Home of Independent artists Ella Jo and Steve Spon. Find FREE Music podcasts and learn about our exciting creative projects. Scatter Dreams with Diamond Seeds!
Spon’s input on the Diamond Seeds Label
A sound concept tapestry with a strong musical current, including samples which expose media hysteria amongst both dark and light themes. Nostramus comments on the phenomena that shape our early 21st century; times where fear is founded for some, and a plaything for others. More info.
Described as ’21st century pagan drum and bass’, the ‘Earthlights’ album by Spon’s alter ego Nosramus was released in 1997 by Recordings of Substance in the UK and Shadow Records in the US to critical acclaim. Now remastered in 2010. More info.
A feast of sound-scarped nightmare visions and eclectic journeys. Culled from the darker psychotropic-fueled imagination of The Big Eye, Bud Brothers and Nostramus’s Steve Spon. More info..
Tracks – 13
Label – Diamond Seed Productions
Year – 2011
Price – £10.00 inc shipping* Buy CD
Digital Download – Available soon
Sample sound clips – Available soon
STEVE SPON PRODUCTIONS : ELLA JO’S ALBUMS
Ella Jo provides melodic nutrition for a runway to the stars.
This album’s sound-scape provides a rich feast good enough for a Space Shuttle journey. In the Universal Soup of Life, it makes a seriously good sound track. More info..
Following the Soul’s whisper, Ella Jo gives clues in this album as she reflects on a hard world, but refuses to be beaten. Here there are tuneful explorations of serious issues, interwoven with the joyous stuff of dreams. More info..
This album is like a porthole where beauty is borne of trouble, and passing through it is a cleansing, uplifting experience. Work well crafted will always channel human experience into sweet depths, for those brave enough to share it. More info..
Tracks – 10
Label – Diamond Seed Productions
Year – 2010
Price – £9.99 inc shipping* Buy CD
Digital Download – Available soon
Sample sound clips – Available soon
* January 2011, Subject to slight fluctuations owing to currency conversion rates. CD’s available from Kunaki USA priced at $9.80 plus $4.20 shipping, total price $14.00 (UK = £10.00, Euro 10.80) Delivery to UK and Europe around 8 to 14 days. Payment via PayPal and most major cards.
Steve Spon’s solo projects…a brief biog
Since the demise of UK Decay and then IN Excelsis back in 1985, Spon has continued producing music for himself and others.
As the resident engineer/producer at ’33’ Recording Studios he worked for a decade on a wide variety of different genre’s. He helped produce many post-punk bands in the eighties and nineties, including Click Click, Karma Sutra, Passchendale, Party Girls, Irritant, Crowe Jayne amongst others. He also produced numerous commercial recordings for the ’33 Jazz’ label, as well as co-producing many underground dance tracks for the emerging DJ culture.
Bass lines and drops that Spon helped produce rocked many a dance-floor at that time.The surge in technology in the art of music production during the late eighties saw Spon honing his music production skills. In 1990 he teamed up with ex Click Clicker’s Derek ‘E’ Smith and Graham Stronach to form a new band called ‘The Big Eye”. Described by the band at the time as “Techno–with-guitars”, TBE played a handful of live shows, produced a couple of EP’s and an Album, (both on vinyl and CD) over three years for the London based Hydrogen Dukebox label. Most of these are now out of print, and like a lot of Spon’s past material, are very rare to track down.
Spon latched early onto Jungle – the emerging Drum and Bass genre of music. During the early nineties he crafted a collection of tracks of his own. His material aimed to create a more thoughtful and ‘intelligent’ spin to counter the frantic naivety of the early hardcore rave sound. During this period the classic ‘vocal-lyrical’ approach had taken a back-seat to the repetitive and minimalist sound scape. This suited Spon’s eclectic and original use of samples to create mood shifts that mold deep, optimistic and relaxing sonic journeys. This was Spon’s first major ‘solo’ project with guest vocalist Prince Malachi, MC13, Caroline Nische and Natasha D, the proposed album was to be called ‘Earthlights’ under Spon’s new artist name; ‘Nostramus’.
This was released in July 1997 by London label, ‘Recordings of Substance’ and licensed to the US ‘Shadow Records’ label. ‘Earthlights’ went onto sell a respectable 6000 copies world-wide and tracks from the album were seen on many a ‘chilled–d & b/electronica’ type compilation album. In 2010 Spon re-engineered and re-mastered ‘Earthlights’ for the Diamond Seeds label (there is a link to further information and sound clips of the album above)
Spon continued producing and re-mixing for others up to the end of the nineties but aside from a limited edition Exodus Festival album, ‘Bomb Babylon‘ (a DIY darker, pertinent and bombastic affair – that, in Spon’s own words was, “unfinished”), there was no further Nostramus release until the 2003 ‘Hero of Bamboostick’ EP on Jolt Records.
