We caught up with Nu:Tone to take a look backwards, as well as forwards ahead of his appearance at Hospitality Southampton this April!
Pre-Hospital days Nu:Tone had already delivered several releases to our ears via various imprints including Soul:R, Beta and BrandNu Recordings. It seems that music was inevitably going to be a huge part of Nu:Tone’s future.
“I was working as a music tech teacher at two different sixth forms initially, but quit to work on music full-time once I felt like things were starting to take off. I had almost a year of surviving on small advances from releases and fees from the few DJ bookings that I was getting before I signed to Hospital. I knew from the age of about 12 that music was going to be my life and when I discovered the possibilities of electronic music when I was 16 that angle was cemented. It took me a few more years though until I had the end-goal nailed down…The first jungle 12” I bought was Turn Dance/Mellow Song by Scorpio (DJ Die & Roni Size). It was amazing to hear something so completely fresh, made from old samples from the rare groove/jazz/soul that I had been collecting as well.”
It was “Brave Nu World” that really marked the start of Nu:Tone’s Hospital journey featuring the sultry vocals of Natalie Williams and SP:MC’s recording debut in “Heaven Sent”. Already nearly ten years old and still sounding as fresh as ever with the early Nu:Tone-esque shining through.
“When Brave Nu World came out, it was Rare Groove, Soul, Jazz, that inspired me but I was also deeply engrossed in the soulful D&B world by that point, Marcus Intalex, Calibre, Marky, Influx Datum, they all had an impact on my sound.”
On the sidelines was a project which brought Nu:Tone together with “Be True” curators Commix and younger brother Logistics. Over the course of four years Hospital released three albums under the forward-thinking collective “The Future Sound of Cambridge”.
“We were all just a bunch of mates really – we’d spent years hanging out together, DJing in bedrooms and we all learnt how to produce at a similar time. For the longest time we would bounce all our new ideas off each other, I think we had quite a symbiotic relationship really. Although we all followed different musical paths, those shared origins meant that there was an inherent connection between each of us.”
Album number two once again featured the soaring vocals of Natalie Wiliams, but also introduced Pat Fulgoni in the standout and opening track “Beliefs”.
“For me, it’s all about finding somebody that you can connect with. I don’t have a great deal of interest in sending a backing track to someone for them to write and record on remotely, although there have been a couple of times I’ve had to go down that route. Ideally, I like to sit down with a vocalist and work through ideas together. That’s where the process gets interesting for me.”
In 2012 we saw the Gresham brothers back together in the studio with their release of “What We’ve Always Waited For” under new alias Nu:Logic – evidently a combination which works incredibly well, with a sound that had definitely developed since their last collaboration.
“I think we’d both grown in confidence and technical ability, just as a result of ten years of doing this 24/7. But similarly, when we both got in the studio at the same time, you double the technical skills on offer and feed off each other’s confidence.”
A firm favourite of the album is “Everlasting Days” ft Lifford – a garage flare combined with D+B beats. The Gresham brothers have done it once again and shaken up the original for an extra special VIP as part of the latest Hospitality 2015 compilation.
Not only does Nu:Tone feature on the album but he was also the mixmaster behind the full 2CD length mix, we asked Dan which is his favourite track from the album:
“Tough question to answer, but it’s probably Frederic Robinson’s remix of Major Happy by Fred V & Grafix. I can’t imagine the thought process that took him from the original to the remix, but the end result is incredible.”
Nu:Tone’s gone from strength to strength over the past decade, with a clear growth in his sound From “Brand Nu World” to “Future History”…
“I think the big development of recent years for me has been learning how to just relax and enjoy myself in the studio. It’s so easy to get caught up in overthinking things, but that can so easily kill your creativity. I think that extends to DJing as well for me. It’s not that difficult to contrive a perfectly crafted set at home in the studio and then take that out and ‘smash it’ in a club, but that kills the fun for me. I’d much rather go to a club with a selection of music that I love, and then feed off the vibe and energy on the night and let that dictate the path that the music takes. The end result might not be as impeccably polished, but I have more fun, and whatever comes out of the speakers will be unique, and ‘of the moment’.”
Nu:Tone’s involvement at Hospital has grown significantly over the years, now taking on A+R duties at the purple gates.
“It’s been both fascinating and really strange at the same time. On the one hand, it’s a real honour to be involved with shaping the direction of the label but at the same time it’s very strange to be sitting on the other side of the table. It’s really exciting to have a new challenge, and the opportunity to develop a new skill set, but I don’t have any plans to sideline the music creation or DJing. I’d be lost without it!”
Catch Nu:Tone at Hospitality Southampton in just a few short weeks at Switch Nightclub on 3rd April – tickets on sale now!