Hospital Records is surely one of the biggest drum & bass labels around at the moment. But where did they come from? After 16 years in the game, the Hospital crew are looking back at their early roots on the new album, Loungecore Classics. We went straight to the man himself, London Elektricity, to find out more about the album, the music it contains, and how life has changed since '96.
Why have you decided to go back to some of the original Hospital releases now?
I've been wanting to do a Loungecore album for years, and my gut feeling is that now is a great time to do it - 16 years on we have collected many new fans who not only won't have heard the music that built Hospital, some of them may not have been born then!
I’d say the tracks on the album reflect both the original and the ’real’ Hospital sound – how true would you say this is?
Loungecore is the foundation of Hospital itself. For a few years we existed in a self created lounge bubble - and it was a good place to be! The rest of the jungle and d&b scene used to view us as outside eccentrics - I don't imagine anyone then thought for a minute we would be where we are now. The tracks on this album reflect the classic loungecore Hospital sound from when we started to where we are now.
This album doesn't reflect the other sides of Hospital that have emerged more recently of course! - and you mentioned the 'real' Hospital sound - well, that is the sum total of all we release :)
Describe how different the label is now compared with the late 90s.
In 1996 there was Chris Goss and there was me. We did everything - made the music, made the tea, ran the label. In 2012 we have 12 full time staff, 2 different labels, 14 career album artists and we're working on our 217th release. Hospital has grown quite a bit. Back in 1996 we had no events, no publishing company, no webshop. Now we look after all of these aspects too.
Tell us about the music you are releasing in the same terms.
In 1996 all the music was made by Chris and me under about 6 different names, so it had a sound that was 100% generated from my beige Mac. Now we release music from many different producers each with their own sound. We like to be challenged and to challenge our fans - our sound has to keep changing and moving otherwise obviously we would be in danger of going stale. Discovering something genuinely new and nurturing that artist is the best part of running a label.
Do you have any tracks on Loungecore Classics which stand out for you? Why?
Tracks that I will never tire of like "Last Year's Loss" by Logistics blows me away every single time I hear it and I still play this out from my original dub plate. "General Hospital" by Syncopix is, literally, the Hospital theme tune and it has to be one of the most joyful d&b tunes ever made, pure game show silliness in a 174 bpm package! "Panda Style" by LAOS - we released this on white 7 inch limited to 500 copies and if you want to buy this it's around £30 - £40 on Discogs. Mine is worn out and I'm desperate to get a new one ‘cos I still play this out. Loads of others but these three will do for now!
A lot of the tracks have an optimistic, almost freeing feel – was this a deliberate angle to the compilation?
Not at all - that's what loungecore makes you feel :)
How do you think the music on the album has shaped and influenced d&b circa 2012?
Very hard to say - we've always ploughed our own furrow and done our own thing. We still do - if other artists and labels want to get involved and tread a similar path then that's all good, but variety is the spice of life, and I love a lot of labels and artists who sound very different from Hospital.
The album is released on Monday August 13th, pre-order the album here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/preorder/hospital-loungecore-classics/id549376452
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