New York to London: Justin Berkmann on the History of the Ministry of Sound
The DJ and club owner discusses the inspiration for and building of the famed London club
The birth of the Ministry of Sound would have been impossible if it weren’t for Justin Berkmann. In the late ’80s, Berkmann was an inexperienced 20-something DJ with a passion for house, but after finding inspiration at New York’s Paradise Garage during its heyday, he returned to London and enlisted entrepreneurs James Palumbo and Humphrey Waterhouse in creating a paradise of his own.
After the Ministry opened in 1991, it wasn’t long before he began convincing icons like Larry Levan and Francois Kevorkian to come out of retirement and fly out to London to step behind the decks of the club’s impeccable soundsystem.
It might be hard to believe that the very first London club dedicated to house (which eventually expanded into a full-blown multimedia enterprise) was born out of a derelict parking garage. But nearly three decades later, the Ministry is as vital as ever. Berkmann shared the story of how it came to be with Bill Brewster, from his early days spent frequenting parties like Family Funktion and Shake ’N’ Fingerpop, to meticulously designing one of the most revolutionary clubs in all of London.