In today’s episode of “In the Spotlight” I have the great pleasure of having a chat with Craig from The Zeropoint Projects.
Thank you Craig for joining me today
Thank you for having me C!
1, How long has it been “The Zeropoint Projects” and what was it before that?
It hasn’t been TZPP for too long actually, but it has been loitering in the background for a long while. Around the time when jobs were struggling in the UK around 2009/10, I sadly lost my job and was out of work for a year. In this time I tried to find other work but they were few and far between, so I decided to use some of my photography skills and work from that angle. I got my website up and everything was going great and i needed a name that was catchy and cool, at the time of all this me and the wife were having a ‘heated’ discussion about something small and non important probably when she said something in reply to a stupid remark from myself probably, “There is zero point of you doing anything like that!” (kind of like saying There’s no point of you doing anything like that) something clicked in my head, and with all the photography projects i was doing at the time, that’s where the name came from. Not really exciting I’m afraid, I could lie and say it’s all about infinite energy in quantum mechanics and something deep like that, but no its was from an argument hahah!
I got a job pretty soon after that so the whole name thing was shelved for a while. I had been making electronic music for a while, not so much as a ‘live thing’ but more of a bedroom hobby so I didn’t really have a need for a name as such, but anything that did get created, came under the name of cjdust. This name was born from a mix of CJ (Computer jockey instead of DJ, not even sure that’s a thing haha) and I was also listening to CJ Bolland at the time and thought that sounds cool having the initials at the front. That then mixed with dust from the Dust Brothers musicians/producers who helped out with the BeastieBoys album Paul’s Boutique, which opened up the world of beats and sampling for me. Thus, CJDUST was born. (also now the first two initials of daughters name also funnily enough) Maybe subconsciously, holding it for her when she becomes a multi millionaire artist? who knows!?
TZPP came into play only a few years ago when I started making more serious tunes, and artists that I worked with at the time in my day job Viperdrive and Dave Dark and the Sharks, showed me the way to releasing my work to the masses, so a new name was needed. I flitted between a few names during that time, cjdust was kind of banished to a different era and style i used to play, I needed something that mirrored the style of music i was playing at the time, dark, mysterious with a big heavy hitting name. Johnny Tourettes and Fuck You Orchestra was in place for a short time, but sounded more of a punk outfit, the kind that would spit in your face before, during and after a live set…I would only spit in your face during 🙂 so this wasn’t suited for the style I had just created. Johnny Tourettes was also there as well, but again I’m not the spitting swearing type, I wanted something that caught some attention and also a pain in the arse to type and spell, and also cause me grief when creating artwork due to its length.
So, out of the blue and cleaning some old files out of some old hard drives, I came across my old photography projects folder and it was just there staring at me. The Zeropoint Projects
2, What is your favorite instrument, and is there one you would like to learn to play one day?
I have lots! I started out as a drummer when I was 14/15 buying my first kit out of the money I got from a car boot sale of my mum’s old attic valuables. It stayed with me for a long time during my lifetime of bands I was in, known as Mr Tickle due to my crazy animated long arse arms flailing back and forth across the kit. It stuck with me for a while. As I was also tinkering around with electronic ambient stuff in the background, I wanted more of an input in the bands I was playing in, so needed to learn other instruments before I start telling people what to play and point out all their errors 🙂
During High school, I had done a stint of work experience days in a local music shop, and after a few weeks they offered me a guitar as payment for working there and selling stuff. So I had a guitar gathering dust already so started with that, once I had the basics down and could play oasis’ wonderwall back to front, I wanted to play bass. The band I was in at the time, MK2, was a pop punky 4 piece, and the bassist was getting bored, as was I with the drums, so we said “Fancy a swap?” So we swapped instruments simple as that!
During all this as well, I had learned a small amount of piano and electronic samplers, but to say what is my favourite…..it’s tough one, I think Bass pips the drums to the post, only just though! Seen as the most boring in the band, it brings the groove! A lot of my stuff is bass orientated. A Lot of my tracks have multiple uses for the bass guitar through the arrangements, if it’s not being used as a main riff machine for the tune or just ambient effects to give it all a bit of atmosphere, string scratches and bangs there’s a huge amount of uses for it. Take my track 9Mile for instance, There are 4 different bass uses just at the start of the song before the main bass line kicks in. This can also work in my favour during live sets, keeping the same instruments but working the FX with my feet.
