The History of Hard House (by Baby Doc)

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#1 • • Meke GT Digital, BCN Records
Jos hardhousen historia kiinnostaa...



The History of Hard House part 1

I was quite taken aback by the amount of interest in hearing the true history of Hard house so here we go....
In very early 90's there was a vibrant underground club scene .This was when you did not hear dance music ever on the radio and there was no internet .You got to hear about records through friends and from going to the few record shops there were and the occasional article in DJ/MIXMAG which most people thought were crap .
At that time you had American house predominately played with UK hardcore /breakbeat also played .Then some of the early European Techno started coming through .
I was part of a group of friends that knew each other from North London which included Red Jerry and Tall Paul .Jerry with his wife Jane had started Hooj Tunes .
I met John the Dentist at a party at Jerry's flat in Kentish town .John was a breakbeat DJ and had been playing at raves for some time .
i loved dance music but coming from a punk background thought it was too girly and needed some balls .At this time I was lucky enough to have a group of friends and we would travel to raves in Germany/Belgium and Barcelona and hear sounds that you didn't hear in England.
John and myself both liked High Energy basslines and TB 303's and started recording in cheap studios .I even remember one was in an ex brothel in Kings cross which still had mirrors on the ceilings.
Red Jerry was starting a new label and asked John and myself to record a record for PROLEKULT records .He also asked Doug Osbourne (who was also at the party at Jerry's flat )who made Sourmash ''pilgrimage to paradise" which his still one of my all time favs......Well that was PART 1 of the history of Hardhouse

The History of Hard House part 2

The first Baby Doc and the Dentist record was Catalan Dawn on Prolekult records .We recorded this at the Hooj studio in Waterloo .This was a tiny room located within a studio complex which also housed The Beatfarm Marco Perry’s legendry dance studio which had every analogue synth you could ever dream of . Unlike the Hooj studio that creaked along on just a Akai sampler and a Jupiter 8 synth that worked only when it was in a good mood which was rarely .
In those days we only had 20 or so seconds of sampling time. Every sample was edited as short as we could manage so as to conserve sample time.On reflection this restriction helped make the sound tight.
Red Jerry had a time share on the studio with pedantic New Zealander called Rob .Each had a couple of days on a couple of days off . Rob would work only in office hours starting at . John and I would break in work all night ,finish a track or two clean up and leave shortly before he got in .Once even passing him on the stairs going out into the daylight.I remember putting a track down to dat at 8.45 am whilst frantically clearing beer cans and at the same time modulating a 303 . We did eventually get caught and both of us stood there being told off like naughty schoolboys looking at our shoes mumbling’’ I’m sorry we won’t do it again’’… we did!
Around this time we started working with John Truelove and his brother Steve.John had already had success with Candi Stanton as the Source .We recorded an EP as Hyperspace for his new label TEC called ‘’Europa’’ This was when our new sound was starting to evolve .
The next record was Baby Doc and the Dentist ‘’SURGERY VOLUME 1’’
This was the first Hard House record .A record I still love to this day .
Recorded at The Beatfarm .There is a Spanish acepella vocal mixed in off vinyl by John which fitted perfectly by complete chance.
At this time our name and sound was stating to get out there as it was completely fresh .We had lunch with Carl Cox and signed ‘’Surgery’’ to his Label MMR .It was also signed to a Dutch Label .’It was the first of our records heavily played at Trade(I will write about Trade in a another post) and picked up by all the big DJ’s of the time .The sound was off.

The History of Hard House part 3
The London clubs.

