Yasmina Dexter is Shazam’s worst nightmare. Also known as Pandora’s Jukebox, Dexter organizes multi-textured soundscapes and mixes for fashion industry heavyweights and those who can’t decode. She brings together a variety of genres, samples and original compositions with an artistry that pushes DJing into the realms of sound design. From Ferragamo catwalk shows and Rick Owens after-parties to Paris’ Club Sicilia, her work is varied and dynamic, but one constant is that you only get that extra emotional dimension from music. ‘Well, I’m called Pandora’s Jukebox for a reason,’ she says over her first coffee of the day at home in Hackney. If you had to define what I do or put me in a box, it would be a box full of surprises.
In the year Leaving her native Slovenia in 1991, Dexter found London ‘when everything was in cash, underground music was still alive and nobody had a phone. After growing up compiling and curating charts in electronica, eurythmics and Prince in early 1980s Yugoslavia – the precursor to DJing – she was welcomed into the UK club scene, where female artists were absent at the time. Prince / S01 scene. Because we got to know each other, they gave me complete freedom, and I learned that working with open-minded people is the secret to great vocal music.
I want to bring something to live experience. A distinct dimension that leaves people scratching their heads. If the collection is all about pastels and you play something sweet, it won’t add much. But pastels with an industrial beat? That will be interesting.’
In the chaos of putting together a collection for fashion week, music can take a backseat. So, given the seasonal nature of the industry and the addition of entertainment shows, parts of the year are insanely busy. While planning a party isn’t all that different from a club night (‘Acne Studios Let Me Go Hard Like Berghain’), catwalk soundtracks require designer input and models moving to 115-120bpm beats. After considering up to six hours of music, Dexter begins mixing the selected tracks—rearranging recordings to sound better live, then extending, twisting, and adding bass as her electronic dreams take shape. From a great start to a great finish.
‘For three seasons now I’ve created completely original sound designs for Lanvin in the studio,’ she says. I may not read music, but I use it as a notepad. My library of samples is huge, recorded by emotions, based on what they evoke in me, not by genre.’ Her intuitive approach is more suited to falling down digital rabbit holes in search of inspiration than digging into the obscure, and reflects how she sets up her monthly NTS radio shows. She’s driven by instinct rather than nerdy obsession, going off on one tangent to another, finding new tracks without repeating herself.
This focus on engineering hypnotic new sounds takes Dexter to art and film, accompanying original shorts by Fendi, Spanish dancer and choreographer Candela Capitan’s performance piece The Death at The Club, and music for visual artist Maison Hefner’s recent gallery show in Berlin. is it. . Her dream commission? Feature length film score.
‘You never want to get bored with DJing or music; So I change things,’ she says. ‘I’m picky about work because I want to feel emotionally connected to an idea. It should hit me like a punch in the stomach; Bring tears to my eyes. Fashion can be very decorative, but I like to work in that underground space where anything goes if it’s real and made with emotion.’ And no, she doesn’t accept requests.
Makeup by Joe Brooks.
A version of this story appears in March 2023 Wallpaper Style Edition*available now in print, in the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and for Apple News+ subscribers. Sign up for wallpaper* today (Opens in a new tab)
yasminadexter.com (Opens in a new tab), @pandorasjukebox (Opens in a new tab)