Article Archive

Otiz F. Angel- Raving Mad-

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
"At this point I'm undecided what I'm bringing. I'm doing my best to bring light but I'm no Messiah, man. I've been an asshole in my life; let's make that clear."

Sitting in a crowded Muswell Hill pub, Love Organisation chief Otiz F. Angel is the first to admit his relentless evangelizing for rave culture is not without its costs.

"At one point I made a decision- I had to make a decision because we all have a choice," he says earnestly.

"I could be nicely happy, sitting behind the Love organisation, making money, having people coming to my clubs, saying to them 'Have a drink at my bar, that's it, now **ck off'. That doesn't feel like my destiny. I suppose I've got too much of a big mouth but I always believe people should try to be the best they can be. The spirits will guide you then. When I see how the scene has developed and the potential it still has I'd be a frigging asshole just to sit down and milk it, man. No way, the scene ain't got udders," he laughs.

Largely ignored by the mainstream music press throughout his 20 years living life in the heart of global culture, he speaks with the passion and vision that reflects his status as one of the genuine pioneers of acid house and its myriad extra spin-offs. Coming up through London's gang culture of the 80s, his multi-pronged clubbing career is intricately documented in new book Rave Story, an entertaining autography of parties, pills, thrills and spills, in which he also outlines his wider philosophy.

"I think it was necessary to have a book like this because a lot of people have stepped into the club scene who don't know what the scene is about," he explains.

"They just think you go to a rave, you take some pills, you jump up and down, cut your hair a certain way, wear certain clothes, then you're all good. But the scene's a lot deeper than that. Maybe I was naïve but I always believed the scene had a lot more potential than it ever seemed to achieve. The fact that 10,000 people were all chilling out together in 1989 was remarkable, mate, remarkable. If you consider what was going on before that, with black parties there and white parties over there. That shit was revolutionary."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What made you decide you wanted to write a book; had you written much before-

Otiz F. Angel: "No, I could just about string two words together, mate. I don't see myself as a writer, no, the whole thing was almost an accident. It all came about after my club got busted in Shoreditch several years ago (Love took over the old Bridge & Tunnel for almost a year before being shut down by overzealous councillors in 2005).

Otiz F. Angel: "Looking back I was feeling a lot of anger and aggression and I had this mad urge to keep on expanding. So the more we kept on going forward and meeting new people the more we grew then when we got to Canada someone asked me 'what's your story, how did you end up living in this nightlife.' I skirted through it and they said 'you should do a movie'. And they happened to be movie makers. So initially we had the plan of writing a script. And after writing the script we got some great reactions and before long there was a team of people sitting round a table, working on it and asking me questions about what I knew about the scene. That turned into Rave Story, the book."

Skrufff: What was it about rave culture that inspired you so much-

Otiz F. Angel: "You'd be at parties and you didn't know who you were standing next to or what their vibe was about but there was a good chance you'd find out. Everyone was shaking hands and sharing, I'd never seen that shit before. Before that it was soul, with everyone hiding away from each other, before that electro with its break-dancing, when you were battling people. Then suddenly everyone was hugging each other. I never saw that coming and it changed my life, and a lot of people's lives. I've always felt the scene has