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Checking In With: El Londo

  • Music
  • Interview
  • 12 minute read

I sat down with the London based producer-pioneer El Londo to chat about his upcoming project. His production is intricate and nothing short of infectious. Making his official entry in 2019 (as per his Spotify), with his childhood friend Ashbeck. His debut collaborative single with Ash is currently sitting on a cool 1.5m streams at the time of writing. The funniest part is that most of their early music was made with minimal resources, but you’ll hear about that more later. We linked up on a rare sunny weekend in March to shoot these flicks with Stan. Big thanks to Charles Hall for the pieces.


MLJ: Yeah, so we’re here with the wizard. Londo, El Londo, Londo Londo. Whatever you want to call him. The man of many talents, artist, producer, engineer, exec producer. Mad man. Talk to us about your new release, “Tinted” with Oscar#Worldpeace.

EL: Yeah, so this is the first single from my project. Made this song actually around a year ago? I was at my crib and I found these chords that I really wanted to make a beat with. So I played these chords… I clicked them in actually. And then literally made the beat bare quick, was actually a quick beat. Maybe like a 20 minute cook up. I was with Kxmel and he added bass to it. Then yeah, that was it! I put it on my story and then Oscar hit me up. I sent it to him, and literally a day later, he sent me back the track. We wanted to drop it, literally like, when he made it. And then I thought, you know what. I was thinking about making that album at the time. I was like, no. Let me hold this one for the project. Because this one suits the exact feel I’m trying to go for with the project. So he was down. I held the track. In my head, I was going to drop the project last year. Then when I started making it I realised the whole process is a lot longer than just, you know, three months. So yeah, literally been sitting on it for so long. We shot the video in November. And now, now we’re here.

MLJ: You were just talking about how long the process is for making a collaborative project that has been brought together by you. As the visionary for the whole project, what is the longest part of the process, that you found this time around?

EL: I feel like once the tracks are there, it’s kind of just, planning how to release it. It’s not as simple as just pressing upload on SoundCloud anymore. There’s actually there’s a lot more that goes into it that I didn’t realise until literally, a year ago. I want to do it properly ‘cos this is my first big project. Even making the tracks was challenging, because it’s a collaborative project. It’s not just me, you know. I can’t just sit in the studio for two days and make the whole album. To make the project, obviously you need the artists. So I guess, meeting everyone all the time, building relationships with artists, then, having enough tracks to be able to say to them, “Could I take one for my project?”. That obviously was a long process, but it didn’t feel long. Because, you know, I’m just living my life, like, meeting people, making music with people. So it doesn’t feel long.

MLJ: Yeah, definitely. I think, even being a young producer, like yourself, working with artists that are older than you, maybe been around the block a little longer, obviously shows that people value and have respect for your craft and the way that you bring things together. You get what I’m saying? So you were saying it’s your first project, how would you describe yourself? An exec producer. Now, I guess?

EL: I guess just producer, but this project.. Obviously, I’m calling it an album, but I see this project as like a portfolio. It’s all the different things I can do, it’s like kind of all the different things I can do. Plus all the people that I work with, including producers as well, because there’s other producers involved in the project. So it’s not just completely mine.

MLJ: But yeah, so who co-produced this one with you?

EL: So he’s called Kxmel. That’s his producer name. We actually met on socials a while ago – he sent me some loops. But these times, I wasn’t really even that good at producing or anything haha. But he still sent me loops. We made a couple of beats, but we never met and then he came to London. I was trying to work on a project at the time. I was trying to actually do what I’m doing now. But the project didn’t really work out. I shouted him and was like.. “Let’s work. Let’s do some shit when you’re in London.” So he came through to mine. And we cooked a couple tracks and then kind of kept in contact. And then every time he came to London, we just linked up and just started making bare beats together. He’s hard! I went out to Paris to link him recently, and he’s just a cold producer man. He works with a lot of people. A lot of French artists, but he also works with people in the UK, Bawo, Danny Sanchez… David Armada as well.

MLJ: Yeah, cold. That’s what I rate about you, you’re still building your own sound but you’re definitely not afraid to work with other artists and producers. You obviously came out and built such a strong alliance and friendship with Ashbeck. But you’ve also gone on and done the same thing with other artists, which a lot of producers struggle to do. Whether that’s because, you know, just relationship building or their sound. Do you feel like, your collaborative nature has helped you create this project? What is your view on collaboration?

