Adam Peak is a writer/broadcaster/DJ/producer, originally from Crowborough, East Sussex and currently based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Adam Peak has recorded under various pseudonyms, including DJ Alpha, P.P, LCD and Peak City Players
In 1984, at the age of 10, Adam Peak became interested in DJing and would create fictional radio shows with two record players. In 1987 Adam got his first real DJ booking, a school disco, and over the next few years he started getting more and more bookings at various house parties and discos. By 1991 Adam had set up A1 Discos, a mobile disco operating in and around Crowborough. Over the course of the 1990s, Adam DJed at more than 300 events, ranging from weddings in the Sussex countryside to large corporate events in Central London. After Christmas 1999, Adam largely retired from mobile DJing (although he continues to perform at various special events).
DJ Alpha was the first, and most prolific, pseudonym used by Adam Peak. Originally a creative alterego for Adam's songwriting endeavours, DJ Alpha soon became a DJ in his own right, separate from Adam Peak's own work for A1 Discos. DJ Alpha's earliest compositions include "I Want You" (recorded by Chill Factor, 1990), "Gonna Give You All My Love" (Chill Factor, 1991), "Never Knew Love" (Aphrodite, 1992) and "Chemical Reaction" (Aphrodite, 1993). In 1992, the first DJ Alpha mix, "Born Free" was recorded. This was followed in 1993 by "Connected" and in 1994 by "To The Beat Of The Drum".
By 1994 Adam Peak had relocated to Islington, North London, and formed a duo with Paul Chantler called London Electric. London Electric released three singles: "Natalie" (1994), "All I Want" (1995) and "A Taste Of Love" (1996). Around the same time the DJ Alpha persona was radically remodelled away from being pop/dance-orientated. The sounds of early trance, techno and underground club music had formed a huge impression, which was reflected in the "Strange Travels" DJ mixes. There were a total of eight "Strange Travels" mixes between 1995 and 1997 plus an additional DJ mix called "Spooked" in 1998 which would later be subtitled "Strange Travels IX". In 2006 DJ Alpha resurrected the "Strange Travels" series for a further three DJ mixes, bringing the total to twelve. Aside from the first two "Strange Travels" mixes, which were built on more of a chunky, mid-paced techno sound, the series is dominated by fast, intricate psy-trance and Goa trance from artists like Hallucinogen, Astral Projection, The Infinity Project and Man With No Name.
In 1997 Adam collaborated with the London-based Australian rock band Exit for two singles, "Crowded Room" and "Days Like These". In 1999 he formed Ananda with sound-sculptor/musician JJ Lacey and released a further three singles: "All Yours" (1999), "Got 2 Get Right Out Of Here" (2000) and "Fusion" (2001). Meanwhile the DJ Alpha identity continued to create DJ mixes, mainly in the hard dance genre, and occasionally using JJ Lacey's mastery of sound FX and samples to add an extra sonic dimension to the mixes. One particular DJ mix by Alpha and Lacey, 1999's "Twisted Petal Twins", was picked up by the American rave scene, leading to DJ Alpha's appearance at a number of Stateside raves in the early 2000s.
Between 2002 and 2004, Adam (under the DJ Alpha guise) teamed up with Youngsta to form S.O.S. (Sounds Of The South). Two underground hard dance singles were released, "S.O.S." (which featured a sample of Edwin Starr) and "S.U.S.S.E.X.", and several club nights were thrown in the Brighton area. In 2004 Adam decided to leave S.O.S. while actively encouraging Youngsta to keep the enterprise going. It is still going to this day, and Adam and Youngsta have continued to collaborate behind the scenes on various other projects. Meanwhile, immediately after leaving S.O.S. Adam formed an internet-based collective called D-LAB. The concept behind D-LAB was to harness disparate musical talents from a number of sources using the internet to communicate and transfer sound files rather than have all the musicians under the same roof. The first single by D-LAB, "Onwardz N Upwardz" (and its B-side, "Underpaid Vacation"), featured Finnish guitarist Fred Ekelund contributing his guitar parts remotely. Remixes by JJ Lacey and Kaleida & Alkee transformed the song into, respectively, the dirty club and drum & bass genres. The second D-LAB single, "Diving" (and its B-side "Bad Ass Strikes Again") featured a similar modus operandi, involving the use of several contributors such as Pandemik Productions, Jutt, JJ Lacey and DJ Chucky to produce various different mixes of the original material.
