Best remembered for the international smash "Unbelievable" and incendiary live shows, the British dance-rock quintet EMF formed in Cinderford, England in October 1989. All five members — vocalist James Atkin, guitarist Ian Dench, keyboardist Derry Brownson, bassist Zachary Foley and drummer Mark DeCloedt — were veterans of the local music scene before founding EMF, whose name supposedly stood for "Epsom Mad Funkers" (although it was widely speculated that the initials instead represented "Ecstasy Mother Fuckers"). Within two months of formation, the group played its first gig; after unearthing a Casio sampler and sequencer in a local thrift shop, a light techno element was added to their rock-oriented sound.
By the end of 1990, EMF's infectious debut single Unbelievable had conquered the U.K. charts; it hit number one in the U.S. the following year. The 1991 album Schubert Dip was also successful; spawning further hit singles in “I Believe”, “Children” and "Lies." (The LP also garnered considerable press when Yoko Ono objected to the group's use of a voice sample of Mark David Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon; the offending sound bite was later removed from future pressings.)
In 1992, EMF returned with the Unexplained EP and the much darker full-length effort Stigma; and after an extended period of touring the band effectively vanished from sight until 1995's Cha Cha Cha.
The summer of 1995 saw the band abandoning promotion of Cha Cha Cha and teaming up with comics Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer on a cover of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" which reached number 2 on the UK charts.
The band reunited in the summer of 2001 and released a Greatest Hits CD that coincided with a mini European festival and UK tour. The Greatest Hits CD, called The Best of EMF: Epsom Mad Funkers, featured 2 discs: the first had a collection of singles and fan favorite album tracks, along with 2 brand new tracks: "Incredible" and "Let's Go." The second disc had popular remixes.
The band were primed to write new material and tour more extensively but the sudden passing of bassist Zac Foley on January 2, 2002 shocked the band into silence. The remaining 4 original members spent several years focusing their time on personal projects and their families.
In 2007, the 4 guys got back together and employed Richard March from 90's band PWEI to handle bass duties. The newly energized band played at a private function and then decided that the time was right to come out of the woods and perform again. The band continued the reunion through 2008, playing several festivals with Spear of Destiny and Carter USM amongst others.
Guitarist Ian Dench has found success as a songwriter for some of the biggest popstars in the world - Beyonce and Shakira being among them - but his extensive trips around the world have kept him from playing with EMF since late 2007. Ian’s replacement for shows was Tim Stephens, whose first gig was at Birmingham Academy on November 21, 2008. Tim, who was always a huge EMF fan, is a perfect fit for the band and plays Ian's original riffs flawlessly while adding his own swagger and personality.
In 2012, EMF decided to perform some shows again which will honor their smash hit debut album, Schubert Dip. Richard March had quietly retired from EMF and the band has welcomed a friend and longtime band mate of guitarist Tim, Stevey Marsh, into the mix. The band will play the album from start to finish for the first time in their history. A lot of the songs from this era haven't been played live by the band in 20 years.