The 99th Floor Elevators Story
The first 99th Floor Elevators track, ‘Ice’ was spliced together on an Atari ST and Casio FZ-1 sampler at Beat Base studios in Wood Green, London with engineer/genius Aldwin Johnson pulling out all the stops to fit everything onto the massive four meg memory computer. ‘Ice’ was a veritable audio quilt of sonic theft, with half inched vocals, Miles Davis on horns and En Vogue on backing vocals amongst others. ‘Lead vocal’ was from big lunged house diva Rowetta (later of Happy Mondays/X Factor infamy).
The exact same ‘Soul On Ice’ vocal was used over ten years later (in 2006) on Steve Lawler and King Unique’s much heralded ‘Souls On Ice’ and more recently (2009) by the Black Eyed Peas on ‘Boom Boom Pow’.
The origins of the vocal sample come from a 1989 12 incher by Sweet Mercy feat. Rowetta called ‘Reach Out’ by the way, which you can hear here. Rowetta’s acapella you can listen to on Soundcloud on the singers own profile. Awesome!
Signed to legendary hardcore label Production House , ‘Ice’ never got a full release (it was given the PNT 055 catalogue number which you will find scratched into the run out grooves) though gained the Elevators their first radio air play from Steve Jackson at London Kiss FM’s legendary ‘The House That Jack Built’ show, and a healthy buzz chart placing at DJ Magazine. The track re-appeared on Invader Records only to sink without trace along with its distributor Great Asset.
Ice (Organised Shakedown)
The original two versions of the follow up, (well before genius pairing Tony De Vit and Simon Parkes injected the track with magic dust !) and fledgling Trade anthem ‘Hooked’ were actually put together in a day in a tiny front room studio in Mitcham, South London. This front room however was bulging with the glistening Roland gear of writer/producer/engineer Clive Latham, the SH101, JD900 and the Roland S760 sampler were the machines behind ‘Hooked’.
‘Hooked’ initially came out on the tiny Triumph label run out of the offices of dance distributor Deltra. True to form, Deltra went to the wall, taking with it the last boxes of ‘Hooked’ vinyl. Fortunately some copies had found their way to Belgium where they were picked up and bought back to the UK by the bustling Trax Records in London’s Soho.
Hooked (Phlash Pop Edit)
Frequented by a veritable who’s who of Euro DJ’s and Radio jocks, Tony De Vit, Graham Gold and Pete Wardman were just three of the better known DJs who picked up on the track in a big way with radio play on Kiss FM and hands in the air status across UK clubland and in particular at Tony’s residency at the legendary Trade.
Keith Mac at Labello Dance (who had just moved in with PWL) was the sole A&R person to respond to the early versions of ‘Hooked’ and it was quickly snapped up. Around the same time the Elevators Labello Dance debut, ‘Euro piano stormer’, ‘Rain Your Kisses’ was quickly sinking without trace!
When Tony and Simon’s remix of ‘Hooked’ arrived it was a stunner. Staying almost 100% to the original arrangement the dynamic duo subtly tweaked every element of the track, stretched it and molded it into an almost ten minute epic of gargantuan proportions. Shivers were sent down spines, arms were held aloft and tears of joy were shed across club land.
After almost three months of blanket airplay on Kiss FM the record gate crashed the UK national top 30 and debuted in the national dance charts at number two. The follow up ‘I’ll Be There’ did similar damage, but never held clubbers attentions like the previous hit, although it was play listed on BBC Radio One.
I’ll Be There (Tony de Vit 12inch Mix)
So to a gap of two years and in ’98 Adrian had persuaded Pete Wardman at Kiss FM to conjure up an updated version of ‘Hooked’. And so the buzz began again with the white label shifting 3000+ copies ( backed with a rare remix from Sucker Punk). Tripoli Trax snapped up the track and added storming remixes from Steve Thomas and the seminal OD404 which lead to the track climbing the national dance chart again.
99th Floor Elevators have appeared on over fifty albums internationally including all the major labels. Polygram TV, Virgin, BMG and EMI etc and on leading dance labels like React, Nukluez, Tidy , Tripoli Trax, Clockwork Orange, Fantazia, Alphamagic, and Sundissential and the worlds largest dance brand, the Ministry of Sound.
The saga continued into 2005 with the re-appearance of ‘Hooked’, and the Elevators enjoying something of a revival, despite the long break from recording any new material. ‘Hooked’ popped up again as a very limited white label bootleg mix from hardhouse punks the Killer Hurts (James Nardi and Julian Dwyer). Another reworking from hard house legend Paul King also got a limited run on one sided 12 inch.
In October 2005 ‘I’ll Be There’ got the once over from the Killer Hurts and Nik Dentons ‘Pulse Fiction’ guise, appearing as a Toolbox single. There are more mixes on Toolbox offshoot label Footloose and a Paul King version of ‘I’ll Be There’ on hardhouse compilation CD Toolbox Vol 1.
Come 2007 and finally the Elevators launched their own label Buzzsonic Records, with the first release a six track remix EP, rounding up the best of the ‘I’ll Be There’ remixes for release in the USA (for the first time ever) on CD and via iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Cut to 2009 and ‘Hooked’ was picked up by yet another UK dance label, Suesse Records for a package of new house remixes earlier this year. Highlights of which was probably the Ben Preston remix, which was picked up by Grammy nominated DJ/Remixer Stonebridge, for the Armada Records CD compilation ‘The Flavour the Vibe Vol:3′.
And the saga continued into 2011 with a cracking new ‘Hooked’ remix from Frank Farrell and Nev Scott, unleashed on NikDenton’s much respected Toolbox House imprint.
Into 2013 and demand for the old dancefloor staple never seems to subside with yet another reworking for this year, this time from Hard House Don BK (aka Ben Keen) who gives the track hobnail boots with his BK Go Hard Remix, which has already been snapped up for inclusion on half a dozen compilation CDs.