EL: I can’t lie, when I first started making beats, I was a bit like, what’s the point of producers collabing. I didn’t understand it. I never really got it. Then I started doing producer sessions. Maybe a year or two into producing. And I clocked it, when you’re working with other producers you actually learn so much from each other. Because you’re working with like minded people. I love working with other artists, but I deeped working with other producers is a whole next ‘ting. You’re literally there in the studio with like minded people. Especially when they use Ableton as well, because we’re both on the same thing, so we can share knowledge and stuff.

MLJ: Oh, yeah, you use Ableton?

EL: Yeah yeah yeah. I think I kind of slept on it for a while (working with other producers). As soon as I started doing it, I was like, yeah it makes sense. I feel like over these next few years, I hope to see a lot of producers doing what I’m doing as well. As in, making their own projects. I like producer projects obviously, because I’m a producer myself – but I think it’s cold to have, you know, a whole album with just bare different artists on it. I love the idea of that.

MLJ: Yeah, but especially artists that you would expect to hear together… Even if we listen to the same type of music – If I put together a project and you put together a project, naturally it’s going to come out differently.

EL: Yeah exactly.

MLJ: I think like you were saying, what you’re doing is definitely mad important for the scene because it’s not really something that people even think is possible yet. Do you know what I mean? So yeah, no, definitely definitely, super important. Shit… what was the thing I was just about to say as well.. It was a good point. I hate that, this is why I usually have a notepad.

MLJ: Oh, yeah, that was it. So you were saying earlier on, obviously the first project didn’t work out. A lot of other producers, not just in your genre, don’t make an album full stop. Like Metro Boomin or DJ Khaled would, for example. What was it for you that made you think nah, you know what, fuck it. I’m still going to make this next project anyway, even though the first one for whatever reason didn’t work out, you know?

EL: Well, I’ve attempted it so many times init. The first time, I did it was for a college project, these times I wasn’t even taking music serious. I had my Spotify, I had a couple songs out there and it was just, a hobby. I was doing music at college. I made an EP and we had to release it on streaming platforms. So I was like, fuck it. Let me just put it on my own Londo account. So it’s kind of like the same sort of idea as a, producer project? I can’t remember if I collaborated with producers, I might have done. But it was to a deadline, and it put a cap on my creativity because, I couldn’t actually release it when it was done. I just had to rush it towards the end, because I had to reach the deadline. So I always regretted dropping it because it felt rushed. So I removed it, and then just put it on SoundCloud. Then I tried to do another one, and tried to, make a project producer project. And I thought, yeah, this is it, I can do it. Then it just flopped again, because I just didn’t really have many connections with people. I just didn’t really know what I was doing or have any sort of sense of direction. But now I feel like, I’ve made my own sound in a way. You know, they’re still beats, but they’ve got like a little different sound to them. So I thought, I want to do this project. I need to do this project. And I just want to put that out there to show, this is what I’m on. Let’s make some music! You know what I mean? So yeah, I think this one, I’m finally happy with the project. I’ve been sitting on it for a while now. I’m gassed to drop it.

MLJ: So, it’s more like closing a chapter, isn’t it? Releasing the music instead of just, letting it sit there on a hard drive?

EL: Yeah, almost. It’s just.. I want to release. I want to release shit and not have to, rely on “I’ve made this beat for this artist. Now I’ve got to wait until this artists drops” I have tracks with these artists, that the artists don’t necessarily have any plans of releasing themselves. So why not just release them myself, you know?

MLJ: Nah, fully.

EL: I know every producer has tracks with artists that… the artist just hasn’t decided to release for whatever reason. And the producers think, “ Yeah, this needs to come out and people want it out.” When this project drops, hopefully people will  get it. Yo, we got bare tracks, we’re sitting on bare shit, and these artists are trying different things as well. I’m trying to show different sides of artists on the projects.Try and bring them into my world. You know? That’s that’s how I see it.

MLJ: So true, it happens to the best of producers. You can start to control your own fate by taking the releases into your own hands. You were saying before that relationships has been a key part of this project coming together as opposed to the previous tries. These days people put a lot of focus on, emailing beats, beat packs, uploading their shit to YouTube. How important do you feel that in real life relationship with an artist is? Actually being in the studio with them and building over time, as opposed to just working with them once and then moving on to the next one, hoping you get that big song.

EL: That’s the thing. That’s how I like to work. I was never one for sending beats to people because I started with Ash. From when I started making beats I was working with Ash so I was just so used to sessions. I’ve never thought “Ah, let me email this to this guy”. Like I just thought nah, fuck it. If people want to link up and make music, then I’ll make music with them and that’s how I kind of did it. I’d link anyone really who was down to work. We just meet up and make songs. I had the benefit of being able to make a studio in a spare room in my house so, it was good to bring people over. I had a lot of sessions at mine to start off with. That defo gave me a boost, I can’t lie. I feel like being out there, actually getting to know people, building relationships and working from the ground up. You don’t need to send this beat to the Central Cee’s and Dave’s of the world – you don’t need to. You don’t need to, email out to these people, because you’re just another beat, you know? I feel like, the best way to grow as a producer is to grow with an artist and actually build from the ground up. If you’re just sending beats out to my man and my man, cool, you’re gonna get bread and shit. In the long run, it’s way better to build something yourself. Hopefully, if things go to plan.. 10 years from now me and all my people that I work with, we’ll be eating. We’ve all built this shit together, we’ve all worked together as a whole. And the thing is, we’re not all the same, we all come from different walks of life. We all have different sounds. It’s not even one genre, but we all work together. I think that’s the best thing about this. And that’s what I want to share with the project as well. You know, we’re actually doing this.

MLJ: All sick points, all sick points. What you were just saying about, all of the artists that you work with… You know, you’re not really a genre, very true. It’s, it’s more like a scene than a genre, because like, I would say, a lot of the artists don’t really make the same type of music or necessaril- 

EL: Not at all.

MLJ: (Continues) They don’t rap the same or whatever. Not to say that they can’t and don’t work together. I think that’s just because they’re all, like you say, from different walks of life, but they all share similar interests and have similar views and whatnot. Definitely such an interesting space in terms of the artists leading at the moment. 

MLJ: I just wanted to go back to what you were saying about, home studio and being able to have sessions there. Do you feel like starting, in an environment where you didn’t have to worry about, “Ah I’m only in the studio until this time” is helpful? So you’ve got the time to sit there and learn without pressure.

EL: Well at the start, it was it was literally just from my bedroom. We had a USB mic for podcasts, and my laptop. That was it. We just made music through that for time actually. A lot of the first Ashlondo project that me and Ash dropped was recorded on this USB mic for podcasts. We didn’t even mix or master that project either. It was literally just fried, we slapped it on TuneCore bro. So It gave us space to be more creative, because we were working with so little, you know? Then obviously, like a year, two years down the line, that room in my yard got free’d up. And we said yeah, let’s make a studio in here. Then we started properly getting into it. That definitely gave us a leg up into making music. Any day we’d  meet up, we weren’t just sitting around smoking and playing PS4.The thing to do would be: cook up. We still do that today. Like right now like literally. Just cookin’ up, on a chill one. I feel like, just doing it every day makes it a hobby.

MLJ: Yeah. completely! Fully, fully, fully. I feel like a lot of people who want to get into music, the first thing is they want is to go into a big studio or whatever. You know, maybe that’s what has part inspired them to make music. but whether it’s a month, two, three months in, eventually it’s going to become difficult. Not everyone can drop a song and blow up straight away, you know? If you’re going studio all the time whilst you’re learning your craft and there’s no income, you’re better off learning from home.

EL: Yeah, no, no, it’s making sense. 

MLJ: So. Yeah, on that. Have you got any advice for any upcoming producers?

EL: I feel like just keep experimenting, this is what I say to people. If people ask me, if I get a DM or someone asks me at a show “What advice would you give?”. The first thing that I always say is, keep experimenting. Don’t try make a beat like my man or my man and DON’T try to make a type beat. When you open the laptop, just make whatever the fuck you think sounds good. Just keep doing it until you perfect that, that’s literally what I did. I feel like it’s so much easier to experiment and try different shit every time. I’ve got more of a formula now, but that was at the start. Just find your way of doing it, don’t copy anyone. Then you’re just another beat maker.

MLJ: Nah factual. So obviously “Tinted”, the first single off your new project, Thanks Londo is out now. Wait.. Have you announced the name?

What can we expect from the rest of the project? Have you announced any other featured artists on there yet?

EL: No, I haven’t even announced the project yet. But like, if you put it in this it’s calm init. Maybe don’t mention the name of the album. I mean, what’s next is “Online”. That’s the next single from the project. That’s with Bawo, due to be dropping that one on Thursday.

MLJ: Hard! Well yeah Londo, thanks for catching up with us bro, won’t be the last time I’m sure. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the music!

EL: Come on G. What you up to the rest of the evening?

MLJ: Not much literally, got a shoot to get ready for tomorrow, what about you?

EL: Yeah man just cooking up, making music.

Words and Production by Morgan Lockwood – James

Photos by Stan Dickinson 

Styled by Charles Hall