This past February 17th, we lost more than just one of the most important producers and DJs out there. The scene lost a maverick. A true trailblazer, in every sense of the word.
Never seeming to care about critical acclaim is probably what made the late Andrew Weatherall great, and what made his body of work something impossible to pin down. Weatherall, 56, laid the foundation during the 90s for what was about to come, without really setting out to do so. Beginning his career as a DJ in London’s acid-house club Shoom during the late 80s, Andrew rolled into the 90s in style, as he took on Primal Scream’s seminal album ‘Screamadelica’, which set Bobby Gilespie’s band onto a new path. A psychedelic hybrid, where guitars met the Ibiza rave scene. His vision was so powerful, it still pours down into indie-festival headliners like Tame Impala and LCD Soundsystem to this very day.
Restless, Andrew had a knack for being everywhere, and nowhere at the same time. He dabbed into so many genres, under countless aliases. From remixing acts such as Happy Mondays and New Order, down to his role as a producer for Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine or Björk; to his work with Keith Tenniswood as Two Lone Swordsmen; or his comparable run with the Sabres Of Paradise, no two releases have been ever alike. He simply wasn’t interested in formulas, or what ‘’worked’’. He was a thrill-seeker, looking for that new sound, pushing and blurring boundaries further than the regular Joe could fathom. He could hear the songs inside the songs.
Back in 2016, during an interview, he talked about his disenchantment with going all the way to the top, that “slippery showbiz pole”. “It would keep me away from what I like, which is making things. I mean, I had a little look in the early Nineties. I stood at the bottom of that pole and looked up and thought to myself, ‘The view’s pretty good. But it’s very greasy and there are a lot of bottoms up there that I might have to brush my lips against. So, maybe I’ll give it a miss'” he argued, with a total belief that he had been right all along.
“The view’s pretty good. But it’s very greasy and there are a lot of bottoms up there that I might have to brush my lips against.
So, maybe I’ll give it a miss”
In a sense, it was this ‘amateurism’ that drew out the best in him, as both as a producer and a human being. His work on Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’ was his first affaire with the UK Singles Chart. Curiously enough, it was also the first time he had ever set foot inside a propper recording studio. ‘Loaded’ worked because I had no idea of what I was doing”, he said back in ‘91. Still, despite the accolades and acclaim, he would still champion a new wave of artists like Beth Orton, or Fuck Buttons back when they were taking their first steps in the industry.
Andrew passed away on February 17th, due to a pulmonary embolism at Whipps Cross hospital in East London. A few days after, his family released the following statement: “Lizzie, Bob and Ian would like to thank everybody quite literally everywhere for their lovely messages and tributes to Andrew. We know what a special person he was and are overwhelmed at the number of people who knew this too… And to hear their stories and how he influenced them is a real joy at such a raw and dreadful time”, while also adding “Please do what he would have wanted… Creating, listening, dancing, but above all pushing boundaries”.
In the end, that is what it was all about for him. Now, with his passing, the deck is one wildcard too short.