Hidden Hand Radio
In 2005 Adam Peak started developing an interest in internet radio, with the stated aim of "always DJing, even when I'm not DJing". By creating a non-stop stream of music, selected and programmed by Adam, he would indeed always be DJing, even when doing something else. Test broadcasts of Hidden Hand Radio began in the summer of 2005, and over the course of the next two years the technical setup, playlists and schedules of the station evolved constantly. By 2007, however, it became apparent that there was simply too much music, in too many different styles, to all fit comfortably into the confines of one radio station. A solution that involved segmenting the different genres in a more appropriate manner was formulated.
Peak Productions 2007-2010
Inspired by the natural beauty and magical atmosphere of England's Peak District, Adam Peak formed Peak Productions in 2007 with the aim of not only continuing his quest to be "always DJing", but also notching up the symbolism and imagery to a new level of artistic expression. Having tapped into the natural synergy between the psychogeography of the Peak District and Abraham Maslow's psychological concept of the "peak experience", Adam wanted Peak Productions to add a psychoacoustic representation of the peak experience, with the aim of giving the listener the same euphoric, mountaintop feelings experienced intuitively in the Peak District and explained academically by Maslow. The hard part was to make it sustainable - more of a high plateau that one could stay on for a long period of time, than a pointed peak that would take listeners down almost as quickly as they had climbed to the summit. The answer to the issue of sustainability came in the form of splitting Peak Productions into three separate strands: Peak Gold, Peak Bass and Peak City. From 2008 to 2010 these three strands each had its own internet radio stream: Peak Gold covering the traditional oldies "classic hits" format, Peak Bass concentrating on the DJ Alpha underground club mixes (but also bringing in mix sets from other DJs), and a brand new venture, Peak City. Peak City was specifically designed to be a more glamorous, metropolitan radio station showcasing only commercial, accessible music of the last five years. The best music on Peak City would eventually make it into the pantheon of Peak Gold classics; whereas the music that could not withstand five years of play would quietly be jettisoned, never attaining "Gold" status. It was also implied that the songs now featured on Peak Gold used to be the Peak City hits of their day.
One further change to the Peak Productions roster occurred in late 2010 when Peak Bass and Peak City radio stations amalgamated to form Peak Radio. Daytime schedules would feature Peak City chart/commercial hits of the last five years, whereas in the evenings output was to be dedicated to the underground sounds of Peak Bass. Over 50 DJs went on to contribute to the schedules, including big names such as Lisa Pin-Up, Matt Lee and K Warren. In keeping with the Peak District theme, Peak Radio was "figuratively" broadcast from Holme Moss Transmitter, located on top of a remote stretch of the Pennines near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Late nights on Peak Radio were known as The Dark Peak (the name for the northern part of the Peak District) and the weekend dance shows were known as The High Peak (the administrative area that covers most of the central Peak District).
Peak Gold has its own radio stream figuratively broadcast from a radio tower next to the Cat And Fiddle Inn near Buxton (the second highest pub in Great Britain). In addition to the radio station, most of Adam Peak's recordings from between 1990 and 2006 were released on two Peak Gold compilations: 2007's "Chronology 1900-2006" featuring all the singles, and 2011's "Secret History" featuring several B-sides and additional tracks.
In 2011 Adam Peak handed control of Peak Bass to DJ Chucky, who would go onto represent the underground dance sounds of Peak Bass in DJ sets at raves and club nights across England. There are currently six Peak Bass dance singles available: the two S.O.S. singles ("S.O.S." and "S.U.S.S.E.X."), the two D-LAB remix EPs ("Onwardz N Upwardz (The Remixes)" and "Diving (Remixes)"), and two remix EPs of tracks by P.P ("Lose Control (DJ Dubs)" and "Remixes"). A Peak Bass album, "Flamin Beats: The Sound Of Peak Bass", featuring several of these tracks, was released in 2011.
Between 2008 and 2011 Adam Peak recorded six pop/dance singles for Peak City, a return to more commercial-orientated music sparked by a long run of club DJ bookings in Hastings, East Sussex with DJ Jonny B. For the first time DJ Alpha was not used as a pseudonym for these recordings; instead the name P.P (short for Peak Productions) was used. The first single, "Need U Tonite" (2008) was in fact credited to Pureflow, a duo comprising DJ Jonny B and Ben Kempner, co-produced by P.P and featuring vocals by Ben and Vicki Hales. The second single, "Live (4 The Moment)" (2008) was also credited to Pureflow and co-produced by P.P, and featured vocals by Loz. 2009's "Lose Control" was credited to P.P featuring Natalia, featuring both a Pureflow Radio Mix and also a bassline house remix by Da Kaleida. The fourth, fifth and sixth singles on Peak City were all credited to P.P meets Flora Jane, a classically-trained singer from Adam's hometown of Crowborough. These singles, "Dirty Booty", "Flamin' Warz"/"Hey Lily" and "Wild One", along with the previous three, went on to feature on the first Peak City album, "Dirty Booty: The Origins Of Peak City" (2011). In 2014 an eight track album titled "Peak Vibe" was released featuring material recorded between 2012 and 2013, as well as extended remixes of various tracks previously featured on "Dirty Booty: The Origins Of Peak City".
