Chris Coco and the Coco Club, 1989-1990s

Coco Club flyer, 1990
Image from the Zap archive

DJ Chris Coco began his musical career at the Zap Club and held long-standing residency there with Coco Club, which began in June 1989 and went on every Saturday night. Chris was a key player in the acid house movement of the late 1980s; his sets at Coco Club reflected this and proved popular, helping to seal the Zap Club’s reputation of being at the centre of South coast clublife. Chris later went on to pursue other world-wide projects and continue to develop his musical style, which today sees him draw on influences as various and diverse as indie-rock, dub and electronica.

Chris Coco was one of many DJs to make his name at the Zap Club. Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfiold, Carl Cox, Andy Wetherall, Damian Harris of Brighton-based label ‘Skint’ and Jocelyn Brown all played career-moving sets at the Zap Club over the years.

Remember this? Remember similar events in Brighton and Hove around the same time? We want to hear from you. Use the Add a Comment link below or contact with photos or information.

In particular, what did you think of Coco Club sets? Can you remember any other DJs who played at the Zap in the early days of their careers?

Comments about this page

  • Do any of you remember Choccie and Harvey?

    By Anonymous (09/11/2006)
  • The Coco Club had a really special vibe; it was like a big clubbing family. As the promoters, Chris and Lene Stokes fought hard to keep it that way – there was always pressure to make it more commercial, but they did it for the music not the money. They didn’t even want to advertise the guest DJs or PAs because they wanted it to be a suprise for all their regulars. As well as Chris setting the mood on the decks, often starting the night with chilled out film soundtracks and allowing it to build as everyone arrived, Lene was on the door to make sure that the cool people came in and the rowdys stayed out. She was tough! Years later people still come up to her and say: “You wouldn’t let me in to the Coco Club!” (including Jaimie Theakston, I believe!). I designed a lot of the flyers and painted all the banners for the Coco Club as well as playing percussion with Jo Bourne under the name of Xi Xi. Other local superstar DJs I remember were Craig Woodrow (later played Club Shame + Wild Fruit) and Dulcie Danger (she had Dangertrax in Bond St for a while as well as DJing at just about every club in Brighton).

    One of my best nights at the Coco Club was when Ten City did a PA. When Byron Stingley hit those top notes – my God! still brings a tear to my eye! The Coco Club was full of lovely people and lovely music. Anytime I hear John Paul Young’s Love Is In The Air I remember a club full of happy people waving their arms in the air and singing along at the top of their voices. xxx

    By Michele Allardyce (10/11/2006)
  • Jo and Michelle took me, an innocent Swede, to the club one summer night in ’88 – it was great dancing all night to Baby Ford and other squiggly grooves I’d never heard of in my home country. Everyone seemed SO FRIENDLY compared to the broken bottle fight vibe I was used to from rock clubs at home. When I told Jo & M this, they pulled me aside, looking at me with an expression of “the poor little boy, how could he know”, and whispered: “THEY’RE ALL ON E!”

    Martin, proud owner of a mint original Michelle Allardyce luminous Zap Club poster

    By Martin (20/04/2007)
  • I was the resident DJ from the late Coco Club right up to when Pussy Cat Club decided to have a harder music policy, altogether about 8 years. It was my idea to have music in the back room for the first time, and rocked it. The Zap was my 2nd home, and will always be in my blood. I’ve set up on Facebook, the Zap Club Good Old Days Appreciation Club – we’re trying to get lots of old faces to join. Good Luck.

    By Neil Silk Roden (26/06/2007)
  • Neil Silk Roden and Nippa Deep Downey were “the” two best DJ’s on Brighton’s clubbing scene. No rivals, no equals, just out there above all others in the Pussy Cat Club.
    Would be good to get them together again at the Pussy Cat club for a reunion blast.

    By Jason Bryant (22/08/2007)
  • I always thought Nippa Deep Downey jumped on every (bad) house bandwagon going? IMO the reason why the pussy cat club has no musical integrity. The Coco Club was entirely different though. A wonderful crowd, a very thoughtful resident DJ and alot of life changing music (for me at least).

    By Sean (12/02/2008)
  • I can’t believe they’ve changed the name. I remember the good ol’ days very well, like yesterday, the Zap (and downstairs at the Royal Escape) was my ritual night out.  Those true survivors should also remember the Full Circle gigs – remember piling into cars to get to the Greyhound in Colnbrook on the Sunday morning?
    Now, Neil ‘Silk’ Rodean was never the most technically accomplished DJ but by hell he played the best music, year on year, and for that I doff my cap.
    Now, I entered a debate the other night, perhaps someone here can help me – Do you remember a track called ‘Slow Burn’ from back in the day? I’m desperate to find it again.

    By Simon Willard (03/03/2008)
  • I remember those heady Saturday nights at the Coco club: the nervous queue to see if we could get past the fashion police on the door, then in……hands in the air, sweat and non stop dancing. Best memories? The dance, the tunes, sitting having a beer with Bobby Gillespie in the top bar. My mate Justin dancing with Kylie. Oh and Simon Willard, think you are after Orchestra JB – Free Spirit (Slow Burn) Awesome choon :o)

    By Big Nick (09/04/2009)
  • Happy Days! “Dajae’s You Got Me Up”, “C&C’s Pride (Original)”, “Lidell Townsell-All I Wanna Do”, to name a few from an endless list of Coco Club classics, and what made them so special was the friendly atmosphere in the club along with the 2 stages singing back and forth to each other. The Coco Club had such an influence on my life I don’t think I’ll ever shake it, I will always think of those great times.

    By Dallas Weeks (15/07/2009)
  • I went to Sussex Uni in the early 90’s, so I remember Coco Club (Saturdays), Protechtion (Fridays) and Tonka (Monthly, on weeknights). All excellent, but what bugged me about Coco was that it’d take a while to get going, people waiting around (waiting to come up?), and too many really, really poncey garage dubs in the warm up sets), but once it got going, and got more housey, around midnight, it was ace. I remember the closing party with great fondness, it started early, finished late and was pumping from start to finish, was packed out with a great crowd, and was as good a night as I’ve ever had in a club.

    By Johnny Buckle (19/07/2012)
  • The last record EVER played at the Coco Club was…. Memory like an elephant, me. In addition to the fact that it was a monumentally good night 🙂

    By Johnny Buckle (19/07/2012)
  • Fond memories of Chris CoCo, Andy from Fundamental, Neil Roden. I loved 1990 New Year with Boy George. Of course I remember Damian – he was just a slip of a lad when I first met him. I remember a great Zap night in Aug 1990 then off for a cool down in the paddling pool on the way home to Norfolk Square. Shame and Tonka nights were amazing. Used to go there with Spider and Sharkey and also many many more brilliant friends. No place like it. Thank you also to fab people I met in the Zap like – lend us a fiver Andy – who went on to help set up nights like ‘Use your loaf’ and ‘Babelicious’.

    By Karen - nicknamed Fluff (26/02/2020)

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