Slipmatt’s obsession with electronic music began in the late 80’s and this year marks 35 years since his first rave DJ set at Raindance. Taking place on 16th September 1989 in Beckton, East London, Raindance was originally Slipmatt’s idea and underscored his passion for the nascent rave scene. His brother, Paul Nelson, took note, realised the potential and took a chance on promoting the event. Raindance went on to become the stuff of dance music legend with over 10,000 people raving through the weekend. Slipmatt stepped up to the turntables and took his place among the most influential names in rave beginning a career in dance music that shows no signs of slowing.

As one half of SL2, Slipmatt was at the forefront of the rave sound, crossing seminal classics including ‘On A Ragga Tip’ and ‘Way In My Brain’ into the national charts. His evolution as a DJ has taken in hardcore, jungle, house, tech house and more, through to his current rave house sound with a nod to past and future. He continues to release big tunes and remains in high demand as a DJ playing across the board, from a B2B with Eats Everything at Fabric last year to Shangri-La at Glastonbury this summer. His Slip’s House radio show on Centreforce 88.3 is the biggest on the station and consistently tops the Mixcloud tech house and house charts.

To celebrate 35 years since that first Raindance set, and as he prepares to head out to Ibiza for his ever-popular, week-long event series, Slip Back In Time presents Old Skool Ibiza, Slipmatt has taken a look back and picked out 5 special tracks for Decoded. He can dig into a truly enviable record collection but certain tracks will always represent a key moment in time and a guaranteed big moment on the dancefloor. Slipmatt explains what makes these selections special to him below.

Royal House – ‘Party People’ 1988

The explosion of house in 1986 was a pivotal moment in dance music, and 38 years later we’re still dancing to the same beat. Marshall Jefferson and the Chicago crew led the way for me and house music seemed to become much bigger in the UK than anywhere else in the world. But what really got me hooked was the sound of Todd Terry!! The man behind Royal House, Black Riot, and of course The Todd Terry Project.

For me ‘Party People’ is the perfect example of that amazing sound that was blasting out of New York in 1988. Those drums… WOW! And the track even sampled Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Move Your Body’. Todd Terry’s background was hip-hop and that shone through in his early music. Being a huge hip-hop fan at the same time I think that drew me into his unique sound. 1988 doesn’t get much better, and this track along with ‘Can You Party’, ‘A Day In The Life’ and ‘Weekend’ will last forever. 

Awesome 3 – ‘Don’t Go’ 1992

This has to be one of the most-played rave / dance tracks of 1992, and it’s still going strong. It’s been played so much that I hold back playing it these days and reserve it for very special moments only. My white original label has done quite a few trips around the globe, and rightly so. With a rave crowd in front of the DJ booth, this is a guaranteed hands-in-the-air winner. It has all the best elements of 1992 and it slams home every time.

I chatted with Steve from Awesome 3 a few days ago and apparently, they’ve just signed a huge new deal with a new mix of the track to one of the biggest majors – 32 years later… amazing!!  

Slipmatt – ‘Breaking Free’ 1994

I thought I’d include one of my own tracks, and this is one of my bigger underground tunes. I was very well known for hardcore in the 90s, and then for my integral part in the rise of the happy hardcore sound which took me all over the world, yet again. However, I was still very much involved with the darker sounds and jungle through the mid-90s as well. I did a few jungle shows on Kiss FM back in 1994 and was generally known for playing both hardcore & jungle in the same set, or separately when necessary. 

‘Breaking Free’ was sort of looked at as one of the very few tracks at that time that could be played at a purely hardcore event, or a 100% jungle rave, but it certainly isn’t a 4×4 stomper with its time-stretched intro, chopped up Amen and a monster pitch bent bassline. Good friend DJ Sooney has just done a remix for me which I love to bits, so I’m pretty sure it will reappear again in the second half of 2024. Maybe a 30-year anniversary release.

Stardust – ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ 1998

This was the big tune of summer 1998 for me. Yes, there was a lot of great music around, but this track stood out by miles. I was back & forth from Ibiza a fair bit, and also DJing in other parts of the Med. This tune was everywhere, and it was a fresh vibe! Every DJ was playing it in every bar, club and wherever there was a sound system.

There’s often a big tune that wins the summer, especially in Ibiza. In 2006 it was the D Ramirez mix of Bodyrox with ‘Yeah Yeah’. But Stardust was the really big one that I resonate with the most.

Eric Prydz – ‘Pjanoo’ 2008

This is the tune of all tunes in the world of noughties classics. Such an amazing production and a total musical triumph. I’m sure it will stand the test of time for many more decades to come. It lifts you up and then it keeps lifting and keeps on lifting until the ultimate drop.

Hard to believe it’s 16 years old, but it still gets pulled out on a regular. There’s been an amazing bootleg by Lizzie Curious doing the rounds for quite a while now which I’ve played everywhere. It mashes with the Olive vocal, You’re Not Alone acapella. I think it’s been done before, but Lizzie’s version is simply phenomenal – check it out here 😊 https://youtu.be/L0PgmVKxB3k?si=3Ruzws7v1KUc1bby 

Slip Back In Time presents Old Skool Ibiza 2024 takes place in Ibiza from 15th – 22nd May. www.slipbackintime.com


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