiza. Rival promoters made sure their big events didn’t clash with the boys at Clockwork in the UK whilst over on the white isle Wednesdays were a no go – simple as that. Imagine a New Years Eve party every time you went, mad as fuck DJs like Alex P, Brandon Block, Jeremy Healy and Seb Fontaine playing tunes that slapped a great big grin on your face and the possibility that somewhere out there, there would be a great little after party to continue the lunacy. And then it all stopped amidst copyright battles in Ibiza and the inevitable promoter burn out. The party was over. Or so we thought. 2013 sees Danny Gould and partner Andy Manston dusting off their glitter balls, rolling out the big gun DJs and sprinkling their magic once again on our dancefloors. Let the party begin.
Good morning Danny, where in the world are you right now?
“Morning Dan, standing watching three young kids wash my car making sure they earn their fifteen quid. All rock & roll my end!”
Well Mr Gould, here you are again in club promoter mode announcing to the world the return of the legendary Clockwork Orange onto the main stage with a huge 20th Birthday in London next March. But for the readers out there who haven’t grown up with what was one of the biggest club nights in dancefloor history, let’s set the stage. You’re 19 and hitting the clubs in London and your home county Essex – did you have any interest in music and the DJs back then, or like most 19 year old – was it all about the girls and having a laugh with your mates?
“Of course I did. Don’t get me wrong, of course I was up for enjoying myself and having a laugh but I was definitely into my music. I used to think the sun shone out of Tony Wilson’s arse. What an underrated DJ. If you have a look back at all of those golden era acid house flyers you’ll see Tony’s name alongside people like Carl Cox at Sunrise and Land of Oz. A proper Balearic DJ who would have you dancing to The Cure one minute and ‘Voodoo Ray’ the next. I though he was a god.”
And the clubs?
“As soon as I could I headed up into town. Places like The Gas Club, The Albany Empire on a Friday night and of course Naked Lunch.”
Which is where the idea of putting on your own parties began?
“Yeah I suppose so. It was Andy Manston who first suggested it, one day he asked me whether I fancied putting on a party with him and I thought, yeah I’ll have some of that.”
I take it you came up with the name of your night because of your great literary knowledge?
“Ha ha. Er, no. Originally there was four of us doing the night, myself, Andy and another couple of guys Andrew and Mike. We were up in Soho one day wandering around and we went into this film shop that sold old footage, illustrations and film stills. I was rifling through one of the boxes and pulled out this image with a guy with no face, a bowler hat on and one eye. I said to the guy behind the counter ‘is this Clockwork Orange?’ to which he nodded. We all looked at each other and that was it. The name and legend was born.”
So you’re glad you didn’t call the night your other idea ‘Baby Love’ then?
“Fucking hell boys, do yourself a favour! We had no idea back then Dan, that name was just an idea to attract girls to the club. We had no game plan like the promoters of today, it was just a bunch of mates having a laugh. Anyway we did the first one at Paddocks in Holborn which went well and it was about 4 months after that after a couple more that we realised we had something really precious with Clockwork.”
Two parties that stick in my mind for different reason around the ’93/’94 period are the 1st Birthday and your Summer party at Hollywoods…
“And me Dan, and me! Well the 1st Birthday starred John Digweed and it was the first party that Andy got on the microphone, which of course became an important part of Clockwork Orange. Absolutely hilarious. And yeah Hollywoods in Romford, a club everyone in the area used to pile down to. It’s now luxury apartments. It was the Super Mayday Sunday Spectacular and the night before I’d ended up at Georgie at the Park Royal film studios in west London until stupid o clock – even though I had a big party on the next day. So I crawled into the shower and got down to the club still mullered and it was absolutely jumping. The queue was a quarter of a mile down the road. The security had given up and were letting people in through the fire exits as well as the main entrance. Put it this way. The capacity was 1000 and we had 3500 in through the doors. Work that one out. We had Seb Fontaine, Tall Paul and John Kelly in and even now I still watch the footage, it was proper crazy.”
Then there was the Camden Palace events, layer upon layers of clubbers on different levels going mental…
“I can remember this one night down at the club, our friend Danny Newman from Turnmills came down for a night out and we were sitting in the DJ booth having a beer looking out to everything going on. 2500 people rising all the way to the ceiling and every one of them was going mad. Me and Danny turned to each other and just slowly shook our heads, no words were needed. It was moments like that I’ll always remember.”
The next part of the journey that turned Clockwork Orange into one the best loved club nights on the planet was Ibiza. When did you first step foot on the wicked white isle?
“I was 17 and I went with my mate and his family. We stayed on Playa d’en Bossa down the opposite end where Bora Bora and the madness would one day take over. I remember walking out onto the beach, the sun was shining, I had a cold beer in my hand and there were some Spanish girls playing beach volleyball in front of me. Well I thought I’d died and gone to fucking heaven. I didn’t see the real side of Ibiza until a couple of years later when I went over with a few mates and we stayed near the west end in San Antonio. We had no money but still blagged it into Amnesia, we were still dancing at 8 in the morning and all of a sudden heard all these birds whistling, we thought the DJ was playing some mad Balearic song until we looked up and saw there no roof on the club and it was actually birds sitting in trees above us. The DJ had stopped playing ages ago.”
What is the one record that will always remind you of Clockwork Orange?
