As far as his production goes, he’s known for his bouncy, catchy riffs and running beats. Drum ‘n’ bass tunes like Super Sharp Shooter, Casino Royale and Ska have more than adequately demonstrated that he has the funk. But he’s also made a name for himself with his Bingo Beats label making breakbeat with a unique vibe.
Growing up in a musical household, Zinc first got into electronic music through pirate radio. He’d tune in to the early hardcore and jungle stations, staying up all night listening for the track ids so the next day he could go down to the record store and pick up the new tunes. A mate of his bought a ghetto turntable setup – a box with two decks without pitch control and a mixer, the kind used in pubs – which he used to make mixtapes for his friends. One of these tapes made it into the hands of a local pirate DJ and Zinc was soon rocking the airwaves. Things gradually built from there as he started making contacts with producers and promoters and soon he was getting gigs and making his own tunes.
It might come as a bit of shock to those familiar with his more recent bouncy, jump up style of production, but it was initially the more atmospheric musical styles that got a young Zinc hooked. “I used to go around to Bukem’s house and get test-presses from Good Looking – that would be the high point of my month,” he says. But after meeting one DJ Hype, his tastes began to expand. He began to see the attraction of the bigger basslines and their effect in the clubs.
Although he’d produced and released a few tunes before then, Super Sharp Shooter was the tune that made Zinc. An enormous success, it still tears up the dancefloor whenever it’s dropped, and it is included in pretty much every list of classic jump up jungle anthems. “After I did that track I was able to leave my nine-five job. I got quite a lot of DJ work and my records started selling a lot more.” Since then he’s continued to compound his success, writing killer dancefloor tunes for his lable with Hype and Pascal, Tru Playaz.
In 2000 Zinc began his solo venture Bingo Beats. From the beginning it was intended that Bingo would not be limited to only drum ‘n’ bass, and releases have included breaks and soon house. Running his own label allowed him more creative freedom, but there were also added pressures.
“With Tru Playaz, Hype’s the A&R man so he decides what goes out or not whereas on Bingo it’s totally down to me so it’s quite nerve racking. Because if I choose the track and nobody buys it, then it means I made a bad choice. It’s a kind of pressure, but I don’t feel like we have to sell a load of records, I feel like I wanna look back in five years or ten years and say I liked every single record I put out, I really am. And so far so good. Every tune that I’ve put out by other people I’ve thought was really good, and the stuff that we’ve got that’s forthcoming from different producers, I really think is good.