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Exclusive LEO ZERO mix for ace fashion brand Perks & Mini AKA PAM out now

 

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Monday
Jul092012

Min Stora Sorg 'Blomstertid' (Leo Zero Remix)

Here's a forthcoming official remix for Swedish vocalist Min Stora Sorg. I went for an industrial / ebm feel on this one.... I love the dark mood and delivery on the vocal.... one for the more leftfield club environment like COSEY in London I hope.... I had loads of fun programming the synths straight from a mouse swoop bussed back into Logic and recorded live.
Sunday
Apr152012

Montevideo @DFA Studios

Great track from Montevideo, who I see are looked after by the wonderful Dirk at Smile Management - and a nice snoop around DFA's studio in New York....look at all that gear - phwoar.

Saturday
Apr142012

YOUR CHESHAM INTERVIEW

Here's an old interview I did for my mate Martin Freeman for my hometown of Chesham's local magazine...
Leo Zero Interview
This month we speak to recording artist and remixer extraordinaire Leo Zero aka Leo Elstob who hails from Bellingdon near Chesham. Add to this his graphic design work on such things as flyers, record sleeves and running legendary nights such as Soulsonic and Faith and you start to get the picture of how hard this man works.  His musical styles range from "House to Disco - Boogie to Balearic via Punk/Funk and Mash up" and as well as running his own record labels and recording under many guises he has also remixed tracks for some of the finest artists and bands around.  But more of that later...
Hi Leo,
Now having DJ'd and put on various nights with you back in the early 90's, like Bazooka, Shrink 2 Fit, and of course the early Shake Your Booty's, I think I have a pretty good idea of your musical preferences but can you give the readers a taste of your background - how you started, what got you into making music, that sort of thing...
 
I got started collecting records a kid - I was into Kid Creole & The Coconuts & Adam And the Antz - In fact I still am… then came the Streetsounds Electro compilations and pirate radio stations like LWR - which were not easy to pick up in Chesham, so lot's of improvised ariels were experimented with, I seem to remember wiring up a radiator at one time. I went to Wycombe College in about 1990 to do Graphic Design and guy called Nick Bracegirdle in the year above me had a very basic studio and a sampler. We agreed to meet up and I sampled a load of my records in a MARRS 'Pump Up The volume' style track. A few weeks later we had our first 12" which we pressed up ourselves and sold out of my fiat uno's boot to various dance shops in London ( 'dance music shops' remember them?). The next thing we know we had Virgin and other record labels in a bidding war to sign us…. we ended up on the same label as Kylie Minogue and in the top 40 in the space of a few weeks - so it was very much a case of first time lucky for me - It's taken me another 20 years to work out how to actually do it by design rather than luck - and I haven't figured it out yet.
Let's talk about your own work first.  You've produced under many different names to date and run various record labels so can you tell us more about these...
Ha Ha, too many pseudonyms, this was because as a graphic designer, every time I did a new piece of music it was an excuse to come up with a new name and logo too, which in hindsight wasn't the best move for my budding career. So over the years I've been - Chicane, Cyanide Music, Royal Gate Tones, Beans, Dab Hands, Garden, etc.etc the list goaes on... and er probably one of the worst artist names ever "DIsco Citizens" how shit does that sound.... oh the power of hindsight. 
 
With Chicane in the mid 90's you experienced a top ten hit as well as a huge debut album success.  What was this like and why did you decide to leave and follow a different path................  
I soon realised I wasn't cut out for er 'pop stardom' - the defining moment was being stuck behind an unplugged synthesiser, miming to a Chicane track on some German kids TV show. The band on after us were called Pharoah and were all dressed in daft Egyptian costumes - doing a king tut dance to a trance song that they had nothing to do with actually making…. I knew It was time to bail out and get back to basics, which was making the kind of stuff I was playing as a DJ, and what I was really passionate about : good old fashioned deep house music.
Looking back at that time it felt like having success in the pop side of the music industry was like have a 'wanker magnet' attached to you - the more money you could potentially make, the more awfull people came out of the woodwork to try and cream off a piece of it - thankfully I found refuge in the wonderful underground scene that was going on in London: French house, Nu Disco, slo-mo stuff like Metro Area, Idjut boys, Dj Harvey, Nuphonic, Faze Action, re-edits etc. were all on fire - it was an amazing time and I was running clubs every week and totally emersed in it all.... the alternative was making records with Bryan Adams, phew that was a narrow escape - I'm glad I got out when I did.
 
