Hospital Records is an independent record label based in South London. Primarily releasing Drum+Bass, the label was started in 1996 by Tony Colman and Chris Goss, and has grown in recent years to become one of the most well known labels within UK dance music. The label is home to artists such as High Contrast, London Elektricity, Netsky, Danny Byrd, Camo & Krooked, Logistics, Nu:Tone, Fred V & Grafix and Cyantific, but also releases tracks from a whole host of other artists across the D+B genre. From its HQ in Forest Hill, South London, Hospital also runs the more experimental label Med School, as well as publishing company “Songs In The Key Of Knife” and their worldwide events brand “Hospitality”.
Hospital Records is the brainchild of Chris Goss and Tony Colman. The label was started in early 1996 from their West London studio / HQ primarily as a vehicle for their own music. Tony and Chris have been working together since 1993. A brief pre-history: Tony’s last band was the London street-soul/jazzfunk combo IZIT, which funked it’s way round the world’s live clubs + decks from 1988 to 1995. Chris used to work in Soho’s Soul Jazz record shop. Tony started the label Tongue and Groove in 1992, and Chris joined the label in 1993 as label manager, following a freelance sleeve-design job. Chris and Tony didn’t make any music together until 1994, when they produced the eccentric ‘Caterpillar’, accredited to Mustardspoon. They closed T+G in 95 and formed two labels, Hospital and Galactic Disco Music. GDM was a London house/funk label and home of Future Homosapiens, Orkestra Galactica and Funky Nasa – all monikers for Tony + Chris’s prolific house output between the years 1996 and 1998. However, when Hospital took off in 1998, GDM was put on hold.
Hospital’s early drum and bass output earned the label an underground fanbase, but it was London Elektricity’s ‘Song In The Key of Knife‘, released in Spring 1998 that really captured the imagination of the whole scene. As London Elektricity, Tony and Chris’ first long player ‘Pull The Plug‘, released in the summer of 99, received much critical acclaim and is still widely regarded as a classic album, far removed from the overlong and pretentious drum and bass albums of the time.
In 2000 the label shifted up a gear. Tony and Chris compiled and released the first in a series of freestyle compilations, Out Patients, signalling the fact that Hospital was no longer “just” a drum and bass label. This was followed by the debut album from their prodigal son, Tim Land aka Landslide, whose ‘Drum+Bossa‘ set attracted a whole new audience from the jazz, breakbeat and 2-step scenes. That summer saw the signing of Danny Byrd, whose vocal r+b stylings found immediate favour with Fabio. The year finished with another signing, a certain welsh producer (at the time unknown to the d&b world) Link Barrett, aka High Contrast.
In 2002, with Hospital ever expanding, Chris withdrew from the studio in order to meet the demands of running one of the country’s most successful independent labels, leaving Tony to carry the mantle of London Elektricity. It was during this time that Hospital become a byword for quality soulful breakbeat thanks to a series of unfailingly consistent releases; from compilations (such as the Plastic Surgery and Out Patients series) to some heavyweight artist albums. High Contrast’s amazing Debut ‘True Colours‘ and London Elektricity’s fast soul classic ‘Billion Dollar Gravy‘ continued Hospital’s rise as one of the most well run and respected labels around.
In 2004 ‘Live Gravy‘ took the L.E sound to the next level as Hospital continued to bravely push the boundaries of Drum and Bass. ‘The Future Sound Of Cambridge‘ unearthed some golden talents in Nu-Tone and Logistics and the hot signing of Cyantific provided another glimpse of good times ahead. Elsewhere High Contrast’s second album ‘High Society‘ smashed it with the ‘Basement Track and ‘Racing Green’ getting rinsed everywhere from daytime Radio 1 to the Notting Hill Carnival. At this time Hospital also moved to its permanent home, relocating from Baron’s Court to the mighty Purple Gates in Forest Hill, South London.
