They Call It Acid
The story of Acid House culture
A HEADflicks production, A Film by Gordon Mason
Narrated by Robert Owens and Music produced by Evil Eddie Richards
Featuring Interviews With:
Adamski, Alfredo, Kid Bachelor, Bez, Carl Cox, Colin Faver, Frankie Foncett, Trevor Fung, Noel Gallagher, A Guy Called Gerald, Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson, Jazzy M, Graham Massey, Derrick May, Mark Moore, Paul Oakenfold, Robert Owens, Graeme Park, Danny Rampling, Evil Eddie Richards, Jesse Saunders, Pete Tong, Noel Watson and many others.
Driven by a media hate campaign, the British Government acted against this new culture by pushing a bill through Parliament that would outlaw these illegal parties. Millions of pounds were spent funding a special Police Unit, whose sole purpose was to crush this movement, never before has the UK seen such a reaction against a youth culture . In response, the Ravers formed The Freedom to Party Campaign who’s slogan was ‘Let the People Dance’, but by 1990 the police’s tactics got heavy handed and the Government at last won the war against Acid House – the illegal party scene was all but stamped out.
THEY CALL IT ACID is a feature length documentary which plots the emergence of this culture from its musical roots in Chicago and Detroit, to the melting pots of Ibiza, London and North England where these elements were brought together by a small number of DJs, musicians and promoters. Fed up with the 80s society that they were living in, they created the illegal Acid House party scene. Far from being just a culture of music, fashion and drugs, Acid House broke down long-lasting barriers in the UK, bringing together black and white, rich and poor and groups of previously opposing football hooligans. 12 months from its conception it was to bring on board millions of people and through the 90s spread worldwide, with the birth of the super club, massive licensed outdoor Raves, Dance Music festivals and the rise of the super star DJ, many of whom are now world famous.
Narrated by Robert Owens, one of the most distinctive voices of House Music, with a seminal soundtrack compiled by DJ ‘Evil’ Eddie Richards, one of the UK’s foremost House pioneers, THEY CALL IT ACID features over 60 interviews with both the originators and followers of the Acid House scene and the Police and Politicians who opposed it. Featuring unique film from many of the first illegal clubs and parties as well as never-before-seen footage of Police raids as they clamped down on the scene.
The Hippies had ‘Woodstock’, the Mods ‘Quadrophenia’ and the Punks ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle – ‘THEY CALL IT ACID’ is the story of Acid House, the birth of Rave, the culture the Government failed to crush!
PRODUCER / DIRECTOR / EDITOR / WRITER
THEY CALL IT ACID has been a labour of love for Gordon Mason, who over the last 14 years has been gathering together the material for this documentary. Much of the original film archive was shot by Gordon in the late 1980s – this footage is unique. Since 1999 the film has been in production, totally self-financed, over 80 interviews have been recorded and over 50,000 feet of Super 16mm film and 30 hours of High Definition Video shot.
“Every generation enjoys their formative years, I was lucky, I was 21 in 1988, old enough to have my freedom and young enough to enjoy the time of my life. Acid House was a culture that I naturally evolved into, in the mid 80s I was a part time DJ and full time Film Editor, I knew some of the first promoters and DJs, but I’m glad to say that I attended many of the first Acid House parties as a punter in the scene, not behind the scenes, being able to share that euphoric experience of dancing all night to House Music at an illegal party, a freedom which was at the time indescribable. Many of these new best friends I met week after week, especially when the scene was in its beginnings and not too many people knew about it. On occasion, with a VIP pass from the promoter, as a film-maker I was able to observe and record this new scene for posterity. I was never considered part of the media who were turned away from Acid House parties, but as a fellow party-goer that people felt at ease with when I had my Super 8mm camera or professional video camcorder borrowed from work.
As a film lover and having worked with top end television documentaries as an Editor and Producer / Director for the last 25 years, it felt right that I should use this medium to put together what I believed would be an important social document of that era. By looking up some of my old friends and making new contacts with nearly all the Acid House pioneers and creators of all those seminal House Music anthems, I was able to embark on an enjoyable journey assembling the film and the archive shot by some of my contemporaries into what is a very entertaining, sometimes funny and universal story that can be experienced by all. The Police and Politicians were very interesting to talk to, 25 years on, talking openly and revealing a side to the story that I was unaware of at the time.
As Acid House was the roots of the Rave scene which has spread worldwide I hope THEY CALL IT ACID will be seen by many people of all generations in many countries and enjoyed both as a film with a gripping storyline and as a document of a time that was very special to me and all my fellow party-goers of 88 and 89. I hope it will be as relevant in 50 or 100 years’ time as it is now”.
The tracks were selected & the soundtrack produced by “Evil” Eddie Richards, a pioneer of Acid House who continues to play cutting edge new music to crowds across the world. The soundtrack plots the development of House Music from its stripped down beginnings in Chicago to the big anthems of the outdoor raves in 1989.
"An excellent 2 hour documentary.. Worth looking out for"– Time Out Magazine
"An important document of a pivotal moment in British pop culture, it captures the euphoric mood of rave culture perfectly"– Sheryl Garratt – Editor, The Face 1989-95
"Gordon Mason’s new documentary They Call it Acid.. The definitive account of Acid House culture, featuring never-before-seen footage of the very first illegal parties and interviews with virtually all of the scene’s most important figures.. For want of a better word, sorted"– Another Man Magazine
"It's a pretty much definitive doc on the acid house scene.. Absolutely hilarious"– DJ History Website
"Superb.. Captures the spirit and times perfectly"– Faith Fanzine
"It’s time this amazing tale were told"– Zani EZine