DJ/producer energizes tracks with iZotope software
Tony Colman, a.k.a. London Elektricity, has been breaking ground as a DJ, producer and label head for over a decade. Not only is he the mastermind behind seminal drum & bass albums like Billion Dollar Gravy and Power Ballads, his label, Hospital Records, has launched the careers of influential artists like High Contrast and Danny Byrd. In addition, Colman’s Hospital Records podcast has become one of the best places to hear innovative, unsigned music before anyone else. We caught up with Colman to talk about gear, technique and how to thrive in a changing industry.
What can London Elektricity fans expect from your upcoming album? We hear rumors that you’ve been working on your guitar chops.
I hate the word expect! It always leads to abject misery in the user. I’ll just say don’t expect anything but hope for an album you can visit time and time again. I’ve ditched mainstream dance music structures for the most part. And yes, I got all my guitars out, filed the frets, sorted the pots and restrung ‘em. They’re all over this record.
You do a lot of work from your home studio and use old, obscure samples from vinyl. How has iZotope RX been helpful in the process of making music and dealing with samples?
RX has been amazing for me. While I was prepping for this album, I went through my entire sample library and RX’d it. It’s a tool that I never thought would be possible. It’s such fun that it makes you want to use it even when you don’t need to—I find myself making excuses to use RX because it’s so satisfying. It leaves all other clean-up systems behind, even ones that cost 10 times as much.
How have you been using iZotope Ozone in your music?
I’m just getting to the mastering stage now, though I’ve used Ozone on some prior instrument processing jobs. It’s such a powerful tool. Ozone is a unique approach to mastering and once you master it you’ll be integrating it into all your projects.
You and Chris Goss (the original second half of London Elektricity) have managed to create an incredibly successful independent label in an era where MP3 sharing has threatened to make labels obsolete. Care to share any of your secrets?
These are our honest-to-god secrets: DO NOT have a business plan. DO NOT set targets. Just work harder than you ever imagined was possible for longer than you ever thought you’d have to, and treat your artists like you’d like to be treated by a label. And then one day you look over the parapet and you realize the landscape has changed for the better. And don’t be paranoid. File sharing is the best form of viral marketing out there.
There seems to be a very DIY approach to making music among the Hospital artists. When you sign a producer’s music, are you signing finished tracks, or does Hospital step in to help polish the sound?
We sign up talent. Originality. Those things are paramount. Technical expertise can be the most boring thing in the world. It’s tertiary to talent and charisma, because you can’t learn how to be a genius and how to inspire people, but you can learn how to get a brilliant mixdown.
For more information, visit London Elektricity online at myspace.com/londonelektricity and hospitalrecords.com.