A Conversation with Earth Leakage Trip

Earth Leakage Trip

Earth Leakage Trip ‘ELT’ (Neil Anthony & Tony Lobue) are the original pioneers of Hardcore and Techno. Their discography spans over 20 years. Their first EP released in 1992 saw the launch of the award-winning label, Moving Shadow Records. They later signed to Rising High Records and Good Looking Records, and have featured on a number of compilations including Orbital’s ‘Back To Mine’ Collection. Their latest albums on NexGen Music are ‘Research and Development’ (double album) and ‘Triplicity’.

NexGen: You helped launch the legendary Moving Shadow Record label with their very first release, the ‘Psychotronic’ EP back in 1992. How did this all start?

Neil Anthony: Initially I established Earth Leakage Trip as a solo artist with a demo tape. Through a DJ friend of mine, I met Rob Playford (founder, Moving Shadow Records) who had a vision to start a label. He immediately liked my music and suggested releasing it. At this time the label was no more than a spare room with a few bits of hardware.

I then met up with co-musician Simon Carter and suggested we work together on this project. Drum and Bass or Jungle music didn't really exist as a genre back then, but there were a few tracks that used the "Amen break" in new ways and it sounded fresh and inspiring. I had started to experiment with deep bass and dark vibes, and took to the studio some basic ideas which we developed into the Psychotronic EP. It ended up being nothing like the drum and bass music that Moving Shadow are known for, but a similar dark hardcore sound. The track "No Idea" off the EP received a lot of attention back then, and I'm glad to say it still does today.

NexGen: Your latest releases for NexGen Music are ‘Research , Development’ and ‘Triplicity’. What kind of experience do you want your fans to have when they listen to these albums?

Neil Anthony: We want our fans to have a deep, funky jazz, mood-enhancing experience. We wanted to capture the essence of our live events from our jam sessions, and this was the first time we really had the chance to use a professional studio set-up for recording drums, guitars etc. We studied the production value of lots of our favorite classic tracks from the 70s, and wanted to fuse an authentic sound with modern arrangements. Our aim was to blur the lines between old and new. We wanted the style to be quite thematic and 'filmic', with the view of perhaps being a soundtrack, but also having the ability to stand on its own musically.

NexGen: What’s your proudest career moment?

Neil Anthony: My proudest moment was seeing my first record being cut, and then seeing it on the shelves in music shops. It was a dream come true. Another great moment was finding out I’d been featured on a ‘Back to Mine’ compilation from Orbital. It was an honor to share a compilation with some of my favorite artists, such as Bob Marley and the film composer John Barry. Other great moments were being featured on a K-Tell compilation of rave hits from the mid 90's; getting to hear my music on Kiss FM radio; and getting a review in Smash Hits magazine!

NexGen: Your discography spans over 20 years and you’ve been at the forefront of the birth of new dance music genres. How do you see the genre evolving in the future?

Neil Anthony: I think scenes change for a number of reasons. Technology has generally shaped the evolution of new genres. What I endeavor to do today musically was not an option 20 years ago. Today anyone with a computer can make music professionally, which means there is a lot more music being made. As a result it is more of a challenge to stand out with something fresh. As an artist this can be a good thing - I don't want my job to be easy. I believe anything with value should be rare to find and difficult to achieve. I've always tried to break established rules and define my own scene.

A scene can often start from one piece of music - if it has inspired enough people to emulate it, experiment with it, and take it further. In some ways the whole music scene is an experiment. Everyone who is genuinely interested in
its development has something to offer. I think the future of dance music will hold a great deal more innovation.

NexGen: Tell me about the ELT sessions?

Neil Anthony: The ELT Sessions are a continuation of our love of jamming. A group of musician friends get together each week and we just start playing together. We record everything and later pick out the best bits. The tracks are not produced pieces of work, instead they are sketches that any of us can utilize for our own production work.

More than anything the ELT Sessions are for our own enjoyment. We love to listen back to the results. We started to accumulate so much material that we decided to post them on Soundcloud. At some point this may form the basis of a live set.

NexGen: Experimentation and improvisation seem to be fundamental elements of your musical philosophy. What do you hope to achieve with each new track/record you create?

Neil Anthony: Improvisation is the basis of musical creation. Whether I'm playing an instrument live or composing it on a computer, I'm tapping into a free flowing source of ideas. It gets to the point where you’re not thinking, just
feeling and reacting to the music. You become connected to a unique, spontaneous dimension that has a plan all of its own. It’s in these moments events happen that are often impossible to re-create. There are so many subtle factors that go into making a fresh sound. At the time you don't always know if what your doing has any particular interest or not, until later when we listen back and hear something really unique.

For the ELT Sessions, and for me as a producer, it’s about achieving fresh results all the time. Improvising keeps things moving and stops us getting stale. It never feels good to rehearse the same thing the whole time, or have to keep stopping to try and work things out. It ends up ruining something that was sounding great to begin with.

NexGen: What are your plans for the future? What new ventures/projects should we be on the look out for?

Neil Anthony: Right now, in some aspects, I'm going back to my roots. I'm half way through a new album of work with hard beats, and thematic visual qualities. Examples can be seen on my youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/earthleakagetrip)

The new album fuses dark techno with a Dubstep style, and features hints of funk, rock and jazz. It relates a lot to the music i was making 20 years ago. I'm inspired by certain areas of Dubstep. I hear some great innovation and progression within the general scene. As a musical form it has a wide palate and it is good for abstract expression with different styles. Also look out for regular updates from the ELT Sessions. We shall be constantly posting fresh jams to our Soundcloud page: (https://soundcloud.com/elt-sessions).

NexGen: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Neil Anthony: I would give the same advice I had received from an old music teacher, have a go at everything and don't live with regrets.