Alexander Zane Reid Lowe (born 7 August 1973) is a New Zealand radio DJ, live DJ, record producer, and television presenter.
After an early career in music making, production and DJing in New Zealand, he moved to the UK in 1997, coming to prominence through presenting on XFM and MTV Europe, before hosting a new global music show on BBC Radio 1 from 2003–2015. He now hosts his own show on Apple's international radio station, Beats 1. Lowe has also developed a DJ career, with sets at various concerts and as a warm-up act for touring bands.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Lowe attended Auckland Grammar School and was a presenter on local music station Max TV. Zane was a member of Urban Disturbance, an early 90s hip hop group whose standout hit was "No Flint No Flame" and Breaks Co-Op, alongside Andy Lovegrove and Hamish Clark. Lowe and Clark formed Breaks Co-Op in Auckland, releasing the electronic album Roofers in 1997 before they both left New Zealand to travel and pursue other interests. Both would eventually develop their careers in the UK.
Lowe relocated to the UK in 1997. He initially worked at the Record and Tape Exchange in Notting Hill, before being asked to cover for a show on XFM, going on to host XFM's Music Response. In 2003, he joined BBC Radio 1, showcasing new music from around the world.
Also a successful international DJ, he has played sets at festivals including Coachella, Future Music Festival in Australia, Glastonbury, Creamfields and Bestival. He has toured with artists including, Skrillex, The Prodigy, Kasabian and The Weeknd and opened shows for both Muse and Foo Fighters at their concerts at Wembley Stadium. As well as being a regular performer at Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks, Lowe is also Musical Director for the brand, helping to develop and build their artistic and musical output.
Lowe on MTV
Lowe started his career on MTV Two (now MTV Rocks) presenting shows such as Up 4 It (1997) and Brand:New (1999). From 2002 to 2015, he presented Gonzo, its flagship music show. The show evolved from a two-hour random collection of presenting and clips, to a primetime (7pm) show featuring regular musical guests and interviews. The show was presented solely by Lowe, with the studio effectively being a blue screen and 'Brown Couch'. His presenting manner on Gonzo was more laid back than on his radio show. The show featured music videos, music news and input from the channel's message boards. The show also featured mock interview done by a character called Ginger Bloke, in which popular musical artists were humorously "interviewed." Occasionally, moderators of the boards (chosen on Gonzo and by the members) contributed; one member even filled in for a week when Lowe was too unwell to present. At Oxegen Festival 2006, Zane Lowe was reportedly "beaten up" by Didz Hammond and Carl Barât from Dirty Pretty Things on an episode of Gonzo. He has since said that the punch was in fact completely playful but unfortunately, and painfully, connected with his groin.
BBC Radio 1
Lowe's BBC Radio 1 evening show was broadcast from 2003 to 2015, occupying a 7-9PM timeslot on Mondays to Thursdays every week. Lowe's method of DJing was high octane and fast-paced, similar to many hip hop DJs, with samples of radio stations, interview clips and Radio 1 stings thrown in between songs, along with the occasional sound of Lowe singing along to the music. A key feature of his broadcasting style was to avoid the use of the fader to reduce the volume of the track being played during intros and outros, choosing instead to talk or shout over the tracks which are played at undiminished volume. The show developed a number of features including "Hottest Record In The World Right Now", "masterpieces" and the "Zane Lowe Meets" interviews, including interviews with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Eminem and Rick Rubin.
On 15 February 2015 it was announced that Lowe would be leaving BBC Radio 1 in March 2015 to launch a new station with Apple. Lowe presented his last show on 5 March 2015, bowing out with 'Song For The Dead' by Queens of the Stone Age, from their 2002 album "Songs for the Deaf".
Between 2007 and 2012, one week per year of Lowe's show was dedicated to albums considered "masterpieces". Each show focused on a different album which Lowe and his team considered to be a classic. The first half of the show was dedicated to interviews and an in-depth look at the album's cultural impact, with the album being played in full in the second half of the show.
