EMF (band)

EMF is a British rock and pop (dance-rock) band which came to prominence at the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s. The band came from the Forest of Dean area of Gloucestershire. Their first single, Unbelievable was a number 3 hit, and their debut album, Schubert Dip went to number 3 in the UK album charts.

The name EMF officially stands for Epsom Mad Funkers, but there are unofficial alternatives, such as Ecstasy Mother Fuckers which occurs in an unnamed bonus track on Schubert Dip. The band was signed by EMI/Parlophone after a mere four gigs, without even asking for a demo tape.

The band consist of James Atkin (vocals, b. 28 March 1969, Birmingham), Ian Dench (guitars, b. 7 August 1964, Cheltenham), Zac Foley (bass, b. 9 December 1970, Gloucester; d. January 2, 2002), Derry Brownson (keyboards and samples, b. 10 November 1970, Gloucester), and Mark Decloedt (drums, b. 26 June 1969, Gloucester). They originally toured with D.J. Milf who now has his own band called Stateside and released music under the name Jose Sanchez. All the members were relatively well known in the local music scene before forming EMF in Cinderford, UK in October 1989.

Their music mixed rock-oriented sound with light techno elements - EMF used samplers and sequencers. It has often been argued that EMF's music was influenced by Jesus Jones. In fact, the two bands form a close relationship. Their music has also been counted as part of Madchester and indie dance. EMF were at the time also known for their baseball caps worn sideways, and the baggy shorts they wore.

In 1990 their debut Unbelievable topped the charts in many countries around the world, reaching the number one in the USA in 1991. The single features sampled utterances from comedian Andrew Dice Clay. In 1991 EMF released their debut album Schubert Dip which went to number 3 in the UK. The name was explained by songwriter Dench as If ever I'm short of a chord sequence I nick one from Schubert. Successful singles from their debut included I Believe, Children, and Lies. The last one turned controversial for including a voice sample of Mark Chapman, John Lennon's murderer. Yoko Ono achieved an injunction and a modified version was included in future pressings.

In 1992 EMF returned with an EP called Unexplained EP (including a cover version of Search and Destroy) and later their second album Stigma, both of which did badly in the charts. The singles were They're Here and It's You. This has been explained with EMF's shift in style to more rocky sounds, but also by the rise of Britpop. Until their 1995 album Cha Cha Cha EMF effectively disappeared from sight. This album featured the singles Perfect Day and Bleeding You Dry. Both were highly acclaimed, but failed to sell well.

In summer 1995 EMF teamed up with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and recorded I'm a Believer (a cover song from The Monkees). This single sold better, but critics were less enthusiastic, stating desperation. The band then released Afro King which was by some regarded as a return to EMF poppy origins, but the release failed to do well. After this, the band split. After the split all members of the band continued to play music.

In 2001 EMF gave a reunion gig in London, UK. They also released a best of album.


  1. Schubert Dip (1990 & 1991)
  2. Stigma (1992)
  3. Cha Cha Cha (1995)
  4. Back 2 Back Hits (1998, compilation together with Jesus Jones)
  5. The Best of EMF: Epsom Mad Funkers (2001, compilation)

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