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Hardcore ravers from Stafford, England, Altern 8 comprised Mark Archer and Chris Peat, and was an offshoot of their Nexus 21 project. Of the two, Archer was the house music aficionado, while Peat was a former music technology student with an interest for computers.

They crashed the UK charts in 1991 with ‘Infiltrate 202’ and ‘Activ-8 (come with me)’, two chaotic slices of hardcore, the latter reaching number 3. They were aided in their chart aspirations by the circulation of fictitious press stories concerning their alleged activities, which included promoting the decongestant Vicks Vapo Rub, which, it was claimed, heightened the effects of Ecstasy; and standing as local candidates for the 1993 General Election.

Their live events were also designed as eye catching performances, where the band donned RAF chemical warfare suits and dust masks. They were aided by their resident dancers Crez, Jon Parkes, and MC MkOne, in the case of their gig at Stafford’s Bingley Hall, an actual shaman. His job was to cleanse the venue of its ‘rock n roll’, prior to performance. Additional vinyl outings included the ‘Overload ep’ (1990), ‘Frequency’(10,000 copies of which were on sale for a single day only), and another top ten hit, ’Evapor 8’, followed by ’Hypnotic St8’, the LP ‘Full on Mask Hysteria’ (number 10 in the LP charts).

The protagonists long maintained that this was a temporary diversion from their main project, Nexus 21, and confirmed this by releasing a ‘final’ Altern 8 single, ‘Everybody’, in June 1993. Mark Archer has gone on to form Slo-Moshun, a duo of Archer and Danny Taurus from Stoke on Trent. They released ‘Bells of New York’, one of the biggest club hits of early 1994, breaking the main top 30 on the back of its house/hip hop undulations. However, some of the Altern 8 methodology remained – this time the scam was to trick everyone into thinking it was a US import.

Archer has gone on to record tracks as diverse as Nu Skool Breaks for Rennie Pilgrem’s label TCR, under the pseudonym ‘Mr Nex’, and remixed ‘Edzy’s’ – ‘Do it till you burn’ on Strictly Rhythm. With the Old Skool revival in full swing, Archer along with MkOne have remixed the Hardcore favourite ‘Far Out’ by Sonz of a loop da loop era, and mixed Old Skool edition of the very popular ‘Euphoria’ CD series. Along side MkOne, Archer is currently djing on the Old skool revival scene, together they have played at many of the top events – including slots in Ibiza for Helter Skelter/Déjà vu.


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