Hospitality, Hospital’s self styled club night, whilst being well at home at Herbal in London, also represented in Cardiff, Brighton and as far as Berlin. By then established as one of the worlds biggest drum & bass nights, Hospitality launched a quarterly residency at legendary London super club Heaven. Playing host to the likes of Andy C and LTJ Bukem, as well as the NHS’s own bad boy selectors, thousands of ravers piled through the doors over the next few years, as we regularly road-blocked WC2. Releases by Syncopix from Germany and the release of ‘The Future Sound Budapest‘ confirmed Hospital’s International status. Meanwhile, Tony went back to studio to unleash London Elektricity’s third studio album ‘Power Ballads‘ in Autumn 2005. A gruelling tour followed as the band performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people throughout 2005. From the Big Chill to Glastonbury, it was the album launch at London’s Scala which will never be forgotten by those who were there.
2006 brought about Hospital’s tenth birthday and boy did we party. Almost everybody in drum & bass turned up as we absolutely rammed full London’s Heaven night club. The year also saw amazing debut albums from Q-Project, Cyantific and Logistics, as the Hospital release schedule continued to accelerate. Logistics’ album ‘Now More Than Ever‘ went on to win best album at the BBC 1Xtra Bass Awards. Cyantific and London Elektricity also scooped awards completing a hat trick for Hospital, now firmly established as one of the scene’s biggest labels! In 2006 London Elektricity also started the Hospital Podcast and following the immense quality of demos being sent into Hospital HQ, Hospital also established Med School, a new label bringing forward the more experimental side of drum & bass.
Following on from our tenth birthday success, Hospitality at Heaven continued to be one the best clubbing experiences to be had anywhere in the world. In the summer of 2007, we took Hospitality further by taking over Ibiza for one
night only. Extending drum & bass deep into house territory, the junglists came out firmly on top showing Ibiza how it’s done. Also in 2007, Nu:Tone provided us with his second album ‘Back Of Beyond‘, ‘Weapons of Mass Creation 3‘ gave us some amazing tracks from the likes of Blame, Bungle & A-Sides and High Contrast smashed apart the Radio One playlist with the huge single If We Ever and the even huger album ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance‘. High Contrast’s third studio album was received with critical acclaim and became an unprecedented success. Flying the flag for drum & bass, High Contrast also delivered his second Radio One essential mix, and even within this house and techno stronghold he scooped Essential mix of the year for Hospital in the process.
Keeping well ahead of the times through this period, London Elektricity’s Hospital Podcast proved to be a massive success. Attracting 50,000 downloads a show, the podcast went on to win the BT Digital Music Award for best podcast three years running; 2006, 2007 & 2008. Guests from all over drum+bass featured on the fortnightly show which became a massive hit, bringing D+B music and news straight to MP3 players worldwide. This and the continued success on Radio, online stores and of course through the website, led to Hospital reaching brand new mainstream audiences as the success story continued.
2008 saw Logistics drop his second album and Hospital’s Cambridge collective released their dark and deadly long player ‘The Future Sound Of Cambridge 3‘. Danny Byrd, almost eight years after first signing with Hospital, released his debut album ‘Supersized‘ and it was well worth the wait – containing some simply massive tunes – both on the dancefloor and radio. In September came another heavy hitter, in the shape of the fourth studio album from London Elektricity, entitled ‘Syncopated City‘. Instantly receiving critical and popular acclaim, the album pushed the unique LE sound towards a new generation of fans, gaining place on the Radio One playlist for All Hell Is Breaking Loose and rounding off another amazing year for the NHS.
