An Altern 8 history of British rave.
Mark Archer isn't short of hilarious anecdotes. The Stafford native has been DJing, producing and raving since the mid-'80s and he's racked up plenty of stories along the way. You'll know him best in disguise, shrouded in a khaki chemical warfare suit and a bright yellow mask with an A painted on it. With partner Chris Peat, dancer Martyn Cresswell, a robot on stilts, tanks, pranks and other paraphernalia, Altern 8 took Britain by storm in the early '90s. Their shows were total spectacles and their simple, pop-friendly hardcore proved infectious. Altern 8 was the antithesis of Archer and Peat's first project, Nexus 21, where they made serious Detroit-inspired techno. Altern 8 was very silly, a lot of fun and the British pubic loved it. In a few short years they broke into the UK charts, performed on Top Of The Pops, played huge warehouse raves across the country and even joined Moby on tour through Brazil.
But it hasn't been one long laugh to the top. Archer and Peat stopped working together soon after Altern 8's debut album was released and their relationship has never recovered. It got nasty in fact, but Archer prefers not to dwell on it. Instead he's thankful to those who continued to support him during some rather dark years, people like James Gurney from Bangface and Josh Doherty from I Love Acid. Doherty now stands in for Peat at Altern 8 gigs, which are as rowdy as ever, and Archer remains a Bangface regular—he even got married at last year's weekender. RA's Holly Dicker spent an afternoon hearing about rave weddings, pudding bombs, tips on how to keep your chemical warfare suit fresh and more.