Alex Tepper (GB)
Alex Tepper is the power behind the throne. You may scratch your head upon hearing his name, but be damn sure you’ve heard some of the hundreds of releases that have been touched by his hands in almost 20 years in the business. Working behind enemy lines under a variety of pseudonyms or as collaborator to some of the biggest names in house music, his releases have had everyone from Pete Tong to Kevin Saunderson heaping plaudits on them. For someone who’s only just skirting 30 it’s pretty remarkable that he has such pedigree, but then Alex was something of a teenage prodigy. While most kids were happy to watch Grange Hill, skive off school and felt pen knobs on toilet walls, Alex was a super-keen schoolboy in a Birmingham studio providing hot beverages for everyone from ace reggae band Steel Pulse to hard rockers like Black Sabbath. But it was in Rich Bitch studios in Birmingham where he first discovered house music through two DJs Phil Dockerty and Adam Presdee. He cut his chops helping to programme releases for the Urban Hero label, feeding a growing obsession with New York mastermixers like Todd Terry and Masters at Work. “I remember going to the Sound Factory Bar in New York for Louie Vega's Underground Network night and it happened to be Barbara Tucker’s birthday that night. D-Train were playing live (with Barbara ad-libbing), François Kevorkian was playing a party set of disco and hip hop in the basement and, of course, Louie in the main room. It was one of those magical New York nights.” Although Alex’s heart lay in New York, it was his unique take on that sound that produced hits like X-Presidents’ Diamond Rings, which somehow became a UK garage hit (“I’m still scratching my head over that one,” chuckles Alex).