Songwriting is the secret ingredient that H2SO4 used to create its version of blending pop, rock, and technology into a sound that wails with raw energy. The band formed 30 miles outside of London in Kent when Graham Cupples (lead keyboardist and programmer), Darren Till (another keyboardist and programmer), and James Butler (vocals and bass) were experimenting with some remixes. At that time Cupples was leading Mortal and Code, both techno in style. Till played with Code and Butler was doing the vocals and bass for Lobster, which was previously known as Sulpher and expressed a more traditional style of rock. Mixing the three talents together created a reaction like
H2SO4, the chemical symbol for originality, the chemical compound that burns you so smoothly you may not be aware its happening. The trio found they had created an area between electronica/techno and rock that was powerful and fluid. H2SO4 flowed with the new sound and brought out “Little Soul” in spring 1998. The song’s thick and foreboding sound became a favorite in England, and due to the limited number released, a collector’s item. “Little Soul” and the group’s next two singles, “I Need Feel” and “The Way I Want,” were the basis for H2SO4’s first album, Machine-Turned Blues, which was released on the Recon label in June 1999. The biggest hit on the new album was “Imitation Leather Jacket” (when she left she even took his imitation leather jacket). While a favorite of the DJs in England, the song also had over a thousand U.S. radio plays. It was the number one choice on the Gavin Alternative Juke Box Jury.
H2SO4 became a solid performer at various British festivals, and also Glastonbury, in addition to playing live in Chicago and Canada. During 2000, the group recorded its second album, Glamtronica, once again combining rock, dance, punk, and indie with large dashes of humor.