DJ Ariel on Leaving London (interview)
“If you walk in the streets of London today everyone looks the same. You no longer see crazy people walking round like you used to.
Nightclub culture and the music industry has almost entirely evaporated, compared to the old days, that is. The gay scene is now called GrindR and other names; which means it went almost entirely digital.”
Playing to thousands of Argentinians as a teenage prodigy DJ, Ariel Belloso first moved to Europe in 1991, arriving in Ibiza where he debuted at Pacha. Going on to spin at almost all the island’s then big clubs, he next moved to London landing his first of many high profile residencies at the celebrities’ club of the day Browns.
Despite routinely spinning at the club to celebs of the day such as Bjork, Naomi Campbell and Prince, London’s underground scene was what inspired him most.
“I came to live in London in 1991. At that time London was anarchist, extreme, bohemian, cool and musical, very musical,” he recalls.
“Everywhere in the streets of London you looked those days you saw billboards advertising music and gigs. It was the music capital of the world and I felt in love with it. The early 90’s also coincided with the explosion of Dance music and nightclub culture in the UK. The gay scene also became massive, especially in London.”
Going on to land high profile residencies at seminal Kings Cross rave institution Bagleys and later Fabric he quietly also sold over 2 million records over the next two decades, but today has decided to leave London for destinations unknown.
“My new internet business allows me to live practically anywhere I want really – as long as I have an internet connection.
I still haven’t decided where I will be living in the future. I will be visiting some friends before that,” he explains.
And though he’s definitely departing, he’s philosophical about how the city has changed.
“In various aspects it is better, such as with transport and infrastructure, cleanliness and nice buildings. Everything works well in this city, which makes your life less hassle, and this is not something to underestimate,” says Ariel.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What’s your take on the fact it’s ever more expensive; what do you see for London’s future?
DJ Ariel: “I saw a documentary on Channel 4 last night where they showed Chinese and other foreign investors coming to London to buy property, speculating and then selling it to make a profit. Like most of other Londoners I think it’s disgusting. As we know, the present situation is making Londoners and London business not being able to afford to live in the capital and having to move out. It is pushing artists and creative people out of London, which greatly affects the fabric of the city. Or at least what the fabric of this city was whilst I lived here. I don’t understand who is benefiting from these policies and why they are allow to happen.”
Skrufff: What’s your happiest memories; and time periods of living in London?
DJ Ariel: “24 years living in London is a long time, and I have many fond memories. Covent Garden and Soho is where I lived and hanged out the most, and also Camden Town. I Iived in Camden for over a decade and built my own recording studio there. One of my favourites pastime was going to Camden market on Sundays, which I did quite often during the 90’s.
When you went to Camden market those days, especially the Staples Market, you used to listen to traditional Indian folk music played in a lot of places, as well as percussionists and other musicians playing their drums and instruments live all over inside the market.
It was all mixed up under the smell of incense coming from the shops and different tribes of people wondering around the place; whilst Techno and Trance music was blossoming from every corner. This atmosphere felt so normal at the time that I thought Camden market was always going to be like that (laughing).”
Skrufff: What are the key lessons the city’s taught you?
DJ Ariel: “Well. I absorbed much of this culture because I fully integrated within the society. Most of my friends are British.”
Jonty Skrufff https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff