Musician, disc jockey and producer Andrew Weatherall passed away recently at the age of 56. Weatherall was a key player in the acid house movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he had a long and very successful career as both a DJ and producer. He is perhaps best known for having co-produced the breakthrough 1991 Primal Screen album Screamadelica, and he worked with many other important acts including New Order, for whom he remixed the band’s football anthem and international hit “World In Motion” in the early 1990s.
Born in 1963, one of the early musical influences on Weatherall was hearing the disco music of Donna Summers. The electronic sounds of this music were radically new at the time, and they were revolutionary. As a child, Weatherall was fascinated with the grooves, and he was also intrigued because his parents said that the music was made by machines and, therefore, it wasn’t real music.
Weatherall enjoyed his adolescence following soul acts and became an active participant in the post-punk movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. His love of being a DJ dates back to these years when he would invite mates over to his parents’ home to listen to him play records. This enthusiasm would stay with him for the rest of his life, and he spoke about how he could be bored with a certain record himself but then would gain great satisfaction from playing it to an audience and seeing a positive response.
After leaving school, Weatherall went on to work at various jobs including stints as a carpenter’s assistant, furniture mover and more. He also tried his hand at amateur journalism. From there, he got into the rave scene and worked in a crew that put on events and generally promoted and practiced electronic-music culture.
When Andrew Weatherall agreed to co-produce Primal Scream’s seminal album “Screamadelica,” he had no idea that it would become one of the most acclaimed records of the 1990s. The record borrowed heavily from the house-music scene, and Weatherall was a big part of this. In retrospect, he said that acclaim that the record brought him made him a bit arrogant at the time, but he added that working on the record opened many doors for him. It was largely because of his production work with Primal Scream that he got other good jobs.
Weatherall is arguably best known for helping take ‘acid house‘ from being an underground form of music and expression to a much more mainstream genre. He was one of the ambassadors for electronic music in its early years when it was poorly understood by the public in general and many young people in particular. He is remembered warmly by the musicians, artists, and other people part of the many scenes he contributed to over the decades, and there has been an outpouring of positive eulogies about him following his death in London from a pulmonary embolism.