Remixer Spotlight – Leo Zero

Heard of Leo Zero? Well you’re going to soon as he’s fast becoming one of the hottest remixers on the planet. NGDJ meets him.

Hey Leo! You’re getting quite a name for yourself as  remixer, what’s been your strategy?
After wearing lots of different hats in the music, DJ, and club promotion game over the last 15 -20 years I finally came to the conclusion that remixing is what I really LOVE doing. I can happily get up at 5am and work through ’til midnight – it’s so much fun mucking around with other people’s music.

What was your first ‘official’ paid remix?
It was ‘Fly Life’ by Basement Jaxx! That was a bit of a jammy start which was soon followed by loads of obscure trip hop rubbish on labels that don’t exist anymore!

Do you approach artists to mix, or do you let them come to you?
I am always trawling Myspace/Soundcloud/NME/I-D/XLR8R/CLASH/Pitchfork looking for my next victim! It’s best to work on something that really excites me – that’s how I got Jack Penate ‘Tonight’s Today’ – I loved it as soon as I heard it and contacted the label. Nowadays people come to me too which is amazing – a few weeks back I got asked to remix Bryan Ferry’s new single! This is when all the unpaid work and knock backs have been worthwhile.

How would you describe your remix style?
I don’t think I’m like Switch or Kissy Sell-Out who have a style, but there’s a bit of a mid-tempo chugging balearic vibe that’s a default setting in my head! I like making something that would fit in a 90’s balearic set from Andrew Weatherall, Rocky & Diesel or Steve Procter. Whatever the motivation there’s always a scenario of a club or festival that the remix would work at, like 4am in the main room at Fabric or a sunset at Bestival.

If there was any track in the world you could remix, what would it be?
A lot of indie bands would sound great in a classic house vibe – a purist old school Ten City/New Jersey take on things could still be a full on song but very house. I did a mix of Skunk Anansie and turned it into a Donna summer style track – things sound great out of context to me.

You are also work in art direction and graphic design – can you draw parallels between your art and music worlds?
Working doing illustration the way I do it in Photoshop is almost exactly the same as doing a remix – they’re basically collages of other people’s stuff that I’ve tweaked and chopped up. I think the gap between club and art gallery hasn’t been explored much – art galleries would be better with loud music and ‘refreshments’ and clubs would be great if they were more theatrical – so if you know anyone with a million quid to fund a ‘big video rave bubble’ on the South Bank let me know!

Check out Leo’s edit of Robert Owen’s ‘Bring Down The Walls’ here.

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