Peak City Leeds
In 2013 Adam created Peak City Leeds, a repurposed version of Peak Radio reflecting Adam's relocation (first to Sheffield and then a year later to Leeds). Peak City Radio was figuratively broadcast from Emley Moor Transmitter, maintaining the Pennine connection whilst shifting perspectives towards the West Yorkshire conurbation. The first new release following the move north was the debut single "Peak Vibe", recorded under the pseudonym LCD and released on Peak City in 2012. "Peak Vibe" was written by songwriting trio Leach, Leach & Sket and featured vocals by Slojam. The follow-up was titled "Pseudo Science" and released on Peak City in 2013. Also between 2012 and 2013 Adam Peak recorded twelve new DJ mixes under different pseudonyms: "Return To The Peak" (credited to DJ Alpha; specialising in dancehall, roots and dub reggae sounds); "SlapDash Vol. 1" (credited to Peak & Sanction; a groundbreaking dnb/neurofunk mix recorded in collaboration with DJ Sanction); "Chaos Fell", "The Gatekeeper" and "Obfuscation" (credited to The Peak; three dnb mixes based around the musical aesthetic of DJ Sanction as interpreted by Adam); "Nostalgia" and "Nostalgia Vol. 2: Mr Rubik's Revenge" (credited to Dr Who & Ace; two retro 80s mixes also recorded in collaboration with DJ Sanction); "Mountain Soul" (credited to DJ Alpha; a mix of Motown and Northern Soul yet again inspired by imagery of the Peak District); "FB Songs Of The Day Vol. 1 - Landslide Of Love", "FB Songs Of The Day Vol. 2 - My Favourite Game" and "FB Songs Of The Day Vol. 3 - Blinded By Science" (credited to Adam Peak; three selections of influential pop, rock and dance classics, as featured on his official Facebook page).
Peak City Players
In 2011 Adam Peak collaborated with former Pureflow member Jonny B under the name of Phase 180. The only Phase 180 single, "Fingers", was produced by UK garage pioneer K Warren. In addition to the original version, which can broadly be described as "dubstep/pop", K Warren produced two remixes of "Fingers", a UK garage remix and a club remix. "Fingers" rapidly became a big club hit in early 2012, and is the only track on which Adam Peak has ever performed not under the aegis of one of his Peak Productions labels. In 2014 Adam collaborated with vocalist Melodi on a new vocal melody, overlaid onto a re-edited instrumental of the "Fingers" club remix. This mashup version, titled "I Like U (Phase 180 Bootleg Mix)" and credited to Peak City Players featuring Melodi, was released in 2015.
Transmission Radio had its roots in Adam Peak's original aim to collaborate with Leeds-based dnb producer Altered Perception (Sam Gartside) on a remix of "Peak Vibe". The strings from the Mermaid's Pool Mix of "Peak Vibe" formed the basis of a brand new dnb track titled "Thor's Cave", which would be released as one half of The White Peak EP, along with another new track "Chrome Hill". The lush, liquid White Peak EP would be followed up the darker, techier Dark Peak EP, featuring the two tracks "Bleak" and "Axe Edge". Rather than release the EPs on Peak Bass, two purpose-built new dnb labels (Transmission Audio and Sub:mission Audio) would be created in order to showcase these and future Peak/Perception collaborations, Altered Perception's solo work, several tracks by in-house producer Automate and a rapidly growing catalogue of signed artists' original material. The White Peak EP was released on Sub:mission Audio in early 2014; The Dark Peak EP was released on Transmission Audio in June 2015. In 2016 the Peak/Perception track "Crook" was released as part of the "Nexus Point Volume One" EP on Nurtured Beatz Recordings. Adam also recorded four podcasts for Transmission Radio under the pseudonym The Peak: "City Of Light", "Last Battle", "Symbiosis: SA vs TA" and "Wind Of Change".
