James Dexter: "If the music is on point, then I'm open to get involved"

Having spent several years immersed in the London underground House music scene James Dexter is a name now recognized by most. James has released music with a number of well-respected & highly influential labels including the likes of Poker Flat Recording, Dessous Recordings, Cyclic Records, Bondage Music & Little Helpers just to name a few.

These productions have earned James regular features & chart success on the industries leading sites including numerous Beatport & Traxsource Top 100ʼs spots. With a solid production and label catalogue, James has gained support from some of the industries leading artists including the likes of Steve Bug, Damian Lazarus, Marco Carola, Joseph Capriati, Sidney Charles, Ian Pooley just to name a few.

Staying true to the sounds that have influenced James along the way, his productions & DJ sets are a well-rounded combination of groove driven, low bass, deep underground sounds, a proven formula to keep the dance floor grooving away till the early hours. With his latest project, a label “Inermu”, James is able to showcase not only his own productions but the sound of upcoming talent and help provide them with a platform to be heard.

Hi, James. Since December is normally quite a busy month for DJ’s, what have you been up to lately?

Hi guys, Happy New Year! I actually like to take a couple of weeks off in December, around Christmas time & New Years, to give myself a break from the studio and gigs. But before that, I was very busy in the studio finishing up projects for the New Year, and I also had some great gigs. A stand out one for me was in Budapest at the beginning of the December, it was a really cool intimate party in a private/secret room of a big club, the sound system was spot on, the crowd were really there for the music and the promoters were top guys. I had a great time!

Do you remember your first electronic music experience? What made you produce music in the first place?

To be honest, I'm not sure I actually remember my first electronic music experience, but I was DJ'ing for a couple of years before I started making music, so I fell into music production that way.

Looking back at your release catalogue, we can see that you’ve worked with many different labels, some known and some lesser known ones. Would you say that this is a “standard” path that every producer needs to go through?

I think every producer's path is always going to be different in some form or another, it is quite natural though that when you start releasing music as a producer you may release on a lesser-known label as they could be easier to reach out to and more open to listening to newer artists than the bigger labels. But for me, if the music fits, that is the most important thing. I’m always open to working with a lesser known label if the music is on point and the ethos of the label is right then I’m open to getting involved.

You label Inermu Records. Where, when and why did you start this project?

I started the label back in 2015. The main reason for starting Inermu was so I could take a bit more control when it came to releasing my own music. I wanted to be able to put out tracks as and when I wanted without having to fit in with another labels release schedule etc. It's been great running the label and I've loved working with new artists on certain releases and building up a new family of label artists.

2017 has slowly faded out and it was quite a year for James Dexter. With a strong list of releases (Cyclic, Dessous, Rebellion and Bondage just to name a few) and with even more international gigs, can you share some of your favourite 2017 highlights?

2017 was definitely a great year for me. Doing my first South America Tour was a massive highlight; it was amazing to see first hand how far my music is reaching. Another big highlight for me was playing the Bondage Music Showcase at Warehouse in Mallorca. I ended playing for around 7hours, the atmosphere in that place was something else. It was seriously good

In one of your oldest interviews (rare ones), we read that around 95% of your productions are software written. Has your process of creating music changed over the years? Do you use more hardware now?

Over the last few years, I have been incorporating a lot more hardware into my productions.  Now I use a mixture of drum machines and synths combined with software synths and samples, and most tracks I make are a nice mix of these. I would still say the way I approach making a track is very similar to when I was just using the software. I try not to have any rules and always start with a blank template in Logic. 99% of the time I start with drums, find the right groove and build from there. I'm very conscious of making sure that every track/release is different from the last so I try not to reuse the same sounds.

Since we've already entered 2018 is, can you share some of your upcoming projects with us? We know you’re releasing music on Gruuv with Mihai Popoviciu on the remix duties, but we want to hear more!

I've got lots lined up for 2018 already, particularly at the start of the year. I have a nice mix of digital & vinyl releases coming on the likes of Gruuv, Inermu, Bondage Music, Tuccillo's Label 'Unblock Music', Jack's House, Decay Records and a few others.

Let's finish this lovely talk with a bit deeper thought. What would you say is the biggest challenge for yourself when it comes to music?

I used to struggle with music theory and playing the keyboard etc. I had no music theory knowledge what so ever, which made writing certain styles that much more challenging. However, I have been learning piano for well over a year now and it has really helped to improve my work-flow when in the studio.

By Saša, edited on 15 June 2018