Mark Archer (Altern-8) Interview + Mix
Ahead of his performance at Bloc Weekend next month Mark Archer, one half of early 1990’s British rave duo Altern-8 [who had top ten hits with Activ 8 and Evapor 8] took time out to chat to WANARB and Class of 808 about their legendary performance at Shelleys Carpark, Carl Craig and the weirdest thing he’s ever seen happen in a club.
WANARB: Where are you right now?
Mark: Sat on my girlfriends sofa listening to her 3 year old talk fishwack to himself.
WANARB: 15 word biography?
Mark: I play other peoples records, I used to make more records than I do now.
WANARB: Favourite year musically?
Mark: Toughy but I’d probably got for 1989
WANARB: 1 tune always in your record box?
Mark: Energy Flash – Joey Beltram
WANARB: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a club?
Mark: Some geezer knelt down in front of a chair with his head on it, spanking one out, completely off his cake in the eclipse in Coventry in about 91….. must have been something good going round that night!
WANARB: Tell us about the legendary performance at Shelley’s car park? How long were you expecting to be able to play for?
Mark: We didn’t really plan it very well at all, it was just a bit of a nice idea to carry the night on as everyone used to come out of the club, turn their (very tinny) car stereo’s on and dance round their cars…it was sort of a way of giving a little bit back.
We pulled up outside the club in the afternoon and had the generators and sound sysyem all set up, No one suspected anything with a truck parked at the side of a car park so it had a great impact when we pulled the side of the truck up and started the impromptu p.a. after the club had closed.
We were trying to get enough footage for the Activ 8 video so wanted to play Activ 8, Infiltrate 202 and Frequency and imagined that it would probably have been stopped by then. We managed to play 2 versions of Activ 8 before the police turned up and threatened to take us and the label boss to the station before we stopped (we also got cautioned for the ‘joy riding’ scene at the end of the video) tut tut!
WANARB: How did the Carl Craig remix of (Still) Life Keeps Moving come about? It was the first remix he’d ever done so he must have been really into your sound…do you still have links with any of the godfathers in Detroit?
Mark: Neil Rushton was well up on all the Detroit artists at the time and was working with a lot of them and said it would be a great idea to get Carl Craig and Marc Kinchin to remix the track alongside the Kevin Saunderson mix – it’s something I’m well chuffed about as it’s an amazing mix as well as being his first.
I’ve Seen Derrick May dj a fair few times over here and always make sure I say hello and try and keep in touch with most of the influential people I’ve met over the past 22 years.
WANARB: Tell us about the scene up in Stafford in the rave days. Would you say the area influenced your sound in the same way, say, Detroit influenced the Detroit Techno sound? (In particular your Nexus 21 productions)
Mark: I wouldn’t say there was much of a scene really in Stafford, most of the things were going on in Stoke just up the M6, myself and Dean Meredith (who I started Bizarre Inc… with) used to go up there to all the different acid house nights back in 88/89 but there was only really about 8 people in Stafford making any tunes in the late 80’s early 90’s – nothing like Manchester or Sheffield.
WANARB: What sort of set can you expect to hear from you nowadays? New tracks? Classics? Or a mixture of the two?
Mark: I’m usually booked to play oldskool, so I play anything from the early house of 1987 to some darker jungle tekno from 1993 and anything in between from classics to forgotten gems, but I do play newer acid and techno under my own name when given the opportunity
WANARB: What did your parents think of you being on Top Of The Pops?
Mark: They were well chuffed but my dad was more pleased when I finally started using crash cymbals in my tracks – he’s a bit of an air drummer and slated my early stuff as there were no crashes.
WANARB: How do you feel the acid sound will go down at Bloc? Will you be playing classic tracks or introducing the crowd to tunes they may not have heard before?
Mark: Bloc is acid – it lives it… a lot of nights that are around today wouldn’t be about if it was not for the acid house sound and they are a celebration of it, obviously there are many more genre’s played at new nights in comparison to back in 88 but the sound of the 303 always rocks a crowd.
I’ll be playing some acid house tracks along with some hands in the air piano, Belgium techno and breakbeat hardcore as well as a bit of a surprise for my last tune.
WANARB: And finally a few from the readers of Class Of 808
Who is MC Jammy Hammy and is it true that Infiltrate 202 had enough power to destroy the most expensive washing machine?
Mark: James Hamilton (R.I.P.) was the dance reviewer for Record Mirror back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and he coined many phrases to describe different styled tracks within a genre, classing most UK acid house tracks as Aciiieed instead of true acid house.
We thought it would be funny to write a parody of one of his reviews and actually get him to read it out over the phone so we could put it at the end of the track, not sure if he got the joke but his column was a bible for dj’s back then.
Not really tested the theory on destroying washing machines with bass but I’ve seen the damage a few bricks can do to one.
Did you prefer the acid house scene or the hardcore scene?
Mark: The latter was an extension or logical progression from the other, they just seemed to follow on dependent on your taste but were both totally different. The acid house scene was different as it was so new, so totally different to what had gone before and totally refreshing but the sheer size of the hardcore scene and the massive raves made it equally as exciting.
Are there any unreleased Nexus 21 tunes knocking about?
Mark: There is actually, a half completed second lp which unfortunately never see the light of day as well as a collaboration with Jay Denham on a track called ‘Why’.
I’ve not heard it since it was recorded in 1991 and probably never will again but from what I remember it was a corker.
Shelleys or The Eclipse?
Mark: Again, a really difficult choice, Shelley’s where we hung out, it was where we’d be every weekend if we weren’t playing a gig and had an amazing atmosphere but the Eclipse was immense and I’ve had some unforgettable nights there so don’t think I could pick between them.
Why were so few copies of that Dust Science record pressed and how do you feel about them fetching stupid money not long after it got released?
Mark: The whole idea of the label being called DS93 was there were going to be 93 copies made and that was it, no cd’s, no downloads, and it’s a cool idea.
The tracks aren’t made to chart and the music is for the kind of music lover who really searches for what they want and not the person who is force fed on what to listen to.
As there’s so few it’s hard to judge how well it is doing even though the release sold out before it’s release date, so when copies turned up on the net with silly asking prices then you knew that people were willing to pay for the release which is nice to know that it’s valued by someone.
Check out this 90/91 Techno mix Mark put together for Bloc
Mark Archer – Bloc 2011 Promo Mix
***You can catch Mark playing the ‘I Love Acid’ Arena @ BLOC Weekend 11-13th March. For more info on BLOC click here.
1. Incubus – The Spirit
2. Beltram Vol 2 (Joey Beltram) – My Sound
3. Trigger – Stratosphere
4. X-ES – Roller-Coaster
5. Spectrum – Brasil (Original Mix)
6. B-Sides (Frank De Wulf) – Magic Orchestra
7. Destroyer – Senses (Hooligan Mix)
8. John + Julie feat Auriole – Circles (Vicious Mix)
9. Modular Expansions – Cubes
10. Ravesignal III (C J Bolland) – Horse Power
11. Set Up System – Music And Noise
12. One Tribe – Get Hype
13. Trigger – Wisdom (Uproar Mix)
14. Nitrous – Moonwalk
15. Holy Noise – Get Down Everybody
16. Tech-Noise – I Luv U
MORE ON MARK ARCHER