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To Shape The Future #8 Dexta

Alexander / Photography by Alex Perkins

Dexta has carved his own path in Drum & Bass music as the owner of Diffrent Music and a producer in his own right. But what are the tracks that form his foundations and influences?

Dexta has a dedication to finding and nurturing new talent. Releasing early work from Frederic Robinson and A&Ring his own stable of grass roots killers with Lakeway, Kolectiv, Dominic Ridgway, Mauoq and Gaunt all flying the Diffrent Music flag. With his output often covering a wide ranging sound, it stands to reason that the story of his influences follows suit. Standout tracks like 'Minirave', 'Boxgroove' and his VIP mix of Gaunt's 'Piranha' have left a Dexta shaped impact site right in the middle of the 170 BPM landscape.

Wiley Kat Feat Breeze, Danny Ishance & Jet Lee - I Will Not Lose (Wiley Kat Records) 2000

I’d been a bedroom DJ for a year or so and regularly visited Uptown and Black Market Records shopping out UK Garage and Breakbeat music, and then managed to stumble on the births of Grime music. I remember picking up white labels of ‘Eskimo’, ‘Icerink’ and ‘I Will Not Lose’ after asking for something that sounded like So Solid Crew (I was, and not ashamed really into what they were doing). This lead me to the sounds of Wiley and Roll Deep which I still listen to nowadays (moreso in-fact). What I really admired about this kind of stuff was the really basic format, the catchy hooks and the obscured rhythms and hard distorted bass.

V/A - Bingo Beats (Bingo) 2001

Not really a track as such, but a whole milestone in my musical journey. DJ Zinc under about 5-6 aliases took up most of my disposable income in the early naughties as I started to build up my record collection. I managed to get tuned into this music after hearing ‘138 Trek’ on ‘Pure Garage 2’ back in 2000. The ‘Bingo Beats’ mixtape sums up the general sound of the stuff he was putting out around that time. I loved the offbeat breakbeats, the scattered drum patterns, the cheeky sound effects and the funky bass lines.

Logistics - Together (Hospital Records) 2004

Fast forward a few years and you could tune into me spinning tunes on radio known as many old buried aliases - by this point, playing strictly Drum & Bass records. After following a whole journey of styles from DJ Zinc, I steadily found my tastes turn to the more up-tempo stuff and eventually found Hospital Records. They had been going for some time already by this point and already had a pretty big back catalogue. This again spawned another vinyl addiction, where I discovered Logistics ‘Together’, such a great tune, not only did he sample The Beatles (I think), but laid down a simple yet moving piece of work. The breaks are crisp, the bass is smooth, and all the musical elements are a brilliant example of the Fast Soul or Liquid sound I used to really be into. I continued to follow Logistics work and loved his progression as an artist. His first few albums were great, I still draw for cuts off them now.

Limewax - Golden Path (Second Movement) (Obscene Recordings) 2007

I remember listening to some pirate radio show around 2004/05, and heard the DJ saying “Limewax, Untitled”. I was fixated on this tune and it turns out it was called ‘Untitled 666’ so wasn’t too hard to track that down when it dropped in 2006. I got really fascinated with this kind of sound. I got quite into Freak, Tech Itch, Obscene, Barcode stuff too and found out about Current Value, Cooh, The Panacea, Donny, etc. It got quite heavy almost like heavy metal soundscapes, but I still keep the records close to my collection. There was a stand-out track from Limewax, ‘Golden Path’. It had a creepy dialogue sample just before the drop (taken from ‘Children Of Dune’ TV show), a really peculiar drum track, eerie synths and a whole loads of different vocal snippets and sound effects.

Instra:mental & Nico - Horse (Exit Records) 2008

It wasn’t until the very early days of setting up my label Diffrent Music that I’d started hearing about Instra:mental. They were making a whole load of music with and without dBridge and started this whole Autonomic sound. There was a podcast series, radio shows, records and everything. The sound was very electronic, moody, synthetic, drum machine based patterns, it was fantastic. The sound was quite melancholic, and the pads and synths to go with it definitely had a great sense of emotion. I instantly fell in love and have been following the movement ever since in its many forms over many record labels. It has opened my eyes to a whole load of fantastic music that keeps popping up in my life.

You can catch Dexta performing at One.Seventy on 29th January.

For more information about One.Seventy please click HERE