The king of the car park raves get set for Back of Beyond…
How did you start making music, what equipment were you using?
When I very first started in 1988 all I had was a Casio SK1 sampling keyboard (not as glam as it sounds) and I used to go and visit Dean Meredith who had decks and a mixer so he would cut up beats on his decks and I’d play bass-lines or samples over the top, which we would then over dub with scratches or other samples. extremely lo-fi but it got us a deal with Blue Chip records.
How do your current production techniques compare with the way you made music when you started?
It’s totally different these days, there’s so many sounds to use and effects that you can’t possibly reach the limits of the equipment’s capability, but when we started, we were making every piece of equipment do things they weren’t designed to. I much preferred the time in the mid to late 90’s when I had a studio at my old house, with loads of samplers, outboard gear and hardware all wired into my mixing desk so I knew where everything was and all hooked to the trusty Atari 1040 though.
Who were your biggest influences at the beginning?
Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and pretty much every other producer from Detroit making techno as well as producers from Chicago like Tyree Cooper, DJ Fast, Eddie and Armando to name a few.
What is your favourite album of all time?
Without a doubt its an album called ‘Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit’ that came out in 1988 on 10 records. It has tracks on it by Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins as well as Anthony Shakir, Blake Baxter and Eddie Fowlkes, it’s pretty much the Techno bible.
You have enjoyed a long music career; why do you think people still identify with the sound of Altern-8?
I think people identify with the golden era of rave sound as there’s something unique about it, the euphoria and the rawness of the tracks that were made then. They bring back great memories for people who were there and it’s totally different to a lot of the newer styles of dance music so really stands out.
The music industry and DJ culture has changed a lot in recent years, what are your thoughts on the music industry at the moment and how have you had to change and adapt since you started out?
I’m not one of these people who moans about how things are, or moans about the underground vs the commercial side of things, there’s no point in bothering with stuff that really doesn’t concern me. As far as the little corner of dance music I’m involved in goes, it’s brilliant. So many new people discovering the oldskool sound and producers who have grown up on it are being heavily influenced by the sound and making amazing new tracks. As far as how I’ve had to change with the industry, you can now no longer just turn up and play records (although that was enough to do anyway) but now you have to be well up on the social media side of things and help promote events that you’re playing at, recording video’s to prove that you are going etc.
What has been your favourite experience as a DJ so far?
Possibly the Boiler room set I did in 2016 in Nottingham as I was a bit apprehensive about how it was going to go down compared to all the other Boiler rooms I’ve seen where it’s newer music. Up until the first tune dropped I honestly thought I was going to go down like a sack of spuds but it went off and has proved to be probably the most popular set I’ve ever played (and I can hear my wife shouting support on the recording which always puts a smile on my face).
If you could go back and do anything differently in your career, what would you do and why?
I don’t think I’d change anything because I wouldn’t be where I am now. There’s obviously loads of things I’d do differently if I wasn’t happy where I am right now, working with different people, taking better legal advice, being way more confident about my own ability but hindsight is a wonderful thing haha.
How do contemporary festivals compare to the then legal out door raves in the late 80’s and early 90’s?
There was an energy and excitement about the raves back then that isn’t present now, not saying that raves now aren’t good because they are but it was brand new nearly 30 years ago, it hadn’t been done before. There was a level of escapism back then, and a feeling that ‘this is ours’ whereas these days it’s not just for the people in the know. I’m not saying that makes it better, just different.
What can we expect from your set at Back of Beyond festival?
If it’s a festival or a new club I don’t tend to go too deep into the archives as it may lose the crowd, so I usually play a sort of ‘journey through the rave scene’ starting off with the early tracks from maybe 1988/89 and work through the piano driven house tracks, the harder Belgian techno and then finish with breakbeat hardcore so the tempo gradually rises throughout the set.
Will you be going to see anyone else play at the festival? If so, who?
It’s actually my 50th birthday on the 7th of July so I’ll be in full on party mode and trying to catch as many people as I can, but will be hooking up with my good mates 2 Bad Mice and Uncle Dugs for sure and really want to catch Ray Keith and Norris da boss Windross.
What does the future hold for Altern-8?
I’ve spent since 1999 just trying to keep the name of the group alive, and it seems to be working. We’ve gained loads of new fans so I’ll be continuing the DJ’ing and live sets as long as is possible. And who knows, we may even do some new tracks.
Festival News: Faithless will headline the first edition of Back of Beyond Festival July 2018
July 7th 2018
Frogmore Hill | Hertford |
FAITHLESS DJ SET
LATMUN / DETLEF / JOSH BUTLER / BONTAN / SANDY RIVERA / NICK CURLY / THE SHAPESHIFTERS / AUDIOJACK / DJ RANDALL / KIDEKO / MATT JAM LAMONT / GW HARRISON / NORIS DA BOSS WINDROSS
WAIFS & STRAYS / ARTIKAL / ALTERN 8 / MR DORIS / SLIPMATT / UNCLE DUGS / JNR WINDROSS / BRANDON BLOCK & ALEX P / RAY KEITH / BARRINGTON / DEEP BLUE / 2 BAD MICE / COLIN CHIDDLE / RHODESY
PAUL DA KUTT / ROSS MAC / RICKY LEE HALL / DJ ASTON / JAMES RAZDA / KEVIN CUTTS / DJAW / TUMPIN / GRANT NALDER / LUKE JEFFREY / IAN WOODALL / LEE BRINX