NOW & THEN PRESENTS
Saturday, February 26 at 8:00pm - February 27 at 3:00am
ZERO 7 (DJ SET) http://www.zero7.co.uk/ + SPECIAL GUESTS
THE SOUL CELLAR
78 West Marlands Road
Southampton, United Kingdom
023 8071 0648
TICKETS ONLY £8 FROM RESKUE SKATE SHOP AND ONLINE AT WWW.SOULCELLAR.COM
WE ARE ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED TO PLAY HOST TO THE ABSOLUTE LEGEND THAT IS ZERO 7......
From backroom bods to the Hollywood Bowl, from tiny specialist shops to a million-selling album, from using more singers than a Broadway musical and trucking on regardless, Zero 7’s story has always been about thinking that little bit bigger. How else to explain I Have Seen, a record that brims with the smouldering orchestral soul of a thousand strings, yet was made in a tiny makeshift studio in Swiss Cottage?
Long before that studio there were lunchtime spliffs on Hampstead Heath, where 16-year-old schoolkids Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker began what Sam calls “a long conversation about music which has lasted ever since”. Sam’s main concerns were typical of the time – proving he could listen to a whole Herbie Hancock album and smoke a bong without being sick. But he was impressed by Henry’s taste for “slightly effeminate ’80s soul tunes”, people like Teddy Pendergrass who combined sex with a sophisticated grandeur.
Both went on sound engineering courses, then to work at Mickie Most’s RAK studio, where they took the time-honoured road to learning their craft, in between bobbing out for sushi and champagne to keep the visiting stars fed and lubricated. But, having perfected their tea-making technique, they felt the pull of more creative pursuits. The Swiss cottage studio was born, and money earned beefing up the programming on records for pop acts like Natalie Imbruglia.
Eager to push on, they asked (“bothered incessantly”, as they have it), their friend and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich if they could have a crack at remixing them. The result, a rework of Climbing Up The Walls, witnessed the birth of the Zero 7 name, pinched from a Honduran bar. It might have been its last too. “We were really chuffed that they wanted to use it,” says Sam. “But it came out, and nobody said anything. I thought that was that. Then Gilles Peterson played it and cos he liked it, he asked us to do a mix of Terry Callier.”
Debut album Simple Things was completed in April 2001, most of its tracks featured voices (Mozez and Sophie Barker completing the trio of vocalists) accentuating the emotion of their synth symphonies. The album proved a sleeper hit, never charting higher than 28, but eventually selling a million worldwide and being nominated for the Mercury Prize.
The singles Destiny and Distractions charted, but it was as a complete album that the experience really excelled, with cuts like the awesome I Have Seen, the gorgeous instrumental Polaris. Zero 7 cooked up huge washes of sound in that small Swiss Cottage space, delivering a richness and depth others could only hint at. “We were just trying to pretend, says Sam, “to give this impression that we were making these big records that sounded like the old things we loved, that had orchestras but were still really funky. But they were made in a little room.”
Sam and Henry have come an extraordinarily long way in four albums and one decade. But this is an ongoing story. Henry is still beavering away in his Glastonbury studio (in between “milking pigs”, as devout Londoner Sam has it), while Sam has re-kitted and reopened the Swiss Cottage premises where it all began, the small space in which the huge, expansive Simple Things was made. While the duo ponder how next to squeeze the sound of a cast of thousands from its cramped confines, this ‘Record’ is a timely reminder of how they did it first time round.
Simple Things (2001)
When It Falls (2004)
The Garden (2006)
Yeah Ghost (2009)