Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Earache fought in the techno wars 93-96.

Question: How does Earache feel about the Techno releases you did back in the nineties.Now that bands like Pendulum are big, and dub step is played on Radio 1 and is popular in clubs?

Answer:Substitute Pitch Shifter for Pendulum and Scorn for Dub Step and you have pretty much what we were doing in the mid-90s. There is this misunderstanding that Earache in the mid-90s completely turned its back on Metal and Grind, with a wholesale shedding of all the "good" bands, to start releasing exclusively crappy "Dance/techno" records instead.This is a gross exaggeration of what did happen, albeit on a small scale.

People are quick to forget that Earache actually did release tons of quality extreme metal during that era as usual, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Anal Cunt, Carcass, Cathedral Iron Monkey and more, but sadly these were overshadowed in the fans eyes by the - probably a dozen,tops - of the extreme techno records that were also released.

It seriously divided opinion among fans of the label, and in hindsight it WAS a serious mistake. A sub-label for techno, not the main label, was the proper place for such wild experimentation. Looking back its remarkable how immune I was to the anger it caused to some die-hard fans.We did have a side label for this stuff, but it was closed down, the last release being early Drum N bass act Fenetik (sleeve pictured above). See that story here.

Someone who definately was angry was Brutal Truth's Kevin Sharp- during the period in 1995 or so, when they had been let go from the label (at their request I might add) he took to mercilessly bashing Earache in interviews, and especially our artist Ultraviolence, which was one of the new hardcore techno projects I'd started working with since 1993.

I guess you had to be here.If you werent living in the UK during the early 90s, you cant understand the impact the techno/rave music scene had. It WAS the underground music scene here, and at least in the early days it was just as radical as the death metal or grindcore scene.Nobody could have predicted that this nascent rave scene would blow up to dominate popular culture for the next decade, of course.

Norway had Helvete, we had Warp.

This was before it became totally mainstream and superclubs like Gatecrasher or Ministry of Sound had even opened their doors.It was a truly Independent, DIY scene which utilised the primitive samplers and early affordable music software to literally invent a new music scene out of nothing. That scene evolved into the mainstream drum n bass and techno which dominated the clubs amd the charts for most of the 90s and much of this decade too.

Back then, I would sit in my flat during the early 90s and hear strangely alien yet alluringly massive bass-heavy sounds pumping out of every house and car where I lived at the time. I discovered it was on the airwaves aswell due to an illegal pirate radio station (Rave FM) operating in my area. It was hellishly underground, radical and free music.

The free parties like Castlemorton made the TV news and newspaper front pages.Being seemingly spearheaded by renegade anarcho-punkers from the 80s, like Spiral Tribe made it even more appealing. The whole scene was even declared illegal - new laws were passed in Parliament to prevent gatherings of ravers - and I became a big fan instantly.

Heres Spiral Tribe explaining what happened:

Won't be long before an NME/ hipster-led Jungle/Rave revival is on the cards surely?
Fine by me, as clubs would have to play ACEN- Trip to the Moon Part 2 (Production House, 1992)

plus Sonic Experience- everybody get crazy!

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