Lights hanging from the ceiling swing back and forth in time to the music. Below them, a few hundred feet of open space. Lower down, we find sinuous dancers freestyling, each one creating and throwing away different shapes on their raised podia. Just below them, catching the invisible objects, is a sea of gristle; boys, girls and everything in between, all of whom who have paid to come and do this, here, tonight.
We fly through this cavernous high-ceilinged chamber, turning between the podia, sweeping inches above the crowd, toward the centre of the swarm. Here, lit up from above by three snow-white spotlights, is a tallish, good-looking guy in a sleeveless T-shirt. He’s wearing a pair of headphones and quickly flicking through his record box with the panache of a rockstar yet the care of a librarian. Before the last record has slid back into the box, he’s already turning round, hunching over the decks, throwing the new vinyl down with one hand and grabbing the needle with the other. A quick cue, then scratches and tricks begin to emerge through the thudding 4/4 beat; the crowd take new energy from the organic noise that’s being twisted, published and proofed live in front of their astonished eyes.
This is Jeremy Healy doing what he does best. Tonight he’s at Manumission Ibiza, arguably one of the best clubs in the word, and inarguably the Holy Grail of most bedroom DJs. Healy has seemed destined for this since day one; his teenage infatuation with David Bowie (he the commander, Healy the space cadet) and his schoolboy friendship with Boy George just two factors determining the course of this unique young man’s life.
Healy began dabbling in disco at a club called Planets run by who Healy remembers as a ‘fat Jewish electrician‘ – in fact promoter Phillip Salon. Salon’s intensively creative and rather eccentric personality rubbed off on Healy, who was paid to do the music, and Healy and his friends set up a pop group called Haysi Fantayzee.
Over to Jeremy: “I had begun sprouting dreadlocks, which got my group an article in The Face, and subsequently some demo time at the EMI studio. At this time I lived in West Hampstead with Kate Garner and Paul Caplin, in a flat he owned. One night I wrote the lyrics for a silly song called ‘John Wayne is Big Leggy’. I woke up everyone in the flat and announced I’d written our first hit record. We made our demos, shopped them around, and somehow, with our deranged songs and strange looks, we landed our first record deal on my twentieth birthday. I went out and bought the biggest TV set I could find and convinced Paul to buy a ’59 Oldsmobile coupe!”
All was set for Healy & co to have a lucrative career in pop. ‘John Wayne…’ hit Number One in the UK charts and they had been on Top Of The Pops. Riding the wave of success, he travelled extensively and thus ended up one Saturday night at New York’s Danceteria club. He was immediately struck by the breakdancers, the body poppers, the anything-goes atmosphere and, above all, the carefree attitude of the hip-hop and electro pioneers. Inspired anew, he returned to the UK, sold his guitar, bought a pair of decks and started a club called Circus. The number of regular visitors to Circus grew from the low hundreds to the high thousands in a short period of time, and the show attracted bigger and bigger numbers where it stopped around the UK. People came to dance in an atmosphere of unparalleled hedonism, be it under a railway bridge in the middle of nowhere or in a swanky city-centre club. Despite being one of the most phenomenal, seminal and stand-out nomadic clubs of it’s day, unfortunately Circus soon became a victim of it’s own success. Following the involvement of some shady characters [“It turned into cops and robbers, guns and everything”], Healy called a time-out and Circus left town for the last time.
With plenty of inspiration stacking up and no outlet for his creativity, Healy was becoming frustrated. Fortunately, a chance meeting at a catwalk show led him to meet one John Galliano, a former regular at Circus. The sexiness, charm and unpredictability of the fashion world appealed to Healy, and he was soon firm friends with Galliano – now, he has arranged and produced the score to every single one of Galliano’s shows since then, as well as working on fashion soundscapes for Versace, Jigsaw, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood
Back on the scene, Healy started hanging back out with a rehabilitating Boy George and started to go out clubbing again. A regular fixture for the pair was Danny & Jenny Rampling’s club Shoom in Soutwark; then, Ibiza was the next stop. Over to Healy:
“The first time was fabulous. Fat Tony got sunburnt, Jenny Rampling got arrested and we got inspired. The music was much more open and less formulated. We came home and I went straight into the studio with a friend called Simon Rogers [now in Slacker]. Anyway, we programmed our idea of house and I found a sample on this Ronald McDonald LP of him saying, ‘Everything starts with an ‘E’. We had our title!” The track was a massive hit, and it went in the UK charts at number 12 after selling 150,000 copies.
Healy’s love affair with Ibiza has continued since the first time he visited, and he has become pretty much synonymous with the island, year-after-year resident at big clubs like Es Paradis and Privilege. He’s mixed several Ibiza-themed CDs and continues to make the seasonal pilgrimage to the White Island to this day.
After ‘Everything Starts…’, Healy’s DJ career spring-boarded, and high-profile gigs and residencies appeared overnight. Now he has played in almost every country in the world, and enjoyed the lavish superstar DJ lifestyle, oft mentioned in the same breath as Sasha, Tong and Oakenfold. However, unlike most of his peers, he has had the insight to take a step back from the prominence of his career in order to examine the darker side of the high life; the trappings of success. Concerned with what was there, he sought to express his findings in a project called Bleachin’. Bleachin’ was an artist album produced with long-time collaborator Amos looking at the early mornings after the late nights, the storm before the calm and, most prominently, the ghoulish, bleached paleness of complexion that comes as a result of excessive cocaine use. Critically acclaimed to the highest degree, Bleachin’ was an overdue wake-up call to an industry frequently incapable to deal with the less glamorous side of achievement.
2004 has seen the launch of Jeremy’s latest recording project SERAPHIM SUITE, collaborating with a variety of featured vocalists including Mica Paris on the first single “Heart” (Inferno Records) – The album is due for release towards the end of the year. Summer/Autumn DJ diary 2004 sees residencies with Miss Moneypennys in Ibiza and Cyprus, plus regular UK dates with Love to Be, Time Flies, Syndicate, Kool Waters, Naughty But Nice, and overseas events in Dubai, The Mediterranean, USA and Brazil –
Jeremy also finds time to continue his involvement with designers Dior, Galliano and the Victoria’s Secrets fashion house, plus the Pret a Porter International Fashion Fair, Paris and the launch of J-Lo’s fashion wear in Feb 2005.
2006 saw production credits on the new Gwen Stefani album and credit and REMIX of the international smash “Wind It Up”, Jeremy is currently working on a new studio project for 2007.
So back to where we started. To the DJ booth. Jeremy Healy is smiling a knowing smile, playing his pumping and chunky glam house, bouncing around and throwing down his trademark DMC-style scratching over the top. You really have to see it to believe it.