T.H.E Interview – Zero T

Zero T

After 19 years working with a huge spectrum of DnB greats, London based Irishman Cian McCann aka Zero T has long since established his place in the scene.

From his early days in Dublin with the Bassbin label to working with the likes of Calibre,4 Hero, Klute, Alix Perez, Rockwell and Noisia, he has never stood still.

Cian’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 Subtitles and Shogun as on Soul:r or Signature.

We caught up with Cian and spoke to him about choosing drum and bass as his preferred choice of genre, his new EP and why he prefers tea compared to coffee.

Valarie – Welcome, Zero T (aka Cian McCann). It’s a pleasure to have you here.

Zero T – Thanks for having me! It’s a pleasure to be here with you!

Valarie – Has music always been the primary choice of career for you?

Zero T – Earning a living from music has been my primary choice of career since I was about 17 or 18 years old. I am currently diversifying into video editing, so that may end up being a new career for me in the future.

Valarie – How did you choose drum and bass as your preferred choice of genre?

Zero T – I think it chose me! I first heard Jungle music in 94 or 95 and had previously been exposed to early 90s hardcore via the likes of the Prodigy, SL2 etc. Once I heard a Dillinja amen track in 95 I was sold. Nothing could compete with the unique energy of the beats with the sampling culture akin to hip hop across the pond. It satisfied all my requirements!

Valarie – Your latest release ‘Tears’ is a single from your new EP “Baby Grand”. How has this EP been different from the material you’ve released before?

Zero T – The whole EP is a multi-genre affair, made entirely in collaboration with nu-jazz instrumentalist duo Unitsouled. Initially they were going to collaborate on the slower tempo stuff, but it expanded into them contributing to all the tracks. Using live musicians, especially ones who share musical tastes with me, was a great experience for me and something totally new for me – I’ve always been a samples guy, so this was a departure from my usual approach. I’ve always made other genres of music, mostly hip hop, but this is really the first time I’ve been able to release any of it. Working with musicians and all the vocalists was really great fun for me and I’m proud of the results.

Valarie – You also have a record label called Footprints. What are your plans for the label?

Zero T – I started Footprints in 2010 and had about seven releases. The concept was to have one side of each 12” be made by me and the flip to be from an artist that I rated. Due to the distribution company I was with going out of business, the label fell into dormancy. It’s been in that state for about 6 years and I have no immediate plans to start it up again soon, but I would never rule out bringing it back. I would like to get the back catalogue available on Bandcamp at least.

Valarie – Top 5 artists that have influenced you throughout your career (past or present)?

Zero T –

DJ Premier
Massive Attack
J Dilla
Robert Glasper

Valarie – Before you go, let’s play a game. Which one of the following would you choose…..?
Planes or trains?

Zero T – Planes, unless its the Shinkansen!

Valarie – Coffee or tea?

Zero T – Yorkshire Tea, milk & 2 sugars all the way! I don’t drink Coffee at all

Valarie – Soup or stew?

Zero T – I’m a fan of both – but my fiancé does the best Jamaican Beef Stew, so ill go for that!

Valarie – Analog or digital?

Zero T – Analogue

Valarie – Beer or liquor?

Zero T – Beer

Valarie – Twitter or Instagram?

Zero T – Instagram

Hurling or Gaelic Football?

Zero T – Gaelic football

Valarie – Soccer or rugby?

Zero T – Soccer

Valarie – Beach or mountains?

Zero T – Mountains

Valarie – If you were not a DJ, what career would you choose and why?

Zero T – I’d like to be a film director. I’ve been pretty obsessed with film since I was young and have always been fascinated with the craft of how a film is made. I can’t get enough of documentaries that tell the back story of film productions.

Valarie – Thank you, Zero T, for taking time out to talk to us here at T.H.E – Music Essentials. It’s been an absolute pleasure! Best of luck!

Zero T – Thanks for having me!

Check out his Outlook Mix Series 2018.



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