TiD&B’s The Conversion Conversation: Chris Goss & London ElektricityPosted by Lady V on Friday, November 25th, 2011
In our weekly feature The Conversion Conversation, we delve a little bit deeper, giving you an insight into some of your favourite artists’ most memorable and influential moments, and more importantly, touching upon that moment; when they got hooked on drum and bass, and their lives changed forever.
With Hospital Records currently celebrating 15 years of rolling strong in drum and bass, this week we chatted with the legendary imprint’s head honchos; label CEO Tony Colman aka London Elektricity and Managing Director Chris Goss…
Chris Goss: We started off working together in Tottenham back in 1993, and as a Londoner, I’m extremely proud of my home town. Jungle and drum and bass music is such a uniquely British phenomenon, and for me, the early days were all about London. I know it’s a cliche but those formative nights at The Blue Note, Speed, were seminal; they really were ground-breaking and unlike anything else I had experienced. It was that raw originality that got me hooked – the combination of proper London and Kingston sound system culture, in a head-on culture clash with young b-boys and rave kids; entirely unique. And to have managed to play a small part in the growth of this music scene has been, and continues to be, exciting and inspiring.
Tony Colman: With regards to tracks which got us hooked, that’s easy – ‘Inner City Life’ by Goldie feat. Diane Charlemagne. In ’95 I was busy touring with IZIT who were my main project at that time. We did a four month tour that took in UK, Europe, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong promoting the album ‘Imaginary Man’, and by the end of the tour I was totally knackered and booked myself a holiday to Australia as a break. I bought a bunch of CDs including ‘Timeless’. On the way to Australia I stopped off in the Philippines for three nights and ended up in a hotel in Manila. After checking in, I went for a wander and found myself sitting on the harbour with my CD walkman listening to ‘Timeless’. I’d been aware of early jungle (it was called breakbeat back then, and confusingly, there was a type of R&B that in the early 90s was called drum and bass – ask Trevor Nelson about that!) because I lived in Tottenham which is the birthplace of jungle. But Rob Playford’s production and writing on the ‘Timeless’ album opened a door for me – it made me realise what could be possible with this fast tempo music. I was hooked from that point, and I couldn’t wait to disband IZIT and set to work learning how to perfect our interpretation of what would come to be known as D&B.
Chris: For me, it’s hard to pin-point one specific track to be honest; but in 1994/95 I was getting turned onto Metalheadz, Moving Shadow, and Shut Up & Dance. Photek’s ‘Natural Born Killa’ EP was a seminal release for me, even bringing a downbeat revival of Massive Attack’s loops on ‘Into The 90s’. Boymerang’s ‘Soul Beat Runna’ has always been a classic for me, and sounds as fresh today as it has ever done.
Looking back over our careers, there was one special moment when I think we both realised that D&B was where we belonged…
Tony: Between 1996 and 1998, we were running two labels at the same time: Hospital and Galactic Disco, our house music label. Both were neck and neck in terms of impact at first but by the time we got to NHS 5 and 6, Galactic Disco was looking the more promising and we were on the verge of stopping Hospital and D&B in favour of concentrating on London funky house music. My last ditched attempt to turn around our D&B career was a track called ‘Song in the Key of Knife’ which I made over the Christmas holidays at the end of 1997. I finished it in the 2nd week of 1998, and Chris and I went to DJ in Japan the next day. We played in Tokyo and dropped ‘Song in the Key of Knife’ from a DAT tape and it went off! It sounded so good, so original and so ‘us’ that we knew we had something special.
Chris: I’ll never forget that moment at Club Yellow in Tokyo; we looked at each other, grinned, and I think we both knew we could have a drum and bass future.
Tony: When we got back to the UK we got big support from Fabio and Grooverider and it was the first time we felt that we gained acceptance in the D&B scene. That track basically kicked off our career as London Elektricity and also the label too. We haven’t looked back since then.
Hospital’s brand new 2-disc compilation LP ‘Fifteen Years of Hospital Records’ is released on Monday 28th November