Outgrowing Heaven, Hospitality moved its flagship London event to the brand spanking new venue Matter, inside London’s gargantuan The O2. The first year saw five sold out shows with well over 10,000 of you coming through the doors. Mistabishi brought us his debut album Drop, whilst Logistics saw the release of his third long player Crash Bang Wallop. High Contrast became the first D+B artist of note to drop a best of album – Confidential is essential listening and marked his first three albums and remix discography accordingly. Perhaps the highlight of 2009 was Sick Music – a brand spanking new compilation showcasing hot new talent alongside established producers. One of the biggest tracks was Danny Byrd’s ‘Red Mist VIP’, which again saw Hospital cemented on daytime BBC Radio 1. We saw the year out as always, looking forward; The Future Sound of Russia showcased a wealth of talent from Moscow and beyond and set us up nicely for the start of a new decade.
Within a month of the new year, Danny Byrd’s massive Sweet Harmony had hit the Radio One playlist, helping the Hospital sound reach further and wider than ever before. Later in the year came further Radio One hits such as Ill Behaviour and We Can Have It All, followed by the highly anticipated follow up to Supersized, Rave Digger which plunged the Byrd back in the spotlight. The Hospital podcast continued to be a success, topping the iTunes music podcast chart for the first time and elsewhere in the world of Hospital, Sick Music 2 was unleashed the exclusive signing of one of D+B’s hottest talents Netsky caused a major stir. The unprecedented reaction to his self-titled debut album in May 2010 set a tidal wave of publicity into action, which has not stopped since. Following the closure of Matter, Hospitality was forced to find another home and for this we moved our flagship London show to the 5000 capacity Brixton Academy. The first show was in September 2010 and quickly became a bi-annual tradition. All this success culminated in the signing of Camo & Krooked late in the year and winning no less than 6 awards at the annual Drum & Bass Arena Awards in December, 2010.
2011 – 15 Years of Hospital
Kicking off with “Hospitality D&B 2011”, the year was another enormous one, ending with the 200th release on Hospital and the signing of S.P.Y and Fred V & Grafix. Nu:Tone was the first to release an album with the immense “Words + Pictures” LP which was received with rapturous praise and the innovative website even got a mention in The Guardian. Label boss London Elekticity was next with the awesome “Yikes!” featuring vocal work by Elsa Esmerelda in April 2011 before “Hospitality Festival D&B 2011” took the summer festival season by storm, with our Hospitality stages at Global Gathering, Lovebox, Parklife, Global Gathering and Lounge On The Farm. Not showing any signs of slowing down, Camo & Krooked then released their album “Cross The Line” which cemented their reputation as DJ and producers extraordinaire and this was taken to even greater heights with the development of their live show, replete with LED cage and iPad controls. To round the year off, the “15 Years Of Hospital” album was released, featuring 15 classic tracks and 15 new tracks in a special commemorative package. In addition to this NHS200 took everyone by surprise as it was not a record but a book! The visual compendium of Hospital Records looked at Hospital’s visual identity over the past 15 years – the ultimate collectors item.
2012 – Netsky LIVE! and Olympic gold
2012 was another golden year at Hospital HQ as the roster expanded even further with the exclusive signing of Metrik in November. We had albums from High Contrast – “The Agony & The Ecstasy”, Logistics – “Fear Not”, Netsky – “2” and S.P.Y – “What The Future Holds” as well as Camo & Krooked’s remix album “Between The Lines”. It was also the year that Hospital plunged deeper into experimenting with tempos; first came the zeitgeist-grabbing “Sub 150” album, then the nostalgic “Loungecore” and finally, a digital-only EP from the younger brother of Nu:Tone and Logistics, Other Echoes. “Sick Music 3” was also a stand out success from the latter end of 2012.
2012 was also a golden year for Netsky; his album “2” was released in June, was No. 1 in Belgium for 6 consecutive weeks, and received awards and accolades a-plenty. Netsky LIVE! was also launched and included a full live band with keys player, drummer and front man. They are now touring the UK, Europe + World. And as if this wasn’t enough success for one year, High Contrast also ensured his name will go down in history, when he was asked to collaborate with Underworld to write the music for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in London 2012.
For the latest goings-ons at Hospital and to keep up-to-date with all of our artists: