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It all started when we were 16-17 or so… we met at college studying music and performing arts and we started a funk band with me playing bass and Daniel on vocals – not bad, but going nowhere… We had a echo unit with a cheap mixing desk and my Dad's home organ-type-thing when Dan worked out a way of sending the echo back to itself to create some mad effect and every sound you put through it sounded amazing! (Obviously when we discovered Dub music about a year later we realised that they had the same idea 20 years before!) We spent hours tinkering and recorded a mass opus, 'Hallucinogen'. I had a new-age tape of music from the Andes and one of the tracks was called Children of the Bong – what a perfect name we thought; pretty much sums up the music ;) We made a cassette cover for it and even managed to sell a few at the Whirl-y-gig club queue!
That year we both left college to work in recording studios thinking we'll make careers out of being sound engineers and in our spare time we hooked up with new bits of equipment, a couple of analogue synths here and there, a sampler, an Atari, more FX etc. Dan and I practically lived in our own studio, which was really my bedroom, (apart from immersing ourselves in the free party scene), so that we could work all night experimenting and developing the Bong sound - weird sounds, crazy beats, languid melodies, lunar soundscapes and a dollop of cheek!
Out of these sessions, we had enough material to start performing. Friends sorted us out with some suitably mad gigs at all night parties and clubs where we stood out as being a bit different as none of our music was 4 to the floor – but still people danced and bought the new demo tape with hand printed covers!
We played our first gig at at a place called Rainbow Farm courtesy of our friend Chrissy then soon the gigs started to come flooding in; I suppose at the time there weren't many live electronic bands and we had a couple of decent reviews in the NME, and around this time we supported Banco De Gaia in Birmingham. After the gig, Toby (BDG) asked us to support him on his UK tour, which having just turned 18 was a bit of a coup!
On this tour we met Michael Dog – head man at Planet Dog Records, who said he was interested in signing us. This was great, however, we also had interest from China records and Andy Weatherall (who weirdly, wanted us to change the name). We considered the options and although China had offered a big advance and Weatherall could do no wrong, I don't think Children of the Bong would have been at home anywhere but Planet Dog!
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