Ad Rebirth: My Story
I was born on a Peak!
Crowborough, East Sussex is recognised by Peak enthusiasts as one of the UK's "Marilyns" (hills at least 150m higher than the surrounding land). My birthplace Crowborough Hospital must rank as one of the highest in the country, at almost 240m above sea level.
1984 was the year in which pop music took over my world, and almost immediately I became interested in DJing, creating radio shows with two archaic record players my parents owned plus an electronics kit that allowed us to broadcast to the end of the road. I'm very proud to say my childhood DJ buddy Tim (aka TeeJay) is a vital contributor to Rebirth Radio!
In 1987 I got my first DJ booking at a school disco, and over the next few years I started getting more and more bookings at various house parties and discos. The results were mixed, as I honed my DJ skills through trial and error!
By 1991 I had set up A1 Discos, a mobile disco operating in and around Crowborough, plus occasionally further afield (including some early forays up north). Over the course of the 1990s, I DJed at more than 300 events, ranging from weddings in the Sussex countryside to large corporate events in Central London. After Christmas 1999, I largely retired from mobile DJing (although I continued to perform at clubs and various special events).
My earliest recordings include "I Want You" (Snap Grandpa, 1990), "Give You All My Love" (Snap Grandpa, 1991), "Never Knew Love" (Chillfactor, 1992) and "Chemical Reaction" (Chillfactor, 1993).
In 1992, I recorded my first ever DJ mixtape "Born Free". This was followed in 1993 by "Connected" and in 1994 by "To The Beat Of The Drum".
By 1994 I was studying Journalism at university in North London, and formed Karma Twins with Paul Chantler. Karma Twins released three singles: "Natalie" (1994), "All I Want" (1995) and "A Taste Of Love" (1996).
Up until now focused largely on commercial pop and club sounds, in 1995 I radically remodelled my DJ persona. The sounds of early trance, techno and underground rave music had formed a huge impression, which was reflected in the "Strange Travels" DJ mixes.
There were a total of eight "Strange Travels" mixes between 1995 and 1997 plus an additional mix called "Spooked" in 1998 which would later be subtitled "Strange Travels IX". In 2006 I resurrected the "Strange Travels" series for a further three DJ mixes, bringing the total to twelve.
Aside from the first two "Strange Travels" mixes, which were built on more of a chunky, mid-paced techno sound, the series is dominated by fast, intricate psy-trance and Goa trance from artists like Hallucinogen, Astral Projection, The Infinity Project and Man With No Name.
After graduating in 1996 I found myself working in Thames Water of all places. I was soon joined in the workplace by Aussie guitarist Sam Johnson, and after chatting music I was invited to meet his bandmates William Keaveney (vocals) and Jim Kostakis (drums). Within no time I was officially keyboard player for Spectrum, and between 1997 and 1998 we released two singles, "Crowded Room" and "Days Like These"/"Judgement Day (In Dub)".
As fate would have it, the studio where we recorded the Spectrum tracks was looking to hire a new engineer, and I started work at Liberty Hall Studios soon after. Who should walk through the door in pretty much my first week on the job but the one and only JJ Lacey. Under the name London Electrik we released three singles: "All Yours" (1999), "Gotta Get Right Out Of Here" (2000) and "Fusion" (2001).
Meanwhile I continued to create DJ mixes, mainly in the hard dance genre, and occasionally using Jason's mastery of sound FX and samples to add an extra sonic dimension to the mixes. One in particular, 1999's "Twisted Petal Twins", was picked up in the American rave scene, leading to my appearance at a number of Stateside raves in the early 2000s.
Having relocated from London to Brighton, in 2002 I teamed up with Youngsta to form Sounds Of The South) Two underground hard dance singles were released, "No Thumbz" and "Sussex Trip", with several club nights thrown in and around Brighton.
In 2004 I formed an internet-based collective called Natureboy. The concept behind Natureboy was to harness disparate musical talents from a number of sources using the internet to communicate and transfer sound files rather than have all the musicians under the same roof.
The first single Natureboy single "The Ride" (and its B-side, "Underpaid Vacation") featured Finnish guitarist Fred Ekelund contributing his guitar parts remotely. Remixes by JJ Lacey and Kriss Roberts transformed the song into, respectively, the dirty club and drum & bass genres.
The second Natureboy single, "Diving" (and its B-side "Bad Ass Strikes Again") featured a similar modus operandi, involving the use of several contributors (Pandemik, Jutt, JJ Lacey and DJ Chucky) to produce various different mixes of the original material.
Hidden Hand Radio
In 2005 I started developing an interest in internet radio, with the stated aim of "always DJing, even when I'm not DJing". By creating a non-stop stream of music, selected and programmed in advance, I would indeed always be DJing, even when doing something else. Test broadcasts of Hidden Hand Radio began in the summer of 2005, and over the course of the next two years the technical setup, playlists and schedules of the station evolved constantly.
