D&B Icon London Elektricity Talks to Skiddle

With a new album on the way, Abbas Ali spoke to London Elektricity founder Tony Colman about Hospital Records, experimenting outside the D&B genre, and why he could never imagine getting the old band back together.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 21st Apr 2011

Drum n Bass project London Elektricity has seen some changes over the past 15 years.

Not just in the D&B genre itself, but also in their own line-up - with the original duo of Tony Colman and Chris Goss growing into a nine-piece band before shrinking back down to the one original member - Tony.

With a new album on the way, Abbas Ali spoke to London Elektricity founder Tony Colman about Hospital Records, experimenting outside the D&B genre, and why he could never imagine getting the old band back together.

Hi Tony. So, what can listeners expect from the forthcoming album Yikes! ? In what way is it different to previous efforts, and what sorts of sounds and ideas have gone into it?
My musical loves are: interesting chord progressions, intriguing melodic hooks, melancholic and beautiful atmospheres, multi layered lyrics, a total lack of cliche, understated but engaging vocals. I've done my best to get all of these into Yikes!

D n B has come a long way since the mid nineties when you started Hospital Records. How has it changed, and what do you think of today’s producers, and the scene generally?
D&B is very strong and has totally changed in the last 15 years. If you look at the three big D&B albums coming out this month - Icicle, Marcus Intalex, London Elek - all different, but all prioritising music above dancefloor. It's a fantastic time to be experimental, to be taking risks and to be thinking outside the box. 15 years ago I was doing that, indeed that's why I founded Hospital with Chris G - to have an outlet for non dancefloor musical d&b.

What music did you get into as a kid, before the advent of Drum n Bass? I’m guessing Acid Jazz, soul and other black origin music from the time....
I first became musically aware at the age of 8 or 9 - this was around 1970, so i was listening to Slade, T Rex, The Carpenters. In my formative early teens it was all about Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath - Midlands metal basically. End of '70s like all my mates I adopted various punk and new wave bands as my totems - bands like XTC, The Damned, The Ruts, etc etc. After that it was all about minimalist modern classical such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass etc. But i wasn't a kid anymore then!

Tell us about the Hospital Podcasts you present. I understand they get 30,000 downloads a show, and have won awards?
I've been on podcast duty since May 2006, keeping it up to average one every two weeks or so. I can't imagine life without it to be honest, it's the perfect format. You can do it when you want, release it when you want, and people download it when they want. I'm recording episode 142 with Elsa Esmeralda today it'll be a Yikescast. We'll spill the beans on everything Yikes!

Any plans for London Elektricity to return to the live arena with a full band? The live work of the full ensemble was much admired.
The live band was huge fun, and to keep it on the road required full time involvement from all concerned. Since we stopped touring live, I have had a family, and I can't for one minute imagine doing the live band again - I'd never see my kids!

You can catch London Elektricity at the Yikes! album launch at Hospitality, O2 Academy Leeds on Friday May 6th alongside Andy C, Photek, Netsky, Joker, Flux Pavilion, Cyantific, B Complex, Deadboy, The Prototypes, Dark Sky, Doc Daneeka, Joe Syntax and MCs Wrec, Dynamite, AD, Darrison, Chunky, Crazy D.

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