From his musical roots as a fan of jungle and drum ‘n’ bass as a teen in his native London, Dax J has grown to become one of the most sought-after techno DJs on the planet. From brutal sets at Berlin’s cathedral of techno, Berghain, to fast-paced and frenetic festival offerings on the largest global stages, his brand of music doesn’t bear ignoring. When not having his performing career on hold due to a pandemic, he can be found headlining major events in Europe or playing numerous beloved clubs. Recently, he offered up a couple of staggering b2b sets with the other techno star – Kobosil – at Exit and Riverside festivals. But it’s not just as a DJ that he has gained recognition. Release after release has gained praise and commercial success, with EPs published under such esteemed labels as Soma and Klockworks. His own record label, Monnom Black has, along with putting out his own tracks, released records by Thomas P. Heckmann and I Hate Models. To put it simply and succinctly, when it comes to anything related to techno, Dax J is killing it.
Dax J 在他的家乡伦敦作为一名丛林迷和青少年时期的 Drum ‘n’ bass 音乐出身，如今已成长为这个星球上最受追捧的 techno DJ 之一。从柏林电子音乐大教堂 Berghain 的残酷布景，到全球最大舞台上快节奏和狂热的音乐节表演，他的音乐品牌不容忽视。当他没有因为大流行而暂停他的表演生涯时，他可以成为欧洲重大赛事的头条新闻，或者在众多心爱的俱乐部效力。最近，他在 Exit 和 Riverside 音乐节上与另一位 techno 明星 Kobosil 提供了几组惊人的 b2b 组合。但他获得认可的不仅仅是作为一名 DJ。一个又一个的发行获得了赞誉和商业上的成功，EP 以 Soma 和 Klockworks 等知名品牌发行。他自己的唱片公司 Monnom Black 除了推出自己的曲目外，还发行了 Thomas P. Heckmann 和 I Hate Models 的唱片。简而言之，当涉及到与 techno 相关的任何事情时，Dax J 正在扼杀它。
Hey Dax, How are you ? Thanks for meeting us a few times this year! It was always a pleasure.
Hi guys! im doing great thanks, and happy to be speaking together with you again.
Could you introduce yourself ?
Im Dax J, Techno Dj, producer, coffee lover and Monnom Black label owner.
我是 Dax J、Techno Dj、制作人、咖啡爱好者和 Monnom Black 标签所有者。
We had a chance to watch a few videos from your NYE, in which you played aside Tigerhead and other artists. Could you tell us more about it?
Yeah, I played at a club called Drugstore in Belgrade, Serbia. It was my 1st time playing there, and a place that i’ve always wanted to go to, as i have seen videos of the venue before and i always thought it looked very unique. When i arrived i wasn’t wrong. I loved the space, it’s a huge brutalistic warehouse with a triangle shaped concrete ceiling, something which i have never seen anywhere else, the club is very raw and untouched with incredible aesthetics. The acoustics need a little work and i think it’s a hard room to get the sound right because it’s so big and completely concrete. If they can tune the sound it will be a perfect club!
Your latest project, Utopian Surrealism, is gaining a lot of attention across the scene. Like some of your previous releases – such as Illusions of Power or Offending Public Morality – it seems to be built out of contrasts. There are, of course, elements of the deliciously dark and driving techno for which you’re known. But there are also moments that seem to be designed as something completely other than dance music. Could you tell us a little about the concept for the record, and how you see the various pieces fitting together?
The new album “Utopian Surrealism” looks at the current world we are living in, and it observes our transition into a new dystopian era, highlighting the strain in distinguishing truth from reality. We are a society that is constantly exposed to manipulated reality through online media. Instagram is a prefect example of this, you view peoples perfect profiles and we naturally think everyone lives happy and exciting lives all the time. But in reality they don’t, it’s no where close to a real representation. Its Utopian Surrealism! The same goes for the news. They only feed us extremely biased narratives to fit in with theirs agendas. Im talking about all news as well, not just world news, but music news, politics, radio shows, are all just as bad. When we really analyse our history, it has always been like this since we were first able to communicate at as a species, but now it has become alot more extreme, widespread, efficient and effective due to technology, social media and iPhones, and there is no escaping it!
I made the album during the 1st major covid lockdown. It was definitely influenced by this time period, there are alot of dark, weird, moments and it’s definitely a reflection of my headspace at the time. Having lots of uninterrupted time without the need to go off to gigs every weekend allowed me to experiment alot and go deep into my synths and new production techniques.
At the time I was bombarded with everything that was going on. In the news and social media it was constant talk of the pandemic, deep political problems in America, conspiracies and it was a very confusing period, as there were alot of conflicting information everywhere. No one really knew what was going on and everyone was attacking each other online. There was also alot of virtue signalling, people trying to take the moral high ground, and alot of negative energy.
During the same time as all of this hysteria taking place, i was reading a book called “Sapiens,” it’s the history of humans, and i had been reccomened it a few times. After reading this book I actually felt a sense of calm, and that everything that was happening all of sudden made perfect sense to me. I didn’t blame news outlets for their negative behaviour, or people for their beliefs in conspiracies, but I understood that it is just a result of our past history and peoples own manipulated life experiences, environments and exposure to current dystopian technology. I started to feel sorry for the people getting really sucked into it, realising it’s not their fault, they almost didn’t have a choice because they are either unaware or easily manipulated. The book completely stoped myself from getting emotionally involved into the many situations taking place online. I took a step back from it all and watched it from afar. I found everything that i was seeing truly fascinating, all thanks to that book. It changed a lot my way i view and think about life, and so i let it become inspiration for the album.
我们有机会观看了您 NYE 的一些视频，您在其中扮演了 Tigerhead 和其他艺术家的角色。你能告诉我们更多关于它的信息吗？
是的，我在塞尔维亚贝尔格莱德的一家名为 Drugstore 的俱乐部打球。这是我第一次在那里比赛，也是我一直想去的地方，因为我之前看过场地的视频，我一直认为它看起来很独特。当我到达时，我没有错。我喜欢这个空间，它是一个巨大的野蛮仓库，有一个三角形的混凝土天花板，这是我在其他任何地方从未见过的东西，俱乐部非常原始，没有受到令人难以置信的美学影响。声学需要一些工作，我认为这是一个很难获得正确声音的房间，因为它是如此之大且完全具体。如果他们可以调整声音，那将是一个完美的俱乐部！
Instagram就是一个很好的例子，您查看人们完美的个人资料，我们自然会认为每个人都一直过着快乐和激动人心的生活。但实际上他们没有，这与真实的表现相去甚远。它的乌托邦超现实主义！新闻也是如此。他们只会向我们提供非常有偏见的叙述，以适应他们的议程。我也在谈论所有新闻，不仅仅是世界新闻，还有音乐新闻、政治、广播节目，都一样糟糕。当我们真正分析我们的历史时，自从我们第一次能够作为一个物种进行交流以来，它一直是这样的，但现在由于技术、社交媒体和 iPhone 的出现，它变得更加极端、广泛、高效和有效，还有是逃不掉的！
我在第一次主要的 covid 封锁期间制作了这张专辑。它肯定是受到了那个时期的影响，有很多黑暗，奇怪的时刻，这绝对是我当时顶空的反映。有很多不受干扰的时间，不需要每个周末去演出，这让我可以进行很多实验并深入了解我的合成器和新的制作技术。
As mentioned, you’ve been playing some b2b sets with Kobosil this summer. With the styles of music that you both play, it seems like a pretty perfect match. But what triggered the move to playing together on the big stages? Do you have plans to continue working together more in the future?
Our 1st b2b we ever did was in 2019 at the closing party of the great MMA club in Munich. Kobosil was curating the night and asked me if i wanted to do a special b2b for this final event at the club, we did it and it went well. Some videos surfaced online the next days after the event and we received alot of requests for more b2b’s. We locked in a few gigs for it that were suppose to happen the following summer in 2020, but then the big C hit! There are some gigs we had already agreed from that 2020 summer that are still being rescheduled in 2022! And some have been completely cancelled after being rescheduled four times, like the one we had with Reaktor in Holland. So it’s become quite spread out as a result and not what was to be the planned summer tour of 2020. The situation and changing regulations by governments across all countries has made it very hard for the promoters and frustrating for fans with the constant cancelling and moving of the arranged shows.