By 2007, however, it became apparent that there was simply too much music, in too many different styles, to all fit comfortably into the confines of one radio station. A solution was required that would involve segmenting the different genres in a more appropriate format.
Rebirth Radio 2007-2010
I formed Rebirth Radio in 2007 with the aim of continuing my quest to be "always DJing". The hard part was to make it sustainable, maintaining constant musical output 24./7.
The answer to the issue of sustainability came in the form of splitting Rebirth Radio into three separate strands: Rebirth Radio, Rebirth Dance and Rebirth Classics. From 2008 to 2010 each of these three strands had its own internet radio stream: the flagship station Rebirth Radio; Rebirth Classics covering the traditional oldies "classic hits" format; and Rebirth Dance concentrating on my DJ mixes (but also bringing in mix sets from other DJs).
Rebirth Radio was specifically designed to be an urban contemporary radio station, focusing on the most commercial, accessible music of the last five years. The most durable songs to feature on Rebirth Radio would eventually make it into the pantheon of Rebirth Classics, whereas the tracks that could not withstand five years of play would quietly be jettisoned, never attaining "Classic" status.
Rebirth Radio UK
One further change to the Rebirth Radio roster occurred in late 2010 when Rebirth Dance and Rebirth Radio amalgamated to form Rebirth Radio UK. Daytime schedules would feature chart/commercial hits of the last five years, whereas in the evenings output was to be dedicated to the underground sounds of Rebirth Dance. Over 50 DJs went on to contribute to the schedules, including big names such as Lisa Pin-Up, Gammer and K Warren.
In addition to the Rebirth Classics radio station, many of my recordings from between 1990 and 2006 were released on the 2011 Rebirth Classics compilation "Rebirth Classics 1990-2006".
There were six Rebirth Dance releases: the two Sounds Of The South singles ("No Thumbz" and "Sussex Trip"), two Natureboy remix EPs ("The Ride (The Remixes)" and "Diving (Remixes)"), and two remix EPs of tracks by PCP ("Lose Control (DJ Dubs)" and "Remixes"). In addition, a Rebirth Dance compilation album, "Anthems & Bangers, was released in 2011.
Between 2008 and 2013 Rebirth Audio released six singles, a return to more commercial-orientated music sparked by a long run of club DJ bookings in Hastings, East Sussex with DJ Jonny B. The first single, "Need You Tonight" (2008) was credited to PCP featuring Pureflow.
The second single, "Live For The Moment" (2009) was also credited to PCP, and featured vocals by Laura Duncan. 2010's "Lose Control" featured Natalie C on vocals, featuring both the original PCP Mix and also a bassline house remix by Kriss Roberts.
The fourth, fifth and sixth singles on Rebirth Audio were all credited to PCP featuring Flora, a classically-trained singer from my hometown of Crowborough: "Dirty Booty", "Flaming Wars"/"Hey Lily" and "Wild One".
All six singles were included on the PCP album "Lose Control".
2014 saw the release of the "Peak Vibe" single, followed up in 2015 by "Pseudo Science" (both credited to PCP featuring Slojam).
In 2016 an eight track album entitled "Peak Vibe" was released, featuring these tracks plus various extended mixes of tracks previously featured on "Lose Control".
2017 saw the release of "I Like U" by Highway 62 featuring Melodi, with a number of remixes showcasing Melodi's awesome vocals in different styles.
In 2019 Highway 62 released "TL;DR", backed by the popular club instrumental "Top Of The World". This was followed by 2020's "S - O - S".
Rebirth Radio 2016-2019
In late 2015 I temporarily relocated to Stockport, Greater Manchester. On 1st January 2016 Rebirth Radio UK was switched off and the remodelled Rebirth Radio immediately replaced it. After broadcasting from "the other side of the mountain" for six months, Rebirth Radio returned to Leeds later in 2016 with a brand new look and schedule plus over a dozen new The Peak podcasts, including (somewhat belatedly) my first of many dubstep mixes, "Prophesy Of The Snake".
Working once again with longtime collaborator JJ Lacey under the name Earthbeat, our dubbed-up remixes of "Peak Vibe" and "I Like U", plus a new track "Green Lady" and a couple of Lacey originals all featured on 2019's "The Dub Assignment".
2020 and beyond...
In the autumn of 2019 I recorded a DnB set entitled "Lockdown". Little did i know that just a few months later the entire world would be under lockdown for real. Rebirth Radio really came into its own over this period, keeping the music playing 24-7, ever-expanding the roster of resident DJs, and partnering with Ayako Yamoto on a groundbreaking new show.
Also in 2020 Rebirth Audio released its latest single, "S - O - S", credited to Highway 62.
The ongoing ethos of Rebirth Radio and all my musical projects has been the emulation of nature in the form of music. We are nature!
Ad Rebirth, December 2020