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Recommendations: Bradley Zero and the Rhythm Section team give us the lowdown on London

In conjunction with new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be getting insight into the places artists call home

  • Words: Megan Townsend | Photos: Bradley Zero
  • 10 May 2022

In partnership with Identification of Music's (IOM) new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be giving you a travel guide that you can't pick up at your local bookshop — as your favourite artists give us the lowdown on their hometowns.

This week we've got Leeds-born, London-based DJ, producer, broadcaster and record label boss Bradley Zero along with his Rhythm Section team. Having established Rhythm Section as a radio show back in 2009, the broadcast was promoted into bi-weekly party at the hallowed Canavans Pool Club in Peckham, South London. Since then it's grown into a record label, collective and capital institution — hosting the best-of-the-best in woozy house, progressive beats and world music. Today its roster includes the likes of Chaos in the CBD, FYI Chris, Jerome Thomas, MLE, Ruf Dug, Paula Tape and Nicola Cruz.

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So we can really discover the very best spots in the Big Smoke, we've asked Bradley Zero and the rest of the Rhythm Section crew to give us a rundown of all that London has to offer — from Chinese food in Camberwell to taking a tram in Croydon.

Where's great to listen to some music?

There are so many nice little spots around town, some favourites from us are Lion Vibes Records in Brixton, they run a Selector Thursdays which is always a great time. ORII jam on a Monday is the best spot in town. World-class musicians stepping through the Colour Factory for a massive improv jam! NT'S is always trusty if you’re on the move or stuck at work.

Where's the best place to head on a Friday night?

So many options, but on a consistently nice and friendly tip, The Carpet Shop in Peckham and The Montpelier are a good start.

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Where should we go to buy some records?

Too many to name here! Some of our regular spots include Rat Records, Palace Records, DNR Vinyl, Sounds Of The Universe, Zen Records, Jelly Records and if you fancy a serious dig just out of town, Decktronix is worth the train ride.

Where should we catch a bite to eat?

We’re unanimous in recommending that Silk Road in Camberwell is well and truly up there with the best this city has (and incredibly affordable). In saying that, Yadas and Persepolis in Peckham are banging. Cutie Pies is red-hot for the best pie in town (if you can track them down). FM Mangal, Artusi, Skehans’ Thai are all sick. Kudu Grill, Top Cuvee and Peckham Cellars if you’re feeling fancy.

What about a place to grab a drink?

Skehans is a hot pick for a cracking pub. Other recommendations include Cubana, Behind This Wall in Hackney, Ivy House in Nunhead, Hector’s in Dalston and Scootercaffe.

A place that tourists don't know about?

Nunhead Reservoir, Sydenham Hill Woods and Dawson Heights are all incredible nature and view spots. The Croydon Tram network gets an honourable mention, as does the London Graphic Centre.

Somewhere to get lost?

Stoke Newington Cemetery, Abney Park and Richmond Park are great. Beckenham Palace park is wicked in the spring and summer. Books Peckham is a great book shop that you can get lost in (even though it is relatively small) as is Any Amount of Books in Charring Cross!

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What musicians should we check out?

Tough one given the incredible amount of talent this city has to offer. Sorry to everyone we haven’t included here, this is a very brief selection! TRC Church of Sound vs. Jazz refreshed, Neue Grafik Ensemble, John Glacier, PVA, Alicia, Jazz, Roy Mills (legend), Will Hofbauer and Delay Grounds’ live set is something to behold.

What's the best way to see London?

Well, Bradley suggested tricycle, which we’re going to have to veto - unless you are a child of course! If you’ve had a mad one, a cab ride home (even though often expensive) is a great city experience. It’s the lights, bridges and stalling motion for us. Greenwich park is lovely and has nice views across the Thames, and if you’re able to cycle - it’s always a great way to to immerse yourself.

What's a London party we should check out?

Potentially biased here but Rhythm Section do an alright dance. Seriously though - too many to list once again. Club Yeke are providing some serious fire across town, same goes for the ever-reliable Bubble Chamber crew. Pxssy Palace and Singularity are sick, highly recommend getting down to either of these, same goes for Tratratrax,Lemon Lounge, Touching Bass and anything at The Colour Factory.

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What time of year should we visit?

We’re split on this. Some are saying Spring, others Summer, and a big faction of the team are advocating for Autumn. They all have their blessings - be it weather, vibes or Carnival weekend. One things for sure, definitely NOT winter. It is way too grim.

Can you give us a piece of advice for anyone new to your city?

Don’t be afraid to cross the river! We’re obviously big advocates for South-East London, but the same goes for those who live down here. Jump on your bike and head to the other side - there is so much to offer. Cycle if you can, it’s free! And always good exercise. Get out of Central and ask a local where to go, see some theatre and live gigs (Tips - Young Vic and Earth Hackney) and explore new parts of town, there are so many little strips of shops in every nook and cranny. Get lost, take a bus somewhere random, walk around.

Sum up your city in five words?

Way too fucking expensive mate.

You can listen to the newest episode of IOM Recommends featuring Bradley Zero and the Rhythm Section Staff below.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter

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