如前所述，今年夏天你一直在使用 Kobosil 玩一些 b2b 游戏。以你们俩演奏的音乐风格，这似乎是一个非常完美的匹配。但是是什么触发了在大舞台上一起比赛的转变？你们有计划在未来继续更多地合作吗？
我们做过的第一次 b2b 是在 2019 年在慕尼黑伟大的 MMA 俱乐部的闭幕派对上。 Kobosil 正在策划当晚，并问我是否想为俱乐部的最后一场活动做一个特别的 b2b，我们做到了，而且进展顺利。活动后的第二天，一些视频出现在网上，我们收到了很多关于更多 b2b 的请求。我们为此锁定了几场演出，这些演出原定于 2020 年的下一个夏天举行，但随后 C 大热！从 2020 年夏天开始，我们已经同意了一些演出，但仍在重新安排在 2022 年！有些在重新安排了四次后被完全取消，就像我们在荷兰的 Reaktor 那样。因此，它变得相当分散，而不是计划中的 2020 年夏季巡回演唱会。各国政府的情况和不断变化的法规使得发起人非常困难，而不断取消和搬家也让粉丝感到沮丧安排的节目。
While both yourself and Kobosil were, not that long ago, the ones to watch in the future, you have clearly cemented your positions in the industry by this point. Which means that we would like to take the opportunity to ask you whether there are any newer acts that deserve our attention in the coming years?
I would say LDS is really standing out to me and doing amazing dub techno, fresh fast and i don’t hear anybody else doing a sound like his. He is German producer from Stuttgart and definitely one to watch! The music sounds very original to me, something that is rare in todays electronic world of music.
虽然不久前您和 Kobosil 都是未来值得关注的人，但此时您已经清楚地巩固了自己在行业中的地位。这意味着我们想借此机会询问您在未来几年是否有任何值得我们关注的新行为？
You recently released a high quality new line of merch, congrats! Do you plan to connect with fashion even stronger ?
It seems to be a recent trend in techno where many people are moving into fashion. For me Monnom Black is a record label, and music will always be the main focus. I enjoy bringing out label related merch for the fans, we just did some slip-mats and new t- shirts, and are about to bring out tote bags and hoody’s. But the main focus is and will always be music. All the merch we make has the highest quality in terms of designs, fabrics and details, limited runs, and always quality over quantity! So yeah i will continue to do a few new bits of label merch, i enjoy the process. But as for doing a fully fledged fashion label, no im not so interested in that. It’s the music for me that is the focus!
这似乎是技术领域的最新趋势，许多人正在进入时尚领域。对我来说，Monnom Black 是一个唱片公司，音乐永远是主要焦点。我喜欢为粉丝们推出与标签相关的商品，我们刚刚做了一些防滑垫和新 T 恤，并且即将推出手提袋和连帽衫。但主要焦点是并将永远是音乐。我们制造的所有商品在设计、面料和细节方面都具有最高质量，数量有限，并且始终质量胜于数量！所以是的，我将继续做一些新的标签商品，我喜欢这个过程。但至于做一个成熟的时尚品牌，我对此并不感兴趣。对我来说，音乐才是重点！
The video for Simulated Reality (Terafactory AI Electronics), is a chaotic ride through a dark, twisted world, combining shots of the streets of Osaka with pulsating, growing, globular alien-like entities. While it seems pretty clear that the video poses more questions than it intends to answer, is there any sort of message that you hope viewers take away from it?
It takes a look at the question; are we living in a simulation. It’s a fun thought experiment, and one i was first introduced to about 7 years ago when i first heard Elon Musk talk about, and ever since i’ve always pondered the idea. It makes sense when you consider the notion. If we assume that eventually some time into the future, maybe in 1000 years (or perhaps sooner or later it doesn’t matter to this argument) we will be able to create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality, meaning it would be 100% realistic, then the question is, how do you know that we are not already living in the simulation right now in this very moment? The simulation could already have been perfected in the year 3000 for example, and that future could be running a historical simulation of what happened in 2022 (our reality today), and our world right now is that simulation. I’ve heard many arguments for and against it in the past, and i have been swayed either way. It’s a fun question but one i don’t think we will ever know the answer too, i have often got lost in thought for hours on this topic and i realised i should probably try not think about it too much as you will never find an answer. If you believe the simulation theory to be true, then you have to ask the next question which is, who created the simulation? It could be a simulation within a simulation. And then we start talking about god and creationism. it can go very deep, something you could discuss for days!
它需要看看这个问题；我们生活在模拟中吗？这是一个有趣的思想实验，大约 7 年前，当我第一次听到 Elon Musk 谈论时，我第一次接触到这个实验，从那以后我一直在思考这个想法。当您考虑这个概念时，这是有道理的。如果我们假设最终在未来的某个时间，也许在 1000 年后（或者迟早与这个论点无关），我们将能够创建与现实无法区分的模拟，这意味着它将是 100% 真实的，那么问题是，你怎么知道我们此时此刻还没有生活在模拟中？例如，该模拟可能在 3000 年就已经完善，未来可能会对 2022 年发生的事情（我们今天的现实）进行历史模拟，而我们现在的世界就是那个模拟。过去我听到过很多支持和反对它的论点，无论哪种方式，我都受到了影响。这是一个有趣的问题，但我认为我们也永远不会知道答案，我经常在这个话题上沉思了好几个小时，我意识到我应该尽量不要想太多，因为你永远找不到回答。如果您相信模拟理论是正确的，那么您必须问下一个问题，即谁创建了模拟？它可以是模拟中的模拟。然后我们开始谈论上帝和创造论。它可以很深入，你可以讨论几天！
The video was produced by Aujik – an intriguing figure, who works as part visual artist and part leader of a self-defined nature/tech cult – how did you come to work together and what was the drive behind the choice from your side?Are there any specific reasons behind the decision to use the backdrop of Osaka in the video?
I saw some videos online that i really liked from Aujik, he had a very distinct and unique style, and as soon as i discovered his work i got in touch! He lives near Osaka so after speaking we planned the idea of the video with the intention to film it in the city to include all the neons and to add that futuristic element. Also my late mother was Japanese and i have some family over there too, so i also have a strong connection with Japan. Everything all made perfect sense as it all came together!
这段视频是由 Aujik 制作的——一个有趣的人物，他既是视觉艺术家，也是自我定义的自然/技术崇拜的领导者——你们是如何一起工作的，你们选择背后的驱动力是什么？决定在视频中使用大阪背景的背后有什么具体原因吗？
我在网上看到了一些我非常喜欢 Aujik 的视频，他的风格非常鲜明独特，我一发现他的作品就联系上了！他住在大阪附近，所以在发言后我们计划了视频的想法，打算在城市拍摄，包括所有的霓虹灯并添加未来元素。我已故的母亲也是日本人，我在那边也有一些家人，所以我和日本也有很强的联系。一切都变得非常有意义，因为它们融合在一起！
As with any quality artist, your work as a producer has shifted and changed in style fairly significantly over the years. How would you describe the evolution of your music and music in general?
I feel like my music has become more complex, advanced, and better produced over the years. Over my previous 2 albums i’ve also got to show more diversity in the music i’ve released featuring more jungle, idm, breakbeat, old-school hardcore.
I think music in general is always changing alot due to new synths and software constantly being released into the market, but personally I feel we peaked with electronic music in the golden years of the 90’s and early 2000’s, and then hit a null point after this. But i feel that we are about to start another golden run in the roaring 20’s, largely fuelled and influenced by the pandemic and all the extra time dj’s and procurers have had in the studio. Just from my own experience I have new music that i am excited to release this year that i know i wouldn’t have made if it hadn’t been for this pandemic and all the extra time from lockdowns and cancelled shows. So i am sure that many of my peers have done the same too. Im predicting this year will be the best year of music we have had in the last 10 years, and that this decade of music will be our best yet! im getting excited just thinking about it!
我认为由于新的合成器和软件不断向市场发布，音乐总体上总是在发生很大的变化，但我个人觉得我们在 90 年代和 2000 年代初期的黄金年代达到了电子音乐的顶峰，然后在此之后达到了零点.但我觉得我们即将在咆哮的 20 年代开始另一场黄金之旅，很大程度上受到大流行病以及 dj 和采购员在工作室的所有额外时间的推动和影响。根据我自己的经验，我很高兴能在今年发布新音乐，我知道如果不是因为这种流行病以及锁定和取消演出的所有额外时间，我就不会制作这些音乐。所以我相信我的许多同龄人也做过同样的事情。我预测今年将是我们过去 10 年中最好的音乐年，而这十年的音乐将是我们最好的！想想就兴奋！
You’ve spoken and posted in the past about the fact that your adolescence wasn’t exactly a smooth road, with problems at school, being expelled, excluded multiple times and kicked out of college, and having had what sounds like some thoroughly unsupportive teachers. Would you say that this backdrop had an effect on how you originally approached electronic music as a teenager?
