Envoy, aka south London born Hope Grant began his foray into all things House and Techno after a chance meeting with a veteran of the Acid House raves that swept the Uk in the late 80’s, Dave Angel at an after hours club back in 1990’s. At this point Hope had a couple of releases as part of the duo Masquarade, Angel who was riding the success of his chart hit the Eurhythmics smash “Sweet Dreams”. Angel exposed Hope to his record collection convincing Hope to lend him his synthesizer and drum machine for a week, resulting with the classic tracks “Atmosphere” and “Rolling Thunder”.
Shortly afterwards Angel signed a deal with the Belgium giants R&S and with his advance bought a 909, Roland JD800 an early Mac computer running Opcode Studio Vision and a Boss SE50 efx unit, Angel would be flown around the world and on his return, he would invite Hope round to his flat to play him his recordings.
The immense success of Angel’s “Seminal 1st, 2nd and 3rd Voyage” eps, saw the creation of the Rotation label where he wanted Hope to be an artist on, Hope thought it would be best to try and step away from the Angels shadow and continue his journey. In no time at all he was approached by Peacefrog Records label boss, Pete Hutchinson who offered him a 3 ep deal and an advance for a 909. Hope’s first solo release as St Vitus, “Come of Age” came out to rave reviews with the beautiful track “Mystic Vibrations” being licensed to Studio K7 for their compilation that Angel himself mixed.
A journalist friend of Hope’s suggested that he send the tracks to a label in Glasgow Soma Quality Recordings who were starting to make big waves in the scene and had just had a massive hit with Slams Anthem Positive Education. The Soma guys loved the tracks and a deal was struck to enable Hope to get out of his Peacefrog contract and start recording for Soma under his new guise:- “Envoy”.
The debut and follow up releases “Solitary Mission” and “Heart Of The Soul” (1995) were well received and showed Hope’s talent for string laden melodic grooves (he was given the nickname “King Of The Strings”). Hope surprised everyone when for the first time on record (since the rave days) he stepped up to the mic to put a vocal on the track “Emotional” which was a sign of things to come. Success came in the shape of his fourth single “Coalition”, the pizzicato themed heavy techno of the track “Dark Manoeuvres” proved an instant hit with the heavyweight dj’s of the day being licensed for Carl Cox’s FACT compilation and to go on and prove the diversity in Envoys music, “Seawall” also from the same ep was licensed to go on the infamous Renaisence series compilations this one mixed by legend Underworld do Darren Emerson.
In his most prolific Soma period to date Hope also found time to record 2 ep’s for Mr C’s imprint Plink Plonk under the guise Urban Groove Alliance which spawned the tracks “String Deep” from the Infectious ep and “Scenic Route” on the Parasols compilation. He also contributed the track “Acres of Space” to the highly successful Soma 50 compilation which presented exclusive tracks from their most high profile artists.
In 1998 Envoy debuted his Album for Soma the fantastically titled “Where There’s Life”. The album was critically acclaimed and championed by the likes of Colin Dale and Laurent Garnier, entering the Muzik Magazines top 100 albums of the year. Singles and remixes from the album Sexdrive (Mark Broom) Beautiful World (4 Hero) and Rundown (Funk D’ Void) catapulted Envoy onto the big stage for the first time, with a show that wowed audiences around the globe in the months that followed, Hope would roam the stage like a dreadlocked man possessed, twirling his mic around like Freddie Mercury, doing the splits like Prince and performing vocals that would be sweet and soulful one minute and dark and Darth Vader like the next. Only the Americans Green Velvet and Do Rush were of a similar vibe on the live scene and Envoy quickly became a must-see act performing shows that just had to be seen.
Label mates Slam were getting ready to go into the studio to record the album Alien Radio and asked Hope if he fancied working together on a track for the album, Hope duly obliged and the trio went to work co writing the track “Fast Lane”. They had such a blast in the studio that Orde and Stuart approached Hope again this time to ask him if he would be interested in working on a Slam live show to tour the album.
Envoy’s “Shoulder2Shoulder” released in June 2004, was altogether a much more grown up record showcasing the multi–talented artist in his various guises: Techno soul in the shape of “4 Absent friends” and “Red Mist”, soulful vocals on “Stargazer”, the spurned demonic lover on “U Can Go” and the song that surprised everyone the catchy emotive “Move On” which was produced by now legendary remixer extradonair Ewan Pearson and featuring a 30 piece string section conducted by “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack guy Craig Armstrong, the highlight of the album though is most definitely the title track, pure hi tech future Jazz, with a stunning sax solo from top musician Jamie Anderson.
Absent from the scene since late 2006, he reignited his love for song writing and was all set to launch a new career as a singer songwriter when boss Dave Clarke at Soma, contacted him spurred on by passion and his new found interest in his work as well as the many well wishers on the social media networks, that would leave the producer lovely messages about how his music meant so much to them.
With good friends like Lars Sandberg (Funk D’Void) and Matthew at Pack Up & Dance sending him tracks to inspire him, Hope purchased a new Macbook Pro in spring 2011 and went to work on producing some new tracks. With the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed, 2012 has seen the producer negotiate deals for his new work to come so expect a lot from the producer in 2013. Remixes have been confirmed by Legends Ricardo Villalobos and Slam who have remixed “Seawall” and “Dark Manoeuvres” and confirmed new eps on Soma and Pack Up & Dance as well as guest vocal duties with some hot producers the future finally looks bright for the talented maverick who will also be showcasing a new Dex & Efx show to promote his new work.
To quote the man himself “Everything I Say & Do Is Long but Where There’s Life There’s H.O.P.E for U & Me right?????”
Hope Grant has co produced, co written and contributed vocals for these artists:
Slam, Funk D’Void, Silicone Soul, Ewan Pearson, Bizarre Inc, Dave Angel, Mark Broom, Dave Hill, Rue East, 65D Mavericks, El Provost, Ben Sims, Malcolm Morley, Mistic & Warlock, Stephan Brown and Kai Zen Roberto.