Tony Colman is a strong supporter of the drum & bass scene, curating longstanding label Hospital Records and imprint Med School, as well as putting out releases as London Elektricity. With the label’s clubnight, Hospitality, returning to Tobacco Dock with another monster line-up including Camo & Krooked, Bad Company, Congo Natty and more on Friday, March 30th, we spoke to Tony about his career and the forthcoming London party.
Our fans and our artists and our staff make [Hospitality nights] so special. We work very hard to create a strong family bond.
Tell us bit about yourself - what were you doing before getting heavily involved in the music industry?
I was being a teenager, then a student, then a music teacher for a year. Then I went on the dole and started learning my craft. Very poor, very happy.
What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was their a particular song or artist who inspired you?
As a kid I was into pop. As a teenager I was into 1970s heavy rock, and then punk.
How did you learn to DJ? Any famous teachers?
LOL, I don’t think it can be taught. I only started DJing when I was 36. Before that I was 100% musician. I cut my teeth doing a six-hour weekly residency at a DJ bar underneath Centre Point every Thursday for two years. All genres. That taught me all I needed to know!
Do how did Hospital Records start? Was there a particular reason or motive behind starting the label?
I’ve been addicted to running lables since 1988. My first label was Pig and Trumpet. After that came Tongue and Groove. Then Hospital. It was a natural progression. Main reason - I didn’t trust the majors and I believed I could do a better job than any indies I knew. I think we do a better job so I’m glad I took that approach back then!
What was the first release?
On Hospital, ‘Harp of Gold’ by the Peter Nice Trio.
What have been your label highlights in terms of releases?
So many, but for me today I’d say ‘Together’ by Logistics, ‘If We Ever’ by High Contrast, ‘Soul Function’ by Danny Byrd and ‘Billion Dollar Gravy’ by me!
Hospitality has become a seminal party brand for fans of bass heavy music. Where did you host the first Hospitality?
The very first one was at Herbal in Hoxton back in 2000. We used to do everything ourselves - my wife, me, Chris Goss and Tomahawk would put up the banners, do the flyering, take turns doing the till or the guest list. It was great. Used to sit at the till chatting to people coming in and then have to rush to the decks to play my set.
What makes a Hospitality night so special?
Our fans and our artists and our staff make it special. We work very hard to create a strong family bond.
This will be the second Hospitality in the Dock. How did the first edition go? What was the response from crowd?
We’re doing the second one because the first one was so amazing. Three big rooms, all amazing sound, all totally different amazing line ups. The response and feedback from everyone was overwhelming. Can’t wait for number two!
Why is Tobacco Dock such a popular venue? How do you make it work for Hospitality shows?
It’s different from other venues, and that’s something people love, also it is sonically strong, and a very interesting layout. To make it work you need the best sound, production, artist line ups and staff. We have the best crews in the business, and make sure we switch everything up whenever we return to a venue. It has to be better than the time before!
What have you got planned for the March date?
The line up is out there - too long to list here!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing?
Inja and Pete Cannon, Kings of the Rollers, Unglued and the Astrophonica Showcase!
On your own music production as London Elektricity: what are you working on right now?
I’m in studio mode now, I’m working on a new studio album and it’s taking shape nicely. I’ve also just completed a remix of reggae legend Horace Andy.
What can we expect from your set at Tobacco Dock?
If I could fly into the future I’d tell you. I don’t plan sets - I read the room!
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
I was going to say the obvious - “don’t worry so much, you’ll turn out ok” but if I hadn’t worried, then things maybe wouldn’t have turned out ok! So I’d probably just laugh at my hair, which was totally crap in the 80s!
Hospitality in the Dock 2018 will be at Tobacco Dock in Wapping on Friday, March 30th. For tickets and details go to hospitalitydnb.com.