With only a few days before the legendary Hospital Records label returns to their west coast fans for a massive show at the Avalon in Hollywood, Your EDM sits down with CEO Chris Goss for a chat about all things Hospital. We touch down with head honcho to find out what he has planned for this exponentially innovative lineup, and the future of Hospital’s key role in the ever-evolving drum and bass culture in the United States.
Hi Chris, glad to have you here in Los Angeles once again in line of one of the biggest Hospital LA shows to date! Let me ask you personally…. How excited are you to finally bring Etherwood to a crowd so willing and craving of his presence?!
Well, given how tough it can be sometimes to acquire a work Visa, the first time is always the hardest. All of us at Hospital are so happy to finally bring him out to a crowd that loves his work as much as we do. We were able to bring him out in the Spring, but frustratingly only to Canada. With his brand new album “Blue Leaves” just released, we felt it was the perfect time to showcase his unique, organic talent that he is so well loved for.
Tell us a bit about the massive US tour you have planned, and how fantastic it must be to bring such a weighty lineup of all-stars out to TomorrowWorld for its own Hospital Records stage?
It’s an exciting milestone for us. The more we build and grow our talent roster with Circle Talent Agency, the more of our artists we can fly out and shape huge lineups that showcase both American artists such as Gridlok, Submorphics, and Legion & Logam – as well as our own worldwide talent. That said, it’s a steady, gradual, ‘educational’ process, but nonetheless an exciting step in the right direction.
What sort of role do you see Hospital Records playing in terms of America’s growth and evolution in drum and bass culture?
At the moment, we simply hope to play our role in the growth of this unique scene. It’s really quite a different playing field over here. North America is so huge, it all seems so fragmented by distance and geography. I guess that sort of seems like something we take for granted at home, on our little island. There’s so much space in between most US cities that you often have to fly everywhere, rather than drive, or take a train. That’s a tough challenge for emerging, underground promoters and artists in the touring/performing community. One key aspect we can hopefully contribute out here is to discover and support new and exciting young talent, as well as showcase the more established names, alongside our own roster.
Who are some brand new upcoming producers to look out for, or that you’ve specifically had your eye on in the scene that readers may not be knowledgeable of quite yet?
Oh, there are so many…
Kimyan Law is one of my current favorites; I really like G.H.O.S.T., Frederic Robinson, Gerra & Stone, NCT from Holland, and Pola & Bryson from Soulvent Records. One of the healthiest signs within the company, is to see nurture talent and support releases from all four corners of the world. Like, we have Royalston from Australia, The Erised from the Ukraine, and a brand new signing Urbandawn from Sao Paulo in Brasil. Nothing is more rewarding to see than crafting and building a career for a truly underground, unknown artist.
Are there any American producers that drum and bass connoisseurs should be on the lookout for?
Some of my steady favourites in the new, up+coming wave are Ownglow out of Arizona, the lads from Blacklab over in Las Vegas, Sinistarr out of Detroit; there’s a great debut album just dropping on Commercial Suicide from Quadrant, Kid Hops and Iris; also Legion & Logam from Atlanta, Justin Flite, and young Dan Dakota out of Calgary.
Plus of course, so many names from the established North American scene – happliy a number of whom will be with us at the TomorrowWorld festival in Atlanta: Gridlok, Submorphics, Random Movement, Bachelors Of Science.
Some of the public’s most exciting releases so far are indubitably Blue Leaves, “Citadels” by Krakota, and compilations such as Fast Jungle Music. Do you have any personal favorites that stand out amongst others?
Reso’s debut album [on Hospital Records] was one of my favorites this year, because he came from a very different background of music production. We’d signed a couple of drum&bass tracks for our Sick Music albums in the past, and so started a conversation with Alex about actually making a whole LP. It was quite obvious with this record that his skill levels fit so organically into the drum and bass world. We’re all really proud of Woody’s new album – it’s outstanding, and really looks the part too.
We also been enjoying establishing our new ‘Fast’ series…It’s weird really. One day I was scrolling through my back catalogue (which is quite extensive after selling records for so long) and began to realize that we have so many new listeners, new staff members, new producers and DJs that haven’t even heard a third of our catalogue. We truly owe it to them to educate the new breed with some of our old material, which is what we’re trying to showcase with compilations such as Fast Soul Music and Loungecore Classics.
A little birdy on Twitter has mentioned that there may be a brand new exclusive signing over at Hospital Records this upcoming week. Care to give those over at Your EDM a hint as to who that may be?
Well, that is Maduk – Best Newcomer at the D&BA Awards end of last year. He’s super-bright, organised, and a real talent; as well as one half of the Liquicity channel and brand.
