Guitars were soon replaced by synths and drum machines in Pete’s studio arsenal, with quintessential Roland gear standing front and centre: 101 / 202 / 303 / 606 / 808 / 909. Studio experimentation birthed the Sunkissed project with the hopes of landing tracks on Hawtin and Acquaviva’s now seminal Plus 8 Records. A relationship with the two was forged after meeting at several raves in London and Toronto, and Grove was soon discussing demo projects and working in Hawtin’s ‘B’ studio in Windsor, aptly called ‘The Building’, and assisting in Acquaviva’s Plus 8 home office in London.
Through the mid-to-late ‘90s, Sunkissed started to become a name in the Toronto rave scene, with Grove headlining parties and getting the promo push he needed by releasing on Acquaviva’s Definitive label. This era also saw a shift in a mostly analogue live set to one of the first MIDI controlled setups of the time, making use of a now little known relic called the Peavy PC1600. The goal of releasing on Plus 8, however, was seeming more and more out-of-reach. Undeterred, Grove ran with his motivation and secured a bank loan, allowing him to go off and start a boutique label featuring music of his own and from fellow live techno acts, which would become paramount to the theme of the label.
The first Woodwork, and incidentally, the one which initially caught my ear, had 1,000 copies pressed and was received well by press, giving the label the push it needed to continue. The next two releases saw sold out runs and encouraged Grove to move the label to Toronto where a burgeoning scene of startup imprints such as Cynosure and Public Transit were emerging. Woodwork numbers 4 and 5 would be by an artist named Crave, a.k.a. Mark Thibideau (who’s twin brother Matt also released as Altitude), an old college friend of Grove’s from London. Those records featured a Sunkissed remix by Grove, and proved successful enough for licensed inclusion on a variety of mix CDs and compilations.