Founder of renowned London Drum 'n' Bass label Hospital Records, Tony Colman — aka London Elektricity — selects the venues that were key to the genre's development in the city.
The Velvet Rooms
Where it all began. The original home to Fabio's Swerve nights, which was probably the longest running residency in drum 'n' bass, starting as Speed back in 1995 with LTJ Bukem.
Velvet was different to other clubs in London. It was that bit more 'swanky' than the others. It was by no means luxurious, but the velvet made it cosy and chic, a good place to party and feel the love.
Unfortunately like many other London venues Velvet Rooms was taken over by a developer and is now a Superdrug.
Today, Heaven is one of London's most famous gay clubs, but back in the 90s it also played a huge part in the blow-up of acid house. For drum 'n' bass, it's most known for Fabio & Grooverider's Rage nights, but it also featured new genres and scenes popping up like German and Belgian techno, early jungle and New York house. For us it was the first leap of faith we took for Hospitality, going from Herbal's limited capacity to over double the size at Heaven in 2005. The risk has definitely paid off!
The O2 Academy Brixton actually started out as a cinema and theatre back in 1929. Now it's one of the biggest and most renowned music venues in the UK holding close to 5,000 people. It holds a special place in the heart of Hospital. We celebrated our 15th and 18th birthdays there, turned the dance floor into a DJ battle ring for Hospitality: The Final and most recently held our massive, sold-out Return To Brixton in April.
This list wouldn't be complete without Fabric; the world's number one nightclub and an institution for London's nightlife for nearly two decades.
All of us at Hospital are deeply saddened by its recent closure. We've had amazing Hospitality takeovers within its walls — it's the spiritual home of drum 'n' bass. Fabric is a benchmark for exciting, cutting-edge, safe and secure all-night clubbing. We urge everyone to help to #saveFabric by donating to the fighting fund. The fight isn't over yet.
Need For Mirrors and Bailey teamed up a few years back to begin a bi-weekly drum 'n' bass night on the first and third Wednesday of every month. They moved over to Miranda back in 2014 — in the underground basement of Shoreditch's Ace Hotel.
A pinnacle night took place here earlier this year; they held a benefit for Diane Charlemagne who sadly passed after a courageous battle with cancer late last year. It was an incredible night, everyone from the drum 'n' bass community came together to celebrate her life with sets from Grooverider, Doc Scott, Fabio, Bailey and myself all paying tribute.
Finishing up with our newest adventure. We’ll be taking over Finsbury Park for our huge D&B BBQ, Hospitality In The Park. It sold out over two weeks before and we can’t believe it. This is the biggest show in the last 20 years of Hospital with over 10,000 people coming from all over the world.
For more information about Hospital Records' sold-out (for 2016 anyway) Hospitality in the Park festival see the website.
Watch Tony on his journey to find the festival location in this fun video: