Mixmag In Session: Dax J
Full feature - http://www.mixmag.net/feature/in-session-dax-j/
â€œTechno is a genre known for its dark and powerful sound, but even in a sphere dedicated to no-holds-barred production, Dax Jâ€™s tracks stand out as particularly robust and intense.
Take â€˜The Wonkâ€™, from his most recent EP â€˜The Invisible Manâ€™, which lays down a tough low-end that ploughs forward with relentless energy. A frantic outer texture sounds like an accordion made out of titanium alloy, quivering in-and-out to disorientating effect. Itâ€™s a face-melting cut that that bends the mind of any dancefloor that hears it. Last month he took dancers in Berghain through to Monday afternoon with a 10-hour closing set which was undoubtedly transcendental.
The producer is based in Europeâ€™s techno capital Berlin nowadays, but travelling back to his teen years spent listening to dâ€™nâ€™b and jungle while growing up in London provides insight into his vigorous approach to production.
Dax took up DJing aged 15 as a hobby that soon turned into an obsession. He would gather with friends on school playgrounds to listen to Kool FM radio recordings on their walkmens, until he could no longer confine his passion to break times and would skip lessons to shop for vinyl at Black Market Records in Soho.
Looking for an outlet to publicly air the wax he was buying by the shedload, he came into contact with one of the founders of the Time FM pirate radio station and pestered him with phone calls for a month until he was offered a show. It was hardly a prime slot â€“ the 6-8am Saturday graveyard shift â€“ but he accepted with enthusiasm and set his alarm early every weekend for months to broadcast his sets.
His next pirate stint was on Origin FM, which he held down for four years and in that time began to release music under the name Dangerous, with records arriving through outlets such as Mickey Finnsâ€™ Urban Takeover label and his own Xplicit Sound. But while studying Music Technology at university he began to fall out of love with the dâ€™nâ€™b scene, finding the move towards jump-up sounds to be at odds with the rawness and darkness of the music he fell in love with.
Musically disillusioned after graduating, he decided to spend the summer in Ibiza and it was there that he was introduced to techno. Dax was blown away by the spectacle of the clubs and the new music he was hearing, describing his response to Stray Landings as â€œthis music is like drum 'n' bass but slower, I love it!â€ He returned to producing invigorated with a new direction to follow, yet he didnâ€™t completely forego his roots and regularly works old breaks and the classic amen sound into his techno exploits, making for some of the most high-octane records going.
Dax Jâ€™s contribution to the genre since has been massive, co-founding the EarToGround label and going solo with his Monnom Black imprint, curating and contributing to a stacked release schedule that never falters in quality. His work ethic is so strong that he even sets up a micro studio on planes on the way to gigs.
2015 saw the release of debut full-length â€˜Shade Of Blackâ€™ which was awarded Album of the Month in Mixmag and showcased an artist with an assured vision and uncompromising attitude. Itâ€™s a mindset that he carries over to his DJ sets that are characterised by rigid rhythms and forays into pulsating acid. Check out his slamming In Session mix below for a prime example.â€
Words - Patrick Hinton, Mixmag
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