Eddie Oxman is an institution in the London reggae revive scene.

Perhaps most well-known internationally for his work with the renowned Dub Vendor and Soul Jazz crews, Oxman has a long and deep history, from running his own sound, producing, record collecting, to hosting dances. Whether selecting or on the mic, he is one of the best in the game. Conviction Roots caught up with Oxman at the Dub Vendor store in Soho, London.

How did you start off in the music business?

I never set out to be a deejay or nothing like that. My mum used to buy a lot of records, some of which I gave away at school, just because I wanted to share the music. And a lot I have now.

Back then, Mum used to keep what was known as blues parties in our house. Three rooms would be used and then later on in the early morning when only friends and family and hard revellers were left, two of the rooms would be locked off (disconnect the speakers), and everyone gathered in the main room where the sound man set up his pre-amp, turntable, amplifier etc.

Well one particular sound owner, a man called Latty, used to allow me to play a few records sometimes, while he got a chance to have a few dances with a lady. That was my first experience putting on records in front of people.

I started officially playing around 1976 when I was like 15 or 16, on a sound called Cala-Hi. The sound belonged to some older friends of mine, Errol, Dennis, Tony, and Winston. We used to play sometimes in a club called Clouds in the afternoon until early evening. By then I was already buying records on a regular basis, I just loved it, and I continued deejaying from there.

And then you moved on to your own sound, tell us a bit about that.

A Raving Night Out with Dynatone & Dillox, 1982
A Raving Night Out with Dynatone & Dillox, 1982

I started Dill-Ox International around 1982 if I remember right. When I built the sound it was for pure love. Any money I got it just went on records. None of my friends who helped me move the sound around got paid, not because I was selfish or mean, in fact I didn’t even think about getting more powerful amplifiers and more boxes to grow the sound. I just didn’t think business-wise like that, I was a bit naive in a way, not realising it would be possible to take the sound to another level, say like Sir Coxsone, Jah Shaka, Fatman etc.

We got a lot of bookings so therefore I thought, yeah, I’m doing it, I’m playing records to people on a regular basis.

And were you based in South London?

All of us were based in South London, except in the latter part, two members hailed from North London, that’s Raymond and Ian.

Some of the members from the South used to give them a hard time, so when I finally packed up the sound, I gave Raymond and Ian all the speaker boxes.