In September 2011, Nostramus released ‘Doomsday Dot Com’ and unlike in the case of the the ‘Earthights’ album, Spon has introduced his guitar sound on some of the tracks. Another project has involved re-mastering some of Spon’s more esoteric and subliminal work from the nineties. He has produced an album called ‘Dark Ambience’ by ‘The Hidden Core’ (or THC for short!), containing largely ambient and beat-less material, but with brooding, sometimes menacing sound collages. You wont find much guitar in this mix, but UK Decay and IN Excelsis listeners may be familiar with some of the darker sonic dream sequences, a style used in the UK Decay’s ‘Werewolf‘ and ‘Unexpected Guest’ introductions for example. This is all available on the Diamond Seeds Label.
Spon’s production work with Ella Jo
Early in 2004, a singer songwriter Ella Jo knocked on Spon’s door. She had been looking for him since the ’33’ studio shut down in 1998. EJ promptly readied her old battered guitar and promptly sang him a handful of songs that she had wanted to record for a good number of years. She also explained that she had spent several years backpacking to far slung places across the world on her own.
This obviously impressed Spon enough embark on a musical relationship that would last until the present day. The end result was a collection of three classic albums incorporating many differing styles ranging from Pop, Neo Folk, Acupela, Avant Garde, Gothic, Drum and Bass and Electronica. Arguably the Ella Jo sound is perhaps not what one would expect from the guitarist of UK Decay at first listen but it shows off Spon’s deftly touch on music production.
Ella Jo’s music is eclectic and shows an inner wisdom that only someone with her wide travelling and life experience can reflect. It journeys through genre’s and styles with utter contempt for the narrow marketing niche, instead celebrating the oratorical rhythms and cadences of modern everyday life from a female perspective.
Although largely musically driven by Ella Jo, Spon has contributed to all three of Ella Jo’s albums with keyboards, bass, drums and other orchestrations as well as producing the overall sound. On the third album ‘Attitude is Everything’ he plays guitar on a couple of tracks with UK Decay bass-man Ed Branch also contributing.
We could sum up Ella Jo’s music as pure, captivating, elevating and an enigma to the preconception and cliché’s of a male dominated business and listener ship. She avoids overplaying that card here, transcending the open minded listener, male or female, to a greater purpose; a true artist.
More details on Ella Jo’s three albums here.
Discog: | Steve Spon at discog | The Big Eye at discog | Nostramus at discog |
Steve Spon – Nostramus Interview: | “Where the worlds of drum ‘n’ bass and post-punk and goth collide, stands a man like Spon” |
Nostramus at WordPress: | Nostramus World |
Nostramus at Myspace: | Nostramus at Myspace |
Nostramus at Diamond Seeds: | Nostramus at Diamond Seeds |
Nostramus old site: | Nostramus old site |
Nostramus at Facebook: | Nostramus Facebook page |
Ella Jo Interview: | Diamond Seeds talks with Ella Jo about her groundbreaking trilogy of Album’s |
Ella Jo at Diamond Seeds: | Ella Jo’s home page at DS |
Diamond Seeds Productions: | Diamond Seeds home |
Diamond Seeds began to take shape as we discussed a website to host a radio show, but as the idea grew, new components were added.
‘We needed a platform to promote and sell our music. Ella Jo covers the Neo Folk/intelligent Pop genres and Spon is a master of a unique style of highly listen able Drum and Bass and moody ambient styles. Our material is totally original, using modern technology, but rooted in traditional songwriting. The albums are journeys through light and shade, a full reflection of life expressed through music.’
These sound-scapes could be the soundtrack to a movie. Ella Jo laughs again, ‘Yes, people sometimes say that they have moments when they feel like they are living in film – our aim is to capture and weave those dramatic and ambient moments into our music, making a soundtrack for life.’
The challenge has been to sculpture moods into lyrics and melodies – like a poet or painter the musicians must connect closely to emotions and spiritual feelings. ‘I think Spon and I share the same way of listening,’ says Ella Jo, ‘I hear melodies in the sea and other natural sounds like the wind through the trees. Spon collects sounds and creates new sounds from samples.’ Both musicians like to build new worlds – taking a framework of words or molding instrumental lines.
Discovering their music, people find that they have hit a rich seam of creative energy which has been captured and honed into sounds that feed the imagination and tell the human story in so many different ways.
‘For me, songwriting is about reaching inward to the true expression of what a song is trying to say.’ Says Ella Jo.
The material from Spon and Ella Jo’s projects certainly prods the senses and demands an airing – near the top of your ‘must play list’!
Reckless Relic – A Porthole Into Antiquity And Official UK Decay Merchandise
Diamond Seeds are proud to announce the launch of two exciting brands. Through Diamond Seeds clients now have the opportunity to purchase Tee shirts and other products with unique designs.
Reckless Relic is the hottest new thing in clothing design. This unique brand conveys a respect for art from the past and supplies clothing portraying ancient images. We love the concept and welcome them on board. You can find out more about Reckless Relic on Diamond Seeds and take a look at their first five top designs available exclusively through us.
UK Decay, the iconic post punk band who rose to fame in the early eighties, have chosen Diamond Seeds as an outlet for their official Tee shirts. This is a great honour for us, and a guarantee to their fans that here they will find the genuine article, designed and approved by the band themselves.
We are looking for people to forward their music for a radio show which will be distributed via a pod cast every month, as a live stream.
Diamond Seeds Radio
more info and working radio here
My idea for Diamond Seeds Radio is to grant exposure for musicians without making them sign away their rights. Each month a pod cast containing one hours worth of music will be broadcast and listeners will be able to follow links back to featured bands own sites.
Diamond Seeds Radio is now ready and waiting for artists to approach us so that we can play their music.
“My vision is for Diamond Seeds Radio to deliver a great opportunity for bands and a great listening experience for the people all over the world who are gonna tune in!”
About Diamond Seeds Radio and Podcasts
We are looking for people to forward their music for a radio show which will be distributed via a pod cast every month, as a live stream.
We do not require payment and we cannot pay out to artists, we are purely offering the opportunity to expose your music on the internet. We are musicians ourselves and appreciate how difficult it can be to get radio play, so we have decided to set up a facility on the net for ourselves and others to play out our music. We do not discriminate between artists or genres; this is a genuine opportunity to get your music heard.
We guarantee that anyone submitting their material for us to play will retain their ownership and all rights to that material. Neither will we attempt to sell your material without prior permission; we will simply provide links to your own site.
Diamond Seeds will provide a streamed monthly radio show (with archives) that will become available as a pod cast. It will feature music provided by anyone who wants to submit their material. It will allow any musician to get their material on the internet, without prejudice, helping to create an interest in their music.
How to get your music played on our monthly show
Simply send us a copy of your material as an mp3 (128k, 44kz) and we will try to include it in our radio show.
We do reserve the right to disqualify material which we deem inappropriate.
Please send to diamondseed3 AT googlemail.com (and put “for Diamond Seeds Radio” in the title)
Nostramus Earthlights 2010 Re-mastered.
“Probably the best Drum and Bass album youve never heard!”
Cat. No. DS-NS-001
January 3rd 2010
Nostramus announce the release of a re-tweaked and re-mastered version of the 1997 album ‘Earthlights’.
The original ‘Earthlights’ was first released in the UK in 1997 by ‘Recordings of Substance’ followed by ‘Shadow Records’ who licensed it for the US market in 1998.
The brand new ‘Earthlights Re-mastered’, will be available from the online label, ‘Diamond Seeds Productions’ in early 2010. Nostramus will be joining other artists including Ella Jo on the new label, which will be making full use of new web fulfilment strategies for online mail order and downloading facilities.
Nostramus founding member Steve Spon has returned to the original source master tapes in order to complete this work.
“Although I was reasonably happy with the original mastering of Earthlights, I have since become a lot more fluent with audio mastering techniques. In this edition, I have returned to the source master tapes, taking care with every step of the process in order to retain the original concept and flow. I feel I have now created a much more considered dynamic to the sound-scape, hopefully bringing the whole thing up to today’s audio standards and listen ability.
Aside from the re-mastering, I have re-edited and re-mixed ‘Babel’ the opening track to the album, mixing in some new warped-up Amen from the un-released Jungle version of Babel. There are also one or two other new samples, subtly crafted into some of the other pieces to spice up the mix. Overall, I am much happier now with the sound and flow of the re-mastered album and I hope the listener will enjoy it even more”
Steve Spon January 2010-01-02
‘Earthlights Re-mastered 2010’ comes repackaged in a standard jewel case with new artwork to boot. Retailing at £10.00 including shipping, the album will be available from www.diamondseeds.co.uk from early January 2010 on mail order and on download, a little later.
Nostramus’s Steve Spon, is now working on the long awaited follow-up to the first album, which has the working title of ‘Earthlights II’. It is hoped that this will see the light of day in the spring of 2010.
Nostramus can be contacted at.. Nostramus at gmail.com
Diamond Seeds talks to Steve Spon on matters Nostramus and UK Decay.
We recently caught up with Steve Spon to ask him about his re mastering of ‘Earthlights’ an album that he wrote and produced in 1997 for Nostramus. Steve Spon (aka ‘Spon’) has recently re-joined the re-formed legendary eighties post-punk-goth pioneers, UK Decay.
We were fascinated to gain a glimpse into the thinking behind the re mastering of the classic nineties ‘D ‘n’ B noir’ album.
Which, according to one reviewer is “probably the best Drum and Bass album you have never heard”
Where the worlds of drum ‘n’ bass and post-punk and goth collide, stands a man like Spon
We were intrigued…….
D.S.# You have returned to your punk roots playing guitar again with UK Decay, in your musical evolution how does that relate to your D ‘n’ B oriented Nostramus?
“Although it can be argued that the music of Nostramus is completely different from the music of UK Decay, I feel there are threads of similarities between the two. Born out of the alternative punk-post-punk-early goth mela of the early eighties and like many ex punk types, I moved with the musical underground into the heady nineties rave scene. I sacrificed my guitar and took the technological path. It was important for me to continue to create music with an alternative message to counter the commerciality of popular music.”
D.S.# Would Nostramus appeal to the average UK Decay fan given ‘drum and bass’ surely had so much bad press?
“I know Nostramus’s mix of Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dub and Electronica may not appeal to every UK Decay listener but I know it will to some. Most of the guys in UK Decay, actually love Dub and Reggae music and have done so since the 70’s so there is nothing new there. The D ‘n’ B scene has received a lot of bad press in the past. Understandably, for many, the tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster by ‘hoodie’ thugs has put some people off the musical tastes of these low-life monsters. But I believe that mutated minorities in any genre, should not be allowed to hold good music to ransom.”
D.S.# Drum and bass was cool back then?
“From my point of view, the early hedonistic nineties D ‘n’ B scene was an invigorating and exciting proposition for many who wished to carry alternative music forward. The development in recording and playback technologies opened up a new universe of musical exploration and possibilities. Earth shaking bass lines, impossibly tight drum structures, emotive complexity in keyboard sound-scapes and sampling, all led to a new excitement in the then stale music scene. I took the plunge into this maelstrom, as it’s part of my make-up to explore new musical adventures.”
D.S.# Surely being an ex-punk had drawbacks on the emerging drum and bass scene
“The movers and shakers of this emerging British scene were young DJ’s who had no hack with the old ‘rules’ of creating music. Like many others, evolving from the former 80’s punk scene I moved into the D ‘n’ B at a early stage in its development.
I liked the anarchic approach to creating the music and found for a time comradeship and a sense of purpose and enjoyment in the underground party scene. Back then I found a refreshing openness and tolerance to the music and the people generally in the scene…anything went!”
D.S.# What gave you the idea, or set you on the journey to creating a drum and bass album?
“Drum and Bass as well as other so-called ‘rave-music’ was developing it’s own set of rules that related to the flux’s and flow of the dance-floor. My tastes were still on the darker, deeper and hopefully more thoughtful side. At that time I was a recording studio engineer/producer and that made me open to a wide input of styles. Steve Harle introduced me to the D ‘n’ B scene back in the very early nineties. He encouraged me to embark on the musical journey that would eventually create my first album under the name Nostramus.
I called the new album ‘Earthlights’ and it summed up four crazy years of my experience of the underground party scene at a time when the music was at its most vibrant, purist form.”
D.S.# What was your aim in creating Earthlights your first album, how did you go about determining what it would be?
“The album was written using Atari computers, but I wanted it to have a live feel. I invited guests to contribute spoken and sung performances. The tunes included obscure iconic samples to create light and dark moods to give a sense of meaning. My aim was to create the most organic quality as possible, to create a journey for the listener. I wanted something that was easy to listen to, yet also had a deeper, substantial level. As a ‘non’ DJ, I even broke the dance mix rules, making it virtually impossible for DJ’s to mix the album with other tracks. I wanted to make ‘Earthlights’ stand out in a crowd.”
D.S.# Sum up Earthlights message?
“‘Earthlights’ takes the listener on a journey through themes, ranging from our pagan past, to future space travel. It questions and studies the doubts and optimisms of the human race.”
