A brief history of acid house… 909originals chats to Together’s Suddi Raval

Back in 1990, Hacienda regular Suddi Raval, alongside mate Jon Donaghy, released the track Hardcore Uproar, under the band name Together.

The track was never supposed to be a hit – it started life as a one-off white label to be played at the famous Manchester club – before taking on a life of its own, almost breaking the top ten in the music charts and becoming a much loved rave classic.

While Together disbanded in 1994, Suddi continues to work in the music business (not to mention soundtracking video games), and he has just published a delightful portrait of the acid house scene’s formative years, A Brief History of Acid House.

The book – an ideal Christmas present for all lovers of old school 🙂 – includes features on the late Ikutaro Kakehashi and Tadao Kikimoto, creators of the Roland TR-909 and TB-303 synthesisers, early musical pioneers Phuture and Ron Hardy, how football casuals embraced the Balearic beat and the Smiley’s longstanding association with club culture.

What makes it all the more special is that the book is illustrated in the style of a children’s book, albeit with a somewhat acid-flavoured twist.

909originals spoke to Suddi about how the project came together.

Q. You’re well known in rave circles for your work with Together – but what have you been working on in the years since?

I have mainly been writing soundtracks for video games. I only started it as a one-off project in 1994 – I did a Spider-Man soundtrack called Separation Anxiety.

It went so well they asked me to do another, and another and the next thing you know I ended up doing it for 24 years! I am kind of winding down on that now though. It might have run it’s course as I move onto new things.

Q. Where did the idea for the book come from?

The book has seen a few iterations since it’s original conception. First, there was Encyclopedia Acidica, an attempt to catalogue every thing that has ever happened in the wold of Acid. I soon realised it was going it was going to take ages and I was never going to finish it in 2018, so I started work on a chopped version, which was originally very tongue-in-cheek, pretending to be a kids story book called Acid House Bedtime Stories.

I showed it to a few mates and they thought it was too good for the satirical tongue-in-cheek approach, and suggested I call it something more serious, hence the A Brief History of… title.

That was sort of inspired by Stephen Hawking’s famous book, so having a periodic table added to the fun element of that.

I ended up re-writing a lot of the text. Some of the kid-focused style of writing has remained. It’s why the first page says “A long time ago, in the land of the rising sun…”

Q. What was your favourite part of the book to put together?

So many things have been so enjoyable on the project, but seeing the images coming together was probably the most fun. Probably because I am not really an artist at all and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.

The first drawings I did were the Hacienda DJs. When that looked okay, I was buzzing and carried on after close friends gave me such a positive reaction.

Q. The book is subtitled ‘The true story of how a synthesiser accidentally changed the world’ – a nod to the TB 303. What is your favourite 303-led track?

Ooh. Thats a tricky one! There are so many. I love a lot of newer Acid on labels like I Love Acid, Downfall and Weapons of Desire, but as for all time classic?

We are Phuture might be up there as one of my all time faves. It contains the acid line from Slam and has incredible vocals and such brilliant drums. But to be honest, in terms of a favourite, you could take most of the tracks towards the back of the book, where 16 acid classics are listed. 🙂

You can pick up a copy via www.suddiraval.com

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