Friday, April 30, 2010


With his new label Footprints coming with some serious heat, we sat down with Dublins own Zero T after his 2 hour set at CULT a few weeks ago.

First things first: You where Zero Tolerance until a few years ago, now your Zero T? What’s with the name change?

Yeah that’s true; it’s really just a practicality thing. I DJ’d under the name Zero Tolerance since 1998 in Ireland and released under that name since 2000. When I did my album a couple of years ago, I thought from then on I’m gonna go with Zero T. Basically because it’s bigger when you put it on flyers! That’s the main reason!

As you said, you started off back in Dublin with the Bassbin crew. How did that come about?

Well it was all very organic really. When I was a kid I used to buy records off of Rohan, who started Bassbin, and I used to go to their nights. There was a little group of us, and we all stated getting warm up slots and supporting the headliners. Then the label came from that. I was just one of the crew, part of the furniture!
Around about the same time I got a tune signed to Reinforced, and met Breakage and the others that where releasing on Reinforced and things just naturally grew from there I guess.

I spotted on your Twitter a few weeks ago that you’re making some moves towards other genres?

I’ve always made other music for my own pleasure as it where. If you want to perfect your talent in one area, then you’ve got to diversify otherwise you just get stale.
There’s been a big change in the last couple of years in dance music in the UK, that it’s okay to play different tempos in the same set now, and I really like that idea.
So yeah, I’ve been trying my hand at a few different things at the moment, trying to expand my horizons! I’m constantly exposed to DnB, I live with other producers in an area of London where there is a lot of DnB stuff going on so I get to hear it as it comes out of the studios. So generally outside of a club context or doing radio show or whatever I try not to listen to D&B at all. If you listen to too much of what you do, then you end up becoming derivative. I love all music, I listen to everything from jazz to folk to classical to grime and so anything goes really. I even listen to pop music from time to time to see if I can learn anything!

You moved from Dublin to live in London a couple of years ago; did you find that was a big step in your development as a producer / DJ?

I did my thing from Dublin for years, which worked okay for a while, but there’s only so far you can get. The way you tend to develop in this scene is that you release a few tunes and then you’ll start to get DJ bookings. It’s very difficult to do that from outside the UK. Put it this way: I used to work a job and do this, and now I just do this!

So as a producer, you put out quiet a variety of different styles of DnB. With such a wide scope how do you go about starting a tune?

Well I used to be into Hip Hop before I got into DnB, so I’ve always loved the sample based approach. So I’d hear something and think “you know what, I can do something with that” Apart from that I don’t really have a standard approach, id say it’s a lot of messing around and a lot of “happy accidents!”

Your label Footprints has just kicked off, what have you got coming up for the rest of the year in terms of releases?

Footprints No: 1 is in the shops now, Zero T & Bailey – Wasp Factory / Calibre & ST Files – Devil Inside. And No 2 should be promoing as we speak, Zero T & Mosus – Shallow Grave / Beta 2 – Cabin Phever. That’s Beta 2’s come back single; we used to produce together originally, but he’s been away for a while.
Footprints No: 3 is a remix that I’ve done for Rollo from Faithless’s new band “All Thieves”

Away from Footprints, I’ve got a Fabric Live CD coming up, number 52, and that’s out June 14th so I’m excited about that. Other labels wise there’s an EP coming up on Subtitles later in the year.

With the first couple of Footprints releases you’re going with a Colab on one side and another artist on the other? Is that a conscious thing and something you’re going to carry on doing?

Originally I just planned to do it for the first release. I’d always planned that if I ever started a label that I’d have a Calibre tune on the flip of the first release. Its sort of a little gentleman’s agreement we always had!

Really because of other commitments I’ve got, and because I want to maintain a presence on other labels as well, I decided to take the pressure off me having to put out two solid tracks that make a balanced 12” every couple of months. Plus there’s so much good music out there that id gladly put my name to and be honoured to release. So this way I can put out my favourite tune of my own, plus an array of other tracks from all sorts of other people form established guys like Calibre to people you’ve never heard of before.

Is it all going to be Drum & Bass on the label?

For 2010 its all D&B, we’ll see next year. I think it’s important to establish a solid identity in the first year of a new label. I’m aiming to get 6 releases out by Christmas.

What can we expect from the Fabric Mix?

There’s a bunch of exclusive Footprints tunes, some remixes from me and then the rest is all exclusive stuff from some of my favourite artists, whether they’re legends or the new hot kid. Its not all Drum and Bass either, there’s a good twenty minutes of other music on there.

Any tips for who the new kid on the block is then?

Well it’s not really a tip anymore, but Rockwell seems to be taking over the world right now without breaking a sweat! Ulterior Motive are filling up my sets at the moment and Jubei has got a lot of interesting things on the way too. Non D&B wise there’s lots of exciting stuff going on as well, Sigha on Hot Flush is coming with all sorts of interesting beats. Icicle! Wait for his non Drum and Bass stuff, its next level to be honest!!

WORDS: Nidal

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