As the founding father of Hospital Records (one of the most influential and widely followed labels in the game) and a prolific producer of light and breezy drum and bass over two epic decades, London Elektricity AKA Tony Colman has a lot to answer for.
And head of his exciting new album Yikes! landing this very Monday, we got in touch with that maestro of the liquid groove to get some of those answers on topics like song-writing inspiration, screw-loose fan stalkers and chocolate cake.
What kind of things give you ideas for writing music, or where are you typically when you come up with your best ideas?
For the tunes on ‘Yikes!’ my starting points were as follows:
‘Yikes!’ – a guitar riff I was messing about with.
‘Fault Lines’ – I had the title and some of the lyrics in my notebook for 4 years. I finally got round to finishing it in time for this album!
‘Meteorites’ – I jammed the sketch during the Perseid meteor shower in July 2010, gave it to Elsa [Esmerelda] and she wrote the song, surprisingly with the working title embroidered into the track!
‘Elektricity Will Keep Me Warm’ – Elsa brought me the finished song and I added the beats!
‘The Plan That Cannot Fail’ – I made a really cool drum break and the rest kind of followed from there…
What would you say is Hospital Records’ greatest achievement?
To survive (and keep growing) for 15 years and to have never lost an artist to another label! (kiss of death maybe?…..)
We saw on your Elektricity ‘Unplugged’ acoustic video that one of your lovely fans made you a chocolate cake – what’s the nicest thing a fan has ever done for you? …And the worst?
Nicest: a guy at the BBC world service sent a wicked doll of Zac from Zingzillas for my son.
Worst: I got sent a really scary spider made of glass beads with a rambling 8-page, hand-written letter from a ‘fan’ in California. She said at the end “I know you know who this is from”……it’s hanging on the back of the door in the Hospital office toilet.
Who came up with the lyrics for ‘Just One Second’, and when did you realise they were destined for this track? What exactly is “the smell of sunrise”?
I was writing the track as an instrumental for ‘Syncopated City’ – but luckily I had the feeling it needed a song on top. I’d been a fan of Elsa Esmeralda ever since she sang with the Swedish act Swell Session, so I tracked her down and sent it to her. She smashed it 🙂
The smell of sunrise? Well I think that has to be the perfume of mountainside jasmine/eucalyptus/(enter your hillside flower here) mixed with a whiff of last night’s poison.
Which one of your own songs is your favourite, and why?
Right now it’s ‘Fault Lines’. I think it’s got the best lyrics I’ve ever written, AND I managed to write a song that effectively combines geology and a doomed relationship. Like you do.
In an alternate reality, in which genre other than drum and bass would you have been a superstar?
Norwegian death metal.