You had another top ten smash in 2004.  Can you tell us about this............ 
I had just started working with Dj Mark Wilkinson and producer Richard Searle and through a bit of hustle ( Mark is "Mr Hustle" ) we managed to get the multitrack for Lou Reed's Satellite of Love which he wrote and recorded with David Bowie - It was amazing hearing those two dueting on the raw multitrack as if they we're right there in the room with you… we chucked everything we had at that remix and luckily it paid off - we were No.1 in Miami that year - and it all just snowballed, I got texts from people all Summer at festivals and in Ibiza saying "they're playing yr f***in tune!" Fatboy Slim playing it to 50,000 at Glasto that year was a bit of a wtf moment.
 
More recently you went on to write and produce the Balearic classic album " Collected Works" with "A Mountain of One". What was it like to record with a band, and, I presume, play live and how did it differ to your normal production work ............... 
I can't tell you much about the playing live front 'cos I was just the bloke pressing play on the ipod that had our effects backing track on. That said, we still had live drums, percussion, guitars, violin, and 2 singers on top - which made a right old psychedelic stew (more like racket) - 
I did the front of house mixing a couple of times with all those different palyers and it was certainly a challenge. That whole recording process was a massive learning curve for me though, and I'm very proud to have done it….but it was a very intense period - There's a great quote from DJ Harvey about why he's not in a rock band : "It's like having four girlfriends at once." amen to that... Moutain Of One was special 'cos a load of diverse people came together and put so much energy in, we had an awesome (and malleable) core singer-songwriter in Zeben Jameson and Mo Morris is a true visionary type in the Malcom McClaren mould - i.e. a bully! ha ha only joking. I stepped aside after the first album was made and had a few co-wirtes on the second one... there's another very true quote about every band needing a diplomat well in Mountain of One we needed an army of them! I very proud of that 'Ride' single though, it was a real buzz putting that together especially, and I can remember Mo and I buzzing in the studio when we got the Fleetwood Mac style bassline in.... memories like that are pure gold.
 
On the remixing front we have heard about the Lou Reed & David Bowie track but what other names have you performed your magic on and remixed for .............. 
Well I'm very chuffed to have people like Paul Weller, Bryan Ferry, Florence & The Machine, Basement Jaxx, Underworld, Badly Drawn Boy on my CV and these are all artists I love to bits….. I've done Dido too, but let's keep quiet about that one.
 
Do you actually get to work with these bands and artists, how does it work in the studio.............. 
I luckily got to meet Bryan Ferry which was a real treat - he had a row of Andy Warhol Marilyn prints at his studio which must have been originals and worth millions. Most of the time though, it's very dull - the record company send you separate parts for the track - with either a 'just do your thing' or 'we want it like this' type of brief - and off I go. It's always a nail-biting day or two once the remix has been sent back and I'm waiting for it to be approved.…. Florence & The Machine's A&R man came down and finished her mix with me which actually worked out great - most producers will keep the record company types out of the studio at all costs as they are the spawn of the devil - right up there with estate agents! only joking (estate agents are alright)
 
Any favourite bands or artists,  any tracks that stand out for the right or wrong reasons ............ 
Florence Welch gave me the best compliment ever by incorporating my remix into her live version of 'Raise It Up' , and I got a big sweaty bear hug from her when I Dj'ed for her at the gig.
Hopefully I can get the chance to work with her again. And anytime I get to remix a Paul Epworth produced track is a real treat - I think he's now up there with Trevor Horn - a total fucking genius.
 
As I mentioned earlier you are also a graphic designer within the music industry.  What sort of work do you produce and how does it combine with your music................
I do a lot of retro stuff and photoshop collages which is a lot like what I do with remixes - taking bits and bobs of other peoples stuff and re-interpreting it - the People's Popular Font collage sleeves have been a great door opener for other graphics work I got a set of T-shirt designs for Stussy commissioned off the back of them, at the moment I'm working on a new batch of screen printed record sleeves for my new 12" label.
 
