There was definitely something in the water in Sheffield in the early 1990s, as acts like LFO, Nightmares on Wax, Sweet Exorcist and a myriad of artists on the fledgling Warp Records label laid the foundation for a new techno movement.
A few years back, LFO’s Gez Varley uploaded this short but fascinating documentary on the Sheffield scene of 1990, as it emerged as a bona fide (if understated) rival to the ‘Madchester’ phenomenon taking place some 40 miles away.
“The Sheffield scene is more like a funk scene,” Warp’s Rob Mitchell observes. “It started off with all the imports, and it’s still very true to that sort of ‘funk’ feel. Whereas the Manchester scene is almost like a Euro-influenced dance scene.”
It was a movement that also gained traction far beyond the Yorkshire Dales.
“DJs all over the world are playing our music,” LFO’s Mark Bell chips in. “People in work said that they went on holiday and were dancing to our songs in Cyprus.”
Also featuring contributions from George Evelyn, The Step’s DJ Parrot (aka Richard Barratt), Pete Darnborough, Anwar Akhtar and others, as well as clips from LFO, The Mystic Knights and Nightmares on Wax, it’s a snapshot of one of the truly innovative dance music scenes of the early 90s.
“There’s so much talent in Sheffield that’s coming through,” adds DJ and club promoter Akhtar. “People are concerned about the music, they’re not concerned about the clothes, they’re not concerned about the image of the club they’re in. Everyone’s trying to make music at the moment in Sheffield.”
More than thirty years on, it’s a legacy to be proud of. RIP Mark Bell and Rob Mitchell.
[Check out our interview with LFO’s Gez Varley on the making of LFO – LFO, thirty years on]
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