Hard As Nails Digital
Birmingham, Britain (UK)
Hard As Nails Digital initially started as a Vinyl record label in 2007. The label itself was conceived after the meeting of Mark Cox (Sparx) and Richard Walker (Dj Resh). Previously JP (of JP and Jukesy fame) who Mark worked with at Hard To Find Records at the time had suggested to Mark after hearing some of his tracks that he should consider starting a record label. Hard As Nails itself was always planned to be a record label that showcased the tougher and more experimental side of Hardhouse and Hard NRG music and due to this the label has consistently held a reputation as being more underground.
Riggsy was one of the first other artists to produce tracks for Hard As Nails and initially engineered for Sparx and Resh. Later artists to feature on the label were Simon Vegas, Sista X, Defective Audio, Syrus, Steve Gillen, DNG, Crazy Legs, Sketer, Hacker, Nocturnal Disorder, Sean Grotz, Mylo R and James Taff. Future artists set to appear on the label are the legendary Eufex and Ben Stevens.
Sparx (Mark) is the manager of Hard As Nails Digital and has over 11 years of experience in the music business. Beginning as a keen clubber at the age of 16 Mark began to become involved in nightclub work. The first being an entertainer at the notorious Sundissential events in Birmingham. Later Mark worked as a promoter running a joint venture called Emergence – a Hard House and Techno night run in Birmingham, later having a brief stint as a DJ the pinnacle of which was playing the Rave 'Marioparty' in the bush in Perth, Australia, though previously he had played many other events around the west midlands prior to this.
Sparx holds over 14 releases currently as he believes that tracks should be made at a quality not a quantity. Wanting to better himself as musician and run Hard As Nails more efficiently he completed a diploma in music technology, after this he began attending a HND in Popular Music practice, eventually to become a degree in music technology.
Some tracks are on Hard As Nails others are on The Beat Ranch Digital label in Canada, Raw Power Recordings run By Gem Stone and Steve Hewitt and Renewable NRG Record Label in Brisbane Australia. Sparx is lucky to have worked with well known artists such as BK (Ben Keen) and Dom Sweetem (Defective Audio/OD404) James Taff, Gemstone and Steve Hewitt, Riggsy, Sista X and Nocturnal Disorder (Shawn Cartwright). His biggest track signings to date were of Sparx and Sista X 'Fuck The Rules' and Nocturnal Disorder and Sparx ' Flesh' to legendary Hard NRG label Flashpoint – ran by formidable artists Marc Johnson And Jupe.
His other job in the music industry is working as a online and social media advisor in the Popular music sector for Access All Music, a music promotions company that is the brainchild of Malcolm Bell (previously of Universal Records) and Geoff Pearce the manager of legendary soul singer Ruby Turner. Though a Hardhouse and Hard NRG producer initially Sparx holds skills in music production, studio engineering, live sound and music management. Currently SparX is also part of the up and coming experimental/ electronic band 'The Unchanged'
Launching his career in 2002 Richard Walker (at the time known as Dj Resh) was playing in areas such as Coventry, Lincoln, Cheltenham, Ibiza and Birmingham. The events he played in and around the Midlands being Distorted Identities, Shaft, Shine, Crank, Crafty, Envy and many other events. He also got involved in production making his own tracks such as ‘The Prophecy’ A track at the time favoured by Lisa Pin Up during its first release which sampled Bill Hicks' famous drugs speech ‘ I just laughed my ass off and went about my day!” The Prophecy’ became one of the biggest Hard Dance tunes of all time selling out copies worldwide
In 2005, Richard teamed up with Xtension Records owner Riggsy to make the track 'Flat liner' The track was re-mixed by Tidy DJs-JP & Juksey and Flat liner quickly became a club classic and is still played by many of the big Hard Dance DJs.
After starting a Record label with Jedi Distribution Richard went on to release tracks on Xtension Records and with digital download label, Scum. Later after breaking ties with Jedi he met at the time the up and coming DJ / Producer Sparx (Mark Cox) Mark And Richard started Hard As Nails Records which eventually became one of the most infamous Hard NRG labels. After 2 sell-out vinyl releases the label Hard As Nails records went digital. Later In 2008 had Richard also had 9 tracks out on various Hardhouse labels as well as Hard As Nails.
Around 2009 he played to crowds at The Bulldog Bash 2009 and Distorted Identities at Long Marston Airfield Stratford-upon-Avon, even as far afield as Ibiza. In the same year as Richard got more into Techno and Trance Mark thought of the idea for a new label for Richard which Richard named Hard As Nails Tech. The label specializing in Techno, Trance, Tech Trance and everything inbetween. Richard formed the production aliases of Ricardo Van Valker and 'The Technician' under these alias's of Richard went on to have releases out on Nu Communicate white and a remix of Bibhas & Kiran’s beautifully constructed track ‘The Sun Goes Down‘ and remixed tracks such as Daniel Rostron. - Our Way Home, Reech - I Need You and Progressers Morning Star.
In 2012 after playing at AIR night club Birmingham Richard played back to back with up and coming DJ & Producer and Vacate music managing director Matt Holliday. After meeting at Air the pair began working together on music creating main room tracks such as Xyla on the label Vacate Midnight and also had their track City Life remixed by Manuel Le Saux. They also went on to start club night 'Envy' together.
In 2013 Richard went on to 3 releases and track LV4-26 was Supported from MARKUS SCHULZ & GIUSEPPE OTTAVIANI .The remix of LV4-26 Flavio Grifo Remix made it to number 5 on takedown.net.
Later in 2013 Jay Crossingham joined Hard As Nails. Jay started DJing at the age of was 13 and subsequently played around the world. With a personal experience of the super club era and scene Jay attended clubs such as Crazy Daisy's, Trade, Gatecrasher, Godskitchen and finally Sundissential where he developed a love of Hard House. Up until 2004 he was heavily involved in the Hard House scene from 2004 onwards we was involved in Trance music. Before working with Hard As Nails he ran 4 successful record labels all specializing in different forms of dance music. Now he's back with the Hard House scene finally!