Stories from a Pro: London Elektricity

"Fast soul music" producer makes music shine with RX.

London Elektricity & Elsa Esmeralda, 2011 Press Shots - Hospital Records

What can London Elektricity fans expect from your album? Is it a departure from your past projects? I hear rumors 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. Has iZotope RX been helpful in the process of making music and dealing with samples?

RX has been amazing for me. Last year 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 to be honest. The best thing about it is it's such fun to use that it makes you want to use it even when you don't need to. I find myself making excuses to use RX on stuff because it's so satisfying. It leaves all other clean up systems standing, 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, and while I have used Ozone on some instrument processing jobs, it's coming into its own now. It should come with a health and safety warning - it's such a powerful tool that you have to treat it with the utmost respect. Ozone is a unique approach to mastering and once you master it you'll be integrating it into all your projects as standard.

Loaded question: would you rather I buy your album on MP3 or on vinyl? Why?

Vinyl every time. Sounds better, looks nicer, almost indestructible, and it keeps the industry alive. And it's a much better use of fossil fuels than driving a child-killing planet-destroying SUV to the Mall to buy a carton of juice.

In addition to producing, DJing and being CEO of a label, you've also become the host of the award-winning Hospital podcast, which features new unsigned music every episode, and has grown to have a huge listenership. Tell us about the genesis of the podcast and how it's evolved since it began.

Well, like everything I've ever done it started as an experiment, and it was fun. It's no different from doing pirate radio, it's just got a fortunate synchronicity—podcasts seem to be something new and fresh, and our style of production on the podcast seems to have hit home. When we started we did about 5,000 subscriptions, and now we're on around 60,000 per episode. I try to record one every two weeks, and we can do video, audio, no smellcast yet though.

Thank God! Is it true you rubbed Peter Gabriel's head at the BT Digital Music Awards when you accepted the "Best Podcast" award?

'Rubbed' is not accurate. Caressed in a worshipful (and drunk on corporate fizz) manner is more accurate.

"RX has been amazing for me. Last year while I was prepping for this album I went through my entire sample library and 'RX'd' it."

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 and CDJs have threatened to make labels obsolete, Hospital is thriving. Care to share any secrets of your success?

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 you 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. Oh and don't be paranoid. File sharing is the best form of viral marketing out there.

There still seems to be a very DIY approach to making music among the Hospital artists. When you sign a producer's music, are you signing essentially finished tracks, or does Hospital step in to help polish up their 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.

Do you think the future of music is in bedroom studios?

That's the present of music. It's here. I don't think the future will be mobile music making, because you have to have a decent acoustic space. But then I haven't visited the future recently so I could be wrong ...

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