What are some new releases that we as listeners can look forward to as we close out 2015 and enter into 2016?
Well let’s see. Something I’ve personally worked hard on – and coming out through Play It Again Sam (Hopeless in the USA) – is a brand new remix album of UK punk/rock band called Enter Shikari. The band themselves are long-time Hospital Records fans, and we started talking about this idea last Winter. We have 13 of our artists remixing each of the 13 tracks on their original album, ’The Mindsweep’. It was a real challenge, but something I’m very proud of; and also looking forward to some crossover between our audience and the Shikari fans.
Aside from that, we’ve got a brand new London Eletricity album set for release in November, which is absolutely brilliant, I might add. We all know how much everyone loves hearing new material from Tony, so it’s great to have a new project – after what I think is about 5 years. Moving into 2016, we’ve got a great new album by Fred V & Grafix, the second LP from Metrik – who’s on fire right now; and another massive record by Logistics, our most prolific artist on the label. There’s a brand new mixtape featuring the one and only S.P.Y, and a new EP from one of my favorite Med School signings, The Erised.
How do you feel about DnB’s role in the umbrella term “EDM” and the rise and fall of pop genres such as trap and brostep?
Well, it’s a unique concept within North America – not really something we can get with back home. I see trap as sort of just a blend of trip hop or dubstep. The thing is… I never really considered hip hop or trip hop as dance music. I’m all about enlightening people and broadening horizons, but there’s so much good dance music out there now, that I don’t really have time to even classify those as EDM. But having said all that – as the EDM scene over here gradually evolves, I hope and trust that a slice of those ravers will start to investigate what else is on offer – aside from just the speedway stadium ‘woop woop’ music. At that point, we’re always ready to play them a little drum & bass!
With the contract for Netsky finished, where does his relationship with Hospital stand, and what are his plans for his future endeavors?
Boris has been one of the most successful artists I’ve ever worked with. He had two amazingly successful albums and we achieved a whole bunch of things together; but around 2013, he began wanting to focus on the mainstream, and to branch out into different musical styles and performance spots. He is like family to me, so no matter what, I only want the very best for his success. Happily, when I landed here on Friday, the first thing I did was get a cab up into the hills to have some BBQ with Boris and his friends. We checked some new music, and talked through some of his plans for the Winter. And then Saturday we joined him for his DJ set at Avalon for the Mad Decent afterparty
When you’re not running arguably the largest drum and bass label in the world, what other activities/music/hobbies to you enjoy?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of time for much anymore. I have two amazing daughters, and any chance I get I love spending quality time with them. I enjoy taking my daughters Naomi and Erin out to dinner, and maybe playing some frisbee in the park. It’s nice to reach that age and position where you can spend more time with family, instead of spending every waking hour building a company – I don’t have do office all-nighters, and sleep under my desk anymore, like the old days. We’ve built a great crew at Hospital; it’s brilliant to have such a passionate and talented staff team to drive us forward in our South London offices.
Do you think Americans will never really be graced with a tour by Tony AKA London Elektricity himself?
Hard to say, but probably not right now. You have to understand, the man has been touring for over 30 years. He’s at that age where he can cheery-pick his tours and shows – he’s not 20 years old anymore, and has a young family. Especially with the US scene being so fragmented in distance, it’s so much flying. That much daily travel, and time-zone changes will take a toll on anyone.
I’d like to say ‘never say never,’ but at the end of the day, it Tony’s choice, and I’ll always stand by that.
In closing, we over at Your EDM are extremely honored to have interviewed you, and are so thrilled to have received such a joyous first-hand account of where Hospital is, where Hospital has been, and where it is going.
Yeah man. All in all, from the heart, Tony and I along with everyone in London appreciates the love and support from America for the last 20 years and couldn’t be more thankful. To see listeners from all over the globe listening to the podcast, preordering our releases, and just being true Hospital fans, means so much to us. I’d also like to encourage the Your EDM crowd to be as inquisitive as they can be with music: experiment. Dabble in fields and genres you wouldn’t normally dabble in. Follow what TRULY excites you. We hope everyone comes out in LA for a great night with us at Avalon this Friday, September 25th. It’s a real privilege to host such an event with Rob & Justin at RESPECT, and to yet again showcase our artists at one of our favorite clubs in the city. Thank you so much.
With only a few days away, we over at Your EDM cannot wait to attend this massive lineup of UK talent to pack the house at Avalon this coming Friday (get tickets here). With such groundbreaking talent covering the full spectrum from the heavyweight Reso all the way to the liquid smooth Etherwood touch, we couldn’t be more anxious to see the Hospital LA crew and vibe back, but in full effect. Thank you so much Chris, and we’ll see you all this Friday at Avalon. Cheers.