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About

A history of the UK's biggest club classic night

The story of retro

The UK's undisputed longest running dance brand can undoubtedly be crowned the pioneers of the classic house sound.

Established at the much maligned and respected ANGELS night club in the small mill town of Burnley, Lancashire in November 1991, conceived by a group of people with an incredulous passion for punters who were hell bent in finding an underground nightclub haunt for those who sought similar – seeking more than a normal night out.

Angels was created by clubbers for clubbers and quickly became one of the greatest icons of the Great British Northern left field dance scene. You came to Angels to get lost in the music not to be seen or scrutinized, it catered for the population with the knowledge, the know how!

Pre Retro times around the mid to late 1980’s Paul Taylor had been dj’ing at the club playing underground jazz funk, Disco, Tamla Motown and northern soul from the 70’s, he had established a unique sound over the years with a strange unique Balearic feel in the centre of Lancashire.

It was during the early to mid nineties when Paul started booking the new breed of dj’s emerging on the scene mainly from London to showcase their talents, jocks like Sasha, Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Boy George, Pete Tong and so on and it wasn’t long before Angels became the epi-centre for the new sound – House Music. Even the Americans were wanting a piece of the action with people like Kevin Saunderson, Derrick Carter and Joey Beltram hitting Burnley town centre at the weekend – surreal to say the least!

Paul saw it as the logical progression and roll over from the disco era from the States with fresh new producers and song writers quickly emerging with a darker edge sound coming out of Europe (places like Belgium, Germany, Holland and Italy) and the UK was also producing it’s own unique brand of house – the best generic sound it had ever produced.

Those great dance years were quickly exploding big style and the clubs in the know like Angels were emerging and basking in the glow of the new scene.

But like everything that gains popularity quickly so does the financial aspect of it, house/dance music had in fact created it’s own monster, Dj’s became horrendously expensive to employ and Angels with its 1200 capacity simply couldn’t afford the high fees and expenses that came with the territory, Dj’s had now become worldwide super brands in themselves. The cities around the world became their oysters!

This totally went against the grain of Paul’s beliefs and morals of his passion for dance. But in a good way pushed him into turning things round and spurned him into making a backward move to come forward.

In 1991 RETRO was born.

During a cold November month in year 1991 Paul had decided enough was enough and duly put his faith and belief into creating a new formula forward to making a choice to hand pick a superb plethora of local talent who had already been slipping under the radar as the warm up guys for the “big boys” before.

People like Markus Kaye, Rick B (local heroes)and many more were now given the chance to step up to the plate and a low and behold a new wave was born. They quickly became a solid team with a great ear for good dance music.

The crowds kept coming and Angels became more iconic due to it’s unique and different approach to dance music in England. They were discovering their own sound but sticking with simply a great tune and never discarding it to the vinyl bowels. Paul decided that too much music was being quickly forgotten in favor of the self perpetuating need for the “new jocks” to continue to try and create a the “new sound”.

He came up with the theory that so many great tunes were far too quickly being by passed that he decided to dedicate a Friday night devoted to lost gems from that great musical era circa 1985 to 1991, with the knowledge that hip hop and Acid House was in it’s prime during this 6 year period. And lo … Retro was born,

emerging from a music policy devoid of any house genres … a party in it’s own right.

Angels became so popular that it eventually burst it’s popularity banks and spread like wild fire round England before holding down gigs all over the country with hundreds locked out every week. When the monumental front doors of Angels finally closed it’s doors in 1996 (blame Burnley Council) the brand had since given credibility to the Club Classics concept.

The club/brand then moved quickly to make a huge impact on the Balearic scenes in both Ibiza and Majorca. Retro became the big success story on Ibiza during 2000 and was bestowed the award of “best Newcomer” on the White Isle by non other than Mixmag. The same mag has since asked the nation “is Retro the UK’s busiest club?

The Retro brand has been firmly welcomed in Ibiza since 1999 with a residency in Eden, Es Paradis and more recently took the roof off Pacha for 3 seasons with Paul being offered as main resident on the hugely popular Pacha Classics night every Sunday. During that period Pacha asked Paul to produce and compile a three CD compilation, which became the biggest selling album in Ibiza’s history and is still selling in large quantities around the world as one of the Islands historical musical must halves.

See the original acid face had a smile, somewhere along the way it was wiped off but Paul has made it his disco mission to put the smile back on the face of club land. “After 38 years I’m still here doing it because I love it, I have a saying – “music is the celebration of my soul.” and that is going no where.

We call it Retro