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Kinetic Riddims: Dexplicit


From 2002’s ‘UK Ravers’ to ‘Forward Riddim,’ 4×4 with Shola Ama and even remixes for M.I.A., Dexplicit has worked in just about every style under the grime banner.  Riddim.ca talks to him about his new label (DXP Recordings), the success of ‘Pow,’ the globalisation of grime, and the science of dancefloor kinetics.

Paul: Can you give us a quick bio of the man called Dexplicit, from your first release on Social Circles to where you are today?

Dexplicit: U.K Ravers was my first release. I then put out an E.P called ‘Red brick Road’ myself. After that there was one last release on Social Circles called this the Shadows E.P.

4-5 months down the line, Lethal B heard my ‘Flamer Riddim’ instrumental, came up with the ’10 MC’ concept, and “POW” was created. This tune made a lot of noise on the underground, went to no.11 in the charts, won “best anthem” at the “Mobo’s”, and opened up avenues for a lot more work for me.  I also won a UMA award for best producer at the UMAs (urban music awards), so it’s been all good

Shortly afterwards I was approached to do several remixes, these included, “U got Me”- Carmen Reece, “Pull up the People”- M.I.A, “Roll wit’ us”- Akala, and “Pull up Dat”- Shizzle, Flirta, Nappa & Ribz.

I have now opened my own label called “DXP Recordings” which is doing great.

P: Style-wise, I’d say you’re one of the more diverse producers associated with the grime scene.  Apart from straight up MC tracks like “Pow” you’re also putting out 4×4 bangers and what sometimes gets called RnG.  I’ve even seen your tracks on bassline house mixes.  So where do you see yourself in relation to all these genres and scenes?  Is there a unifying theme behind all of your work or are you, in a sense, adopting different personas as you move between projects?

D: The way I see it, is that I’m a producer, not a grime producer, or a 4×4 producer, just a producer who builds tunes. I’ve got a hip-hop tune on “S.A.S’s” LP, I put out a 4×4 ep called “Dexplicit’s Dubs”, and I’ve recorded a “UK Bashment Allstar” tune featuring 8 of the UK ragga scene’s top artist’s. All I care about is making people dance in the clubs, no-matter what their raving to.

P: You’ve recently set up your own label called DXP recordings.    Can you tell us a bit about your decisions to start the label and the sounds we can expect to hear from it?

D: I’ve always had to find other labels to release my material with. And it was getting tiring having everybody try and reel me in exclusively as I’ve always wanted to be able to work with whoever I want. My manager and I decided to open DXP Recordings so that I’d always have my own outlet for my records to go out on.
Expect to hear a spectrum of different music released on the label. Including releases in which nobody knows exactly what genre they belong in.

P: What’s your studio set up like?  What sort of gear and software are you using?

D: It’s a basic setup really, as nowadays, so much can be done to a track before it’s even taken off of the P.C. A good chef never tells you his recipes he just lets you taste the food

P: What was it like for you when “Pow” blew up?  Did you expect all of the attention or was it a bit of a shock?  Did it open up new avenues for you?

D: It was a massive shock how big the track got! But luckily, as most people thought that Lethal B made the beat, I was able to remain in the background and take in everything from the sideline. It definitely opened up new avenues for me.


P: The thing I notice most in your music is this energy that stands out even amongst grime tracks which are generally pretty intense on the whole.   “Pow” is probably the best example given that it got banned for getting people so hyped.  Is there something you try to tap into something in ravers’ minds/bodies, trying to push them and cause certain reactions with the sound?  What sort of effects are you looking to create?  On the level of production, how do you go about trying to create those effects?

D: I believe that just a melody by itself can trigger certain emotions inside a person. So if a good melody is backed by a powerful drum-pattern, it can make people move their bodies without even realising.

For instance, if you were to take [the] U.S national anthem, put a very energetic, military type drum-pattern underneath it, and played it at a superbowl with a rock group or a rapper, the audience would go crazy!

P: Do you plan on doing some shows in North America anytime soon?

D: If a promoter booked me to fly out there tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss it for anything!

P: Have you followed reaction to grime over here in the last couple  of years – people writing in blogs, putting on shows, listening to  you guys online, and even putting tunes now?  What’s it like to see the music start catching on around the world?

D: It’s great to see the music spreading slowly around the world. It shows that the audience of the scene is increasing, which means the scene on a whole gets bigger. I’ve spoken to grime producers from Toronto and San Francisco about the grime communities over in the States, and they seem to have their scenes popping off too! I’ve read about a few U.K acts like Jammer and Kano performing in New York, and a few other places. Also, Slik-D and I are on an internet station called PyroRadio.com, and can reach download stats of 20k-30k downloads for our sets. A listener from Switzerland once told us that it was his first time listening to this type of music but he loves it already! It’s an amazing feeling to know that people are appreciating your music in various places on the globe.

P: There seems to be a feeling that 2006 could really be the make- or-break year for grime, in terms of artists getting deals and the public really catching on in a big way.  Would agree?  How do you see the next couple of years unfolding for the scene?

D: I think 2006 will be a very optimistic year for grime music. As for the talent in the scene, it goes without saying that there are a lot of talented M.C’s, D.J’s, and Producers who will be receiving support from the public for years to come. The industry just needs more businesses within the scene in order to get the music to these supporters. As the new companies grow and mature, whether they’re record labels, P.R companies, internet stations, or video music channels, so will the Grime music industry.

Interview by Paul Jasen

Category: Interviews

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Riddim.ca was founded by DJ/writer paul autonomic (aka Mr. Bump) in February 2005 as a hub for North America's nascent grime and dubstep scenes. Since then we've helped promote events across the continent and made friends around the world. Mostly dormant now, we're host to one of the web's largest collections of writing on the late-Garage dis/continuum as well as a growing collection of rare audio and scans (coming eventually).