Lung: I thought they wanted a chat…but they offered me a record deal
A lot can happen in the space of twelve months, just ask Lung. Today, he’s the latest wunderkind signed to Hospital Records spin off Med School, but this time last year he was “mugging off college to sit in my cupboard-of-a-room in my old student house writing music, trying to drownout the sound of my mate screaming at the TV downstairs because he was so rubbish at FIFA.”
Thankfully, James Ellaway managed to successfully swap the games console for the mixing desk, and his debut LPhas been received with acclaim. While the title, “Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything?” hints at apathy, the 21-year-actually earned his place on the label’s roster the old fashioned way – by bombarding the boss with demos. Perseverance has shaped the start of this young musician’s career, and speaking to him, it becomes obvious that the excitement of being signed to such a forward thinking label is yet to wear off.
How did you end up getting signed to Med School?
I sent over a first version of ‘Relapse’ – which after some TLC ended up being released as part of ‘New Blood 011’ in March last year. Following that, I remember waiting at the train station in Cardiff on my way to a gig and getting an email from Chris Goss asking me if I’d be interested in remixing a tune for London Elektricity. Naturally I pooed my pants a little with excitement and jumped at the chance, and thankfully, they liked it. So following that I got invited down the offices in London for a chat and they offered me a recording contract – I thought it was going to be literally a chat, so you can imagine how surprised I was when that happened!
You’re still pretty young, what are your references when it comes to writing music?
I guess a lot within drum and bass happened way before my time, I’m a bit of a latecomer to the whole thing, even when I got into it around 2006, to some that may still be viewed as “past its prime” or whatever. But part of the excitement for me is learning as much about it as possible, finding old tunes from when I would have been way too young to even understand what it was, I’m talking Boymerang, Goldie’s ‘Timeless’. I wasn’t aware of drum and bass when these things were going on, but finding out about them afterwards – I don’t know, I think age is only a limitation if you let it be.
What’s your day to day life like?
Making music is what I do full time! I try and treat it like office hours. I can’t work well at night and certainly not without some kind of routine or structure. But I live at home with my parents, so when they go off to work, I start my “work” for the day and get in the studio. As for university, I just didn’t enjoy it, I dropped out twice. I started with business management in Swansea and lasted all of 6 weeks, spent a year gardening full time (loved that job) and then spent a year in Cardiff studying Music Technology, before once again dropping out. Maybe I’ll go back some day, but not to study music. Most likely something like Greek Mythology, or Ancient History, maybe even Philosophy. Something I’d be doing purely because I find it interesting and may be in a better position to afford it, both financially and with the time.
How did your early life shape your path?
I honestly don’t think I’d be doing anything I’m doing now if it wasn’t for my parents. My mum was heavily into punk – she sang in a band and played drums, whilst my Dad was a singer/guitarist in a sort of new-wave-ish band, I actually have one of their records on 7inch. So music has pretty much been a part of my life since I was born. My dad is a huge James Taylor fan and I’m actually named after him and the song “Sweet Baby James”, although I don’t think I grew up particularly “sweet”. I got into rock and then metal at around the age of 11 and started playing guitar when I was 13, before learning a bit of drums too. Music is the only thing that I can keep doing a million times over and not get bored of – so it made sense to me to somehow find a way to make a living out of it – I feel like I’m working towards that so I’m happy.
The video for “Why Does Anybody Ever Do Anything?” is pretty sporty – is it symbolic of Olympic excitement or fatigue?
[Laughs] I’m not sure it had anything to do with the Olympics around the corner actually. I had the title for that song before we had a vocal. I just quite liked the question, it’s pretty open-ended, no real right or wrong answer because it’s different for everyone. I think this video emphasises that. Sam, the main role in the video, he’s training and fighting, before losing and getting back up to start it all over again. People interpret things differently, so everyone’s answer to that question, and everyone’s interpretation of the video are likely to vary depending on who they are. I quite like that.
What’s your top tip for avoiding apathy?
Just keep your eyes on the prize. Nothing is worth anything if you haven’t earned it. Personally, I’m constantly learning – and the way I see it, the day you stop trying to learn more about what it is you do then that is the day that you give up. If we’re talking specifically about producing, however, just keep switching it up. If you get too comfortable you start to get bored, things become formulaic and there’s no spontaneity or excitement to what you’re doing. Go and sit with a friend while they produce, see how they do things, even simple tasks people achieve differently. You can always learn something new.
Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything? is out now on Med School.Tagged in: Hospital Records, James Ellaway, Lung, Med School, music, Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything
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