“Agnelli & Nelson ‘El Nino’ from 1998. Clockwork at it’s peak.”
The next six years was legendary in Ibiza. Your Roman toga parades, Tony de Vit’s sets stuff of legend, Blocko, Peasy and Lisa Loud having it right off, the insane after after after parties, smashing up the famous Clockwork van – Wednesdays were yours dude. You were untouchable. And then all of a sudden the nights stopped and Danny Gould became tea total. What happened?
“Basically I took the whole thing to the extreme. The cocaine, the pills, the booze, the women…I was absolutely smashed. All of the time. I would come home from Ibiza at the end of a season and be sitting in my house on a cold Monday morning in October thinking, oh it’s ok Danny, it’s Manumission tonight, Miss Moneypenny’s tomorrow, ourselves and Renaissance on Wednesday, Cream on Thursday, Ministry Friday and I’ll have a day off Saturday to get ready for Space on Sunday. I was still in Ibiza mode, my head was all over the place. When we all used to buy coke we’d always buy a gram or two, in Ibiza I’d be buying an ounce and snorting a gram at a time. I’d end up sitting up on my own after everyone else had crashed out getting slaughtered on my tod. However, I am still here today and life is good, I somehow didn’t kill myself partying.”
Have you ever considered how much money you blew partying?
“Half a million? Easy.”
So there wasn’t just one incident that made you stop the drinking and drugs?
“No not at all. I realised I had to stop or I’d be dead and I sorted my life out. I have no regrets about the past and nor will I shut the door on it. What happened, happened. I did the whole Alcoholics Anonymous thing and here I am now, looking forward to the Clockwork Orange 20th Birthday in London next March. Bring it on!”
Are you still friends with anyone you met through Clockwork Orange, running a club you always get hundreds of hangers on…?
“I’ve got four best mates I can count on today. Ibiza Ron who has stayed with me through the whole journey, Fearny, Buckner and of course Andy. And that’s it.”
So the big birthday on March 23rd. 27th DJs, a surprise London location and the Clockwork Orange monster unleashed again. No doubt Ibiza is on your horizons, but why now?
“Listen Dan, I got out of the game in 2001. For me the parties were always about the magic. Not the planning, not the money, not the press we received. It was all about the atmosphere. Looking around a club knowing that it was our hard work that had created this unbelievable feeling, everyone smiling, dancing, meeting new friends, forgetting about their shit day jobs for a while. And then coming back time and time again. But in the end I wasn’t happy. DJs were charging too much money and I’d had enough. Over the next few years Andy would occasionally say to me, ‘are you ready to start again?’ and I’d say, ‘no mate, I’m just not feeling it’. I’m like an old detective, I go with my instincts. Anyway, last October I went over to my mum’s and got all the old photos from Clockwork out of her loft and started to upload them onto Facebook. Well that got a buzz going. People started to copying them over to their mates and all of a sudden I started to get that feeling again. Andy could see that and he said, ‘well, what about now?’ So we did a small party at McQueens in London which sold out and all the old faces came out of the woodwork for the night. I turned to Andy and said, ‘right, let’s not do anything now until the 20th Birthday next year when we will come back with something really special’. And here we are.”
Well you’ve got everyone guessing about the line up and venue. A lot of us have an idea of the venue, but what about the DJs. Will this be a classic Clockwork line up or are there any new faces in there?
“Nope, it’s 100% tried and tested Clockwork Allstars. There’s a couple of headliners we are deciding on, but trust me, everyone playing has at one time or another rocked a Clockwork dancefloor. And anyway, the crowd that we’ll be getting which will be all around the 33-43 age group, it’ll go right over their heads if we start putting on some of these up and coming underground DJs.”
Promoting is a little different from when you last did it huh?
“Fuck me you can say that again. My younger brother promotes real underground parties and I said to him the other day, you my son have got it easy. There’s none of all that printing 40,000 flyers lark and walking round town at 5am putting them on car windscreens only for some guy from the council taking them off behind your back. None of all that making sure ever major clothes shop or record store in town had one of your posters up. We used to have take everyone’s names and addresses at the club and stick them on a computer for a mailing list. I can remember walking into my mum’s kitchen every month and round the table would be my mum and nan licking stamps and putting stickers on envelopes with that month’s flyer inside. Heh heh, I used to give them a tenner each. All that though is over now, a thing of the past. Facebook and Twitter has seen to that. It’s a doddle nowadays.”
So what about Ibiza?
“Andy is over there at the moment and is on the case. One of the problems we are getting our heads around now though is our crowd are up for more of the daytime partying, so we’re talking to the day clubs over there as well as the night ones.”
And the question everyone reading this will be asking, what the hell have you been doing for all these years?
“I lost all my money, I lost my mind and I lost my girl. So I swallowed my pride and started working in construction with a trowel in my hand. I worked for this guy who used to knock out drugs in Ibiza, got my head down and worked my way up to Senior Projects Manager. By this year though I’d had enough of that industry and packed it in. And now believe it or not I am a gardener doing landscaping work and growing vegetables. In fact, I just won a load of prizes in the annual competition in my local village.”
And finally, what do you think a 19 year old Danny Gould would have said if you’d have told him in twenty years time he would be entering his prize vegetables in his local village veg competition? And winning…