Word up peeps. Back again with another Q & A and this we're illing out with my brother (from another brother), my DJ partner in crime from VisionBombing, the gal dem sugar, Ladies took in your bra's, Fella's hide your sisters cause we about to go on with no other than London's finest, Itch F.M's .....................Mmmmmmmmmmmr Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeex!!!
1. So first question. As I always ask, At what age did you know that you wanted to be a DJ?I've been playing vinyl at home since about 6yrs, but seeing Jam Master Jay and Terminator X around the age of 8-10 made me want to get a pair of decks. I was happy with it as a hobby, but the passion for it led to opportunities that have turned it into a possible career option.
2. Outside of Hip-Hop, What other genre in music do you like?
Lots of stuff including...In most genres there's a portion of tracks I can relate to even if I don't follow certain genres too closely. Generally I keep and ear open for anything that sounds and feels good to me, particularly if it's of a boom-bap, funky or soulful nature. :)
3. As I know your on London's Itch F.M. My question is how long has that station been running for and how did you get on to having your own show called "The Dex Files"
Well I was a part of Itch FM during their inaugural run early 2000s and was involved then for about 3 yrs. At the time I got on through a mixtape submission, and I mean mixtape, TDK lol. Itch ran up until 2006 I believe.
Itch resurfaced with an online blog in 2012. Management got in touch with me this year when they were making plans to launch online. I was keen, but reluctant at the same time as I didn't want to come back with the same format and feel as my previous shows. Besides I'm now 10yrs older than I was then, I've had various influences since then, and my taste in music has developed also.
Funny enough, I had it in mind to use The DeX Files in some form during my first run on Itch. Around the same period DJ Excalibah (1Xtra) released a compilation called The Ex-Files. Due to timing and the fact I didn't have a solid concept to back the name I decided to sit on it.
I first used the name for my Mixcloud page a couple years ago and when the opportunity came to get back on Itch it made sense to reinforce the brand/concept by giving the show the same name. At present the show offers my interpretation of true-skool Hip-Hop with an element of Soul, it's not a show based on trends or location of artists, simply quality of the music. Whilst the primary focus is on current releases I also aim to connect the dots between the old and the new. I consider it the vegan/organic alternative to your bog standard Hip-Hop & R&B show. lol
4. So your a fan of The X Files?
Nah not really lol. In school I remember kids used to bang on about the show, I watched a few episodes here and there but was never a follower of it. Though there are similarities. In the same way Mulder believed there was extraterrestrial life on earth, I'm a firm believer that there is quality music out there, contrary to what's being offered by the mainstream outlets. My mission is to find it and expose it. lol
5. On radio still... what's your view on the whole Tim Westwood/DJ 279 thing?
The same as the majority really, it was a foul move, simple. Clearly it made good business sense to the head honchos, but there's a way of going about things, especially towards someone that gave you 20-odd years and made the contributions that they did. To be honest though, no matter how it was handled, a number of people would have found that particular move distasteful for obvious reasons. I understand they've also just dropped Daddy Earnie after 24yrs!?!?! Radio's changing. Stations that once seemed to make a difference of have something edgy about them are now sounding alike, promoting trends and serving a specific demographic. At the same time the underground and independent have responded with the emergence of stations such as NTS, Mi-Soul, Itch etc.
6. What's your views on the clubs/bars that you know of now a days. Are you happy with what we got (that you know of) or do you think it needs work (network game, sound system, ect ect)?
What irks me, if anything, is that the importance of the quality of the DJ has decreased over the years. A lot of DJs seem to be hired based on association or because it's more 'cost-effective' for the venue, which doesn't always translate into a good night. Of course the number of DJs has increased over the years largely due to technological advancements, rather than desire for the art. The outcome is the venue owners are in a great position to pick and choose DJs based on whatever agenda suits them at the time.
Business wise I understand, venues want to make money, but when it gets to a point where it feels like a venue owners will be happy to have you playing acapellas all night if you could guarantee a full house, I have an issue with that.
Networking skills is one of the top skills to acquire across board at this present time, but more important is to link and network with like minded people. Things will progress a lot faster and further with less issues. The good thing about the level of competition we have in London is that it forces you to think outside the box and be more creative.
7.Can you remember your favourite performance as a party rocker?There's been countless good nights over the years, but Jazz Cafe, definitely. Jazz Cafe at the time was a venue where I'd seen performances from many artists that I respect, legends. Fast forward circa 2004/05 I had the opportunity to perform at Jazz Cafe as tour DJ with Klashnekoff/ Terrafirma. After the show I got to spin a lengthy hip-hop set...Lets just say I was in my element.
What capped it off was someone spotted my younger brother at his place of work, thinking it was me, he went on to tell my brother how much he smashed it as Jazz Cafe the other night, my brother wasn't even there. lol
8. Is there a DJ performance that you've done and said to yourself that you could of done that better?
Yeah, most of them lol. Seriously, I analyse everything. Even the events that clearly went well based on crowd response, I analyse those too. What went well? Why did it go well? What didn't go so well? How can I improve? etc. Always analysing, everything. As confident as I am with my skill set I still feel a degree of anxiousness before most gigs because I know there's always an unexpected element, no matter how prepared I've been. For example once a promoter asked me to prepare a specific set for a party he booked me for. As requested I went there with the specified set and cleared a full floor in minutes, left with just 3 friends who came to see me...The feeling indescribable. The lesson - you're better off preparing a set in accordance to the musical policy of the party in general, promoters (generally) are not DJs.
9. As this is mostly a Q & A of getting to know you as a DJ, I would like to ask which 5 DJs do you rate in this game now?
?uestlove - musical diversity and the simplicity and effectiveness of his delivery
Mr. Thing - never met such a friendly beast in all my days.
DJ Scratch - technique and style/ branding
DJ Jazzy Jeff - class act
Psykhomantus - we play in a similar vein, with subtle differences. His work ethic, hunger and vision has been inspirational at times when I've been lacking in those areas.
10. Last question. What will we be expecting in the future from you?
Hear Mr. Dex's mix "Yardbird" here
Check out "A Bunch Of Deckheads" by Mr. Dex & Hope.