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Label Focus: Rhythm Section

Bradley Zero's blossoming label is putting Peckham on the map

  • Words: Aurora Mitchell
  • 16 May 2017

After nearly three years of hosting parties at Canavan’s Pool Hall at the end of Peckham’s Rye Lane, Bradley Zero kicked off a Rhythm Section label with a release named after the South East London area’s main street. Al Dobson Jr’s album ‘Rye Lane Volume One’ set a precedent for an imprint that deals in smooth, nocturnal house with touches of jazz and soul. Since that first release in June 2014, they’ve dropped records from locals FYI Chris and Henry Wu, as well as producers from further afield like Prequel and Local Artist. The latter two are from Australia and Vancouver, locations that Rhythm Section has been forging strong links with since they first started putting on nights in 2011. Now almost 20 releases deep, the label has carved out a strong identity in a short space of time. It’s an imprint that elicits loyalty and has a core fanbase that will buy every release on sight – regardless of whether they’ve heard of the artist or not. As they expand their operations, they’re starting to branch out with a sub-label called International Black which sees Zero taking Rhythm Section further into functional club music territory.

Label boss: Bradley Zero

What was your aim in setting up the label?

I had this music that wasn’t going to see the light of day any other way, and this whole game is about sharing! Then I met Al Dobson Jr. and he just had so much music that he’d been sitting on for years. Without knowing it, that first record went on to define everything else we would do as a label moving forward. I’d already been doing radio and parties and I kept coming across new music so instead of it being like ‘this is new music that I want to play’ – it was like ‘this is new music
I want to release to the world.’

At what point do you think the label really started to become a force?

It felt solidified as a label after releasing ‘Good Morning Peckham’ by Henry Wu, and ‘Midnight In Peckham’ by Chaos in the CBD. That was summer 2015. I think both those records lifted those guys up to another level, but lifted us up as a label as well – we lifted each other up.

What’s next for Rhythm Section?

The focus is going to shift a bit towards a new sub-label, International Black. The first three EPs are lined up for that – they’re ready to go. I’m going to be focusing on putting them out and then A&Ring the next few Rhythm Section releases. The idea with International Black is that it’s all split 12”s, one track on each side, two different artists. Rhythm Section is definitely not club music; this is more functional club music.

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