Altern8 consisted of 2 producers Mark Archer & Chris Peat. They originally started out as Nexus 21 (and apparently before that they were deck chair salesmen or something?) as a pure techno act, but they decided to produce Hardcore & Rave under the name Altern8.
They decided that although rave music was meant to be danced to not looked at, that live PA's should entertain the crowd- hence the chemical warfare protection suits and yellow masks! Their first E.P. The Overload E.P. had a distinct techno feel to it, but their second E.P. The Vertigo E.P. took on the sound of the breakbeat hardcore sound. This was released in 1991. This quickly became a massive rave anthem, the title tune Infiltrate 202 is still a massive crowd pleasing tune in old skool raves today. By some (lucky) mistake the record managed to get just outside the top 40, and of course Altern8 decided it would be foolish not to try and knock it up few places. Some rubbish about disco biscuits and an air horn was created and The Sun printed it! This of course was enough to tipple the tune into the top 30. However it was the follow up Activ8 which really took off.
Mixing breakbeat, with hardcore rave rhythms and that famous "Top One Nice One Get Sorted" sample, Altern8 produced definitely one of 1991's best tunes, which probably everyone remembers. It summed up the happy rave scene perfectly in every way. This was then followed up with the hardcore classic Frequency which I think was recorded in the famous 2:30 AM rave in Shelly's car park - (see The Scams). Altern8 only produced 10001 copies of this record and allegedly burnt the master tapes - (see The Scams). By now Altern8 were a household name (well if you're front room is full of techno records!). In another dodgy stunt, they decided to decided to distribute free Christmas puddings to the poor from a hot air balloon, all with the words "The Poor Know The Score" on them. However the idea was shelved when someone who was less pissed noted that Christmas puddings arrive like scuds from 2,000 feet in the air!
More publicity, and the ever increasing popularity of rave culture, made sure that the further releases Evapor8 and Hypnotic St8 (sampling the Nexus 21 release Self-Hypnosis) became massive rave tunes. Coupled with more publicity stunts, this saw Altern8 become huge, doing live PAs everywhere!! They also did remixes for the likes of Phuture Assasains, Blow, Inner City, Suburban Base and more. But as some DJ's slagged off rave for being apparently cheesy, the popularity of rave culture seemed to decrease and it went back underground, which would explain why Altern8's Brutal8E and Everybody took on a less 'ravey' feel, being given jungle treatment by Two Bad Mice & Suburban Base. Everybody was Altern8's last release in 1993. Due to money troubles, Mark and Chris split up. Mark Archer went on to form Slo Moshun a house act with Danny Tarus. The latest news (1998) is that Mark Archer is working under the name Mr Nex with Rennie Pilgrim on a breakbeat label and also runs a studio for a business. Chris runs a local PC firm....
Altern8's Top Scams, As Taken from the Full On Mask Hysteria E.P.
- The 2.30 AM rave in Shelley's car park. For all those who don't know Shelley's isn't some northern bird or a crap shoe shop, it is probably Stafford's best club. Altern8 held a rave in the car park at 2.30 am on the 15th of September 1991. An interview with Altern8 was recorded which was available on vinyl as limited edition, together with Frequency. The police were not amused, but no-one was arrested!
- The 1992 UK general election (won by the bloody Tories!!). Chris stood as an MP in Stafford for the "Hardcore- U Know the score party". Even funnier was that he did not come last!! He got 152 votes apparently, and as part of their campaign they enlisted the help of a witch doctor to rid Stafford of any links with 'rock music'. He basically spouted a load of crap and sawed a guitar in half. No rock bands have played in Stafford since!
- Top One Nice one get sorted! An American magazine claimed that the sample was ripped from an old skool hip hop artist in the 80's and Altern8 owed her money. "I don't even like Sugar Hill records" complained six year old "MC Crazy" Clair
- Altern8 claimed that Kevin Saunderson - the geezer behind all those Inner City house records would record all of his tunes in Stafford rather than Detroit (the home of techno). Apparently this actually happened. Not very interesting really!
- Vix Vapour Rub. Altern8 always claimed that it helped them breathe properly, rather than enhance the effects of Extacy...
- The tabloids claimed the video for Activ8 cost £80,000 to make. It actually cost £2,310!!
- The was a massive response to the apparent burning of the Frequency Master tapes, which caused magazines, ravers and others to try and find out how to attend this event, supposedly in Stafford Park. Apparently this never happened, there was only a DAT of the tune!
- Apparently Altern8 turned down a $1,000,000 offer from a USA record label who wanted the Altern8 rights. Well done for not selling out!
- The video for Evapor8 was supposed to cost on £2,000, but the involvement of Hong Kong police riot tanks and more pushed the value up into many thousands. They ripped themselves off!
- Chris has a parrot which says "Rave On". Apparently this is worth a mention?!