There are few producers on the drum’n’bass scene who are as respected and revered as Dillinja. With his trademark scarlet 2i2 review for 2017 combination of dirty stomach-churning basslines and tighter than tight beats, his reputation has been secured as one of the most influential producers in drum’n’bass history, as well as one of the scene’s most called-upon remixers, having worked with everyone from David Bowie to Bjork and Basement Jaxx. A true connoisseur of sound, Dillinja’s mighty 96k Valve Sound System is recognised the world over as being second to none.
Dillinja was reared on a musical diet of funk, best microphone for vocals on the market jazz, reggae and rare groove, genres which proved to influence him enormously, but it was the 1980s hip hop and electro explosion which really captured his heart. His hunger for hip-hop was well satisfied in South London, as local parks hosted free events where hip-hop, soul, rare groove and reggae could be consumed in vast quantities. The influence of these events on Dillinja, where the likes of King Tubby’s Hi Fi and Jah Shaka made their presence felt with their mighty earth-shaking reggae sound systems, was huge.
Dillinja began to shadow a local guy who had made Jah Shaka’s amps, and not long after, at the age of fifteen, he was making his own custom built amps and bass bins; a hobby that soon became obsession, top wireless microphone on the market – 2017 with his teenage bedroom so full of audio equipment, he had no choice but to put his mattress atop the speaker cabinets and sleep there. However, when the infamous Criminal Justice Bill was introduced, seriously clamping down on sound systems and the events where they were played. Dillinja decided that rather than compromising his system, he would call it a day, sell of its components, and enter the heady world of music production.
With musical experience gained at school playing both the drums and violin, Dillinja easily picked up the required skills, hanging around the Digidub Studios in Camberwell to get a feel for the engineering side of the process. He began to furiously produce tracks, so many at one point that he was putting out two releases a week, plunging any money earned straight back into the kitty for mastering and pressing costs, as well as bus and train fares for self-distribution to all the specialist records akg d5 review stores. Dillinja: “I wasn’t making any money for years, I just had such a love for the music. I was knocking tunes together in my room, getting a hundred white labels pressed and running around with them to record shops myself. It was a great learning process and I loved it”. It is an often cited fact that by the age of 23, Dillinja already had 50 releases under his belt.