There is no limitation, don’t want no complication
Redlight: “I’ve always tried to live in the moment you know, at whatever age and however the situation, I’ve just aimed to be true to myself and make the most if it. I started really young, growing up as a teenager in and around Bristol in the 90’s. Creating music, art and friendships has been central to everything – for me it’s always been about street culture, independence and productivity.”
Autumn 2015 marks the release of ‘X Colour’, the new debut full-length album from Redlight (aka Hugh Pescod), and the start of another new chapter for an artist who’s been immersed in music and creativity for as long as he can recall. “I’ve released a lot of club music in my life,” Redlight continues, “so much of it that I’m very proud of, but this has been a completely new creative experience for me, and as Redlight, this is my first album; it’s not gonna be my last. I wanted to set a strong foundation.” This release is the start of something, a whole new level than before, but in fact the foundation has been building over decades of commitment, packed with career and life-defining moments.
“X Colour is the culmination of two years of development and focus, and it’s taken me to new places – different cities, studios, collaborations, inspirations; the whole lot. Part of that was going and spending time in America, and in particular New York; I recorded most of the vocals for the album there and worked with new people. That definitely had a big influence on the song structures and sounds I focussed on.”
The last major chapter turn was back in 2008. Taking a year out and leaving the drum’n bass scene he’d worked so hard to contribute to with Full Cycle et al; Hugh put a stop on all bookings and releases, then locked himself away in the studio to try and reposition his creative energy – and in many ways recapture the passion for that creative energy. Hugh explains, “I found myself going out and playing raves and not enjoying it like I once had – but it wasn’t the fault of the music or the scene, it was my own fault. I was frustrated for even feeling that way, and I realised I needed to find a new direction at that point.”
That fallow year proved to be a huge turning point, as the artist formerly known as Clipz came again with Redlight, and the launch of a new self-owned label ‘Lobster Boy’. Refocusing and embracing a love for House, Techno, Hip Hop and vocal-lead dance music whilst channelling all the knowledge and inspiration from Jungle, DnB and bass music, this was a whole new genre-free ‘cross-cultured dance music’.
“I really wanted to work with some great vocalists, and create music that could transcend a nightclub vibe. That was a big driving factor for me, and as soon as I dropped the tempo and experimented with new rhythms, it all just started to make sense and I felt free to try something new, and it felt good. It opened up everything for me.”
Like many big decisions or changes in life, a newfound drive and direction also proved to lead towards new experiences and friendships. While Releasing early hits for Shy FX’s Digital Soundboy Recordings and Chase and Status’s MTA label, a new generation of UK producers and DJs started to emerge, “When I came with the first Redlight ‘Lobster Boy’ EP, I started to meet some key new people in my life that definitely inspired me. People like Toddla, Skream, Joker – and the guys behind Motion in Bristol where we were all playing at the time. All of us came from different parts of the UK and no one was conforming, we were making our own styles of music that worked for a whole spectrum of others. It was all about independence and doing it for yourself – but everyone shared their music, ideas and released on each other’s labels. It wasn’t just a new name and a new music tempo for me, that time made me realise a whole new way of operating, being creative and working with people.”
Fast-forward to now and Redlight can confidently be placed amongst the UK’s most consistent and exciting producers of recent years. There’s been a slew of stand out releases via his own Lobster Boy label, a UK Top 10 hit in ‘Lost In Your Love’ via Polydor Records, remixes for the likes of Cee Lo Green, Tink and Ms Dynamite, and even a recent single with legendary Wu-Tang Clan founding member Raekwon on the ’36 EP’. “I was 14 in 1994 when Wu-Tang’s ‘36 Chambers’ dropped, I was just starting to tune into DJing and going to free parties and illegal raves, and the US Hip Hop at the time was such a major influence on all of us. To now be working with artists I looked up to like Raekwon and Mobb Deep in the studio, as well as some amazing fresh talent like Billie Black and Melisa Whiskey, it’s a dream come true really.”
There’s been numerous world tours as a DJ, with an on going 52 week international schedule of shows to perform, Redlight tells us, “There’s very few things that match the buzz of DJing for me, I’ve always loved it.” That combined with a growing roster of label talent on Lobster Boy such as Mele, Mella D, New York Transit Authority and Mak & Pasteman that’s been carefully nurtured and pushed, you have an artist riding the pinnacle of the journey so far.
With the imminent release of X Colour, Redlight is confident the ‘journey’ has a long way to go yet, and in many ways, this is just the start. A self-proclaimed film obsessive, X Colour was produced with an underlying script concept, telling the story of a turbulent relationship between a girl and a guy. Redlight explains, “I had this vision of a couple who were going off the rails, with every tune following their story. ‘Gold Teeth’ is the nightclub scene where they’re just going for it, getting fucked up, partying and escaping normality. Then there’s ‘Repetition’ which is the inevitable comedown, ‘Where’s The Love’ is where it’s all gone wrong and ‘Ride or Die’ finishes the story – it’s where they’re meant to come back together but one of them has disappeared… So the record’s called ‘X Colour’ – ten colours, ten scenes and ten different emotions.”
His most progressive and accomplished work to date, the new single ‘Threshold’ feat. Melisa Whiskey is complete with a video written and directed by Redlight himself, “I’ve always been really keen to work with film and direct, and it just felt like the right moment to properly go for it. The video tells the visual interpretation of a guy sliding out of control and losing his grip on reality – it was a real learning curve to realise how much you need to push yourself to create something that pops off the screen, I hope people like the final cut.”
With the album scheduled for release November 13th, all focus is now on maximising its exposure and continuing to build. There’s a solo US tour scheduled for October, an Annie Mac Presents nationwide tour throughout November alongside Stormzy, Mele and Monki, and some already much hyped new releases to drop on Lobster Boy from MJ Cole, Mele and Mak & Pasteman.
But, now is the time for X Colour.