And as if you aren't grafting hard enough already are you still DJing out and about, where could we catch you playing and what about the various nights you are involved with. 
I'll play anywhere that'll have me - weddings barmitzvahs…at the moment I'm regularly all over the place internationally or taking the bus down to Shoreditch/Dalston to whatever broom cupboard / car park they have turned into a night club down there this week. I still love DJing so much - and it's the only job you can do better a little drunk.
 
Your latest project is under your current guise of Leo Zero.  What's been happening with this and what are you currently up to..........
There is a Leo Zero album of house tracks which are in the old school Chicago / Acid vein which I've done with vocalist Marcel… he sounds like the voice of God in a monty python film on a lot of it. but hopefully it will strike a chord with anyone who lived through that whole acid house thing…. out on Beatport.com/Juno.com now. Also Volume. 3 of my 'Super Edits' free mixtape series.
 
Where do you go from here.  What does the future hold......
I try to be opportunity minded and go on instinct more and more as I get older -  so not knowing what the future holds is a really good place to be right now….so bring IT on… er, whatever IT is - lots more remixes - that's for sure.
 
I won't ask for a full list as there would be too many but can you give me a Discography/remix list of some of the more popular tunes you've worked on..............
Paul Weller 'No Tears To Cry' Leo Zero RMX   / Lou Reed 'Satellite Of Love' Dab Hands Remix  /  X-Press 2 'Give It' Dab Hands Remix / Owl city Fireflies - Leo Zero Remix / Florence & The Machine 'Raise It Up ' Leo Zero Remix / Jack Penate 'Tonight's Today' Leo Zero Remix / Bryan Ferry 'Alphaville' Leo Zero Remix 
 
A question I have to ask every month is what advice for any wannabe bedroom recording/remixing artists out there.......... 
Don't call yourself 20 different artist names - 1 will do…. and don't call yourselves a crap name like "Disco Citizens" 
 
Thanks for the giving me your time in your busy schedule and say hello to the family but one last request.  When do we get to see you playing at a "Shake Your Booty" ....................... 
I thought you'd never ask! - I've been gagging to play for ages - get me in over the summer for sure - it would be brilliant to see some old faces too - but from looking at the SYB facebook the old crew have weathered just as badly as me over the years - we can all have beer belly contest. 
 
You can check out Leo on www.leozero.com or www.soundcloud.com/leo-zero or www.leozero.com  

 

Saturday
Feb112012

Foster The People 'Don't Stop' (Remix)

Here's another official remix...for US big guns Foster The People....a truly great band, and a lovely glam rock swagger to this song - it kept in loads of the original and just did my thing deadening the reverb off and getting rid of the 'indie jangle' a bit, so hopefully you can drop it in a nightclub environment.... decent soundsystem permitting.... and obviously you'd need the right quota of indie bobble-hat hipster types on the floor to get away with it....do it in a proper deep house club and you're toast! ha ha.

Saturday
Feb112012

The Golden Filter 'You Kill Me' (Remix)

Another official remix, for UK indie band The Golden Filter. I was thinking of Sean Johnston and Andrew Weatherall's ace club night 'A Love From Outer Space' when I made this mix... keeping things sparce, intense, and a little spooky...Just like the vibe down there.... I hope you like it people - this is one of my fave remixes of the last few months.

Saturday
Feb112012

OFFICIAL Lana Del Rey Remix

This is an official remix commissioned directly by Lana Del Rey's management and coming out on 12" vinyl in the UK soon. Lana has a no.1 album in 17 countries - top work!

Thursday
Feb092012

JAN2012 DJ MIX 2

Thursday
Feb092012

JAN2012 DJ MIX 1

Wednesday
Feb082012

LEOTRAX06 Leo Zero 'Boom Bam'

Next up on Leo Trax... some straight up tech-house...BOOM BAM.... this one's been carefully road tested, tweaked and is 100% ready for the floor. download available for 24 hours. full release in a few weeks.

Tuesday
Feb072012

Old Cardigans remix

I love youtube - Forgotten all about this...from 1997-ish - sounding quite playable - never got paid, the record label knocked it and then released it anyway - don't you just love major record labels!

