Together’s Suddi Raval explains how being a HaÇienda regular led to rave juggernaught ‘Hardcore Uproar’
“It sounds weird does this, but my life changed walking down Stamford Street in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1989. This guy assumed, looking at my clothing, that I was a raver. He said, ‘You need to come to the clubs’ so we exchanged phone numbers in the street. On the Wednesday we went to Void at The Haçienda, on the Thursday he took me to Park Hall in Chorley, a nightclub above a service station, and on the Friday he took me to a proper Haçienda night, which was a real eye opener. I made a smiley tie with fabric paints for the yellow, but I used a normal pen for the black. By the end of the night it all started to drip. I remember people coming up to me and going, ‘Your smiley’s crying, mate’.
“I used to do a Max Headroom impression in the playground at school. When acid house and club culture happened, half the tunes were using the same juddery effect, like Paul Hardcastle’s ‘19’. So I was doing that voice to people in clubs, I was a little kid loving the attention. I first met Jonathan Donaghy at The Haçienda when I went up to him and did ‘La-la-la-live on stage!’ from Roxanne Shante’s ‘Live On Stage’. He span round, shouted, ‘Wooo!’, and asked me if I wanted to do tunes with him.
“My experience of making music was humming my riffs and basslines, so I’d sing all my ideas to Jon. We had a bunch of really strong ideas as Together. It cost £125 to record ‘Hardcore Uproar’ in Spirit Studios in Manchester. Tunes that have come out of there? ‘Voodoo Ray’, ‘Pacific State’, all the big Manchester tunes.
“Jon was a big John Carpenter fan and I had an older brother who’d show me films I shouldn’t have been seeing when I was 10 years old. So I’m watching ‘Assault on Precinct 13’, the scene where they all cut their wrists and put blood into a bowl to show their allegiance to their crew. All that was so shocking. There’s this synth soundtrack going on underneath that scene, which formed the bassline for ‘Hardcore Uproar’. The strings were lifted from Al Naafyish’s ‘Hashim’, but that’s been sampled to death in a million tunes.
“The name came from the Hardcore Uproar party in Blackburn, the guy who ran it said we could record the crowd noise as long as we called the track after them. Jon went down to Axis Audio in Stockport and hired a two-inch reel-to-reel with microphones. He pulls this out of the boot of his car – he had a Mercedes, really flash – and we carried the equipment up to the party. We thought, ‘As soon as we stop the music, everyone’s going to go mental’, but there’s a difference between a music breakdown and the music going off. So they just stopped dead.
“On the record, you can hear my voice going, ‘Yeeeeeah’ and that’s when the crowd decided to join in. They’re all doing their air horns, screaming their heads off. It was amazing.
“When we finished, we packed all the equipment away, got to Jon’s car, and just as he slams the boot shut we look back and see swarms of police raiding the party. Everyone who was arrested that night got in some very serious trouble. The police wanted to send a message, there were prison sentences. Word got about that we’d recorded the very last of those parties and we were going to put it in a tune, to the extent where people didn’t believe it. It turned into an urban myth.
“After we recorded ‘Hardcore Uproar’, Jon said, ‘Let’s put this out on a white label’. At the time I didn’t even know what a white label was! So we made a dream list of our 25 favourite DJs. Luckily quite a few of them were local – Jon Dasilva, Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, Sasha, Andy Weatherall and Paul Oakenfold. It was Jon Dasilva who first saw it was going to be a big tune. We played it to him on cassette in Jon’s car and he immediately said that we’d got a big club smash. I didn’t believe it for a minute.
“We gave out most of the white labels on the same weekend and all the DJs played it. It just exploded and changed our lives beyond recognition. The phone was going mad, big record companies were making us offers. Sasha said it would go Top 10… it didn’t quite, but maybe with a ‘Top Of The Pops’ performance it might have done.
“We really wanted to hear ‘Hardcore Uproar’ in The Haçienda. We were there one night having a bit of a bop and our Star Wars intro started playing. We ran to the dancefloor to dance to our own tune. It was the first time we’d heard it out and we couldn’t believe it. It was maybe at their eighth birthday party, in May 1990, where they played it at twice, at 10 o’clock and at midnight. Hearing it there, that could be the peak of my life.”