Dance music pioneer Mandidextrous has been in the game for over 10 years, renowned for their energetic techno & drum and bass sounds. Openly identifying as non-binary transgender, this DJ, producer and label boss started their own record label Amen4Tekno and made it as a transgender underground artist in a predominantly cis-male dominated scene. Striving to change attitudes and expanding minds about transphobia, Mandidextrous abolishes the notion of gender, letting their music break boundaries and conquer the dancefloor. Being a regular venue filler at many clubs and festivals in the UK, Mandidextrous is ready to make their debut at Tomorrowland in 2022!
How did you start out as a DJ & producer?
I started DJing when I was about 14 years old with my first family of friends. We all grew up listening to D&B and Happy Hardcore from tape packs such as Helter Skelter and Dreamscape etc. It made me want to be a DJ, so I started buying vinyl and turntables. I then found myself frequenting squads in the local area and befriending various sound system crews after starting our own called Vortex. I then started DJing at illegal raves as well as curating raves with my friends circa year 2000. This carried on for quite some time and I got deep into playing at raves every weekend all over the UK. There came a point where I started falling in love with techno and that was all I mixed for ages. Around 2008/2009 I found myself on some mad journey of self-exploration and self-acceptance, so I found a passion for making and creating music using Ableton as it helped me process thoughts and express myself. The sound I wanted to make just wasn't really out there, so I started my mission to write my own sound. It's continued ever since.
What’s your favorite dance music record of all-time?
This is a super hard one as there is countless answers but one that really sticks out to me is ‘The Creeps’ album by Ed Rush and Optical on Virus Recordings. The whole album is amazing, and I never came across a D&B album that set a tone so much as ‘The Creeps’. Still to this day ‘Pacman’ is one of my all-time favorite D&B tracks. One of many though.
What would be your dream music collaboration?
My dream musical collab would be to work with Chris Lorenzo, I just love his production and his vibe. I have a huge passion for bass house and modern bassline, it really excites me, and he is one artist that over the years has impressed me so much with his production.
How can we increase diversity in dance music?
I think really, it's going to come down to the larger promotional outfits in dance music to really look into the talent that is out there and open doors for people. There really are so many amazing people from all ethnicities – women, trans, gay, black, white, etc. – doing insane things within music. It's just the larger platforms will need to open up and allow them to shine in the public eye. It will always come down to exposure but also encouragement. Something that myself and my friend The Nathan X are trying to achieve at the moment is more queer artists in Drum & Bass of which there seems to be a huge lack of, but that’s not to say these people aren't out there, so we encourage people to be open and to come forward to us with their passions. People also need to be driven and for the right reasons. Music, performance and visibility.
What are you most excited about playing at Tomorrowland?
There are many things to be excited about when it comes to Tomorrowland, but for me it’s the opportunity to perform my music to new people and share my energy as that’s what I love to do the most. I love to uplift people – my sets are never dark and moody as it’s just not me and I just love seeing people smile. So that’s what I am excited for the most. And of course, seeing many other artists do the same and hopefully some I’ve never come across before. Also take in the amazing production that is Tomorrowland.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
That’s a really hard question to answer! I think for me its S.O.P.H.I.E (R.I.P). I only came across S.O.P.H.I.E in the last few years of her career but what she had done in music was outstanding. She not only pursued her own sound, but also was openly trans and a leader at that. I do love a lot of her music, but I am more inspired by who she was and what she stood for. The best ones always seem to go so soon.