Originally a gymnast, diver and runner, British pop diva/DJ Sonique has become a popular and critically acclaimed force in international dance music. Raised on a mix of classic soul and disco, she began singing as a child and made her first single, Let Me Hold You, while she was still a teenager.
A few years later, she collaborated with DJ Mark Moore as one half of the dance-pop duo S’Express. Co-writing and singing songs like Nothing To Lose and Find ‘Em, Fool ’Em, Forget ‘Em, both of which charted in the UK. Featuring on S’Express’s 1990 album, Intercourse, cemented Sonique’s desire to be involved in the music business.
Projects with S’Express and a growing involvement in Britain’s club scene paved the way for Sonique to become a DJ. She trained for three years before taking to the decks in public and the time was well spent. Soon after her club debut, she gained large followings in Europe, Hong Kong and the US, and also contributed vocals to tracks by Josh Wink, Kendo, Gusto and Helicopter. Her appeal as a multi-format, multi-talented artist led to strong support for her singles, I Put a Spell on You and It Feels So Good, which received wide radio play and led to major label interest.
Making her mark with her unique improvised singing over her own up-tempo house sets, her tracks became immediate hits with mainstream audiences, taking Sonique’s music out of clubs such as Gatecrasher and Manumission and into the charts. She released her full-length debut album, Here My Cry early in 2000, and recently shared the stage with JKay at Albufeira’s Sunrise festival.
One of the originators of the acid house scene and synonymous with dance music, Rampling has pioneered and been an integral part of dance culture from his early days. As a successful producer and DJ, with constant appearances at top club nights around the globe, Danny Rampling is not a name you can easily forget. He was pre-eminent in the Balearic movement of the late 80s, and has successfully negotiated dozens of shifts in dance music’s climate since.
A DJ since the age of 18, his first journey into the big time came when he found himself spinning alongside Kiss FM’s founder Gordon Mac. Danny discovered there was a niche for his personal style and a weekly show on the pirate radio station soon followed.
Inspired, he ventured out to the clubs of 80s Ibiza, where he discovered the intoxicating crucial blend of soul, Italian disco, American house/garage and alternative dance, termed Balearic. The sound of the Spanish isle inspired him and, thankfully, he brought it back to the UK. Little did he realise what he and a handful of others were about to begin over a decade of global dance culture.
Rampling was signed to UK’s Radio One in 1994 and began broadcasting his ‘Saturday Night Love Groove Dance Party’ in November, featuring a mixture of soulful, vocal house and garage. A popular, respected DJ and producer, Rampling received the UK’s Muzik Magazine’s award for his outstanding contribution to dance music in October 1998.
His club night was perhaps one of the most important for early house music. Though only a few hundred clubbers were exposed to the new sound, it proved the vital spark for later clubs and raves which numbered thousands. Today, with deep vocal house and garage sound, it’s a more relaxed and mature Danny mixing the tracks.
Marc has been in and around London’s dance scene for about 10 years. Back in the early 90s, house music was booming in London and he took full advantage by starting his own monthly night – ‘The Vibe’. One of his most significant breaks was his debut appearance at Ministry Of Sound in 1996 – he must be OK as he has been a regular there ever since!
The year 1996 also saw Marc begin as a producer. He has collaborated with many music producers including Jazz-N-Groove, Julian Jonah, Jazzy M, Jeremy B and Bobby & Steve.
In 1998, Marc DJ’d on the Clubbers Guide and toured with the Ministry of Sound all over the UK. In 2000, he became a resident at Pacha in Ibiza and was also a Ministry Magazine resident at Café Mambo and is now Ministry of Sound’s Tour Resident DJ. These tours have taken Marc across the world, playing at clubs in Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, Benidorm, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Finland and now Portugal.
Jon’s rise to prominence was triggered by the acid house revolution of 1988-89. In tandem with Monkey Mafia, a band he put together, Jon began training as a sound engineer before returning to London and gaining vital experience with drum ‘n’ bass pioneers, No U-turn. From his early days of engineering and programming tracks for early stars like DJ Trace and MC Rhyme Time, Jon began circulating tapes of his own musical ideas. Bored with house music’s gradual decline, Jon’s own product and style was a refreshing change, taking the breaks down tempo and rediscovering the funk that makes good music. He was introduced to ‘Heavenly Sunday Social’, a club night of eclectic beats, which today is synonymous with his name.
His residency at the ‘Heavenly Sunday Social’ (alongside the Chemical Brothers) saw his musical styles blow the rest of British clubs out of the water and it formed the platform for Monkey Mafia to develop as a live band. Work Mi Body, featuring the vocals of Patra, and his 10 Steps EP utilised reggae to create a sound that has been emulated but never bettered. He has also worked as a re-mixer, most notably with U2, Manic Street Preachers, St. Etienne and the Prodigy.
Paul Jackson is fast establishing himself as one of the UK’s premier DJ talents. However, it’s not as though Paul is new to the scene, he’s been behind the decks for the past 11 years.
His DJ career, like so many, started out as a bit of fun, but transcended bedroom status to become a full time job. His well-respected DJ skills, as well as his own interpretation of house music has led to Paul becoming one of the most sought after DJs in the UK. His ability to rock the crowd and choose the right record at exactly the right time has earned him appearances in leading clubs and sets on Radio One and MTV tours.
He has held down European residencies, Macumba in Madrid and Vibe in Marbella, Benidorm and Valencia. There have also been regular visits to Barcelona, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Portugal and Poland.
It’s not just in the clubs that Paul receives recognition. He has appeared for Danny Rampling on the ‘Love Groove Dance Party’ and has mixed one of Radio One’s Essential Mix albums, cited by many as one of the best ever heard.
Calling all clubbers and dance-aholics, this line up will be playing on October 7, starting at 10.30pm at Freeport in Alcochete (5min south of Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama bridge) and this is a dance music junkie’s idea of heaven. As well as all the artists above, Mutiny and Uniting Nations will also be playing and, best of all, admission is free! For tickets, visit the pyramid of information at Freeport or call 212 343 501.