Having experienced the “dirty little rave” known as Field Maneuvers last year, we couldn’t resist writing a really gushing review. So gushing, in fact, it prompted the organisers to reach out, asking if we’d like to collaborate on something that shone a light on their expanding family of festival residents. Naturally, we said yes.

Booked to play every year, without fail, few can rival this head-turning inner circle. Supplemented with outstanding programming that sees Jayda G, Dr. Rubinstein and Shed grace the festival this summer, Elena Colombi and Shanti Celeste are the most recent additions to a roster already boasting Andy Blake, Auntie Flo, Ben Sims, Brackles, Field Moves (Jade Seatle And Jane Fitz), Local Group, Mark Archer, Mark E, Nick Höppner, Pete Woosh and Ryan Elliott. All killer DJs in their own right, each one brings something a little different. With that in mind, we took this as an opportunity to have a peek at the contents of their respective record bags.

With the Field Maneuvers ethos taking cues from those infamous ‘free parties’ of the early 1990s, it made sense to kick things off with Mark Archer. One half of quintessential ’90s rave duo, Altern-8, the Stafford native is a bonafide champion of the oldskool. Think breakbeats, acid lines, glow sticks and eccies, the M25 orbital, muddy fields in Gloucestershire, and of course, Vicks Vapo Rub. It isn’t all surgeon masks and hazmat suits though – rumour has it Mark played a set of ’80s electro decked out head-to-toe in Adidas at an earlier edition of the festival.

Field Maneuvers takes place in a secret location from 31st August–2nd September – find out more and book tickets here.

The first track that springs to mind when you think ‘dirty little rave’?

A few sprang to mind to be honest, old tracks and new tracks but I’m really enjoying playing Chambray – ‘Yuu’, out at the moment. Absolute beast of a track and my wife likes it which is a bonus.

The record that defines your formative raving years?

‘Pure’ by GTO, it has everything I like about the tracks of the time in it and it’s something that doesn’t get played enough at all.

The record that never leaves your bag?

‘Energy Flash’ – Joey Beltram. It’s one of a few tunes I play that if it doesn’t go down then I’m in the wrong club. 

The last record you bought?

The No Gravity EP by Gnork was the last record I bought (I love the fact you didn’t say vinyl). Absolutely love Gnork’s stuff as well as his DJ Shark material, haven’t heard a bad track from him.

The record you’ve been playing that begs for a rewind?

It’s incredibly rare that I’ll do a rewind unless I’m playing jungle but in Brazil they insist I rewind ‘Frequency’ when I play it, which is nice.

Go-to record to save a dancefloor?

I’m lucky that 90% of the people at most gigs I play know most of the tracks I’m going to play (the beauty of playing oldskool) so it’s difficult to lose a floor but ‘Elevation (Move your body)’ by Xpansions is one of those guaranteed floor fillers/savers.

Best/most annoying request you’ve received from a punter?

“Have you got ‘Walks like an Egyptian’” which was closely followed by “Haven’t you heard it? Call yourself a DJ” was one of the more amusing ones. Have you got any oldskool? When I’m playing LFO was annoying, and being asked if I’ve got any Public Enemy while we were half way through a Nexus 21 Live set.

You’re booked to close a large festival stage to a crowd of 5000. What do you finish on?

Either Altern 8 – ‘Frequency’, Prodigy’s ‘Out of Space’ (a crowd sing a-long favourite) or Strings of Life – ‘Rhythm is Rhythm’. All three work well but I’ve closed festivals with other tracks when I’ve not realised it was time to finish haha.

Same question, but to a crowd of 250.

Usually, the smaller gigs tend to be ones where I can dig a little deeper and end on lesser known tracks that were big tunes back in the rave days but aren’t deemed anthems. Mental Cube’s ‘Q’ is a belter and one for the people that know.

Illustration by Ellie Forman Peck.

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