D.J., producer and musician

Born: April 6, 1963;

Died: February 17, 2020

ANDREW Weatherall, who has died of a pulmonary embolism aged 56, was a British musical polymath of wide-ranging tastes and skills, a DJ, producer, musician, songwriter, record-label owner and noted gentleman of style. He was as responsible as any other individual for the sound and style of British club and alternative music in the 1990s.

First coming to recognition through his DJ residency at the seminal London acid house club, Shoom, Weatherall’s most enduring achievement came soon afterwards. As the main producer of the Glasgow-founded indie-rock group Primal Scream’s 1991 third album, Screamadelica, he was widely credited with a significant role in fusing the sounds of guitar-pop and euphoric acid house with elements of soul, gospel and psychedelic rock in a way which was both singular and would come to be much imitated.

The majority of songs on the record bore Weatherall’s influence (often in tandem with Alex Paterson of The Orb and engineer Hugo Nicolson), including the enduring hymn to joyous hedonism, Loaded; essentially a remix of Primal Scream’s ballad I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, married to a loose beat taken from a remix of Edie Brickell’s song What I Am, a joyous, ska-style trumpet line, and a vocal sample of Peter Fonda from the 1966 cult Hell’s Angels film, The Wild Angels.

The album won the first Mercury Prize, and from this point on, guitar-based groups could often be heard declaring in interviews that there had always been a “dance element” to their music. Weatherall’s influence could be heard trickling down through the 1990s in various ways. In the spirit of unbound hedonism employed by guitar groups such as Oasis and the Charlatans, and the arrival of arena-level electronic artists such as the Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Fatboy Slim, the spirit of Screamadelica was invoked.

The music archive site Discogs lists more than 400 remix entries for Weatherall. Among the most enduring and popular were his reworkings of the Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah; Saint Etienne’s Neil Young cover Only Love Can Break Your Heart; My Bloody Valentine’s Soon; Flowered Up’s Weekender, and The Future Sound of London’s Papua New Guinea. All helped define the sound of the early 1990s in British music.

As a producer he also worked with Beth Orton, James, and Glasgow’s One Dove, and as co-producer (with the band) of Kilsyth group The Twilight Sad’s No One Can Ever Know (2013). Between 1992 and 1995, he and studio engineers Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns were the acid house and dub reggae-influenced Sabres of Paradise (also the name of one of his labels), who released three albums and a number of singles; the single, Wilmot, and the debut album, Sabresonic, were minor hits.

As artist-in-residence with the publisher Faber & Faber, Weatherall created the mini-album Unreal City with author Michael Smith in 2013, and his final album, Qualia, arrived in 2017.

Weatherall’s eclectic tastes in rockabilly, glam and punk were explored on the 2007 mix Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi Vol.1, released on Glasgow’s Soma label. He had an ongoing association with the city, most recently bringing his and Sean Johnston’s A Love from Outer Space parties along for a regular residency. In an appreciation for the club site, Resident Advisor, Keith McIvor – aka JD Twitch of celebrated Glasgow club Optimo (Espacio) – remembered booking him for his seminal Edinburgh night, Pure, in the early 1990s.

“With Andrew it was never, ever dull,” he said. “He had endless uproarious anecdotes and whimsical tales filled with arcane historical knowledge and much hilarity… He did it his way, never forgetting the power and value of music… A lifelong maverick.”

Andrew James Weatherall was born in Windsor, Berkshire, in 1963 and raised in Slough. “I had a very nice upbringing, but it was dull,” he once told Uncut magazine. He played in a post-punk band, eventually escaping to London. Among other places, he lived and worked in Battersea and Shoreditch, his prodigious beard and distinctive dress sense placing him ahead of the gentrification of the latter area which eventually pushed him out to north London, an area he preferred for its raw reality. Invited to DJ at parties during the 1980s, Weatherall met Shoom’s Danny Rampling at one such event, and received an invite to the decks at London’s hottest club.

His hunger for music, art, intellectual stimulation and good conversation – as many music journalists will attest – was prodigious, and his devotion to the act of creation, which he considered a job but never a career, was enviable. “I’ve always been obsessed with style, not fashion,” he would say, the David Bowie of the acid house generation.