altern 8 // graeme park (+ residents) tickets
The Studio in Widnes Friday 30th March 2018 | 5:00pm til 1:30am | Minimum Age: 18
All of the Oldskool regulars know that this night will be unmissable. Funktion 1 sound system and massive new production .
We have two of the biggest names in the business , Mark is doing an exclusive 30th anniversary tour and will perform an exclusive set and live performance in Widnes!
We also have the Hacienda legend, Graeme Park (2 hour set).
Plus Resident DJs John Chunky – Tony Carlisle – Ste McGuinness – Andy Finney – Col Allen .
“Altern 8 occupy a unique position in dance music history…” Moby, Los Angeles, 2016
It all started back in 1988, when Mark Archer cut his teeth with Rhythm Mode D then moving on to form Bizarre Inc. in 1989 Although, he didn’t stick around long with the band, Archer received massive critical acclaim – and a few chart placings – for his second project, Nexus 21. It was while Nexus 21 were dabbling with some of the harder Belgian sounds around at the time, that Network Records owner Neil Rushton suggested the formation of a second act, so that some of this hardcore dance could be unleashed… Altern 8 were born!
Altern 8 were a joyous mix of some rather eclectic influences. It sounded so simple and fun and yet the music was deceptively complex. Altern 8 went interstellar with a bunch of hit singles and the album Full-On Mask Hysteria, which hit number 10 in the charts. For a while the unlikely lads from Stafford were jetting around the globe with the likes of Moby, as Altern 8 captured the imaginations of ravers everywhere.
Eventually, the house lights came up on Altern 8 and Archer and Peat went their separate ways. Archer then emerged from the hardcore scene with Slo Moshun, an act he formed with Danny Taurus. Bells of New York became compilation mainstays and Archer’s prowess at the production desk once again came to the fore with this more refined take on electronic music. Archer then followed up Slo Moshun with solo projects Trackman, Xen Mantra and DJ Nex, which rooted our man right back to the underground that he loved so much, as he started to ply his trade as a DJ; something he started to enjoy just as much as making music. The man has been busy ever since.
The past 30 years has seen Archer firmly established as a UK dance music legend. His book The Man Behind The Mask was released in 2016 with a host of famous contributors including Moby, the man Archer toured Brazil with back in the day. The book was a chance for Archer to let that famous dust mask drop, thus revealing the man beneath. The book was warmly received, described by one reviewer as one of the best autobiographies he’d read that year.
Today, Archer can still be seen in that famous luminous mask as the resurrected Altern 8, although the name Mark Archer pulls crowds just as big, as seen in some massive performances at festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival and EDC in Vegas amongst countless others. Archer is also a resident DJ at The Acid Experiment, Field Maneuvers Fesitval and Bangface.
Bizarre Inc., Nexus 21, Altern 8, Trackman, Slo Moshun, Xen Mantra, DJ Nex… Mark Archer has been making and spinning, the finest dance music for an incredible 30 years. Now, that is something to CELEBR8! So, get your bookings in for the ‘Man Behind The Mask 30th Anniversary Tour’.
It’s going to get emotional.
Graeme Park: 30 years on the decks, 20 years on the radio.
The story of DJ Graeme Park really mirrors the story of the evolution of dance music and club culture itself. Graeme found himself working in a Nottingham record shop called Selectadisc in the early 1980s, when the very first house records began to filter through from Chicago, Detroit and New York. When the shop’s owner opened a nightclub, it was only natural he should turn to Graeme to select the discs. Determined to showcase this new style of music, his reputation as a house pioneer soon brought him to the attention of Mike Pickering at the Haçienda in Manchester, who asked him to cover for him while he went on holiday in 1988. Simply put, there was no-one else in the country who could do the job. The Summer of Love followed, and Parky quickly became one of the biggest names on the emerging dance scene. Aside from his nine year residency at The Haç, he was one of the first British DJs to play places like Australia, South America, the USA, Asia and beyond as well as producing and remixing tracks for the dancefloor, including The Brand New Heavies, Inner City, Eric B & Rakim, New Order, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and more.