In late 2015 Adam Peak temporarily relocated to his third Northern metropolis - Greater Manchester. On 1st January 2016 Peak City Leeds was switched off and Peak City Radio immediately replaced it. After broadcasting from "the other side of the mountain" for six months, Peak City Radio returned to Leeds later in 2016 with a brand new look, schedule and over a dozen new Adam Peak/The Peak podcasts. In early 2017, the "Peak Vibe (Paid By Word Dubs)" EP was released on Peak City's new imprint PC Roots, once again in collaboration with Jason Jon Lacey, setting the benchmark for the dub-based sub-label.
Overview Of Adam Peak's Work
Adam Peak described his mountaintop philosophy as follows: "A mountain is always there: day or night, rain or shine, whether crowded with climbers or deserted in the twilight. A mountaintop experience is where the rational, scientific laws of nature meet the wild, free, transcendental feelings of spirituality and love. The important thing about a mountain is that it is always there and we can go for a climb whenever we want an escape from the lowlands. I hope to achieve the same thing with Peak Productions in all its guises - it's always there when you need uplifting." Adam's own musical output can be split into the three categories encapsulated by Peak Gold (oldies), Peak Bass (underground dance) and Peak City (pop/dance). Peak Gold's early output is stylistically a mix of both underground and pop elements, although the raw, unrefined nature of many of the recordings inspired Adam to retain their mystique and secrecy by making them difficult (but not impossible) to locate. The recordings for Peak Bass are generally the most credible, technically accomplished examples of Adam's work, often using external producers and musicians to add extra qualities to the recordings. Examples of external producers brought into the Peak Bass stable include Da Kaleida, Youngsta, pHILF, DJ Chucky and JJ Lacey. Transmission Audio and Sub:mission Audio can be seen as the successors of Peak Bass, between them continuing to provide an outlet for Adam Peak's underground releases. The Peak City recordings walk the fine line between rough-and-ready and slick-and-polished, as exemplified by the song "Dirty Booty". Their emphasis lies in the overall dynamic and flow of the music, the underlying appeal and danceability of the beats, and the varying interplay of different personalities over a consistent "music factory" backing. Despite their club grooves, the recordings occasionally feature vocals hinting at a more esoteric, sometimes even operatic aesthetic, consciously setting apart the Peak City oeuvre from the street-inflected stylings of standard pop/dance music. "I Like U" represents the commercial apotheosis of Peak City, whereas the lyrical spirit of the label is probably most succinctly summed up by "Peak Vibe".
Peak Bass Releases
- S.O.S.: S.O.S. - Released: July 2002
- S.O.S.: S.U.S.S.E.X. - Released: September 2003
- D-LAB: Onwardz N Upwardz (The Remixes) - Released: July 2005
- D-LAB: Diving (Remixes) - Released: December 2007
- P.P featuring Natalia: Lose Control (DJ Dubs) - Released: December 2009
- P.P meets Flora Jane: The Remixes - Released: January 2011
Peak City Releases
- Pureflow vs Vicki Hales & Ben Kempner: Need U Tonite - Released: July 2008
- Pureflow vs Loz: Live (4 The Moment) - Released: December 2008
- P.P featuring Natalia: Lose Control - Released: July 2009
- P.P meets Flora Jane: Dirty Booty - Released: June 2010
- P.P meets Flora Jane: Flamin' Warz/Hey Lily - Released: November 2010
- P.P meets Flora Jane: Wild One - Released: June 2011
- LCD featuring Slojam: Peak Vibe - Released: December 2012
- LCD featuring Slojam: Pseudo Science - Released: August 2013
- Peak City Players featuring Melodi: I Like U - Released: July 2015
PC Roots Releases
- LCD featuring Slojam: Peak Vibe (Paid By Word Dubs) - Released: March 2017
- Paid By Word: Green Lady - Released: September 2017
- Peak Perception: Thor's Cave/Chrome Hill (The White Peak EP) - Released: March 2014
- Altered Perception / Adam Peak: Bleak/Axe Edge (The Dark Peak EP) - Released: June 2015
- Altered Perception / Adam Peak: Crook - Released: December 2016
Adam Peak Compilations
- Onwardz N Upwardz: The Story So Far - Released: December 2004
- Chronology 1990-2006 - Released: July 2007
- Flamin' Beats: The Sound Of Peak Bass - Released: February 2011
- Dirty Booty: The Origins Of Peak City - Released: June 2011
- Peak Vibe - Released: July 2015