Well where were we ? Baby Doc and the Dentist had put out a couple of records ....
I think it would be unfair not to go back a bit before these records to talk about the influence that came from the London clubs at that time .
We used to start Saturday night at ''Chemistry ''in the Soundshaft which was behind Heaven .This was a tiny club that it was easy to loose friends in the dry ice and lasers . ''Chemistry'' played house and still played high energy .If you think your clubs now are messy think again.
''Chemistry'' closed around 3 a.m. and we all moved on to'' Trade'' which was in its infancy at Turnmills which opened at .
There were also Breakbeat clubs like ''The Paradise'' in the Angel in which you took your life in your hands going to . I was once surrounded by a local crew dancing around me with their guns and knives in the air.These breakbeat clubs were the beginning of Drum and bass.
German Techno was played at ''Club UK'' in South London where the likes of Westbam and Sven Vath had their first UK gigs.
There was also ''The Drum club'' which played a more rocky kind of sound on a Wednesday at the Soundshaft and ''Knowledge'' run by Colin Dale and Colin Favor which was playing leftfield Techno by the likes of Aphex twin and Black Dog.
Trade at that time had people like Malcolm Duffy ,Trevor Rockliff ,Smokin Joe and Daz Saund .They played a mixture of US house ,Rave and European hard Techno which no other clubs played at the time.
As ''Trade'' and ''Chemistry'' were both mixed Gay clubs it would be wrong of me not to state how important the groundwork these Gay DJ's had on the origins of the sound and how much respect we should give them.
There was also ''Wildlife '' on a Friday at Heaven run by james Horrocks from React records . Where Blu Peter and Mrs Woods rocked.
Part 4 will be more about the first releases ....

The History of Hard House part 4
The early records.

Well let’s get back to it .The second Baby Doc and the Dentist record ‘’Surgery ‘’ had been out on Carl Cox’s MMr label and it went every where . We were getting booked to play huge raves in Germany and Holland .I remember the first big gig I ever did was in Rotterdamn in front of twenty thousand gabba fans . Not a crowd for our music.John was playing off decks and I was playing live acid .Unfortunately the decks were 100 metres away so I went on to this huge stage alone . We went down like a lead balloon .I still wince at the memory of walking off stage to complete silence.
Back in London we had been working with John Truelove on his TEC label .
John and his brother Steve ran the Truelove label collective from an office in Kentish town .With their help we started Dream Inn records .We put whatever we felt like on it. Our first big record was Hiroshima ‘’Cyanide’’ . and ‘’Exigent’’ at this time we were the only people making this style .
With the success of Dream Inn we started hearing like minded producers from Europe Commander Tom from Germany on his Noom label and Patrick Prince from Holland for example..
Here we had ‘’shinny ‘’ by Blu Peter .’’Shinny’’ was an important record in the development of the sound.
‘’Shinny’’ was put out by React records who were based in a huge house in Wandsworth .React had been putting out their ‘’Reactivate ‘’ compilations for some time .These compilations were very influential in showing what great music was being made back then,Still worth a listen now.
This is when people started calling it NU NRG a name I never liked .When I was asked what kind of music I made I used to say ‘’ it’s house but hard ‘’ then I called it Hard house in an interview in DJ and the name stuck.If only I had copyrighted it!
Part 5 will be about Tony Devit and Ian M etc.

The History of Hard House part 5

Well where were we?...
Jon the Dentist and myself had been in our own little bubble making this music for a year or more and now we started to hear our sound being taken on by other new artists .
I can't say it didn't annoy me at the time as in those days it was considered the lowest of the low to copy someone else's record .I remember hearing stories about certain Jungle crews sending ''The Boys'' round after a Record sounded to much like their own.
Around this time both John and myself started branching out with our own individual projects .This was after we had recorded the Album '' in Worship of false idols '' on TEC. This was the first ever mixed artist album and included ''Mantra to the Buddha ''which went on to be a Worldwide success.
After that I had a few releases on my own label ''Opium'' which included SJ ''Fever '' .''Fever '' was originally recorded and paid for by London Records for a compilation that never happened. '' Fever'' was a huge record at Trade and went on to be put out again by React records.I still recall watching Ian M bouncing up and down to it when he played it off acetate at Trade for the first time.
Around this time I signed for Rising High /Ascension Records .
Rising High was considered a very cool label in London and I was really happy to be on their roster .It was run by Casper Pound and his side kick Dave. Casper as anyone that knew him will remember was a unique caricature . However Rock''n' roll I thought I was he always passed me time and time again. Casper had been financed by a larger record company and staffed his big Ladbroke Grove offices with large numbers of hot girls (always a bonus). Once they owed me a couple of grand or so for my Legend B ''Lost in Love''Remix and he paid me with an 808 drum machine a MC 202 and the rest in cash which we all spent together over a long weekend .Sadly Casper passed away and I still miss him .He was a true pioneer of dance music.
Part 6 will be about The Remixes and Tony DeVit and Ian M etc.

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