The Haçienda was a club without a purpose until house music filled its cathedral-sized dimensions. It undeniably defined Graeme as a DJ, but after more than three decades as a DJ, that can only be seen as one chapter in an on-going tale: ‘Yeah it was a very big chapter,’ says Graeme. ‘I guess the first was when I realised I could DJ and discovered house music from the US. The Haçienda was chapter 2, then chapter 3 was when it re-opened after closing for a couple of months in 1992. Chapter 4 was when it closed not long after I left and I played all around the world. I suppose Chapter 5 was the turn of the century and continuing my journey. Chapter 6 is where I am right now, with more variety to my gigs and music selection than ever before.’
As far as Graeme’s concerned, things are as fab as ever. But where is dance music and club culture headed? Well, who better to ask directions than the man who wrote the disco A-Z? ‘I started doing it purely by accident,’ he details. ‘And then realised I was actually pretty good at it. But I never thought I’d end up doing it for over 30 years. And I see no need to stop at the moment. I still love playing fantastic tunes in a variety of different clubs all over the place and people still want me to do it too.’
And where we are now is a very interesting place to be with regular gigs around the UK, Europe and beyond playing a selection of classic house cuts as well as new and current tunes to audiences made up of die-hard regulars and new clubbers too. There’s also a variety of occasional productions, remixes and collaborations under various guises with people such as legendary Ten City vocalist Byron Stingily, Juan Kidd and his ongoing Yellow & Black project. Although keen not to be bracketed as purely a ‘classics’ DJ, Graeme regularly delves into the thousands upon thousands of tunes he has collected on vinyl over the years: “House music has made people channel their tastes, so I went back to my roots and pulled out some forgotten classics,” he grins, still in love with process of mining those rich seams of vinyl. “I love seeing a crowd go wild to a tune they haven’t heard for years or playing something really obscure from 20 years ago that people think is new.”
In the past couple of years, Graeme has reunited with original Haçienda Friday Nude Night partner Mike Pickering for a variety of FAC51 The Haçienda club nights playing a selection of contemporary tunes alongside a variety of forgotten classics. “We want to try and recreate the excitement of the original Nude nights when nobody knew what we were playing from one week to the next. We’re also both massive fans of the current crop of young house and dance producers who are making scores of huge club tunes that take their references from over 20 years ago. Response to our occasional sets has been massive from both young and older clubbers alike.”
Alongside Mike, Graeme has been a major part of this year’s Haçienda Classical shows which have performed in Manchester and London to rapturous response. They’ve both been DJing live alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, Peter Hook, Rowetta and special guests to a set of classic house tunes from 1988 to 1992. This euphoric show is currently on tour throughout the UK and gives you the chance to hear classic tunes like you’ve never heard them before with a 70 piece orchestra, live percussionists and a choir.
Celebrating over 20 years on the radio with shows on Kiss, Galaxy, Key 103, Radio City, Juice FM, Forth One and more, Graeme’s years of experience help him understand the specialist skills required by a radio DJ: ‘A lot of radio shows or DJs just play the same big tunes. You can’t simply pretend you’re in a club, you have to talk to the audience and put your personality and knowledge across without sounding like an idiot.’ His weekly Graeme Park Radio Show airs on scores of radio stations both in the UK and overseas and brings in a big audience with his mix of new and older tunes mixed together like only he knows how.
Whether through his sets, his radio shows, his productions and remixes or simply by getting to know his audience, Graeme has spent over 30 years getting his jocular personality across. He was there before it all started, he was at the forefront of the dance scene when it was at its zenith and he’s still there, still rocking it, years later – longer than some of the people on the dancefloor have been on the planet! And the best thing is he still loves it, still loves the music and still loves to play it for people to dance to.
‘Yeah, for my entire career I’ve been finding good tunes that I want other people to hear. The reason I keep doing it is simple: it’s my mission in life to let people hear good music.’
The Haçienda is now an apartment building (the developers asked Parky to DJ at the launch; he politely declined). At the back of the building there is a time-line, carved into steel, detailing the history of the club from Madonna‘s early performance to its closure. And there’s Graeme’s name not once, but twice, carved into the metal for time immemorial. What other DJs (what other venues?) have had that significance in clubland?
Acid House, Club Classics, Electronic, House, Old Skool