So i started out in my first years of school as a good student, but once i discovered pirate radio and weed things went south very fast! I became a problem for the school. The more i fell in love with music, the more i lost all interest with classes, and the more i got into trouble until i eventually got expelled. It was the 1st time i found a really strong passion, all i wanted to do was listen to my walkman, talk with friends about pirate radio and buy records every week from Black Market Records in Soho, London. But having to be in class felt like a prison sentence. I couldn’t handle the repression of school, I begun to hate it, ironically being stoned everyday in class actually made the time go even slower. It was a self fulfilling prophecy, the more i hated school, the more weed i smoked, the more stoned i got, the more boring classes became as a result, and the worse my behaviour got because i was bored, haha. Pirate radio really resonated with me at the time. Generally It was run by leftfield groups away from the main stream with extreme passion for music and fully influenced by London street culture, it was illegal, and didn’t play by the rules. Without really thinking about it at the time It summed up everything i stood for, our values aligned and it was my escape from all the problems in my life. So ultimately i would say yes my early experiences and upbringing had a monumental influence with my relationship with electronic music, it was how it all began and the reason i am speaking to you today!
所以我在上学的第一年开始时是一个好学生，但是一旦我发现了盗版收音机和杂草，事情就向南发展了！我成了学校的麻烦。越是爱上音乐，越是对上课失去兴趣，越是惹上麻烦，最后被开除。这是我第一次找到真正强烈的热情，我想做的就是听我的随身听，与朋友谈论海盗电台，每周从伦敦 Soho 的 Black Market Records 购买唱片。但是不得不上课感觉就像被判入狱一样。受不了学校的压抑，我开始讨厌它，讽刺的是，每天在课堂上被石头砸死居然让时间过得更慢了。这是一个自我实现的预言，我越讨厌学校，我抽的大麻越多，我得到的石头越多，结果课程越无聊，我的行为越糟糕，因为我很无聊，哈哈。海盗电台当时真的引起了我的共鸣。一般来说，它是由远离主流的左派团体经营的，他们对音乐极度热情，完全受伦敦街头文化的影响，这是非法的，不按规则行事。当时没有真正考虑它总结了我所代表的一切，我们的价值观一致，这是我摆脱生活中所有问题的方法。所以最终我会说是的，我早期的经历和成长对我与电子音乐的关系产生了巨大的影响，这就是这一切的开始，也是我今天与你交谈的原因！
We experienced your recent show in Berghain, it was definitely one to remember, how does it feel to be back ? How would you compare your previous show with the last one ?
Yeah it was great to be back. It is always incredible in there, the sound of the room makes playing music in there such a joy. A couple weeks after the gig the club was forced to close again due to more restrictions, but i feel it will be back open again fully very soon. At the gig i played they had to restrict the amount of people that they could let in to 50% capacity by law, and this changed the vibe a little i felt. Pre-pandemic when i played in there, there would be steam in the air, you could barely see past a few metres, and every space in the club was packed. So yeah i did notice some differences. But I also think people really enjoyed the extra space to dance and appreciated the toilets being less crowded! So both situations are great for different reasons, but for me i prefer it at full capacity!
And is there anything that you would want to say to those who didn’t have faith in you or see much potential for your future?
If im talking to my teachers and being completely real, it wasn’t their fault for acting in the way they did trying to discipline and educate me, perhaps they didn’t always get it right, but they were only trying their best to “help” me. I would probably just say, thanks for the lols! And for the doubters, their opinions were only used as fuel to the fire, so thanks again too, I let my achievements speak for themselves, as Frank Sinatra says “The best revenge is massive success!”
What’s next on the road for you, now that the album is completed and hopefully clubs and festivals will be opened?
I feel like this summer is going to a beautiful crazy celebration for everyone! My tour schedule is completely full. Im expecting the pandemic to be completely over around the whole world by the end of Summer, and this year should be our 1st major official celebration back to normal life again with a huge explosion of incredible music! I’ve got shows in South America, Asia and US all lined up, and i have a new ep to play, so i’m very excited for this upcoming year!
我觉得这个夏天对每个人来说都是一个美丽而疯狂的庆祝活动！我的旅行日程安排得满满当当。我预计大流行将在夏季结束时在全球范围内完全结束，今年应该是我们第一次以令人难以置信的音乐大爆发再次恢复正常生活的重大官方庆祝活动！我在南美、亚洲和美国都有演出，我有一个新的 EP 可以播放，所以我对即将到来的一年感到非常兴奋！
Styling 模样: Cyrine Dufaux
Translation 翻译: Joyce
Interview 面试 : Fraser Bonar
Edits : Grzegorz Bacinski
ORDER PRINT HERE: