DJ Semtex is a British A&R, DJ, producer and broadcaster, currently the host of podcast Hip Hop Raised Me, as well as his show on UK commercial radio station Capital XTRA.
He is also Director of Artist Development for Sony Music UK.
DJ Semtex: Career beginnings
Born John Fairbanks in Manchester, DJ Semtex started his music career in the 1990s promoting club nights and DJing at venues like The Hacienda, while working at Eastern Bloc Records alongside drum and bass pioneers Marcus Intalex, Mark XTC and Sefton Mottley.
In 1997 Semtex joined Sony, where he founded the first official ‘Street Team’ to use guerrilla street marketing, pushing records for Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, The Wu-Tang Clan and more.
Semtex moved on to Universal/Mercury in 2001 as Urban Promotions Manager and was soon promoted to A&R Manager, scoring a No.1 with first signing Fatman Scoop. He was named Senior A&R Executive at Mercury in 2005, working under the UMG label’s then-President Jason Iley.
DJ Semtex: book debut, podcasts and return to Sony
DJ Semtex became known for exclusive interviews in the hip-hop and grime world, with Drake’s first UK interview in 2009, and later Skepta’s only UK interview ahead of the release of album Konnichiwa in 2016.
In 2015, Semtex returned to Sony, becoming Director of Artist Development in the UK.
His debut book, Hip Hop Raised Me, was released in 2016, examining the history and role of hip-hop in society alongside its personal impact on him.
In January 2018, Semtex was named host of Spotify‘s new original UK podcast, Who We Be, reuniting him with 1Xtra alumnus Austin Daboh. Later that year, he announced his departure from BBC Radio 1Xtra, followed by news that he would host Global-owned UK radio station Capital XTRA’s new Friday night hip-hop show.
At the beginning of 2021, DJ Semtex launched a new podcast called Hip Hop Raised Me, offering ‘exclusive, no-holds-barred conversations with the artists that define the culture’.Music Business Worldwide