Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music is a critically acclaimed book by journalist and author Matt Anniss. Named by Rolling Stone UK as one of the best books on British music culture, It is available to purchase now direct from the publisher, Velocity Press. It can also be found in book shops and selected record stores worldwide.

Taster Excerpts

You can find extended excerpts from Join the Future online now at The Quietus and Resident Advisor.


Since the dawn of the 1990s, British dance music has been in thrall to the seductive power of weighty sub-bass. It is a key ingredient in a string of British-pioneered genres, including hardcore, jungle, drum & bass, dubstep, UK garage and grime.

In the Join The Future book, dance music journalist Matt Anniss (Resident Advisor, DJ Magazine, Red Bull Music Academy) traces the roots, origins, development and legacy of the sound that started it all: the first distinctively British form of electronic dance music, bleep techno.

A mixture of social, cultural, musical and oral history, Join The Future reveals the untold stories of bleep’s Yorkshire pioneers and those that came in their wake, moving from electro all-dayers and dub soundsystem clashes of the mid-1980s to the birth of hardcore and jungle in London and the South East.

Along the way, you’ll find first-hand accounts of key clubs and raves, biographies of forgotten and overlooked production pioneers, stories of bleep outposts in Canada and the United States, and the inside story of the early years of one of electronic music’s most iconic labels, Warp Records.

Based on five years of research and hundreds of hours of new interviews, the book is a radical alternative history of the rise of British dance music during the late 80s and early 90s.

Includes a personal foreword by Optimo Music’s JD Twitch.

Reviews, Quotes and Feedback

“Britain is an electronic music heavyweight – this is the place that invented jungle, dubstep, speed garage – and here, dance music journalist Matt Anniss traces the origins of all of this back to bleep techno, which began in Yorkshire in the 1980s. Anniss researched this book for five years in order to claim the untold story of Britain’s dance music revolution for the unique time and place that generated it.”
Lauren O’Neill, in ‘the Best Non-Fiction Books on British Music Culture’, Rolling Stone UK, February 2021 (read the article online here)

“In this meticulous and energetic study, Matt Anniss explores how Britain’s first major contribution to modern dance music – Bleep techno – established a transmutative musical dynsasty that still reigns three decades on… The author excels in microscopic detail, whether recounting the fractious early years of Sheffield’s Warp Records or discussing the over-arching significance of A Guy Called Gerald’s groundbreaking ‘Voodoo Ray’ (including the unlikely role a folk singer and comedian, Mike Harding, played in its creation).”
Stephen Worthy, Mojo magazine, March 2020 (4 stars out of 5)

‘In Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music, [Matt] Anniss argues for the cultural significance of the short-lived style known as Bleep. He unearths the stories of its originators cast aside by the canon, emphasising that due credit must be given… Much of the story told by Anniss takes place in Chapeltown, where soundsystems continue to line the streets for Leeds Carnival each year. Its 1981 riots, which Anniss describes as down to racist policing, bear an uncomfortable resembla”nce to 2011.  Promoter Tony Hannan is quotes as saying black kids would hang out at the Merrion Centre in the ’80s while white kids would hang out at Boar Lane, and the two groups would often clash in Leeds city centre. Given that the first of those is now a shopping centre/office hybird that struggles to fill its capacity while the second is home to more upmarket shops, bars and restaurants, the economic echoes of segregation still linger. According to Anniss, the Bleep sound (that would essentially create Warp Records could only begin because of intercity cross-pollination between Bradford and Leeds, and because of multicultural developments such as certain white people being let into black spaces like Blues parties –house gatherings featuring drink, dance and a soundsystem.”
Tayyab Amin, The Wire, April 2020

“Categorizing culture is never as simple as starting with one person, in one place, but Matt Anniss creates a fairly immaculate argument that all British bass music can actually be tracked to Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield in the late ‘80s… Aside from featuring great interviews, quotes, and an academically balanced but not overly professorial tone, Join The Future connects all the dots for us subcultural trainspotters.”
Kirsty Allison, DJ Magazine, March 2020

“The deftly curated words of the author Matt Anniss act as a time capsule for anyone who witnessed this incredible movement, enabling them to relive those top life-changing moments they still love today, whilst also educating the curious seeker of how it all really came together. This book is a ‘must-have resource’ for any dance music enthusiast, on how the early UK sound developed, in an era that can only be described as the greatest music revolution in history.”
Mike Mannix, Iconic Underground magazine (full review available here)

“Everyone should buy this book.”
Mella Dee

“This was a vital creative era in British electronic music that deserved deeper exploration, so Matt Anniss’ history of ‘bleep and bass’, which sets the sound in the socio-political environment of its time, is a significant addition to the literature of dance culture.”
Matthew Collin, author of ‘Altered State’ and ‘Rave On’

“You wouldn’t have had hardcore had it not been for bleep. If you took bleep out of the equation, British dance music would be completely different.”
Mark Archer, Altern8

“Bleep provided the building blocks of the UK sound that followed – the emotions, the edge, the darkness and the sub-bass. Later generations have taken these elements and done something new, but the fundamentals are still there.”
Neil Landstrumm

“Since bleep, there’s always been a heavy bassline thing coming from Sheffield and Leeds. Look at what’s come later, with bassline, the Niche sound and Toddla T. From one generation to the next, it’s always been about bass.”
Luca Lozano