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In Session: Dax J

Batten down the hatches

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 20 May 2016

Techno is a genre known for its dark and powerful sound, but even in a sphere dedicated to no-holds-barred production, Dax J’s tracks stand out as particularly robust and intense.

Take ‘The Wonk’, from his most recent EP ‘The Invisible Man’, 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. It’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 Europe’s techno capital Berlin nowadays, but travelling back to his teen years spent listening to d’n’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 – the 6-8am Saturday graveyard shift – but he accepted with enthusiasm and set his alarm early every weekend for months to broadcast his sets.

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