|1||5 November 2007||Nirvana||Nevermind||24 September 1991|
|6 November 2007||Arctic Monkeys||Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not||23 January 2006|
|7 November 2007||The Strokes||Is This It||30 July 2001|
|8 November 2007||Led Zeppelin||Led Zeppelin IV||8 November 1971|
|2||31 March 2008||Radiohead||OK Computer||16 June 1997|
|1 April 2008||Public Enemy||It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back||14 April 1988|
|2 April 2008||The Libertines||Up The Bracket||14 October 2002|
|3 April 2008||Guns N' Roses||Appetite For Destruction||21 July 1987|
|3||1 December 2008||The Stone Roses||The Stone Roses||13 March 1989|
|2 December 2008||Rage Against the Machine||Rage Against the Machine||6 November 1992|
|3 December 2008||Pink Floyd||The Dark Side of the Moon||10 March 1973|
|4 December 2008||The Prodigy||Music for the Jilted Generation||4 July 1994|
|4||30 November 2009||Metallica||Metallica||13 August 1991|
|1 December 2009||The Streets||Original Pirate Material||25 March 2002|
|2 December 2009||The Clash||London Calling||14 December 1979|
|3 December 2009||Daft Punk||Discovery||13 March 2001|
|5||22 November 2010||The White Stripes||Elephant||1 April 2003|
|23 November 2010||Jay-Z||The Black Album||14 November 2003|
|24 November 2010||The Smiths||The Queen Is Dead||16 June 1986|
|25 November 2010||Fatboy Slim||You've Come a Long Way, Baby||19 October 1998|
|6||21 November 2011||The Smashing Pumpkins||Siamese Dream||27 July 1993|
|22 November 2011||Amy Winehouse||Back to Black||27 October 2006|
|23 November 2011||Dizzee Rascal||Boy in da Corner||21 July 2003|
|24 November 2011||Oasis||Definitely Maybe||30 August 1994|
|7||3 December 2012||Queens of the Stone Age||Songs for the Deaf||22 August 2002|
|4 December 2012||Beastie Boys||Ill Communication||24 May 1994|
|5 December 2012||Arcade Fire||Neon Bible||3 March 2007|
|6 December 2012||The Chemical Brothers||Dig Your Own Hole||7 April 1997|
In 2011, during a 21 November broadcast of "Masterpieces" featuring The Smashing Pumpkins, Lowe expressed his delight at securing the opportunity to play Siamese Dream in full, stating the album to be one of his favourites. Three days later, Lowe announced that 2011 could possibly be the final edition of "Masterpieces", concluding the show with "Hallelujah" from Jeff Buckley's album Grace, stating that the idea of the feature originally came from the suggestion that the album Grace be played on the air from beginning to end. However, Lowe later announced that "Masterpieces" would continue in 2012, with the four chosen albums being announced on 6 November 2012. Lowe himself stated that 2012 was a slightly different year of selection, in that the team chose albums that were of "pure quality, but [haven't] necessarily featured on any traditional 'greatest albums' lists."
At the 2015 Apple WWDC Keynote, Lowe was introduced as one of the DJs of Beats 1, a radio station part of Apple Music. He is also the host of the Apple Music show Planet of the Apps.
Awards and nominations
Lowe has been the recipient of NME Awards and Radio Academy Awards. Lowe has also won the Gold Award in the Specialist Music Programme and Music Broadcaster of the Year categories at the Radio Academy Awards. Lowe recently won the Gold 'Music Radio Broadcaster of the Year' award at the Radio Academy Awards 2014 and, in early 2015, was nominated for a Grammy Award for his writing and production on Sam Smith's hit album In the Lonely Hour.
|2005||NME Awards||Best Radio Show||Won|
|2006||NME Awards||Best Radio Show||Won|
|2007||NME Awards||Best Radio Show||Won|
|2008||NME Awards||Best Radio Show||Won|
|2010||Radio Academy Awards||Music Broadcaster Of The Year||Gold|
|Radio Academy Awards||Best Specialist Music Programme||Gold|
|2011||Radio Academy Awards||Music Broadcaster Of The Year||Gold|
|2012||Artist Manager Awards||Industry Champion||Won|
|2014||Radio Academy Awards||Best Specialist Music Programme||Bronze|
|Radio Academy Awards||Music Radio Broadcaster Of The Year||Gold|
|2015||Grammy Awards||Best Album (Sam Smith‚'In The Lonely Hour')||Nominated|
Ryan Jarman incident
Lowe is remembered for saving Ryan Jarman's life at the 2006 NME Awards, an incident which NME now refers to as "engraved in indie folklore". The incident occurred when Jarman's band, The Cribs, accepted an award on behalf of winners Franz Ferdinand. While on his way to collect the trophy from presenter Russell Brand, Jarman dived onto the Kaiser Chiefs' table and pierced his back with broken glass, narrowly missing his vital organs. He was taken to hospital but discharged himself to return for the show's after-party later in the night. However, his injuries were severe and he fell unconscious in a back corridor. Lowe, a fellow guest at the party, found Jarman lying on the floor bleeding profusely and another ambulance was called which took Jarman to hospital where doctors stitched up the injuries along with the ones the first surgeon had missed.
|1995||"What I Gotta Do"||3 the Hard Way|
|2008||"Look for the Woman"||Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip|
|"F Ur X"||Sway|
|2009||"Vlad the Impaler"||Kasabian|
|2012||"Lightspeed"||Kill The Noise & Datsik|
|"In the End"
Writing and production credits
|2012||"Blood From a Stone"||Example||The Evolution of Man|
|2013||"Count on Me"||Chase & Status featuring Moko||Brand New Machine|
|"Wake Up"||Sway||Wake Up|
|"Dot"||Amplify Dot||Paper Cuts|
|"5 Minutes"||Tinie Tempah||Demonstration|
|2014||"Restart"||Sam Smith||In the Lonely Hour|
|"Running Low"||Netsky featuring Beth Ditto||non-album single|
|"Walking Out"||Liam Bailey||Definitely Now|
|2015||"Baby Blue"||Action Bronson featuring Chance the Rapper||Mr. Wonderful|