Room Zero was named after a music room at David's school.. Originally a two-man team originally formed with the intention of writing and recording electronica music. We’re also involved in film sound, contributing for example to a first place for the film ‘Cloaned’ at the annual Exeter Phoenix ‘Two Short Nights’ film festival in November 2015 - in that case providing audio post-production (sound editing and mixing). This repeated the success of 2012 with the short film ‘Watch Me Dance’. In that film Room Zero carried out all audio tasks during the making of the film (production sound recording, sound effects, foley, editing and mixing).
In music production we collaborate with singers for anything that's not intentionally instrumental, and lyric writing is left to the singer, as a consequence of a belief that singers perform better with lyrics they've written themselves.
Since the first experiments in music co-production we've created various material with the trademarks of interweaving parts, good tunes, and surprising changes of mood inspired by the trance breakdowns of that genre's major artists. There's a certain complexity here that you don't get in most electronic music. Room Zero production work has elements of trance, house, old-school electronica, drum and bass, even hints of classical piano and other styles not easily identified. Room Zero is the unusual result of combining an experienced ‘old-school’ electronica producer with a classically trained keyboard musician.
My activities in music began at about the age of seven when I was sent off to piano lessons. These went on for some years into my twenties, including a few teenage years during which I was determined not to take any interest at all.
In the late ‘90s I started experimenting with electronica, getting inspired by material like Robert Miles' famous tune 'Children'. Nevertheless, having consistently failed to find a collaborator to work with, the electronic music fell by the wayside and I spent a few years playing progressive rock in a local band that never really made a mark on the local music scene.
Overall, this wasn’t a productive period. I’d already given up music entirely for a few years, having suffered one of those musician's nightmares - a muscular or neurological problem with two left-hand fingers which refused to perform as required. That's what happens when you start practising for hours at a time and try to play the piano at a high level to pass an exam: eventually the body just gives up and says “I can't take this”.
Serious musical activity stopped yet again while I finished a degree at Exeter and then lived in the former East Germany for a short time afterwards. After returning to Exeter, I got back into music-making and from 2005 until 2007 I studied film music and film sound at Deep Blue Sound under the guidance of the previously BAFTA-nominated film composer/sound engineer Greg Malcangi who now owns and runs (Greg is Room Zero’s mastering engineer and our source of advanced audio knowledge when we occasionally need it.)
At about the same time as the film sound course at DBS, I took a renewed interest in electronic music. Introduced to the production of trance by a local DJ, Glenn Tout, I began to get seriously interested in the field, though work with Glenn never resulted in any lasting partnership, mainly because our favoured working methods are radically different.
It looked like this would be the end of the second flirtation with electronic music, but then I accidentally came into contact with Marcs Fry, a music producer just up the road in Taunton who already had more of a track record in this area, including a previous record deal with a small German label and some great tunes which needed redevelopment. Room Zero was born.
I was introduced to synthesisers at about the age of seven when my parents would sit with the lights outs in front of the fire, listening to electronic music. I was bought my first keyboard at the age of 11. From the wages of my first job I was able buy my first synth. With this I started to experiment with writing my own tunes. I was also left a piano by my late grandfather and started piano lessons. These lasted 4 years, but I was more interested in synthetic sounds than in the classical scene or being a pianist.
I answered an advert in a local music shop for a covers-based rock band. Soon I was co-writing songs with the lead guitarist and vocalist. Once I'd seen people singing my lyrics, I decided I only wanted to play my own work, and co-founded a band called Culm. This was musically completely original with dark, synthetic undertones. As the founding writer I would create basic ideas for the bassist Neil Eckhart to write vocal parts, and then the band would develop the songs. In 1997 Culm still hadn't performed live though.
I then started writing up-beat song ideas. I gave these to a young female vocalist, Elaine Francis, who wrote catchy melodies and clever lyrics. After putting together a four-track EP, We were soon gigging as Ellem every week. I was still involved with Culm but this now took second place. The lead singer Peter Stanley and I both left Culm. Peter helped with the live mixing of the Ellem gigs. Later in 2000 Elaine left and Lisa Darke fronted Ellem.
In 2001 Ellem came to an end. Pete and I started to write a down-tempo electronica album. This collaboration was called Copshow. In 2002 Copshow finished our first album 'Episode One’, and this was signed to the German label Elektrolux. 'Episode One' entered the German Chillout charts (DCOC) and went to number one for a month in November 2002. Copshow's second album 'United Space' was never released.
2006 saw me getting back into Kraftwerk and writing a retro electro album inspired by sci-fi films about robots with feelings. This album was called 'Clinical Lovers'. I performed it live only once in summer 2007. It was later released in 2010.
2008 saw me returning to writing with Neil Eckhart again. This project was called Alixar, with vocals by Culm's new female singer Alex Carter. Tracks were recorded but never released.
I was still eager to start writing again and in December 2009 I made contact with David Topple, a musician in Exeter. David’s background was the opposite to mine, but a perfect combination and so the production team Room Zero was created. Nevertheless, in 2013 I made contact with a female singer-songwriter, Sofia Sourianou. This became a music production project for an EP entitled 'As A Ghost'. With an ambient, chillwave-orientated dark feel, it received a positive review from BBC Introducing, and was my first venture into being a solo music producer for other people’s material.
co-founded FILTA with my Son Calum Meenan-Fry, Huw Weston, Dan Hagen and singer Joe Taylor. FILTA is a synth-based covers band.
I left the band in 2015 to concentrate on Room Zero