Danny Rampling, iconic club DJ and former BBC Radio 1 and Kiss FM Broadcaster, alongside his American wife Ilona Rampling, are the glamourous Celebrity DJ couple who bring their passion and expertise of music to dance floors and Radio Stations, with a combined total of 30 years professional experience within the music entertainment industry.
Danny Rampling made his name being one of the top spear headers of the Dance Music Rave scene in the UK in the late 80’s, starting in London one of the first seminal club nights, Shoom, and was the mastermind behind adopting the much loved Smiley Face logo to represent the movement, which has undisputedly become one of the most recognizable and synonymous emblems with dance music culture as we know it today.
Ilona Rampling is the darling of the super hip East London Club scene and major Festival circuit, often DJ-ing at high profile Private Events and Openings, proving to be just as appealing to major Corporate Brands.
Mr. and Mrs.
The last time we saw Danny Rampling was in 1995 on the Haad Rin Queen ferry leaving for Koh Samui, after a hedonistic season on Koh Phangan. My friend and I were leaving for India, and Danny had just played the Backyard - an infamous set broadcast on Radio 1: Danny Rampling 'Live At The BackYard'… which some of us remember very well!!
Where are playing on Koh Phangan this visit? We played at a wonderful new location Merkaba Beach club. Great open air space, pumping sound system and passionate visionary owner Lance.
Tucked away on one of Koh Phangan's most secluded shores, and yet only 10 mins away from Haad Rin, Merkaba is a vision of dreams turned into reality: an elliptical thatched roofed bar/restaurant/club with swimming pool and lawns, and subtle lighting among the palms… not forgetting the state of the art sound system and DJ booth within the jaws of a lion's mouth...
How did you enjoy Merkaba Beach Club grand opening? ILONA: The location is quite unique and a lot of love went into the creation of the space and vibe. The people on the dance floor were very responsive to us mixing up genres and sounds… and for me was a good indoctrination to the cooler side of the island on Full moon night, and to meet lots of really super lovely people.
What do you think to the club and set up and location? ILONA: …That dj booth! OMG! Hahaah... Lance really outdone himself with that one and I have to say its gotta be one of the best I think I've ever seen to be quite honest. In the jaws of a giant tripped out cat… what the hell!
When did you first come to Koh Phangan and where did you play?
DANNY: In the mid 90s I first visited the island. A friend from Ibiza, Jonny Lee, built a music beach bar on Haad Rin called Vinyl café and invited me to DJ there. My endearing memory from that party was playing River Ocean Love & Happiness as people danced in the bar on the beach and in the ocean. I visited the island many times and stopped coming in late 90s as my music changed from trance psy trance techno hard house back to US style house.
ILONA: This is my first time surprisingly on the island, but I've been to Goa many years ago and used to DJ on the Psychedelic Trance scene, initially for Alchemy Records and then got signed by Youth on his label Dragonfly Records.
How were the parties back in the Nineties, Danny?
The full moon party was far more underground and connected to the Techno trance scenes of Goa and Europe when I first visited, with non commercial music and cool party people in the know of the underground global party circuit.
My first visit to the Backyard, I played alongside Backyard resident at the time Dave Archer - Backyard Dave! - who played a funky Tech acid trance sound, local Thai DJ A - who is also still rocking Merkaba 18yrs later! - was also resident, playing a similar sound, another great local DJ .
I played the sunrise on many occasions at my request as I would build the music up towards the point of sunrise... and then get into Trance sound with ambient breaks between some of the music.
Playing the Backyard was so refreshing at that time from the UK 90s superclub scene .
The club was a free state of hedonism that would go on from night to late the next afternoon, evening... perched on the top of the hill overlooking the ocean; music, colourful backpackers and party people, partying hard... loving the music for hours until the last man standing!
What I loved about the island party scene at that time was the freedom of the music, and sound was parallel to the early acid house rave scene.
Showing testament to his youth and vitality all these years later is the young beautiful wife on his arm, Ilona Rampling. With parental roots in Scotland & Poland, Ilona was born and raised in Oregon USA... a mountain girl, says Danny! Mr & Mrs Rampling have just celebrated their honeymoon with a month on Koh Chang, before arriving on Koh Phangan...
Tell us all about your lovely DJ wife!I
We met at a charity event Three years ago and have been together for over a year.
We married in January 2013 in a beautiful magical ceremony in Gretna Green, Scotland, and came to Thailand to Koh Chang on honeymoon.
Who has the best music, you or your wife?!
We share a very similar style taste in music and are certainly kindred spirits that’s why it works so well in and out of the DJ booth.
What are your next projects? Developing the ">Mr & Mrs Rampling DJ profile and producing music together . There is also a new music platform forthcoming that is an online platform for classic, hard to find tracks under Ramplingmusic. Site launches spring 2013.
Where else have you played/will you play on this Asian tour? I now play as a duo with my wife Ilona Rampling. We have just played a rooftop lounge in Manila, Blanchy’s Tash in Ho Chi Min City and Paradise Cottage Koh Chang and Bash in Bangkok. We love DJing in Asia. We also host a mix show together on NationTokyo.com
How would you describe your music style now? Uplifting House with soul and spirit, whatever the genre music, that lifts the spirits rather than dull, downbeat, moody music - the world and life for many has enough problems and when we go clubbing it's an escape through music, a celebration of life .
House head aficionado Tess, recently moved to Koh Phangan from Koh Lanta, is sitting down on the Merkaba Beach Club tiered white steps leading down to the sunset beach, waiting to hear her idol play. "Moneypenny's in Birmingham 20 years ago!" she says, "If he was playing we were there!" She'd be up there at the DJ booth at the end of the night, she says, "Just one more! Just one more! " She checked the Phanganist website and saw that Danny Rampling was playing Merkaba Beach Club grand opening, and so here she was! "He's still got the same hat", she says!
When asked what is the best thing he's ever been involved with or done, Danny answers:
The best thing I have ever been involved in is my passion for electronic music and helping shape the early House scene in the UK. Becoming a leading radio presenter ranks high as I went from an unknown at the beginning of my DJ career on pirate radio, to Kiss FM and then onto the top of the radio tree at BBC radio 1. Becoming a published author with the book that I wrote with Two partners called ‘’Everything You Need to Know About DJing and Success .’’
What does Koh Phangan mean to you? Do you have a favourite place here? We certainly like the Coast Resort cool party hotel with Miami Ibiza influences and cool sounds from the DJ by the pool. Great hospitality, attention to detail and style. Also staying on a remote beach in a traditional bungalow with no modern luxuries, just nature the sound of the ocean and peace tranquility which the island still offers and does it best….The island is Asia’s Ibiza. The greatest free place to party .
Will you return to Koh Phangan in the future? Most definitely we love the island and sadly only stayed two days which was too short due to other DJ dates in the UK we had to return to the freezing UK winter .
Your Hopes & Dreams?
DANNY: To live a long healthy life and to one day go on a space flight …To see an end to war famine poverty disease globally.
ILONA: Development of anti-ageing pill, Corporate Monopoly eradicated, and to be in a John Waters movie.
Your life philosophy?
DANNY: Live and let live… and make the best of life… Apply gratitude for all we have rather than everything we may not have.
ILONA: Better to regret something you did do that something you didn’t!
Wishing Mr & Mrs Rampling all the love & success for their new life partnership and hoping to see you both back again on Koh Phangan in the future!