HospitalityDNB Interview: London Elektricity

Co-founder of Hospital Records, Tony Colman, aka London Elektricity, needs no introduction. Having been accountable for huge dancefloor anthems including ‘Just One Second’ and timeless albums like Syncopated City, Hospital’s head honcho has just released a new highly acclaimed album, Yikes!

HospitalityDNB contributor Olivia Stroud caught up with him last Friday before his set at Hospitality Brixton to find out more about the making of the new album, what goes on backstage in Hospital HQ and where his favourite place is in London…

Tonight marks a truly spectacular night in the D&B universe as both the launch of your new album and celebration of 15 Years of Hospital Records. Apart from tonight’s big party, are you planning to celebrate in any other way?

L.E: We’re going to launch my album Yikes! in Brighton and in Leeds over the next few days. There are a lot of celebrations over the next few weeks, to be honest, because not only is Hospital fifteen years old and my album has been released today, but I’m also fifty next week! So there’s a lot of celebrating to be done and we’re not toning the celebrations down to just tonight, but tonight’s pretty special.

As boss of Hospital, you must hear some hilarious and cringe things backstage. Can you tell us anything interesting about artists on the label we wouldn’t expect to hear?

L.E: Well… the thing is, and it sounds a bit blasé, but you kind of expect everything really. There hasn’t particularly been anything unexpected to be honest. Most DJs pretty much live up to their stereotype, so I haven’t been too disappointed!

You recently mentioned on your blog you were out discussing Netsky’s next album.  What else can we expect to see during 2011?

L.E: Well Netsky’s album is not coming out until 2012. We’ve got Camo & Krooked’s album coming out in September, we’ve got our summer album coming out in July, and an album from the amazing musician from St Petersburg called Bop, coming out in June, and a few other things in between. We’re going to be keeping busy this year!

Is the o2 Academy set to be the next residency for Hospital?

L.E: Even though we’re doing another party here in September and we’ve got tonight, I wouldn’t say it was a residency. The venue is too big to be able to call it a residency. We’re only doing it twice a year, that’s not often enough. A residency has kind of got to be every two months or so, to qualify for that word.

You recently mentioned you recorded the guitar riff for ‘Around the World in a Day’ when you were 17. Any plans to whip out the guitar on stage and transform yourself into a rock god?!

L.E: Absolutely not – although I would love to do it! I can’t because I’m the sort of person who will only do something properly; I’d have to have a whole band, and we’d have to have a whole set and I’d have to have rehearsed it for months beforehand and then take it on the road for about three years and I can’t do that because I’ve got family.

One of the tracks on the new album is called ‘The Plan Cannot Fail’.  Have you ever had a plan that has failed spectacularly and what happened?

L.E: All the time! I mean, when you’re running a record label, I suppose you lay loads of plans, but we don’t think of it as plans, we try lots of things out and some of them work really well and some of them really go quite badly. I can’t really name any names to be honest, but we have signed an artist in the last four years who kind of went belly up [laughs], so he failed, but I can’t tell you who it is.

After working with Elsa on ‘Just One Second’ from Syncopated city, you have collaborated on seven more tracks on the new Yikes! album. What was it like working with her, and did you have any fights?

L.E: No we haven’t had any fights and it’s been very, very good. We’ve had disagreements about things, but no fights. She’s quite level headed and her ego doesn’t get in the way, and I think that when I’m in the studio I’m the same. So it’s been fantastic, been really fun, and we might well do some more!

You mentioned in a previous interview that playing Glastonbury was one of your favourite memories. Have there been any to recently top that?

L.E: [Pause] Glastonbury has always been out there on its own really. It is such a unique festival and last September was pretty unreal. But it’s weird comparing gigs because you can get an amazing gig and at the time you think, “this is the best gig ever”, but that’s because you’re giving it so much of yourself and you’re getting so much off the crowd. How can you compare that to another gig that may be much bigger or much smaller where something similar happened? It is very, very hard to compare. There have been some really outstanding gigs this year, and the best gig this year was in Gdansk in Poland – that’s my favourite gig of the year so far, but we’ll see if tonight tops that!

Why was it your favourite gig?

L.E: I’m quite selfish, and when I DJ I like to DJ for a long time so I enjoy it more if I can have at least two hours on the decks, and a devoted, sold out crowd as well. From a DJs perspective, those are the shows where you can really say everything you want to say. I find it a bit frustrating just doing a one-hour set. Tonight’s been a bit of an exception because it’s my album launch, and we’re doing some live stuff so it’s just going to be a mess! It’s going to be fun, but really for me it’s all about gigs where I can play a proper set, as I call it.

In reference to your DJ alias, where is your favourite place in London?

L.E: It’s got to be Crystal Palace where I live. I’m just very attached to it, I love it, it doesn’t feel like you’re actually in London at all – it’s very high up, the air is great, it’s very green, it’s got so many amazing restaurants and there’s fantastic community.

And to finish up, there’s a quick fire:

Coffee or tea? Depends on the time of day

Fabio or Grooverider? Fabio!

Vinyl or CDJs? You probably know the answer to that!

Last thing you purchased? The last THING that I purchased? Um… Well taxi ride here doesn’t really count, as it’s not a thing really. I brought a carton of goats milk from Tesco this morning.

If you could have access to any other DJ/Producer’s music collection who’s would it be? John Peel

What was your new year’s resolution this year? I don’t make New Years resolutions!

Synths or Samples Synths

DJing or Producing? Producing

Any final words for fans out there? Just thank you so much for all the love that you’re showing me at the moment! It’s very much appreciated!

Interview by: Olivia Stroud

London Elektricity will be playing the massive Leeds Hospitality at the o2 Academy on the 6th May alongside Andy C, Photek, Netsky, Joker, Brookes Brothers, Flux Pavilion, Cyantific, B Complex, Deadboy, The Prototypes, Dark Sky, Doc Daneeka and Joe Syntax .

Also make sure you check out his blog at www.londonelektricity.com


Posted 28th April 2011 in Blog, Interviews