 

Tuesday
Feb072012

FRIENDS 'Friend Crush' (Leo Zero Remix)

This band are about as hot as it gets at the moment. Hailing from Brooklyn and sounding to these ears something like a 21st century Blondie... FRIENDS are on Michael Morley's ace label 'Lucky Number' (the people who brought you Darwin Deez no less) This is an OFFICIAL remix I did to help promote their first live dates in the UK. already getting some love from Huw Stevens at Radio 1 - get stuck in quick - this won't be downloadable for ever.

Monday
Feb062012

LEOTRAX05

first single from a new batch coming thick and fast for 2012 on my digital label: LEO TRAX. I'm just back from a night on the floor at Back to Basics in Leeds under the spell of djs Jozif & Damian Lazarus - I got straight back in the studio with the spirit of that room still fresh in my mind and this is what came out... There's 24 hours free download on this ahead of a proper release in a few weeks - SO DON'T SLEEP PEOPLE. Do yourselves a favour and get down to the newly re-launched Basics at The Warehouse... one of the heaviest Funktion One rigs I've heard, and a perfect sized room - big up Mr Dave Beer - here's to another decade or two of deep, dark, and wobbly Basics magic!

 

Friday
Dec232011

Leo Zero 'Lil' Higher' free .wav download!

Another day - another free .wav to download ! how generous am I ? This one is to help promote my Boxing Day DJ gig down in Portsmouth for 'Civilisation Of The Rough' - a big three room one-off party with all the best deep disco heads in the South of England in attendance... one of those great parties like FAITH where half the crowd have known each other for years and the room is full of LOVE LOVE LOVE... previous guests have been Greg Wilson and Alfredo... so you know it's gonna be a belter.

C.O.R. Boxing Day Party Mon 26th Dec, The Vaults, Southsea, Portsmouth, UK. 
http://www.c-o-r.co.uk/civilisation_of_the_rough/

Leo Zero 'Lil' Higher' by Leo Zero

Thursday
Dec222011

Leo Zero 'Physical Thrill' free .wav download!

Here's a new track for free download, to help promote my DJ gig tomorrow night at the Book Club in London for BIG IN JAPAN, I'm spinning alongside two of my favourite DJ/producers/editors on the planet: LEFTSIDE WOBBLE and PETE HERBET - two brilliant djs who are about as good as it gets at spinning that NU Disco stuff everyone seems to be talking about again... hey wake up journalists we've been doing this since f**king 1995! and it's not a hipster thing, it's just the music we love. 

If your in London, get you arse down there - a great intimate basement with a very heavy system. 
BIG IN JAPAN Xmas Party - Fri 23rd Dec, The Book Club, 100-106 Leonard St London. EC2A 4RH 
www.wearetbc.com

Leo Zero 'Physical Thrill' by Leo Zero

Tuesday
Dec132011

New Juno Chart

Tuesday
Dec132011

UK Rare groovers in Italia

Wow this take me back. Back in the day when Rare Groove ruled the world. Thanks to Zaf Chowdry for finding this. Zaf has a great rare vinyl site.... check it out: zafsmusic.com

Monday
Dec122011

Istanbul DJ debut!

Sunday
Dec112011

Felix's 303

I was recording round at Felix Dickinson's Studio a while back and had to snap a photo of his 'very well loved' 303 - check the tweakage wear on those knobs! - this baby has been worked hard.... quite right too. You should check Felix spin if you ever get the chance - a proper DJ, with amazing taste, who technically is f*ing scarrily good.... there's plenty of mind blowing mixes on his site http://www.cynicrecords.co.uk/

 

Saturday
Dec102011

Faith / Strobelight Honey advert

The new issue of the ONLY house magazine is out now! featuring these two lovely adverts for my Leo Trax label.

Saturday
Dec102011

Chart for Brain Magazine France

 1.

