Ahead Of The Game: Landslide
Tim Land (aka Landslide) first became involved with Hospital Records via a chance meeting with co-founders Chris Goss and Tony Colman through mutual friends in 1997, where Tim went on to become Hospital’s studio engineer. Spotted for his truly original perspective on the art of beat-breaking, Chris Goss and Tony Colman (aka London Elektricity) signed Landslide to the Hospital roster. Following his signing he worked heavily on London Elektricity’s ‘Pull The Plug’ album and released his first 12″ ‘Buddah/Drum & Bossa’, which garnered support from the likes of Frost, Fabio, Blame and Aquasky, to Cut La Roc, Gilles Peterson, Jazzanova and The Truby Trio. Throughout his vast career that has meandered through drum and bass, broken-beat, dubstep and more, Landslide’s special composite has been much-imitated, but never-bettered.
Regarded by his peers as somewhat an unsung hero, Chris Goss stated in a recent interview that “along with people like, say, Zed Bias, Horsepower. I think we’ve always felt that Tim never truly got the recognition that he deserves, because he was ahead of the game. He was ahead of the garage and dubstep thing, but he was also ahead of broken beat: he was doing that before Bugz In The Attic. But Tim was such a humble kind of guy, and too much of a perfectionist.” Tim was even part of the original FWD>> crew a decade ago, when only 10 people used to turn up at Plastic People. Landslide remains one of the most respected and prodigious producers around, with support through his astounding career from Mala to Tom Middleton, Gilles Peterson to MJ Cole.
Ahead of the Hidden Depths of Hospital party at XOYO on Wednesday 25 July (more info here), we caught up with Tim Land to talk over the early days of Hospital, his current production dabblings and time spent at the early days of FWD>>.
So Tim – 15 years of Hospital Records. Does it feel that long to you?
Unfortunately yes, and by my calculations longer, I first made contact with Hospital back in 96, fully signed to them in 98, had the last Landslide single in 02, concluded LE live duties in 06 and am now a proper responsible tax paying member of society. For me personally its all about getting to DJ at the golden anniversary in 2046…
Tell us about Hospital back in the mid-90s – how has it changed for you personally?
I was so excited when I first met Tony & Chris and they played me some music. They were doing this stuff that completely tapped into my music pysche, it was heavily referencing lounge, easy listening, TV music, all that stuff that had soaked into my head as a child. They had also found a sound which was playful and joyous in contrast to the then pseudo cool of trip hop, and it also had all the intensity of jungle but without the rudeness and dread, it was polite and I quite liked that. In many ways Hospital at that point almost had a hauntological aspect to the music but I guess that was more of the time than a particular focus. Another aspect that impressed upon me back then was their professionalism and workaholic ethic, most musicians and labels I had had experienced previously were either wasters, gangsters or trust funded but T&C had such a level business sense, and look where its got them..
Where are you musically now – on your last release you were going for a song-based dubstep sound…
Right now, I’m having my own personal dabble with the whole footwork thing, I did resist it for quite a while just because it was so flavour of the month but I have now succumbed to its rhythmic powers. It has really struck me as a ‘new’ rhythm especially when it transcends the grid, that moment when you lose all sense of any timing but are being carried along on that energy surge – it’s way beyond standard dance floor structures. For me that’s the essence of the footwork sound and made all the more meaningful when you watch the dancing. It does however seem largely inaccessible for a UK audience and its the ‘textual’ quality that seems to be mostly emulated by producers. I may be guilty of doing that too as I’m fusing it over ambient/chillwave sampledelia and you lose the raw rhythmic message in many ways but the bottom line is I can’t dance! I listen to music in cars, I’m making music for late night empty motorways… My last release in 2011 was a song based dubstep album which was a radical idea when I started it in 2006, it was essentially finished in 2008 which probably would have been an ok time to release it, welcome to my world of procrastination and perfectionism.
What is it you think makes the UK underground such fertile ground for experimentation? We seem to have a real knack for taking influence from across the globe and putting our own unique slant on things…
In terms of electronic dance music we are still riding the advantage we had from the particular cultural and industrial circumstances which allowed for its initial proliferation, and from that perspective we have been among that smallish group of western countries privileged to have been doing that for 30ish years. However, that has changed and production and distribution has now allowed the rest of the world to partake. Sure the UK / western tradition is good at assimilating and experimentation but I’m not so sure it will be the only place to find innovation in the future.
Things seem to be moving into a real UK/European house and techno direction at the moment – do you feel like the UK’s sound has come full circle?
I’ve just reached 40 and although I was expecting the 20 year cycle of popular culture phenomena I wasn’t fully prepared that I might actually enjoy it! I literally have flashbacks when I hear Julio Bashmore/Huxley and the like, its all good when its done right but I have heard some sets which just seem pointless – minimal stripped down four-to-the-floor with nothing new to really add, come on kids, move it on!
Which new artists are you looking out for?
Disclosure seem to be particularly upsetting me at the moment (as in I’m jealous), I guess young producers have already spent the best part of their teenage years in the bedroom on their iMac learning their craft by the time they drop a record these days, its just not fair, I only had a cassette machine.
A tough one maybe, but can you name your top 3 jungle tunes?
I now wish I had properly collected Jungle tunes at the time so I could list you the definitive tracks but I was too busy jumping around to the music rather than collecting, it was about experiencing rather than archiving.
And top 3 Hospital releases?
I can do this one, London Electricity’s “Pull The Plug” album, Phuturistic’s album, Outpatients 1 Compilation.
Can you tell us about your time as FWD resident – do you think the club has retained it’s original ‘FWD sound’?
FWD was a really interesting place from the word go even if it took 6 years or so before it really generated the wider acknowledgement of its output. The very early days were particularly special because this was pre-internet music, if you wanted to hear new music you had to go to a club, maybe there were a few internet radio shows just starting but they were essentially really low quality radio. So FWD had a functioning format in that every month a group of people were trading new music and hearing new ideas, you would then have a month to respond to that in terms of producing. I think this slower time frame help to lay the ground for a much more rigorous exploration of new ideas which in turn built some very different dance music.
What projects do you have coming up?
I work in education these days so most projects are based upon exploring new ways of making and distributing music. I’m working closely on facilitating dance music through Wales so some festivals and events are being planned for next year.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the Tiger Beer Hidden Depths show?
Everyone of course, but Photek is going to be interesting.