I think if I was going to learn anything it would be piano, such a beautiful instrument to be able to sit in front of to play.
3, Do you have any other outlet for your creativity except music?
Yes quite a few, and most of the time I don’t have any time to pursue them all unfortunately.
Photography has been a big one for me, through my family a camera was always handed down to the next generation, and sadly after losing both parents in early 2000’s and rounding up their belongings, I didn’t realise how big and how far back my fathers love of photography and film went. Videography as well goes hand in hand, with a love for editing and shooting, this was another avenue during the Zeropoint Projects as a photography business I was going down, and also as the artist when editing music videos. Story telling has always been a big one for me as a kid, I loved sci fi! and I loved to write stories as a kid, I even started writing a book when I was in my teens, called ‘Catch 22’, I got through about 100 pages as well, but got packed away and never seen again. There was a small homage to it in my last album with the track, Catch 22 aptly named
The story telling kind of thing carried on and into the music side of things also. My last album, The Ninety9 Session, was heavily influenced by a book/comic I was drawing/writing at the time involving my kids in hitman/hitkid type scenario. Each track was basically the theme for each of the characters first hits, this is why a lot of the tracks on the album are multi-genre and layered so much. It’s in fact following a path of progression for that character and the action that they encounter. Maybe the story will be finished one day and it will all make sense.
4, What is the one thing you would like to tell your fans?
Fans? I have some? 🙂 To the few people that do listen to my stuff, my appreciation and thank you bucket is over flowing, please take a cup of it!
I’m eternally grateful for anyone who has given any eartime to my work over the last few years, this is covering people who generally just listen for pleasure to those who are my inner circle of ears I use to lay down any rough tracks and for any pointers that they can give. It’s so handy to have such a talented community at our fingertips, and each and everyone has their own skillset that they can give the best advice on. As indie artists, we need to use this resource to learn from it and gain friendships out of it. Yeah, we got the internet and youtube etc, but sometimes, an actual human being can say things a lot better and critique your work better than any forum of strangers can. Lets help each other become the artists we want to be, this day and age is fuelled by hatred in everything we do, a little hand up here and there goes a long way with some people, so lets do what we can, while we can.
5, What is the one thing you would like to tell the Music Industry?
Yooohoo!! helllo I’m over here!! throw money at me please so I can make more stuff that go beep boop beeeeeep!
It’s a big old machine isn’t it!? I’ve been in a few sticky situations in previous bands when we nearly got signed up to Food Records back in the 90’s (super excited as it had Blur and Jesus Jones at the time), but at the last minute we had to pull out because we couldn’t make it to London for a show as we couldn’t afford the travel. We were kids at the time in university and couldn’t afford a van to get up there, but they came down pretty hard on us for not being able to make it, which was totally opposite what they promised us initially (the world). It scarred us a bit and we realized there and then that, if you’re not in fashion at the time with the style of music you’re playing, you’re not going to be seen, but only to a small group of followers in your local pub. So my dreams of a rock star took a back seat and followed my day job instead.
But now, we have amazing communities, like Twitter and independent radio shows like SLE, where Indie artists are getting heard more and more now. The artists can now manage their own tracks on all the major streaming services, which is what the general indie artist wanted, it gives us that extra bit of reach now across the world, and that one extra set of ears on our music makes all the difference.
Small labels like HippeDrive who recently released the Heroes of Hifi compilation album are making our little dreams come true, there was no way we could have got on a record back in the day, let alone a ltd edition orange one! These smaller companies are the real heroes for the indie population and my utmost thanks and appreciation goes straight to them for that.
Thank you so much, and I can’t wait to find out what you have installed for us in the future!
Thanks for the opportunity to blurt out everything to you C! All that was missing was the big long couch. Currently working on a new album with 8 female vocalists and producers and will hopefully be out later this year called The Trinity Sessions, a few tracks have been floated around to certain individuals for teasers, but it’s going to be a slow burn on this one as i need to get this spot on and not too rushed like the first album.
Thanks for having me!
And YOU can find The Zeropoint Projects HERE
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