Composer, producer, performer, broadcaster, DJ, A&R and business visionary, Tony Colman is the co-founder and CEO of Hospital Records the record label behind the upcoming third edition of Hospitality in the Park (23rd Sept, Finsbury Park) as well as their recent debut Croatia festival, Hospitality on the Beach which took place in Tisno last month. Responsible for some of Hospital’s biggest anthems, such as ‘Billion Dollar Gravy’, ‘Different Drum’ ‘Syncopated City’ and ‘Just One Second’, Tony, under his moniker, London Elektricity has cultivated a first class reputation as both a producer and DJ and continues to push the genre he fell in love with in the mid 1990s to this day. Famed for his eccentric DJ performances and jazz-fuelled production, the label has flourished under his reign over the last 22 years, and a new album is on the horizon for the leading D+B tastemaker
Tony, summer is finally here mate and we cannot wait for Hospitality parties throughout the season, tell me how your summer is looking…
Summer is looking amazing Frankie. Today has been sports day for my little lad, and he is moving onto secondary school- so it was actually a really emotional afternoon. All eyes for us are obviously on the big Hospitality parties. We just had ‘Hospitality on The Beach’ in Tisno, Croatia and we finally found the perfect venue and the crowd, well it went off! Now we get to look forward to ‘Hospitality in the Park’ coming up in September in London!
Why did you choose Croatia? Have you previously travelled there before?
Tisno Garden Village has this beautiful cove, and a forever stretching coast line where you can party, play very loud music all night (perfect for Drumm & Bass), and the food is amazing too. Croatia was a winner and we had every Hospital act plus others, and many other festivals have grown and really had a great time in this site, so we knew it was going to be a location for many years to come. Like with our events, we started in a tiny little pub called Herbal (RIP), and then we moved to Heaven and then to Matter. Sadly, Matter closed, which was one of the best in the world and we went on to Brixton Academy. We then decided to go onto something different, which is where our London festival was born – and it will be a brilliant party in Finsbury Park again this summer.
When you are on the road and have lots of gigs – what home comforts do you miss the most?
I definitely miss my pal, my dog, Pippin. He doesn’t have a puppy passport, he does love the sea though. I take my kids wherever I can, and my wife too. My oldest boy, the chairman, he MC’ed at Glastonbury for me at the age of nine. “I say GLASTON, you say BURY” was how it went really but he did smash it and was not phased, a wicked gig for a nine-year-old.
What would you never leave the house without?
I never leave the house without a good book or two, especially when heading out on the road for the weekend of longer. It is a desert island discs kind of thing, in case I get stranded, and always take my iPhone with me because the voice recorder is so good on it, if an idea comes to my head I record it there and then. I have to record sounds and ideas quickly or else the thoughts just disappear. No matter where I am I have to sing it, and people always look at me like I am bonkers!
As a founder and backbone of Hospital Records back in the 90s, I remember hearing SONG IN THE KEY OF KNIFE so clearly for the first time- how different is it making music now compared to then?
That’s really interesting as I am right in the middle of making a new album and I have gone back to a lot of the live material which I never used from years ago. Like the first London Electricity album, a lot of it was recorded live onto multi-track tape and I have transferred it all now to use in more current programs. There’s lots of recordings of jams, and I am now feeling myself going back to that way of working and experimenting. Last year we did the London Elektricity big band, and we had some amazing artists who I would love to bring back into the new stuff. Now you can record and make music anywhere, I take my laptop everywhere to record sketches and ideas to then make music in the studio.
And did you ever want to do anything else?
I never wanted to do anything else and I am so lucky to be able to work in this weird industry. We were by no means an overnight success but it only comes from hunger and patience and a touch of talent. Having no money obviously helps, as it drives you but it is a difficult process when making music, and if like me, you cannot do anything else, you have to drive yourself constantly.
There’s a lot in the media surrounding gender equality at the moment, which female artists feature in your festival lineups or do you personally favour?
A.Fruit would be my personal favourite. She’s an amazing producer and her track Tender Love on New Blood 018 is beautiful. Playing at the Park we have Djinn and Sweetpea on the Med School and Jungle Jam stages, two of the underground leading DJs and Barely Legal is playing on the Outlook stage too. On the Beach, we’ve also got our very own B-Complex on the garden stage and Flava D with an exclusive D&B set. Sweetpea, A.Fruit, Changing Faces and Coxie are on the incubator plus L U C Y is on the Blast stage. There’s still lots of work to be done across the genre and the music industry in general, but it’s definitely moving in the right direction!’
3 words to describe your productions…
Fast, soul, music…
So where can our readers come to join you on the dancefloor …
We would love them to come join us for the big party in Finsbury Park on the 22nd September, lets hope that the sun will be shining as the vibe will be electric. We also have other projects on the go but they’re a secret so stay tuned…