Altern-8 is the hardcore/breakbeat rave duo consisting of Mark Archer and Chris Peat. In their day they helped to set trends in hardcore techno style, with several anthems, and a style of music that became progressively faster, with more bass, and definitely more noise. During this period, hardcore techno was moving away from the style of house music that was already around, and Altern-8 were moving with it. However, in 1993 Mark Archer started to prefer the house sounds. That is when he decided to produce as Slo Moshun with Danny Taurus, responsible for "Bells of N.
.", and Xen Mantra, his solo project.
When Altern-8 put on their masks and their weird chemist uniforms for a performance, everything seemed to be out of control. Their kind of music really seemed to be a melting pot where you couldn't define exactly the different styles frontiers. After all, it was all lumped into hardcore. So many influences made up the English movement, and later even other ones, such as Jungle and Drum and Bass, were then influenced by it.
Even though the Detroit Techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson was considered a reference to all rave style with a track named "Truth of Self Evidence" (as Reese & Santonio), he had never made hardcore, and one day he met the Altern-8 duo at Stafford aka Techno City, and they recorded the "Let it Reign" tune together with Inner City: that's when Mark explained the basic ingredients of hardcore to Kevin, resulting in what he did later, like Tronikhouse's "Uptempo".
Altern-8 started in 1989 as Nexus 21, because they just liked it. It sounded 'technoey', and they were both 21 at that time. According to Archer, it was already a proto-hardcore project. Nothing to do with the unborn bleep techno. They definitely were aiming for something more dancefloor, more breakbeat. Anyway, the "Rhythm Of Life"'s sales did not go well, and they decided to change. So, they choose the best option in 1990: to Altern 8!
Influenced by the musical elements of the Detroit techno artists Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, as well as the Chicago sound of Phuture and early techno heroes Kraftwerk, the Altern-8 tunes changed the world of dance music, bringing these influences to all over the place, in a mixture of 303, 808 and 909. This was, in fact, "the sound of the Altern-8!".
Notable Altern-8 tracks include "Activ8", "E-vapor-8", "Frequency", "Hypnotic St-8" and "Infiltrate 202". The duo produced an album on the Network Records Label in 1992 called Full On .. Mask Hysteria. After their single "Everybody", the duo split up. Mark Archer is still DJing now, doing live shows all over the world.
In 1992, Peat entered as a candidate for the Stafford constituency in the General Election representing the Hardcore (Altern8-ive) party. He polled 158 votes and finished in fourth place.