Where: The Shelter (5 Yongfu Lu near Fuxing Xi Lu, 永福路5号)
Starts: Saturday, April 10, 9PM
DJ Dexter is a massive presence in the world of DJing and Krump music. He has achieved various levels of success over the past two decades, including a 2nd place finish at the 2000 World DJ Competition.
This Friday night, Dexter drops into Shanghai for the first time and will be performing at the Shelter. Dex is currently producing, creating and generally involved with the Grrilla Steps, a thirty-person krump music and dance troupe. He’s also worked with DJ Kentaro so if you liked that show you’re sure to enjoy Dexter.
Dexter was kind enough to give us some of his time while here in Shanghai. Over the course of the interview Dex shed light on the world of krump, his own career, and the current state of hip hop.
You’ve performed with some of the biggest names in hip hop and definitely in DJing, the Beastie Boys, DJ Shadow, the Chemical Brothers, have those musicians rubbed off on you at all, influenced your music?
Not really, I appreciate and respect where those artists are coming from but I’m on my own trip with my musical and creative directions.
I asked Girl Talk the same question, what advice would you give to someone trying to break into the DJing world? His answer by the way was “take acid the first second after you’ve woken up.”
Exactly, although, I saw Femi Kuti and his 20 piece band a few years ago for the first time I and didn’t have a single party treat and left feeling what I had been searching for which was what undeniable talent and other-worldy (experience) music and performance can be.
Your bio says that you pride yourself on taking non-traditional elements and molding them into hip hop sounds, how do you come up with the ideas for your tracks?
I’m in constant search for non-typical, non clichéd sounds to create hip hop. I’ve been listening and collecting hip hop and all that is loosely related, even old punk records, which to me convey the same energy as the early Public Enemy records, it’s all about finding that connection to how I felt that night with Femi Kuti and his band.
What’s your take on the emergence of the mash-up artists? Do you think those guys need a different skill set than DJs to be successful at making music?
The market is over-saturated with thoughtless mash-up, tongue-in-cheek DJs and artists. I’m not in that world so I don’t know and definitely don’t care if they need new skills to become successful.
Going forward, even as a solo artist, are there any musicians you’d really like to collaborate with?
I’m producing and creating and project called GrrillaStep at the moment, we are a 30+ Pacific Island Krump and traditional band/dance troupe and we’re creating unprecedented music and dance. This is where my future lies and the collaborations within that group have taught me more about music and life than any other collaboration with any ‘famous’ artists could ever bring. The emotion and the give and take is what its all about.
Grandmaster Flash called you “the world’s most creative and original DJ,” lofty praise. Did you ever get the chance to talk with him? Ask him about that quote?
Great, I’m glad a fellow artist has taken notice of how I push my sets into something else that separates me from others. I don’t think anything else needs to be said to him and vice versa. I’ve done my job.
How about a few suggestions, what music should we keep an eye out for? What are you into right now?
Krump music. No label owns it, it’s made by kids in the suburbs all over the world and its made only to krump too. It’s distorted, ruff, angry, smooth and tuff as. It reminds me of what hip hop used to be and the kids who krump are bringing back that all back.
Finally, what can we expect from your show April 10th at the Shelter?
I’m in my 20th year of Djing this year so I’ve been re-discovering a lot of 90’s hip hop and the original samples of those tunes so I’ve been making some sets with that. I’ve also got a few world music digs from Morocco to Madrid, Delhi to Detroit all mixed with krump, dubstep and Drum and bass. It’s a beef burger party patty without the cheese.