Written by Phin Upham
Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker got their first taste of the music biz serving tea to the likes of Robert Plant and the Pet Shop Boys in London. Soon, the two were helping to mix and record tracks. In fact, the better parts of the 90s were spent honing their production skills in sound booths and recording studios.
The name “Zero 7” comes from a night club in Honduras, and it seemed unassuming enough to match the down tempo sounds the group was producing. Their first full-length album was called Simple Things, and it dropped into the hands of hungry music critics worldwide. The collection featured laid-back tracks in the style of funk and soul, with a bit of acid-jazz thrown in. It featured Mozez, Sia Furler and Sophie Barker on vocals for some of the tracks, but many were instrumental.
Popularity was slow to come for the band, whose second album passed by almost unnoticed. Their third album, Garden, won them a Grammy for their efforts. But it was not until their appearance on the Garden State soundtrack that the group found mainstream approval.
The departure of Sia Furler in 2007 left the group without a lead vocalist. The group soon found Eska Mtungwazi, which turned their influence towards the pop scene. Their latest album, Yeah Ghost, debuted a retooled mix of pop-infused jazz and electronica.
Zero 7 is noted for their ensemble performances when they appear live, often having upwards of twenty people on stage for a given song.