Canyons - When I See You Again (Modular)
This is taken from an album i've been telling all my friends about in an evangelical fashion - it's the best thing I've heard in years. This is just one of a mass of incredible songs on 'Keep Your Dreams' which channels loads of my favourite artists: It's Immaterial, The Smiths, Prefab Sprout, The Cure,Peter Gabriel are all synthesised into one big psychedelic stew with bizarrely and brilliantly - large slabs of vintage chicago house drum programming and acid tweaks plopped on top for good measure. It's a truly blissful ride that is totally immersive and takes you somewhere all together out there....deep space music for horizontal headphone dancing.
2.
Factory Floor - Two Different Ways (DFA)
One of THE club records of 2011 - reminds you how simple synths and drum machines hammering hard can do voodoo on a room full of people. check the genius video too:
3.
Trickski - Beginning
With the whole slo-mo thing getting a little formulaic - Trickski comes correct with a detroit beatdown / J Dilla influenced bomb - drums that just ooze character and a ballsy 'simple as fuck' arrangement that milks every piece of drama out of the show... crystalline synths are dusted on top and bend your head up further.... Then a whole slab of the classic sample 'My Lady' by The Crusaders arrives.... and we are slain.
4.
Death in Vegas - Medication  (Fearless Nightcrawlers Remix)
File next to Factory Floor for lessons in dancefloor voodoo. Mr Fearless strips back and toughens up one of the many highlights from his brilliant new album, and locks us in for a nightride, coming on all Com Truise in the breakdown like some sleazy 80's B video and then straight back in to the ACID THROB - this woozy barbiturate banger is the sonic equivalent of a handful of Quaaludes and a sniff of ether.
5.
Moodymanc - Father (Rick Wade Daddys Disco mix) (Landed)
Grooving like a classic piece of 90's disco loop action (think Ian Pooley not fucking Eric Prydz) and sounding to these ears like the long lost brother of Norman Connor's space disco anthem 'Life On Mars'. This is one for deep into the dj set, when the proper house dancers start to flex their muscles, form a circle, and let their battles commence.
6.
Gerd - Palm leaves (Deetron Remix)
Deetron has excelled once again on this brooding techy detroit house number, he's someone who obviously knows the art of a fine arrangement... making the dancers eb and flow with the incredibly emotive grooves he creates... a great vocal rounds of this dreamy classic techno ride....look out Theo Parrish and Dennis Ferrer you have competion - we have a new king of the slow burn floor destroyer and his name is Deetron.
7.
The Black Crowes - I Aint Hiding (Ashley Beedle's heavy disco edit) (Modern Artifacts 12")
The Black Crowes do cock-rock cocaine-disco in the same vien as The Stones 'Miss You' and pull it off with real Jazz.... but only after Ashley Beedle has stretched and teased out a proper 12" dancefloor version. Ashley was one of the first DJ's I followed as a teenager, he's one of the greatest remixers of all time, with an inbuilt talent for mashing genres - Afro/Punk, Dub/Disco, Techno/Jazz Ashley just has fun with it all. I learnt what remixing is all about from this man's adventures. BIG RESPECT.
8.
The Unknown Cases - MaSim MaBelle (Headman Mix) (Leo Trax)
I'm very proud to be releasing this on my own label, the original is a stone cold balearic classic that I licensed for my Strut compilation 'Disconnect'  last year. I managed to get the original studio masters for it
and after a night gassing about this and other 80's90's leftfield classics with him, I realised I'd found the perfect remixer in Mr Robi 'Headman' Issinia - a man who knows all about that special midtempo dancefloor CHUG factor. I've backed it up with my own take on this classic - out early 2012 on Leo Trax.
9.‬
‪Emiliana Torrini - Jungle Drum (Jai Paul Remix)‬
I've been following Jai Paul since he surfaced in 2010 - now signed to XL and soon to be crowned king of the postmodern, post genres,  post everything approach to music making - It sounds like he doesn't give a fuck what you think and is throwing it all in just the way he likes it. I can't wait to see how he evolves into a fully fledged artist with XL behind him - let's hope he's gonna take the baton and run with what M.I.A. has done for beautifully random global beat pillaging. His music's got the balls, style, and sense of humour to charm all the mainstream punters. Watch this space.
10.
Kate Bush - Wild Man (Full Length) (EMI)
Kate seems to have got more Balearic with age... maybe she's been listening to old Baldelli tapes out in her country pile.... this one sounds like it would have gone down a storm with a load of stoned italian kids at the Typhoon or Cosmic club back in the day - all we need now is Matt Edwards to do a Radioslave re-rub like his masterful take on 'King of the Mountain'.