An hour with Bradley Zero
Bradley Zero contributes to ‘an hour with’ for Apple Music and Boiler Room..
Listen to the mix here.
“Whenever I get asked to do a mix I initially panic,” London’s Bradley Zero tells Boiler Room Radio. “Not that I don’t know how to put it together, but I have so many different sounds and angles that I explore through radio and the label that sometimes it’s quite hard to choose a direction and stick to it for one hour.” It’s true that as founder of the Rhythm Section INTL label, a host on NTS Radio, and a resident DJ at London’s Jazz Café, Zero’s interests go in numerous directions; having grown from a radio show into a regular party and record label, Rhythm Section encompasses house, broken beat, jazz, techno, R&B, Caribbean, and Latin music, and more—all united by its unshakable soulfulness. But when it came to selecting music for Boiler Room, Zero had one advantage: He came on board as a programmer and host back in Boiler Room’s very earliest years, so if anyone knows how to create a vibe that’s right for the platform, he does. And his set for Boiler Room and Apple Music’s “an hour with…” series is all about vibe, too. Drawn from new and forthcoming Rhythm Section releases along with a few choice bits from Zero’s friends and peers, the mix doesn’t scrimp on rhythm: From start to finish, it’s threaded with sharp, stepping drum programming that takes in house, funk, garage, and lean, wiry techno. But those drums come sweetened with the textures and tone colors that are Rhythm Section’s signature. 30/70’s “Tastes Like Freedom (Chaos in the CBD Remix)” swims in easygoing saxophone; Nicola Cruz’s “Individuality Riddim” bristles with warm percussion samples; the electric keys and flute synths of Hidden Spheres’ “Improvise” are practically New Age. Accelerating across its final 15 minutes to end in a pulse-quickening climax with Hassan Abou Alam’s “Hella Mega Drive,” it all makes for eyes-closed, body-moving bliss—never mind the fact that Zero recorded the set right around the time that most of the world was marking the first anniversary of social distancing. “I wanted to make it for the dance floor,” he stresses. “Which maybe isn’t the most radical decision, but I really miss having an excuse to put together something to make people dance.”