Digital Hardcore Recordings: Biography

DHR 2002

DIGITAL HARDCORE RECORDINGS is founded out of the payment Atari Teenage Riot received for their sabotaged / aborted record deal with Phonogram, (the major UK record label). The first three 12-inches are Alec Empire’s Digital Hardcore EP DJ Bleed’s Uzi Party EP” and Sonic Subjunkies’ Djungelstadt EP.” While most of the music is recorded in Berlin, the label is based in London where the records are mastered and manufactured.

1995 DHR releases its first two albums, ATR’s Delete Yourself!” and a compilation, Harder Than The Rest” featuring the best, (mostly Berlin), bands in the scene. Digital Hardcore Festival events are organized in several German cities to promote the new sound. The vibe spreads fast, underground scenes in Japan, USA, Australia and Europe are picking up. BBC Radio One DJ John Peel is very enthusiastic about DHR and offers Alec and ATR a “John Peel Session”. ATR record a special version of Not Your Business for the radio show, Alec adds three new solo tracks. Ec8or form and play their first show in Berlin at the Suicide Club. A friend of ATR’s runs the club, giving a platform to all the new bands.

At the end of the year Alec Empire goes to the US to DJ in New York and Detroit. The buzz prompts interest from the alternative rock bands like the Beastie Boys and many others.

1996 Mike Diamond and Alec Empire meet in London and agree on a distribution deal for the US on Grand Royal. Alec Empire is going to Japan to DJ, he is supported by Merzbow, Violent Onsen Geisha and by Anarchy 7, a side project from the Boredoms. A tour for South East Asia is booked straight after. Alec Empire’s The Destroyer is released and becomes DHR’s biggest selling record to date. At the end of the summer Grand Royal organizes the first DHR night in the US, in New York, with ATR, Ec8or and Shizuo on the bill. Four 7-inches by ATR, Alec Empire, Ec8or and Shizuo are released in the US. ATR go back into the studio to record “The Future Of War”. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion asks ATR to support them on their US tour.

1997 “The Future Of War is released internationally, Grand Royal release a compilation of tracks from ”Delete Yourself!” and “The Future Of War called Burn Berlin Burn!. ATR plays Japan. Beck asks ATR to support on the US tour for his album “Odelay”. ATR spends most of the year touring in the US. (with Rage Against The Machine, Wu-Tang Clan etc.) “The Future Of War outsells The Destroyer. At the end of the year ATR takes Shizuo and Ec8or on their legendary Digital Hardcore tour in the US.

1998 DHR enters a distribution deal with Elektra Records and sets up a New York office. DHR also sets up the Digital Hardcore Studios in Berlin where ATR start to record “60 Second Wipe Out” after returning from tours in Brazil and Australia. The band is under a lot of pressure; Carl Crack is suffering from the strongest attacks of psychosis since he joined the band. He is institutionalized and unable to record. ATR hook up with producer Dave Sardy in New York to work on new material with Kathleen Hanna and the Arsonists. In December ATR play their first shows in the UK for 5 years. The euphoric crowd re-energizes the band and they continue recording.

1999 ATR finish “60 Second Wipe Out” with Andy Wallace in New York. While “60 Second Wipe Out” becomes ATR’s biggest record worldwide, the band is slowly falling apart. As a result of Carl Crack’s state of health and Hanin Elias’ pregnancy they have problems appearing as a complete line up,

2000 ATR decide to take a break to resolve their problems. All members focus on solo projects. No other band on the label manages to break through. The Berlin scene has also come to a dead end and is followed by the usual internal intrigues and musical sterility.

At the end of the year Alec Empire decides to restructure DHR and starts work on Intelligence & Sacrifice.

2001 Alec Empire and Nic Endo go to the US for special live shows. Alec is very excited with the growing American digital hardcore scene he finds. DHR decides to compile the collection “Don’t Fuck With Us!” involving many of these bands.

Alec Empire plays his first live appearance for Intelligence & Sacrifice at FujiRock in Japan with a new live band featuring Nic Endo on synths/samplers, Nine Inch Nails’ Charlie Clouser on synths, Masami Akita (Merzbow) on drums and Gabriel Serbian (the Locust) on drums. The crowd and the media are surprised and very excited about Alec Empire’s new sound.

On September 6th Carl Crack is found dead in his apartment. This is a big shock to the music world and everyone at DHR.

Just five days later the tragic events of September 11th happen. Everything goes on hold and all releases are put back to the next year. In December Hanin Elias decides to travel to the US to start working on collaborations for her next album. Alec Empire and his new band play four low-key shows in the UK.

2002 DHR is back on course and releases Alec Empire’sIntelligence & Sacrifice followed by a 3 CD box set called Don’t Fuck With Us! to present the upcoming US digital hardcore scene. The compilation features 35 new bands and 66 tracks. Of which one is New York’s new talent Heartworm who releases the DHR Limited Bleeding in Circles Check the news for more info.

To date DHR has released nearly 100 records in almost every country in the world. It has gained massive respect across various different music genres for its adventurous, uncompromising approach to sound, a risk which fewer and fewer record companies are willing to take. In the world of globalization it’s the shareholders that seem to decide which music is released and promoted and not the fans. Some people out there tried to tie DHR to a niche, corner it with the usual prejudices and hope it will go away. The cynics have been busy since we started, and we have always proven them wrong. They’ve disappeared, while we keep moving on - always - and we’re becoming stronger every day…


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