No Artificial Colours (Lewis Wright and Ryan Ellis) have recently been cutting it as a dominant force on London’s underground house music scene. It’s been a busy year for the boys, with Glastonbury standing as just one of the notable gigs played this year. This year also saw the pair rightly recognised by Maya Jane Coles and Jamie Jones for for their hit ‘Detroit Baby What’ on SinQ Records, a track played during the summer to some of the world’s most iconic dance floors like DC10 and Space, to global festivals – not bad for a first EP. UGroove’s, Samara Moss caught up with them to chat about their latest release ‘Street Knowledge’ (out soon on Miami based imprint, petFood) and to find out why this fresh faced duo are definitely ones to watch.
No Artificial Colours – Street Knowledge
Tell me a bit about No Artificial Colours…where you came from, how you started, and where did your name come from?
L: We had been playing separately for a while when we kept meeting at gigs. Clubs would always ask us to play our sets together as we had a similar sound when we started; there was a lot of synergy so we went with it. Its funny because when the name was thought of we weren’t actually officially together, but some promoters really wanted us to play back to back and we needed to come up with a name for us as a pair…
R: It was my brother actually who thought of the name, he saw it in a bottle of coke or something. Its cool now because people send us pictures all the time when they see it on cans and stuff.
So, you said you had a similar sound when you first started, how would you describe your sound now, has it progressed from that?
R: It’s changed a lot, I wouldn’t like to say a specific genre but house kind of covers it. I wouldn’t like to say deep or tech house because that’s kind of pigeon holing. Lewis’ favourite way to describe music we aspire to make is ‘sex driven’.
L: Yeah anything that’s sex driven we enjoy, nothing cheesy, nothing too hard. And that’s the same when we are producing. We don’t sit there and think, lets make that sound really naughty, that’s just how it comes out. We used to DJ for parties and had to play every type of music – this is when were younger before we were allowed to play in clubs. Some of the gigs I’ve played were hilarious; the 90th birthday party was a highlight…
Oh, you mean proper parties?
L: (laughs) Yeah proper parties! Because my dad a venue he would hire out and so he forced me from the age of 15 to play at them! He bought some basic kit and was like ‘you’re doing it’ and I was like, ‘okay’.
R: I have to admit the first DJing job I had was a 6th birthday and I ended up having to do the music for a pass the parcel game with the kids! (laughs)
L: Did you really?
R: Yeah, I remember one of the kids crying because I told him he was out!
So did the 90th and 6th birthday parties enjoy your song selection at least?
L: Ha, yeh they loved it. It sounds really strange but from doing parties like that, you carry lessons you learn through with you, reading a crowd is even harder at something like that. I used to enjoy it, I used to sit and think, ‘ok so at 9’o clock that’s when people will start to get drunk’ and I’d have particular tracks that I knew went well with that time and that mood. And what’s really strange is every now and again Ryan and I would play these kind of parties together, like a barbeque or something, we’d look at each others music for the night and it would be exactly the same! Musically, we’ve always had a connection.
Are there any DJs in particular that you take inspiration from or admire?
L: There are a lot, but we’ve discussed as of late that we need to get out more. We’ve been so busy the last few years either djing or in the studio that for the last six months we’ve actually learnt more by being in different places and being in different environments listening to different DJs. It sounds silly but if you are always out DJ’ing, you don’t get out to see other people. I mean we don’t want to state just the obvious inspirations but currently people like Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler are a constant source of creative buzz for us.
R: Soul Clap and Art department too, their music is very sexy also, whats so inspiring about these guys is that musically they go right across the board.
And even in the way that they DJ?
R: Totally! They always look as though they are having a laugh, they don’t take themselves too seriously. We try to not get involved in the party so much that we wouldn’t do a good job, but we certainly have a good time with it.
What equipment do you most like to use for mixing/DJing and why?
R: We both play off Traktor. And we use time-coded Traktor. We are working on adding more elements to our sets such as remixes on the fly etc.
Photo by Charles Turner
Your big hit was ‘Detroit Baby What’, why do you think that was so successful?
R: That’s a good question. I don’t know. It got played by a lot of people. We were actually in Ibiza and we went to see Jamie Jones at Ushuaia, and he played it, which was amazing.
L: Well it’s strange. It got released in May and we didn’t hear anything about it and it didn’t get charted and we were like okay, it was just good to get something out there. Then we were at our friends party at 93 Feet East, and the guy there said, we’re playing your track later, but we hadn’t sent it to him or anything – we didn’t even have a promo list, so it was just picked up in an organic way, it took longer but we were happy with the results in the end. Maya Jane Coles had charted it on Beatport and from that it charted properly on there which was a great starting point for us.
R: The label we released it on was a really small label (SinQ), so they didn’t have much backing or anything like that. They just picked up the music because they liked it. And its been so nice having people we aspire to like Visionquest playing it.
So you’ve got a release coming up on PetFood record label, tell me about this…what can we expect?
R: It’s another 4-track EP called ‘Street Knowledge‘. It’s quite bass driven, quite groovy sounding, we hope you like!
I for one will be ready to get grooving as soon as I hear on of the tracks one the dancefloor! Thanks for catching up with us boys, we will see you again soon!
NAC: Cheers…see you on the dancefloor!
Street Knowledge EP is out on petFood Recordings soon, keep up to date with No Artificial Colours here – and watch out for more from the NAC boys on UGroove TV very soon.
Words: Samara Moss