Altern-8 was formed in Stafford in 1990, as a side project to the already successful Nexus 21 (a name chosen because of its „futuristic House sound), when both members were 21. From the outset the band’s objective was to develop their style which was heavily influenced by the musical elements of other Detroit House music artists Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, as well as the Chicago sound of Phuture and early electronic heroes Kraftwerk.
Altern-8 tunes changed the world of Rave music, influencing many artists, with their mixture of the sounds of the Roland TB-303, 808 and 909 with breakbeats and familiar samples. At the time in the UK, outdoor rave events were legal, and Altern-8 had a reputation for turning up to play at major unofficial events. They helped to define harder House tracks relying more heavily on bass and volume. The use of more bass and eclectic noises gradually evolved Altern-8’s music away from the earlier House music style. The duo, dressed in chemical warfare suits and dancing „like electrified monkeys”, took part in a large number of live performances.
Notable Altern-8 tracks include „Activ-8”, „E-vapor-8”, „Frequency”, „Brutal-8-E”, „Armageddon”, „Move my body”, „Hypnotic St-8” and „Infiltrate 202”. The band produced an album on the Network Records label in 1992 called Full On… Mask Hysteria. However when hardcore-styled rave music went out of fashion they started to get involved in the development of commercial house music. 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. In 1993, Archer began producing as Slo Moshun with Danny Taurus, responsible for Bells of N.Y., and Xen Mantra.
Altern-8’s somewhat surreal image made for dramatic photographs and videos, but the same PR that helped to sell their music was eventually used against the rave movement, as the UK tabloid press published stories about the dangers of ecstasy, illegal raves and their impact on the countryside, resulting in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.