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5 Facts, 5 Tracks: Zero T

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With his first release in 1999, London based Cian McCann aka Zero T has long since established his place in the scene. From his early days discovering music to working with the likes of Calibre,4 Hero, Klute, Alix Perez, Icicle and Noisia, he has never stayed still for very long.

Zero T’s discography reflects the diversity that his DJ sets have always shown, ranging from full vocal smoothness to more rolling, dance floor styles. You are as likely to find his music on labels like Metalheadz and Shogun as on Soul:r or Signature.

After a short period away from the scene, 2014 saw the return of Zero T as a producer, remixer and DJ with a Metalheadz debut and a spate of collaborations with the legendary Fierce on the highly regarded Quarantine.

The last few years have seen Zero T touring extensively in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

This year kicked off with the huge 6 track ‘Exiles’ EP on Metalheadz with Beta 2 and collaborations with DLR, Myth, Phase and more.

Following on from his Renegade Masters mix with Ryme Tyme earlier this year and with his latest release coming on The North Quarter on 17th July, we thought we’d catch up with him and find out some facts about him and what music has played a role in influencing his career.

5 Facts

Zero T is a shortened version of my original artist name: Zero Tolerance. I picked it when I was 15 and totally obsessed with No U-Turn and dark dnb. What I didn’t foresee was a future of MC’s struggling to find a rhyme for the word ‘Tolerance’ – I may as well have called myself DJ Orange. Also, a note to future artists, pick a name beginning with A…..

I’m from Dublin, but my older brother went to university near London in the mid-late 90’s. This allowed me to travel over and experience dnb at its source during the golden era – something I am eternally grateful for and had a huge effect on my life.

I landed in Tokyo for my second Japanese Tour on the morning of March 11th 2011, about 2 hours before the Fukushima Disaster happened. That was an experience I will never forget.

My other job is in video production and editing. I operate under the name Footprints Media, which is taken from my (currently dormant) record label Footprints. If you follow Goldie, Shy FX, Dispatch, The Sauce etc. on social media then you’ve probably already seen my work.

I once discovered the meaning of life, but forgot to write it down…

5 Tracks

Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long

My favourite song in any genre. It is perfect in every way; groove, production, vibes, vocals. Rick James’ finest moment in my opinion. No matter how many times I listen to it it always puts me in a better mood.

Critical Point ft Vikter Duplaix Messages

I was/am a huge fan of what gets called Broken Beat/Bruk in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. A lot of the main people involved were former jungle producers (4 Hero, Seji, Mark Force, Domu etc) and it seemed like a natural evolution. This track is by Masters at Work (under an alias) and feels like an early precursor to broken beat. I guess this is more ‘broken house’, but the combination of the groove, the simple descending chord pattern and Duplaix’s amazing vocals is pure bliss. Never gets old either.

Jill Scott – Words & Sounds Vol. 1

The whole album, back to front. I think I’ve probably listened to this album all the way through about once a month for the last 21 years. I love how warm and clean the production is. I had the pleasure of seeing her in Brixton Academy in the early 2000’s. Her voice is a force of nature.

Orbital – Forever

What was so special about the 90’s was the broadness of dance music. You would be almost guaranteed to find Goldie, Reprazent, Aphex Twin, Jamiroquai, Orbital, Leftfield, Portishead, Massive Attack, Chemical Bros in most young people’s CD collections. I love Orbital because of their heavy use of layered melody and breakbeats. Forever is a melancholic but beautiful journey that is a treat for the ears and soothes the mind. Also, seeing them live in Dublin in the 90’s as a teenager was life changing.

In Sync – You Gotta Love Me

One of the first tunes that made me fall in love with the music. Not the 90’s boyband, this is Lemon D under an alias for Ray Keith’s Dread Recordings. The way Lemon and Dillinja fused jazz and soul vibes with savage drums and booming basslines was irresistible to me. I came more from a jazz/soul/hip hop background, rather than from techno or other dance music, so their music sounded to me like a UK hybrid of hip hop that made you want to dance like a lunatic. I was sold instantly.

Zero T drops his ‘Former Self’ EP on The North Quarter on 17th July. On 16th July we will premiere one of the tracks so make sure you check back to hear it. You will be able to grab the EP from here

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