As nostalgic clubbing experiences reach fever-pitch across the UK, Peach has consistently been offering their 90’s fans an annual and effortlessly sold-out reunion at Koko (Camden palace) for a number of years now. On Good Friday, they make a move to a new venue catering for their ever-faithful Peachy-ravers. Nick Coles talks to Peach resident and DJ legend Graham Gold about the Move, Take That and bringing superstar trance DJ’s to UK shores for the first time!
Hi Graham, first of all how are you and how’s Thailand treating you?
Hiya! Good, I live on what is known as Full Moon Island (which is actually NOT the best party on the island!!) They say we are South East Asia’s Ibiza, but without the uber-clubs. There is a great underground scene here which I am proud to be part of.
Peach just held its 25th Birthday celebrations? That’s some milestone! Did it live up to your expectations?
A milestone indeed! It was beyond amazing, as were all our previous five annual reunions since we started them in 2014. Totally sold-out, and the atmosphere? It was like being back n 1999.
Tell us about the early days, 1993 was such a great year for music – must have been an inspiring time to launch a new club night?
Yes, it was. Kiss approached me to front a new night they wanted to do as I had finally lost the cheesy-wanker tag after I did the breakfast show. Shame, as many did not know my history before I joined Kiss! That first night at Legends (our first home) was incredible, a full house and we were so on the ball musically! When I look back- some of the best classic house is from 1992 and 1993.
Peach began at Legends, then moved to the Café de Paris, then to the Leisure Lounge and then onto the mighty Camden Palace between 1993 and 2006. Did you find moving venues a risk back then?
No not all, we just kept getting busier, so we needed bigger venues. They were all uber cool at the time and oddly reflected the way the music changed. Legends was pretty intimate and perfect for all the deeper stuff back then. Café was glitzy, spot on for the handbag house that ruled in 95. Leisure Lounge was big, dark and dirty, again perfect as the beats got faster and tougher at that time and we were playing a lot of the Tidy Trax stuff in that period, and well, Camden – was there a better venue at that time in the UK to play trance?! Though of course, we were to ALL about trance. We had Darren Pearce, king of breakbeats, and we had Craig Dimech and Pele – both very housey for warm up.
Fast forward a quarter of century and you are just about to do it again, are you at all nervous about this particular change in venue?
Well yes and no. When we all (my partners are Kate and Don) walked into the venue, we knew it was perfect and very different from KOKO of course, but it just felt right. So, we made a poll on our group FB page because our clubbers ARE Peach and we needed them to decide. The Steel Yard came third. The two venues above them just did not work for us for various reasons.
How does it feel to have been a part of the first UK event to bring over the likes of Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and Ferry Corsten? Did you ever think back then about how big they’d become?
It feels GREAT of course! I knew! I just KNEW! I was playing abroad so much and had come across/been on the same line ups as them in places like Israel and Greece, and well Ferry had had success with his own productions, Tiesto was desperate to replicate that, and then Armin – my label and management company Good:As (that I ran with the very sadly late Giles Sawney) played a HUGE part in his global success.
Do you still talk to those guys now?
When I see them yes, but not on e-mail and stuff which is a shame. I went to Ferry’s wedding and still have the photos of all us, Ferry, Armin and me, like best mates! But you know this industry, everyone is always sooo busy and they all have families now too which they don’t see enough, so it’s all good!
You are certainly one for great stories, please tell us an untold tale from the Peachy crypt?
Hahahhahaha mmm, well I can’t tell you that one, and I deffo can’t tell you THAT one, but I can tell you the time ALL of Take That came to Peach when we were at the Cafe de Paris! My then girlfriend was screaming ‘Oh fuck Robbie is in Peach, Take That are in Peach and I am like, who the fuck is Robbie? who the fuck are Take That!?’ I don’t think I am allowed to say they were all twatted, am I?
What happened in 2004? Was there a conscious decision to finish Peach? What made you decide to reignite the brand?
Well we had to move from Camden Palace as it got sold and the new owners wanted to make it more of a live venue again. We relocated to Studio 33, but being south of river just did not work for us. Peach was bought by a guy called David Oliver actually back in 95, he put a lot of money into it and we relaunched at Heaven, which I thought would be perfect, but sadly it was not.
The events did OK but not great. One of my partners, Don, used to be Assistant Manager at Koko and was a Peachy raver when it was called The Camden Palace. He had begged the owners for years to bring Peach back, but they wouldn’t. He then became manager of The Fridge (now Electric) and in march 2014, I got a phone call. It went something like ‘OK Don, you wanted to have a Peach at KOKO, you have five weeks to do it!’ A promoter on the May Bank Holiday Sunday had pulled out and they needed an event in there. Don contacted me and Kate, and I was like, well, fuck it, who knows – let’s give it a go. So, I contacted our residents and said we may all be playing for free if it does not work, and I would not get my flight money back either. WE SOLD OUT.
I cannot even begin to describe what it felt like walking back into Camden or the overwhelming adulation from everyone in the queue, which went around the block and around the block again! One of my very best friends, Eric, was driving us home after the event- neither of us said a word – we were utterly emotionally drained. I really did cry when I read all the facebook comments over the following days.
Name your three favourite Peachy classics from over the years and why?
Oh, don’t ask me that!!!! OK, errr Liberation 2 cos I just loved the dialogue sample and the bassline, ‘The Gift’ by Way Out West because it’s just orgasmic, and the both ‘Solarstone – 7 Cities’ and ‘Corderoys – Sweetest Dreams’ because I signed that to my label and Ferry Corsten turned in an amazing remix. Also’ PVD Ft Hemstock & Jennings – Nothing But You’ because it’s just fucking brilliant! See said you should not ask, that’s four – want some more? LOL!
After an online poll, the Peach fans voted a move to The Steel Yard. As a team will there be any changes to how you approach this particular event?
No not really, well I don’t think so. Sure, we made a big change for the second room, but our ethos has always been, we are nothing without our special clubbers, they are Peach, they make Peach what it is, so as always we will approach it with the attitude of making sure they have the best night of the year with us!’
When you are stood on stage at a packed event, are you ever tempted to get back into promoting your own events on a more full-time basis again?
Nope! I just love playing! It’s too much stress promoting these days!
Finally, being a man that’s always on the move, what has Graham Gold the DJ been up to himself? And are there any projects in the pipeline for 2019?
Well, I constantly reinvent myself which is why I guess I am still kind of around, and I have finally realised what I actually meant to many people! Now my music is melodic techno, and the good tech house. I still struggle with producing, but I am getting better and getting some tunes signed. I do everything myself and I have my own studio in my villa which is pretty much the room I live in most of the time (probably the reason why I am single again! So, a few trips back to the UK are being planned for next year – I am pretty busy here in Thailand and around also, so it’s all good!
Catch Graham Gold plus more at Peach Reunion. For tickets and more information, head here