D.S.# How many did Earthlights sell back in the nineties, how did it fit in with the drum and bass scene?
“I released this album first in the UK in 1997, on ‘Recordings of Substance’, and then licensed it to ‘Shadow Records’ for the US market in 1998. In total, there were 6000 sales worldwide. It didn’t make the top ten, but it sold steadily over a period of time and some of the feedback from reviews and emails have been fantastically encouraging. A review a couple of years back summed it up quite nicely “Probably the best Drum and Bass album you have never heard!”
D.S.# What led you to re-mastering Earthlights?
“Although I was reasonably happy with the original mastering of Earthlights, I’ve since become more fluent with audio mastering techniques. In the new edition of Earthlights, I reworked the source master tapes, taking care with every step of the process in order to retain the original concept and flow. I feel I’ve now created a much more considered dynamic to the sound-scape, hopefully bringing the whole thing up to today’s audio standards and listen ability.”
D.S.# Did you just re-master or is there anything else added or taken away?
“Aside from the re-mastering, I have re-edited and re-mixed ‘Babel’ the opening track to the album, mixing in some new warped-up a-men from the un-released Jungle version of Babel. There are also one or two other new samples, subtly crafted into some of the other pieces to spice up the mix. Overall, I am much happier now with the sound and flow of the re-mastered album and I hope the listener will enjoy it even more”
D.S.# What about the rumours of Earthlights II any chance soon?
“I have had most of the material for this sitting on my shelves now for a good few years. Now with the help of Diamond Seeds work is in progress to see this project through. I shall be editing and remixing some of the material and with the addition some new performances and samples, I will collate into the final cut. I am hoping for around March April 2010.
D.S.# UK Decay are famous for being one of the first eighties post-punk bands, to make the crossover from ‘punk’ to ‘goth’
What are your future plans with UK Decay, are you enjoying their revival?
“I am really enjoying playing live with Decay again. It’s a real buzz playing guitar in a live situation, I had forgotten about that.
Because of commitments however, Decay can only play a few times a year, which is fine by me. UK Decay are currently working on a new album, which is an exciting challenge. Getting wild sounds out of my guitar is refreshing to me after so many years of programming songs together. The guys in UK Decay between them have a wealth of new ideas and experience to draw upon. At the end of the day UK Decay were adventuress in seeking out new sounds, we were ‘dark’ back in the day and that’s partly my fault, so they tell me! I look forward to mashing it up with them.”
D.S.# Any future Nostramus beyond Earthlights II?
“We shall have to wait and see!”
Nostramus is now signed to Diamond Seeds Productions.
Peeling off the layers behind her music, Ella Jo has given a frank and revealing forward to her new book, Limits Of Milkweed Lyric Book.
Not only does the book give all the lyrics to the songs on the album, but she discusses the history and meaning behind the songs in the interesting chapter, The Stories Behind The Songs. This is actually a book of poetry written by herself and other music partner’s spanning the 1990s and beyond. Further to it’s literary delight, the book is peppered with her original black and white art work. It makes a great accompaniment to her album, but serves as a great poetry book in its own right.
The book shall be available by the end of 2009 and will be the first of three books to accompany her three albums. All will be available in our bookstore.
The Nostramus back-catalouge, will shortly be available on Diamond Seeds via online fulfillment service.
This will include a re-tweaked and mastered version of the 1997 release of ‘Earthlights’.
Also included will be the ‘Bomb Babylon’ album material, which came out to mark the artist performance at the legendary ‘Free The Spirit Festival’, hosted by the ‘Exodus Sound System’ in 1999 at the Long Meadow farm, Charlton, north Luton. This legendary live performance will become available on the new service.
The ‘Bomb Babylon’ album was scheduled as a follow-up to ‘Earthlights’ and there were only 50 copies ever made, the process was beset with problems. Since then, Nostramus has moved onto other projects including the 2003 ‘Hero Of Bamboo Stick’ EP and many remixes that have seen the light of day on various releases. Nostramus is now consolidating this ‘lost’ material into format for fresh release utilising the latest ‘web 2′ fulfillment technology.
Nostramus director Steve Spon, shall also be presenting the earlier ‘Dark-Ambient’ ‘THC’ (The Hidden Corporation) archives on the new Diamond Seeds website in the near future.
Diamond Seeds Productions is to provide a streamed monthly show, with archives, available as a podcast.
It features anyone who wants to submit their music. Our aim is to allow musicians to expose original material on the internet, without prejudice, helping to create interest in their music.