Style & Grooming

The Story Behind Coach’s Collaboration with Legendary Rave Artist, Pez

Pez created some of the most memorable flyers of the acid house era, now, he’s collaborated with Coach on a series of posters which began appearing around London this weekend

In 1989, Hackney-born artist Steven Perry – better known as Pez – attended Biology, the Jarvis Sandy-led rave which began at a film studio in Battersea that same year. “When I left I was handed a photocopied flyer, which really didn’t reflect the type of party I had just been to,” he explains. “I knew at that point I could do better. This was an opportunity to produce artwork for something that was completely different from anything else seen before.”

So he did: over the coming years, he would produce some of the most memorable nightclub flyers and posters of the acid house era, each encapsulating the euphoric, pleasure-seeking feel of the movement for legendary nights like like Helter Skelter, Beyond Therapy and Hardcore Heaven, spraypainted in a manner first inspired by Henry Chalfant’s Subway Art. Now, three decades on, he makes a return to the medium, creating a series of fly posters for American brand Coach, which began appearing across London on Sunday. 

“The concept was to try and capture the feel of the early party scene,” he says, having been introduced to the label by Andrés Branco of London-based store Wavey Garms. “It’s as if Coach is the name of the party; you need to believe you are going to it. It is summer, it is warm and beautiful, perhaps on holiday. Every detail of the party will be taken care of, nothing left to chance, a great palace-style outdoor venue; the best of everything, from the sound to the DJs and most of all the people there.”

The idea is to recall how the artist first felt attending raves as a teenager. “The overwhelming memory of the time was a feeling of freedom. We were just kids misbehaving on a grand scale being ‘naughty’ as only British kids can be, a St Trinian’s attitude to everything,” he says. “I remember pausing for a moment in the middle of a party and looking around at the scene before me and thinking, if everything ended now we have had more experiences than most people have in their entire lives. I was only 19 years old.”

For both Pez and Coach, now feels like the right time to return to the revolutionary spirit of the era. “[Back then] we were subconsciously tired of the Westminster line, the fake news, the police control, we could see through it but most of all, could do something about it,” he says. “In many ways, parallels can be drawn with now. We grew up on stories of punks, skinheads, mods and rockers – they were still around at that time. For kids today, we are the last true rebels.”