Nicholas Foster on bastard pop, Legends of the Seven Golden Vampires & going viral on Tiktok

Nicholas Foster, who has been in and around the music industry since the ‘80s, was amongst the world’s first bedroom producers in the early 2000s and set up one of the first independent vinyl labels, Prank Monkey Records. Fast forward to today, as one-half of Legends of the Seven Golden Vampires, Foster has seen their debut single Autumn Fall achieve seven million streams on TikTok. He chats to Headliner about his latest bout of success, and how he’s creating these new tunes.

Having played in several bands during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Foster decided to have a crack at producing from home. It turned out very nicely, as his efforts resulted in a remix of the Air track Lucky and Unhappy. Before long, he found himself immersed in the lovingly-titled 'Bastard Pop /Mash Up' scene of the early 2000s and its club night ‘Bastard’ in central London.

“I was in several bands that never quite made it,” Foster says of his early music manoeuvrings, speaking from home in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. “There were quite a few high points, like supporting The House Martins and Voice Of The Beehive. A few of my musician friends back then went on to form EMF, and others went to the business side and signed Radiohead and another went on to run Domino Recordings.”

When we put it out on TikTok, it was another finger in the air moment for me.

The straightforward story of how Foster went from bands to producing is that he got a job working in IT when his career playing in bands didn’t work out.

“Working with computers was how I realised the potential of what building a home studio could do,” he says. “At that time I wasn’t in any bands or doing much music, so I threw together a music PC, and it was really just a case of experimenting and seeing what came out. It was the very earliest days of people starting to make music on computers, and the very first versions of Cubase and Logic. I remember getting a soundcard and then not having enough memory to run it.”

If you’re wondering how all this led to the opportunity to remix a track by Versailles-duo Air at the height of their fame, the answer is simple (and this time doesn’t directly involve working in IT): being an avid radio listener.

Foster recalls, "I used to listen to a lot of XFM back then, and on a Friday night there was a show called Remix. This was when I’d just started producing, and you’d get people sending stuff into the show to get played. Long story short, I got involved too and ended up getting to do the Air remix Lucky and Unhappy. That got me onto the second XFM remix compilation album. Through that, I was introduced to the bastard pop/mashup scene in London, and things just went from there.”

Fast-forward to today: Foster’s latest project, with producer DJ Luke Hadron, is Legends Of The Seven Golden Vampires, which the duo have lovingly named after the Peter Cushing-starring kung fu/vampire movie of the (almost) same name. 

Their debut single, Autumn Fall, hit over seven million streams on TikTok and received airplay on BBC 6 Music and across BBC Sounds. The track is a pretty fantastic reflection of what Foster and this new project are all about; for anyone who loves the art of sampling in music, it’s an absolute tour de force.

I don’t really know what is or isn’t a viral hit, but my assumption is seven million is a pretty good number!

“When we put it out on TikTok, it was another finger in the air moment for me,” Foster says. “We certainly didn’t expect it to do as well on streaming as it has. Of course, all the success came from TikTok users taking the song and using it for their videos. About 86 people used it on TikTok, and a few of those went really viral. I don’t really know what is or isn’t a viral hit, it’s all a bit new to me! But my assumption is seven million is a pretty good number.”

Building on this success, the vampire duo put out their latest single, Close To You. A swirling melee of brass, woodwinds, guitar soloing, funky basslines and organ, and of course more samples than you can shake a stick at, it’s another deeply impressive offering from the production pairing. They certainly achieve their aim of harking back to the ‘70s films they both love so much, such as their namesake movie.

“This track harks back to my mashup days quite nicely, the instrumental is from a previous band I was in and Luke added the vocal sample and some other bits in. The instrumental was actually recorded during the pandemic between me and some local musician friends, but we never knew what to do with it and didn’t release it properly.”

All that aside, very busy times ahead for Foster with much more to come from LOTSGV while he busily runs his own record label at the same time. Get ready for more funkalicious tunes from these two. “We’re working on the rest of the songs for a Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires album, and getting a live show ready for it as well to book some shows.”