The duo was the first act to emerge form Grand Central Records, a label that Mark Rae founded. It is a label that has reflected the confident cosmopolitan of post-rave Manchester since it’s birth in 1995. Acts on the label such as Aim, Only Child, Votel and The Funky Fresh Few were all initially introduced to Rae by going into the shop. Mark Rae had acquired music makers and talented DJ’s through word of mouth and the personal touch, an ideal that would continue as the label expanded in size and reputation.
A year after getting together, Rae and Christian enlisted the vocal skills of Veba to add a more diverse flavour to their sound. Contributions to the Grand Central compilations “Frying The Fat” and “Central Heating” attracted attention from the dance music press and their debut album, “Northern Sulphuric Soul” fulfilled this early promise. The swagger of the singles “Spellbound” and “All I ask” and Veba’s quality vocal delivery ensured critical acclaim and admiration for the duo. Their joint appreciation of hip-hop’s flavours did justice to the respected hip-hop acts they were able to call upon. The Jungle Brothers and Jeru The Damaja both contributed to the duo’s work and these attributes gave the pair an edge over other late nineties sampling group, and coupled with a slick live show ensured that Rae and Christian had established themselves as artists in their own right. They pushed their reputation beyond underground circles also, gaining production credits with Texas on “White On Blonde” and “The Hush”.
At the same time as nurturing other acts on the label, their production and remix skills have been in demand by their peers (Lamb, The Pharcyde, Wai Wan) and mainstream stars such as Nathalie Imbruglia, Simply Red and The Manic Street Preachers. Their second album brought in new dimensions to their sound as they brought in veterans such as Bobby Womack, Tania Maria and The Congos, which has added extra spice to their music.“Sleepwalking”, their second album, marked a change in approach for Mark Rae (DJ, beat merchant and lyricist) and Steve Christian (music maker and production-wizard). Moving towards more live instrumentation and more varied songwriting partnerships their sound has taken on a new shape. A continual process, they refine their combination of hip hop ethics, traditional song writing and 21st century production technology
"Sleepwalking boasts a style, and a charm, entirely its own."- The Guardian