Podcast 262: Dahraxt
TF: Can you tell us where you’re from, and how you came to make electronic music?
DX: I come from the suburbs of Milan, Italy and my journey with electronic music started when I was really a kid. I remember that my cousin's friend was promoting hard-techno events like Illiria or Dylan - at that time quite popular in northern Italy. And so I discovered the first mixtape and my mind was immediately blown away with that innovative sound. I was so obsessed, I wanted to experience that music in a club too. After my first party on a Sunday afternoon - I was 11 years old - it was crystal clear what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! One day I got this old vinyl bag from a friend, full of house and banging techno from the '90s and I started to train how to beat match in my garage, where my father created my very first "DJ booth". So I became an assiduous customer of many records stores in my town, I remember Nika Music and Deejay Choice and I was also traveling around Italy to get gems on wax. During my early 20's, I used to live in Ibiza where I could develop my skills as a professional DJ, and there, I started to use the first software to produce music. Since then, many things have changed, I'm living in Berlin for a while now, synthesizers and drum machines are my main working tools but I'm still vinyl addicted.
TF: Can you tell us about the existence and the evolution of JTseries Records?
DX: JTseries is born in 2015 as a platform on which to release my personal path within electronic music, and despite its prominent techno dancefloor orientation, it's as eclectic as my own artistic approach. The concept takes inspiration from the beauty of nature, in particular from trees which have always intrigued me. For instance, the last VA with Burden, Charlton, Kucera, Patrick DSP, Rell, and Szymon Z, it's dedicated to the myth of Dryads. Because of the deep connection with nature, at JTseries' headquarters, we're now working also on an exciting charity project and soon more details will be revealed on our social media channels. Besides that, I'm also working on two releases - one vinyl and one digital - planned on JTseries for the end of the year. While soon, on the sub-label PicNic34 will be released a split EP signed by Kamikaze Space Programme and Cocktail Party Effect - two artists that have inspired me a lot lately. JTseries will be back soon at Hör with and we're just waiting for better days to host our labels showcase again in a club.
TF: What are your studio sessions like ? Do you have a systematic approach to creation, or do you prefer to follow your inspiration, your instinct?
DX: I normally spend a lot of hours in the studio, making my own sound through synthesis. Especially from the beginning of the pandemic, having no gig, I had a lot of time and so I could focus on experimenting with different soundscapes and gears. I have to admit that when all this began, I didn't have that much inspiration, so I changed my setup adding a small modular system for more organic sounds. Additionally, I have also entertained myself by building endless loop cassette and a DIY tape echo that I'm using for some of my current works.
Usually, I have a basic structure of making music but my eclectic spirit brings me to change approach from time to time, following my instinct. I normally start from a jam session recording my drum machines and synthesizers processed through different effects chains and a 24 channels analog mixer. Sometimes the jam is good and needs just a mixdown, sometimes it needs more editing or more elements. In that case, I work it further on Ableton, sometimes with a more deconstructive approach, or trying to keep the original jam as it is. I like this workflow as it allows me to preserve the warm imperfection of human touch which often creates that peculiar variation, combined with the flexibility of the DAW.
TF: You usually do DJ sets, but what about a live approach? Do you plan to work more on this aspect in the near future
DX: Despite I have been playing mostly as a DJ, in the past years I performed already with hardware live setups - several times for Buttons party at About Blank or also at Genau event in Turin, for example. It's always been an intensely positive experience and therefore it's definitely something that I'll propose more in the near future. I'm experimenting a lot at the moment and my machines are always ready to go back on stage!
TF: Which musicians or artists have been an inspiration for you?
DX: I believe that my sound has been highly influenced by the pioneering Detroit and UK techno movements. On the other hand, also electro heads like Drexciya, Galaxian, Container or also Kronos Device among others, have always been sources of great inspiration.
TF: Which are the artists that inspire you today?
DX: Lately, I have been digging through more ambient and experimental composers like Carl Matthews, Kevin Braheny, and I found exceptionally interesting the last two Autechre releases. I'm also getting a lot of inspiration from brilliant producers like Maelstrom, Verraco or Laksa, to name a few. Another artist that I have been re-discovering and feeling really close to is Alejandro Jodorowsky. Going back through some of his books has been really enlightening and helpful for my creativity.
TF: Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
DX: As mentioned, I'm mainly focused on production and I have contributed also to a charity compilation out soon on System Revival. Other than that, I'm planning some pop-up events for this summer with our Enigma collective, while waiting to be back regularly at our beloved +4Bar in Tresor. Last summer, Enigma joined forces with Club Simulator and Clubcommission Berlin, hosting a daylong open-air: Festival Simulator. It has been a great successful experience and if the restrictions will allow us, there will be a second edition in 2021. Moreover, as soon as it will be possible, I'll be back to shake the floors in Mexico City for Vocoder family that has involved me in its authentic techno party since 2018. Mexico has always surprised me with some very unique experiences and I can't wait to be back.