Jon Hopkins

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Jon Hopkins
Jon Hopkins at Skif festival 2010
Background information
Birth name Jonathan Julian Hopkins
Born (1979-08-15) 15 August 1979 (age 35)
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
Genres Electronica
Occupations Producer, musician
Instruments Keyboard, organ, piano, harmonium
Years active 2001–present
Labels Just Music, Domino Records, Double Six
Associated acts Brian Eno
Coldplay
King Creosote
Leo Abrahams
Imogen Heap
Website www.JonHopkins.co.uk
Notable instruments
Keyboard

Jonathan Julian "Jon" Hopkins (born 15 August 1979[1] in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey[2]) is an English producer and musician who writes and performs his own melodic electronica and dance music. After starting his career playing keyboard for Imogen Heap, he has produced or contributed to albums by Brian Eno, Coldplay, David Holmes, and others.

Hopkins composed the soundtrack for the 2010 film Monsters,[3][4] which was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score. His third solo album, Insides, reached no. 15 on the Dance/Electronic Album Chart in 2009.[5] His collaborations on Small Craft on a Milk Sea with Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams and Diamond Mine with King Creosote both reached no. 82 on the UK Albums Chart.[6][7] In 2011 Diamond Mine was nominated for a Mercury Prize, which is annually awarded for best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.[8] Immunity was also nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize.[9]

Early life, education[edit]

Jon Hopkins was born in 1979 in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey and grew up in nearby Wimbledon. He first became aware of electronic music after hearing early house music on the radio at the age of seven or eight, and also became a fan of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys.[10] These records inspired an early fascination with synths.[11]

At the age of 12 Hopkins began studying piano at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in London, where he continued until age 17.[12] The composers that were greatly influential to him whilst studying were Ravel and Stravinsky, and he eventually won a competition to perform a concert of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with an orchestra.[13] For a time Hopkins considered becoming a professional pianist, only to decide classical performance was too formal and unnerving to pursue full-time.[12]

As a teenager he also listened to acid house, early hardcore, grunge,[14] as well as electronica artists such as Acen, Seefeel, and Plaid.[15] When Hopkins was 14 he got his first computer, an Amiga 500, and started programming MIDI material.[16] By the age of 15 he had saved up enough money from winning piano competitions to buy a low-level professional Roland synth,[11] and on this he began creating his first full-length electronic compositions.[17]

Music career[edit]

1997–2004: Early years[edit]

After finishing his final exams at age 17, Hopkins accompanied his friend Leo Abrahams to an audition for Imogen Heap's backing band. Hopkins decided to audition as well, and was hired to handle both keyboard and samples, while Abrahams was hired as guitarist.[13][16] He toured with the new band for the entirety of 1998.[12]

In 1999 Hopkins signed with boutique London label Just Music as a solo artist, and began recording his debut album Opalescent. At the time he was also working part-time as a studio session musician.[12][17] Opalescent attracted positive press attention upon its release, and several tracks were licensed to Sex and the City.[13] The Guardian reviewed it as "Opalescent is a beautifully realized debut. Using synth oozes, phased and echoed guitars and pianos and chilled beats, his wonderful tunes drift from calm to eerie power like a restless sea. It will delight any lovers of beautiful music." DJ Magazine gave it 4/5 stars, and stated "Piano, guitar strings and slow beats blend like the clouds at sunset (or an opiate smoothy) filtering in and out like elegantly wasted beauty. Darker drums add a further depth."[18]

Hopkins released his second album, Contact Note, on Just Music in 2004 while still working as a studio musician. The album slowly gained an underground following but failed to take off, and led Hopkins to become disillusioned with his solo career, and take a break from writing in order to learn how to become a producer.[13]

2004–07: Work with Brian Eno[edit]

By 2004 Leo Abrahams, a friend of Hopkins and former guitarist for Imogen Heap, had been collaborating for some time with ambient musician and producer Brian Eno. Abrahams played some of Hopkins' second record for Eno, and Eno invited him to join them for a jam session. On the first day of their collaboration they came up with some of the music for Eno's upcoming album Another Day on Earth,[12] and Hopkins became a long-term collaborator.[15][17] Shortly afterwards Hopkins produced King Creosote's album Bombshell, which initiated his relationship with the Fence Collective. He also co-wrote tracks with DJ and composer David Holmes for Holmes' Holy Pictures album, and remixed for James Yorkston.[15]

In early 2007 Hopkins was invited by Brian Eno, who was producing Coldplay's upcoming album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, to join the band in the studio for a day.[19] Hopkins ended up staying and contributing to the album for the next year, co-producing[17] several tracks and playing organs, harmoniums, and other keyboard instruments on others. The intro to the track "Violet Hill" came from an improvisation with Hopkins and Davide Rossi, the album's string arranger. Throughout this time period Hopkins was periodically creating his own solo tracks, and his song "Light Through the Veins" was adapted to serve as the introduction to the album's first track "Life In Technicolor". "Light Through the Veins" was also picked by the band to serve as the backing for the track "The Escapist", which is hidden at the end of the album.[19] Viva la Vida was released in 2008, and won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards and became the best selling album of 2008. After the album release Coldplay asked Hopkins to serve as the pre-show DJ and opening act for their 2008 world tour.[15][20] Hopkins toured with the band for six months through England, the United States, and Japan.[21] He performed at venues including Madison Square Garden[16] and the London O2 Arena,[19] with crowds as large as 20,000 people.[16]

2008–13: Entity; production[edit]

Hopkins performing live in 2009

In 2008 Hopkins was commissioned by choreographer Wayne McGregor to compose music for Entity, a production of McGregor's "Random Dance" group. Entity was performed live at Sadler's Wells in April 2008 to critical acclaim. A world tour followed throughout 2008 and 2009.[15]

Hopkins also has co-writing or producing credits on albums by artists such as[17] David Holmes[20] and Dan Arborise.[19] He is also known for remixing a variety of artists, including Wild Beasts, Nosaj Thing, Imogen Heap, Four Tet,[15] and James Yorkston.[15] He was also one of the few producers chosen by Radio 1's Rob Da Bank to remix film director David Lynch's first electronica release, "Good Day Today" / "I Know", which was released on Sunday Best Records.[citation needed]

2008–09: Insides[edit]

Main article: Insides

Hopkins signed to Domino Records in late 2008.[7] Hopkins's third album, Insides, was released by Domino Records on 5 May 2009.[20] It included the track "Light Through the Veins", which had previously been used on the Coldplay album. Some of the tracks had been written by Hopkins sporadically since his last release, while others were based on the music he had composed for the Entity production.[15] Hopkins developed an intense live show to support the release, resulting in club and festival performances across Europe and the United States. He secured supporting slots with The xx, Röyksopp, and Four Tet.[15] Many of his live shows utilized background visuals featuring the animations of Vince Collins.[12]

Insides charted at no. 15 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart.[5][15] PopMatters listed the album as one of the top ten electronic albums of 2009.[11] According to reviews, the album "takes its cues from ambient electronica, but uses strings and piano, along with some very tasty beats and dubstep-influenced bass on some tracks."[12] TinyMixTapes stated the album

strikes me as his single most aggressive release yet. His sense of timing, the clarity of his production, and the variety of effects he employs draw you into the story that each instrumental tells. Jon Hopkins is not a button-pushing man of presets; he is a bona fide composer and a trained pianist. Craftsmanship sets him apart, and allows Insides to be as incredibly moving as it is and always will be. It will easily be one of the best electronic albums of 2009.[20]

Paul Clarke of the BBC wrote that

Hopkins [is] capable of producing music as epic, soaring and emotional as any power ballad in his own way. Take "Light Through The Veins" for example ... a close relative of Ulrich Schnauss' "In All The Wrong Places", it's a majestic piece of widescreen shoegazing which grows ever more expansive throughout its entire ten minute duration ... no amount of reflected glory could ever fully illuminate Insides' mysterious depths.[22]

2009-13: Pure Scenius, film scores[edit]

Hopkins performing live in 2011

In June 2009 Hopkins was invited by Brian Eno to play some solo shows at the Luminous Festival at the Sydney Opera House. A few weeks prior to leaving, Eno asked Hopkins to join with himself, Underworld's Karl Hyde, Leo Abrahams, and the Sydney-based improv trio The Necks in the group "Pure Scenius", the planned finale for the Luminous Festival.[15] They then improvised music based on pre-planned themes, putting on three 1½-hour shows in the Opera House with Hyde on vocals. Pure Scenius was repeated a year later in Brighton, when Eno was curating the Brighton Festival.[16]

In 2009 Hopkins collaborated with Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams to score the Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones.[15] In early 2010 Hopkins composed the score for the short film Rob and Valentyna in Scotland directed by Eric Lynne, which won an honorable mention for the short film-making award at Sundance.[23] Also in 2010 Hopkins was commissioned to create the soundtrack for the British science fiction film Monsters, which was directed by Gareth Edwards.[3] To create the score, Hopkins partly utilized string parts performed by arranger Davide Rossi and guitar by Leo Abrahams.[24] The soundtrack album was released on 29 November 2010 on Domino Records.[4] In 2011 the score was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score.[24]

2009–12: Collaborations[edit]

Hopkins collaborated with Tunng on the EP Seven Gulps of Air in 2009, which was commissioned by designer Christopher Kelly for London Fashion Week.[15] Seven Gulps of Air was listed as one of Drowned in Sound's singles of the year.[25]

In 2010 Hopkins collaborated with Leo Abrahams and Brian Eno to create the album Small Craft on a Milk Sea. Released on Warp Records in late 2010,[15] the album is based on a three-week session of improvisation wherein the artists recorded about six hours of material a day.[11]

In 2011 Hopkins collaborated with Scottish musician King Creosote to create the album Diamond Mine, which featured lyrics and vocals by Creosote sung over musical backdrops arranged and recorded by Hopkins. The album was a culmination of about seven weeks of work spread over seven years of recording and collaboration,[10] from whenever the two artists had the opportunity to get together. The album was released on 28 March 2011[7] to acclaim,[26] which included a glowing review from NPR. On 19 July 2011 Hopkins and Anderson were announced as nominees for the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize, which is annually awarded for best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.[8]

Also in 2011, the EP Honest Words, a Hopkins collaboration with King Creosote, was released on Domino Records. In April 2012, this was followed by another collaboration with King Creosote: The Jubilee, also on Domino.

Hopkins wrote the score for the 2013 film by Kevin Macdonald, How I Live Now.[27]

2013: Immunity[edit]

"[Hopkins] created the album's warm, alive feel by shunning digital perfection in favor of the analog synthesis of original sounds, both electronic and physical. The ambient prelude of the haunting, scrambled glitch-house opener 'We Disappear'—a key unlocks the door of Hopkins' London studio and his footsteps lead in—is more than idle window dressing: He is ushering us into the tactile space that suffuses the record. He drums on desks, plays salt shakers, slows down serendipitous recordings of nearby fireworks, boosts the kick-drummed rattle of a window."
Pitchfork Media[28]

Immunity is Hopkins' fourth studio album, released on June 4, 2013, by Domino Records.[28][29] Among the artists that contributed vocals were long-time collaborator King Creosote, and Corin Roddick and Megan James of the band Purity Ring.[30] It was recorded and produced in Hopkins' London studio, with Hopkins often using homemade sound effects or the natural sound of the room.[28] Stated MixMag, "Immunity is an album of organic techno and exquisite mini-symphonies."[31]

Immunity peaked at no. 13 on Top Electronic Albums by Billboard in the United States.[32] In Britain it was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize for best album.[9] The album met with a largely positive reception among critics, receiving perfect scores from Mixmag[31] and MusicOMH,[29] and 4/5 from The Guardian.[33] Pitchfork Media described Immunity as a "remarkably visceral, sensual, confident electronic record,"[28] and MusicOMH called it a "modern classic".[29]

2014: Recent projects[edit]

In 2014 Hopkins co-produced the song "Midnight" for Coldplay's 2014 album Ghost Stories.

Live performances[edit]

Hopkins has performed at music festivals such as Moogfest,[11] Mutek,[21] and Electric Zoo,[16] and at venues such as Madison Square Garden[16] and the London O2 Arena.[19] As of 2014 he maintains a regular touring schedule both in England and internationally, playing at the Glastonbury Festival in June, with upcoming dates at the Pitchfork Music Festival and Time Music Festival.[34]

Style and equipment[edit]

Style and genre

According to reviews, "Hopkins's aesthetic is perpetually intriguing. He transcends genres, melding digital coldness with subtle, bucolic textures; veering from skewed elegance to strange, unsettling depths."[14] "He makes powerfully emotive, instrumental music that consistently crosses genres, ranging from solo acoustic piano to explosive, bass-heavy electro."[15] Also, he "meticulously constructs lush, downtempo arrangements, blending digital beats and soothing ambience."[17]

Equipment and software

As of September 2010 his studio setup relies on a Logic system,[35] though all his previous releases were on Cubase VST, used in conjunction with an old version of SoundForge.[13] He began using Logic because his old system was not powerful enough to include the video for film soundtracks.[35] His live setup includes Ableton and a chain of up to five Kaoss Pads.

Personal life[edit]

Hopkins practices autogenic training and Transcendental Meditation, of which he says, "For me, it's not about relaxing. It can get music flowing in a way that's really uninhibited, and I want to spend as much time in that place as possible."[36]

Discography[edit]

Solo material[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Studio albums by Jon Hopkins
Year Album title Album details Charts[32] Awards
Dnce UK
2001 Opalescent
  • Released: July 30, 2001
  • Label: Just Music
2004 Contact Note
  • Released: Aug 9, 2004
  • Label: Just Music
2009 Insides
  • Released: May 5, 2009
  • Label: Domino
15
2010 Monsters
  • Released: Nov 29, 2010
  • Label: Domino
2013 Immunity
  • Released: June 4, 2013
  • Label: Domino
13
How I Live Now: Motion
Picture Soundtrack
  • Released: Oct 14, 2013
  • Label: Just Music

EPs[edit]

EPs by Jon Hopkins
Year EP title Release details
2005 EP1
  • Released: Nov 21, 2005
  • Label: Just Music
2008 The Fourth State
  • Released: Apr 17, 2008 (recorded '02)
  • Label: Sounds Asleep (SLP007)
2009 Seven Gulps of Air
  • Released: Nov 10, 2009
  • Label: Double Six Recordings

Singles[edit]

Singles by Jon Hopkins
Year Title Label Album
2009 "Light Through The Veins" Domino 3-track single
"Seven Gulps of Air" (ft. Tunng) Seven Gulps of Air
2010 "Vessel (Four Tet Remix)" Remixes
(2-track single)
"Wire (Nathan Fake Remix)"
2013 "Open Eye Signal" 4-track single
"Breathe This Air" (ft. Purity Ring) 1-track promo single
"Collider: Remixes" 3-track single
2014 "We Disappear" (ft. Lulu James) "We Disappear"
(2-track single)
"Abandon Window (Moderat Remix)"

Mixtapes and remixes[edit]

Mixes by Jon Hopkins
Year Album title Album details
2005 The Art of Chill 2
  • Released: Sep 9, 2005
  • Label: Platipus (PLATCD130)
2013 FACT Mix 388
  • Released: June 24, 2013
  • Label: FACT (UK)
Remixes

Jon Hopkins has released official remixes of the following songs:

Soundtracks[edit]

Collaborations[edit]

Collaborative LPs and EPs with Jon Hopkins
Year Album title Album details Chart peaks Certifications
UK
2006 De-Fence 10x10:02 (EP)
(with various)
  • Released: Nov 30, 2006
  • Label: De-Fence
2010 Small Craft on a Milk Sea
(with Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams)
  • Released: Oct 19, 2010
  • Label: Warp
82
2011 Diamond Mine
(with King Creosote)
82
Honest Words (EP)
(with King Creosote)
  • Released: Sept 19, 2011
  • Label: Domino / Double Six
2012 The Jubilee (EP)
(with King Creosote)
  • Released: Apr 17, 2012
  • Label: Domino / Double Six
Selected collaborative songs by Jon Hopkins
Year Song title Album Label
2006 "Circle My Demise" (with King Creosote) De-Fence
10x10:02
De-Fence
"Stones" (with Barbarossa)
"Fanfare" (with Reuben Taylor)
2008 "The Ballad of Sarah and Jack" (with David Holmes) The Holy Pictures Go! Beat
2011 "Bats In The Attic" (with King Creosote) Promo single Domino /
Double Six
"Bubble" (with King Creosote)
2012 "Third Swan" (with King Creosote) 2-track single
"Missionary / John Taylor's Month Away"
(with King Creosote)
2013 "Garden's Heart" (with Natasha Khan) Promo single Parlophone
"Goodbye Horses" (with Hayden Thorpe) 2-track single Mon Amie

Production credits[edit]

Selected production/performance credits for Jon Hopkins
Yr Release title Artist(s) Label Role
2003 Late Night Sessions: Autumn Collection Various Ministry of Sound Remixing
On The Beach Various Production, remixing
Very Best of Chillout Sessions Various Production, remixing
Chillout Sessions:
Summer Collection 2003
Various Raven Keyboards, production, programming, remixing
2004 Dance Now 2004 Various Shock Keyboards, production, programming, remixing
2005 Another Day on Earth Brian Eno Ryko/Hannibal Keyboards
The No. 1 Ibiza Chillout Album Various Deca Dance Remixing
2006 Escapism, Vol. 1 ESCAPISM Seamless Co-production, primary artist
Escapism, Vol. 2 Co-production, primary artist
Around in Circles Dan Arborise Just Music Production, mixing
2008 Prospekt's March Coldplay Parlophone "Light and magic"
Bombshell King Creosote Production, mixing
Viva la Vida or Death
and All His Friends
Coldplay Co-production, co-writing, keyboards, coloring
The Holy Pictures David Holmes Go! Beat Composition, piano, unknown role
2009 100 Percent Chill Various Deca Dance Production, remixing
Come to Life Natalie Imbruglia Island Mixing, production, programming
Limited Edition Tour Pack Coldplay Capitol Coloring, production
Renaissance: The Masters Series, Pt. 14 Dave Seaman Renaissance Composition, primary artist, production
2010 Chocabeck Zucchero Universal Keyboards, strings
The Dogs Are Parading David Holmes Mercury Composition, piano
Love You More EP The Pierces Def Jam Keyboards, organ, pump organ
2011 Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall Coldplay Parlophone Programming
Foxlight Iarla Ó Lionáird Real World Keyboards, piano
Good Day Today/I Know David Lynch Sunday Best Additional production, remixing
Thrawn King Creosote Domino Additional production, electronics, harmonium, keyboards, piano
You & I The Pierces Polydor Keyboards, organ, pump organ
Mylo Xyloto Coldplay Parlophone "Light and magic," keyboards
To the Death of Fun Cashier No. 9 Bella Union Guest artist
2012 Live 2012 Coldplay Parlophone Additional music
Shrines Purity Ring 4AD Additional production, mixing
2014 Ghost Stories Coldplay Parlophone Co-production, co-writing, extra magic

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who Is Jon Hopkins: Flux
  2. ^ "Jon Hopkins". Find My Past. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Monsters Original Soundtrack". Domino Records. November 29, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  4. ^ a b "Monsters (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Amazon.com. November 29, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  5. ^ a b "Insides Charts as Number 15 for Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. May 23, 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  6. ^ a b "Home Page". JonHopkins.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  7. ^ a b c d "King Creosote and Jon Hopkins: Bubble". SoundCloud. March 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  8. ^ a b Boilen, Bob (May 15, 2011). "First Listen: King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, 'Diamond Mine'". NPR. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  9. ^ a b "2013 Shortlist - Barclaycard Mercury Prize". Mercury Prize. Mercury Prize. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-14. 
  10. ^ a b "Jon Hopkins Interview". Clubbers Guide New York. March 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Seymour, Jane Jansen (November 23, 2010). "Classically Trained Electro Master: An Interview with Jon Hopkins". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Hollo, Peter (May 31, 2009). "Jon Hopkins interview by Peter Hollo". Cyclic Defrost. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Lavin, Polly. "Meet the audio sculptor Jon Hopkins". Ibiza Voice. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  14. ^ a b "Jon Hopkins - Opalescent". Soundwatching. April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Jon Hopkins". Domino Records. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Jon Hopkins Interview". JustQualityMusic. May 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Lymangrover, Jason (2009). "Jon Hopkins". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  18. ^ "Opalescent reviews". Just Music. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Jon Hopkins Interview". Coldplay.com. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  20. ^ a b c d Ranta, Alan (2009). "TinyMixTapes review". TinyMixTapes. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  21. ^ a b "Jon Hopkins". Mutek 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  22. ^ Clarke, Paul (29 April 2009). "Classically-tinged electronica from Coldplay's co-producer". BBC. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  23. ^ "Jon Hopkins". IMDB. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  24. ^ a b "Jon Hopkins Nominated for an Ivor Novello Award". Domino Records. April 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  25. ^ Roby, Wendy. "DrownedinSound's Singles of the Year: 2009". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  26. ^ "Free Jon Hopkins and King Creosote Download". Coldplay.com. March 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  27. ^ "IMDB how I live". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  28. ^ a b c d Howe, Brian (2013-06-06). "Jon Hopkins: Immunity". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  29. ^ a b c Matusavage, Phillip (2013-06-03). "Jon Hopkins - Immunity". Musicomh.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  30. ^ Phares, Heather. "Immunity - Jon Hopkins". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  31. ^ a b Wortny, Stephen (2013-06-05). "Jon Hopkins - Immunity". Mixmag.net. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  32. ^ a b Immunity on Billboard
  33. ^ Fox, Killian. "Jon Hopkins: Immunity – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-14. 
  34. ^ "Jon Hopkins Live". JonHopkins.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  35. ^ a b Kirn, Peter (September 2, 2010). "Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct". Created Digital Music. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  36. ^ Brown, August. "Jon Hopkins crafts dance music to meditate on". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 

External links[edit]