The craic with Zero T
St. Paddy’s Day….
A day that commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
A day to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish.
A day many use as an excuse to neck one too many pints…
We thought it was a perfect excuse to catch up with drum & bass legend Zero T, to chat about
the scene in Ireland, how he feels about Guinness, and how he’ll be spending St. Patrick’s Day.
Where have we caught you today?
I’m at home in West London… Watching my girlfriend design and construct a Samba costume. Luckily I don’t have to model for it!
You started your career in the late 90s as a teenager in Dublin- what inspired you to get into production at the time?
Well, I started out just DJing, like most. I got my first set of decks at 16 (1996) and was given a shot playing a support slot for Bassbin (supporting Ed Rush) a couple of weeks after my 18th. There was a collective of DJs assembling under the Bassbin banner and we all tried our hands at production in an attempt to emulate the UK crews we all looked up to… Reinforced, Metalheadz, Full Cycle and No UTurn. I soon realized that the only way to make it as a DJ in a wider sense was to start making tracks. So I started learning how to use an EMU Esi-4000 and Cubase and never looked back.
Was the scene in Ireland thriving at the time?
Dance music in Ireland was enjoying a major boom time from the early 90s till the early 00s. Bassbin and another outfit called Quadraphonic started bringing over the big UK names in 96 and it was an immediate hit in the city.
When I started sneaking into clubs with my fake ID I was blown away by the intensity of the atmosphere, and I know the visiting artists were similarly impressed. By 1999 Bassbin was running a weekly night called Refuge in Dublin’s Temple Bar District. It was at this time that the label started and we were soon filling the venue without any UK guests. By the time I moved to London in 2006 the club scene in Dublin had taken a bit of a dip in popularity. This was due to a combination of draconian licensing laws, the smoking ban and a general lull in dance music’s popularity, but there remained/remains a hardcore following all around the country.
You started your own label called Footprints in early 2010- what was the ethos behind the label?
No big ethos or grand idea behind it really. I had been producing for other labels for a decade and thought it was time to have my own imprint.
Whats next for the label?
I’m at a bit of a crossroads with the label at present to be honest. So I can’t rightly say what the future holds for it, but I’m proud of all the music that has appeared on Footprints and think it all holds up.
Aside from Calibre, do you know of any other artists representing the Irish in the scene?
Yes! There’s been loads of us over the years. Production wise there is Beta 2 of course Steo, Naphta, Ricky Force, Polska, Jet li, and Code from Subtle Audio. DJ/ promotion wise there’s been Rohan, Kenny + Keevo, Don Rosco, Triple A, Genie and Ali , Source, Judge Dredd, Barry Delta, Safetyboy, Skeletor, Becket, B, Razor… I’m sure there are some more I’ve left out too.
You mentioned earlier that you started off at Dublin’s Bassbin night which is now legendary. Are there still nights like that going on in Ireland right now, and is the scene as healthy as ever?
There are still promoters flying the flag in Ireland today! Off the top of my head there’s Spectrum, Drank, SMC presents Allied UK, Evolution, Get Busy, Cycle and Macronite amonst others… so its still looking pretty strong!
What will you be doing to celebrate St Paddy’s day?
Going to the newly installed ‘Irish’ section at my local Tesco’s (beside the Carribean, Polish and Jewish sections) and grabbing some Tayto Crisps, Barry’s Tea, Jacobs Mikado’s, a Barnbrack, a can of Club Orange and have me a rare auld Paddy party! The Craic will be mighty, so it will!
We know you’re based in London these days, how does the Guinness compare to back home?
I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink the stuff. It’s like drinking a Shepherds Pie smoothie.
Which drinks do you have zero tolerance for?
Guinness….and anything with mango in it.
Do you have the luck of the Irish?
Definitely have had the luck of Irish smiling on me many times! Getting that first shot DJing with Bassbin, meeting the Reinforced crew and having my debut solo release on that label. Having the chance to release on so many of the labels I idolised as a youth and working with the artists that I have…being asked to do a Fabric Live CD… and meeting my girlfriend in a very random and serendipitous way! St. Pat has been watching out for me it seems!
You’ve worked with Calibre in the past, could you see yourself working with him again in the future?
All the stuff we made together was when I still lived in Ireland – obviously it’s a bit more of a logistical problem when you’re on separate islands, but I’d love to get back in the studio with him again. It’s always a unique experience and one I learned a lot from over the years.
Artists you’re liking at the moment?
Ali Stealth has really come through in the last year. He’s been knocking at the door for a while, and I’m pleased he’s getting recognition. Stray is another immensely talented guy and I’m particularly enamoured with his hip-hop productions.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently finalising a release with my fellow Dubliner and longtime cohort Beta 2 for Metalheadz and have some tracks with Fierce coming on Quarantine soon.
For bookings contact: ZeroTee@Gmail.com