A lung is an essential thing. It powers life. It's as important as the air it processes and the energy that gives us. 20 year old Welshman James Ellaway has been putting out music under the Lung moniker for a little while now and it’s his intrinsic flair for crafting music that brims with energy and verve that’s seen him work closely with Hospital Records’ experimental offshoot imprint, Med School. Playing here in Med School’s Room Three takeover on the 9th March, a night thats sees the full spectrum of drum & bass explored with Marky and DJ Die in Room One and Metalheadz in Room Two, we caught up with the producer to give him a chance to introduce himself in his own words and through a neatly clipped promo mix.
For those who may not be acquainted with your sound, can you introduce yourself in 10 words?
I'm James, from Cardiff and I produce electronic dance music
What have you been working on recently?
It's been a really busy couple of months actually; most of my studio time has been spent putting together my forthcoming EP on Med School which I'm really happy with now. Also the collab with Joe Syntax and eleven8, ‘Red Rhythm’, is all finished up and set for release on the Blood Pressure compilation we'll be having the launch for on the 9th. Most of my time has gone into the above, and in-between I've been writing a few other bits of music outside the realms of drum and bass & dubstep. I find it helps me to break up the cycle a bit and keep the ideas fresh. Tunes that are new to your audience when released, you've probably listened to yourself 200+ times when working on them, so it's good to step back and get some perspective - give your ears a change from the norm, then go back in with, hopefully, a refreshed approach! I think it benefits the end result of the music no end, and that's what's most important.
How did you get involved with d&b? You're from Cardiff right? What's the scene like down there?
Well, I wasn't even aware of drum & bass until my brother bought a mobile phone years ago and Marky & Bungle's ‘No Time 2 Love’ was pre-loaded onto the phone. I'm quite anorak once I become interested in something, I have to find out more and more. Essentially, that's what happened when I heard that tune. I used to play in a hardcore band when I was around 16/17, I was into music with a lot of energy - I think the energy of drum & bass just captivated me straight away.
I started listening to producers such as Noisia, Black Sun Empire, Calyx & Teebee, Phace, etc. I was really into that dark, aggressive - "neurofunk" sound initially, before delving into the sub-genres and realising just how diverse and interesting a genre it really is. That's when I stumbled across that whole "Hospital sound" if you will, and of course the mighty High Contrast! Which leads me on to Cardiff quite nicely I think!
The scene here is a real hot-bed of producers, DJ's, promoters and fans. What I really like about the parties here is that (99% of the time) attitudes are left at home and people are out for the music. For me, personally, Aperture at Clwb Ifor Bach (The Welsh Club) is where I really found my feet. Back when I started out, Dave ‘Droneboy’ Shaw was running the night and really helped encourage me. He introduced me to many of the people I now work with regularly and a lot of my friends within the drum & bass community, both within Cardiff, and outside. Our friend Dan now runs Aperture and he's smashing it - it's living on stronger than ever with a load of new DJ's and producers joining the family too. There'll definitely be a few more names to come out of Cardiff soon, I can guarantee that!
How would you describe the music you make?
Music for me was always just a hobby; it's my stress-release I guess. A lot of what I make totally depends on what kind of mood I'm in when I sit down to write. I don't really ever have any kind of pre-conceived aim before going in on a tune, maybe a little melody in my head or something like that. Mostly, I just like to see where the music takes me - as cringe worthy as that sounds! I guess if I was to summarise my sound, I'd say: electronic music, mostly between 120 - 173bpm, within the more melodic and musical end of the spectrum.
I guess the main thing for me is that I enjoy what I'm writing and doing outside of writing it, be that DJing or whatever. I consider myself very lucky that enough other people enjoy the music I make to have been given the opportunity to make a career out of doing what I love, and so long as it stays that way, I'll keep on doing it!
You're releasing on Med School, what’s the relationship like with the label? What does it mean to you to be on there?
I love working with the guys at Med School. I've been a fan of Hospital for such a long time, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I stumbled across Med School. I love the ethos behind the label; it's on the more experimental side of things, but still really musical and I can totally get into that. Some of my favourite producers had released with them before I signed up, S.P.Y., Synkro, Randomer etc. I think the label is really interesting and has a huge amount to offer to the drum & bass world.
I think sometimes it may be overlooked by those elitist types amongst the scene (every music scene has that), but for me it quickly became one of my favourite labels. The diversity and constant quality of releases is a real strong point of the label and something I'm really happy to be a part of. I think it's truly unique in what it does, and instead of confining the artists to certain restrictions, we're actually encouraged to push the boundaries and explore what it is we do. On a personal level, Ash and the team have been a pleasure to work with and really helped me push what it is I do. They take a real interest in their artists and ultimately, working with nice people will always be my number one priority. I've learnt a lot so far from being with the label and I know that will continue.
Can you tell us more about upcoming music from you? Does a lot of it feature on the mix you made for us etc etc?
I've got quite a bit of new music coming out of the coming weeks which I'm really pleased about. It's been a while since my last release so it's good to get some new stuff out there. First up, my collaboration with High Contrast, ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ has just come out on his new album. It was a privilege to be able to work on some music with Linc, I've been a huge fan of his for years and it was something I never imagined happening, truly surreal!
The aforementioned ‘Red Rhythm’ with Joe & Edd is out on Med School on the 5th of March as part of the Blood Pressure compilation alongside some seriously wicked tunes! Following that, I'll be release a dubstep(ish) tune on a non-d&b compilation on Hospital, it's called ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ and it's one of my favourite tunes I've ever made. I had a lot of fun making it and it's totally different to what I think people have come to expect from me so I'm looking forward to hearing what people think of it.
Finally, my debut EP on Med School will be out in April. It's called ‘Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything?’ and it features the vocal talents of Welsh-gyal Rachel K Collier. She's got a fantastic voice and I really can't wait to put it out. I've been closing a lot of my sets with it recently and you can hear it right at the end of my mix!
Ahead of your set here, what can we expect from the night?
The last few Med School parties at fabric have been unreal! Most notably the most recent one we had back in January... that was insane! Every time I've been to fabric I've had a wicked time and the atmosphere has been great. I think Med School really invites an open-minded, good-vibes kinda crowd and brings some of the labels ethos along with it. It's a really exciting time for us all at the label, be it the producers or the people running it,and it's really nice to see so many people coming to the shows and having a good time. That's what it's all about!
I have no doubt that the 9th is going to be the same! I'd be going to this one even if I wasn't playing - the line up is ridiculous across all three rooms.
Catch Lung in Room Three on 9th March.
Lung – FABRICLIVE x Med School Mix
1. London Elektricity - Yikes (lung Remix) [Hospital]
2. London Elektricity - Round The World In A Day (royalston Remix) [Hospital]
3. Isotone - Trip [Obsessions]
4. Spectrasoul - Organiser [Critical]
5. Quartz - Trapdoor [dub]
6. Locksem - Ammunition [dub]
7. June Miller - Snapcase [Critical Modulations]
8. Noisia - Block Control [Moving Shadow]
9. Phace & Rockwell - Rat Race [Shogun Audio]
10. Unknown - Unknown
11. Lung, Joe Syntax & Eleven8 - Red Rhythm [Med School]
12. Dan Marshall - Scorn [Audio Danger]
13. Krone & Malsum Ft. Strago - Rainforest [Med School]
14. Mutated Forms - Feels Like [Med School]
15. Lung - Relapse [Med School]
16. Lung - Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything? (ft. Rachel K Collier) [Med School]