Real Name:
Karl Francis
There are few producers on the drum’n’bass scene who are as respected and revered as Dillinja. With his trademark 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, 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, 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 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.
His initial records were all on white label, including his first ever release ‘Tear Off Your Chest’, produced with Batmix, but within a couple of years he went on to form a myriad of labels such as Cybotron, Logic, Target, IQ and Deadly Vinyl, the latter being home to such Dillinja early classics as ‘Sovereign Melody’ and ‘Deadly Deep Subs’.

As well as his own label, Dillinja went on to record for many other drum’n’bass labels, including Bryan Gee and Jumpin' Jack Frost’s V Recordings and Philly Blunt labels, Hardleaders, Prototype and Goldie’s pioneering Metalheadz imprint. Dillinja used these labels to show his unique musical versatility; while labels such as Philly Blunt and Lionheart Records showcased some of Dillinja’s more raw jungle based sounds, as in ‘Muthafucka’ and the reggae-fuelled basslines of ‘Lionheart’ (produced with Bert), his seminal 1994 Blade Runner-sampling release ‘The Angels Fell’ was at the helm of the new wave of drum’n’bass encapsulated in the cutting edge Metalheadz sound. It is this fusion of dark basslines and tightly produced beats that has become Dillinja’s trademark sound today, a sound that has resulted in Dillinja being called to remix for the likes of David Bowie, Bjork, Faith No More, Soul II Soul, Basement Jaxx, Amon Tobin, Artful Dodger and Jeru the Damaja. The various aliases under which he has recorded include Trinity, Capone, Cybotron and The Specialist.

Dillinja’s introduction to Kevin King aka Lemon D in the mid 1990s through a mutual friend resulted in a partnership which soon gave birth to Valve Recordings in 1997, so named after the old Shaka pre-amps used in reggae sound systems. Starting as it meant to go on, the label’s first release was Dillinja’s brutal ‘Violent Killa’, backed with Lemon D’s ‘12.01’. Test Recordings was set up as a subsidiary label at around the same period – a more anonymous, dancefloor-based label. In between these various releases on his Valve labels, Dillinja signed an album deal with London Records in 2000, a move that resulted in the production of the classic ‘Cybotron’ LP in 2001, an album highly acclaimed by the dance music establishment which cemented Dillinja’s position as one of the true leaders in his field.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than with the Valve Sound System. Fed up with playing on second rate club sound systems which they felt didn’t do their tracks justice, Dillinja, utilising his vast knowledge and experience in the field, decided, with Lemon D, to build his own system – the Valve Sound System – the world’s first sound system designed and built specifically for drum’n’bass and its frequencies of deep bass which were all too often ignored by most club systems. The mighty 96k Valve Sound System made its mind blowing club debut at London’s Fabric nightclub in May 2001, and since then it has extensively toured the UK, with plans for the system to be taken overseas in the near future.

In May 2002, Dillinja co-produced Valve Recordings’ debut album ‘Big Bad Bass’ with Lemon D, an LP which aimed to reflect the ethos of the Valve Sound System and included dancefloor smashers such as Dillinja’s ‘Thugged Out Bitch’ and Valve Sound System anthem ‘It Ain’t Too Loud’. ‘The Killa-Hertz’ followed in September 2003, including a Valve documentary and cover art by legendary photographer Dennis Morris, responsible for taking some of the most iconic photos of Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols and King Tubby, among others. A retrospective LP ‘‘My Sound 1993 – 2004’ was released in 2004, featuring some of the biggest tracks from the Dillinja back catalogue, including ‘Acid Track’, ‘The Angels Fell’ and ‘Friday’. As head of Valve Recordings, he has continued to find and develop new talent for the label and has commissioned several compilation albums, including cuts from the likes of TC, High Contrast and Breakage. Dillinja is currently working on new material for his Valve imprint, as well as touring extensively with the Valve Sound System and DJing internationally.

Dillinja Discography


Dillinja Cybotron (Album) FFRR UK & Europe 2001 Sell This Version
Dillinja & Lemon D Dillinja & Lemon D - Big Bad Bass (Album) Valve Recordings UK 2002 Sell This Version
Dillinja And Lemon D Dillinja And Lemon D - The Killa-Hertz (Album) Valve Recordings UK 2003 Sell This Version
Dillinja My Sound (1993-2004) Valve Recordings UK 2004 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

Dillinja Digital Cloning (EP) Tough Toonz UK 1993 Sell This Version
Dillinja & Clarky Dillinja & Clarky - Sinewave / Dark Science Cybotron Records UK 1993 Sell This Version
Dillinja Majestic B-Line EP (EP) Deadly Vinyl UK 1993 Sell This Version
Dillinja Test |2| Wave Form Records UK 1993 Sell This Version
DILL 03 Dillinja From Beyond / Ride It Hard(12", S/Sided) Cybotron Records DILL 03 UK 1993 Sell This Version
DILL 01 Dillinja Steal The Way / Forever Fierce(12", S/Sided) Cybotron Records DILL 01 UK 1993 Sell This Version
Dillinja Deadly Deep Subs (Remix) / Perfect Match Deadly Vinyl UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja South Side (Riffin Mix) / Stompers Delight Not On Label (Dillinja Self-released) UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja Deadly Ceremonies / Sovereign Melody Deadly Vinyl UK 1994 Sell This Version
Berty B & Dillinja Berty B & Dillinja - Lion Heart / Art Of Control Lionheart UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja & Mr E* Dillinja & Mr E* - 3:01 In The Morning / Catch The Vibe IQ Records UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja You Don't Know (The Remix) / Heavenly Bass Logic Productions UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja & Mystery (5) Dillinja & Mystery (5) - Deep Love (Remix) / Moods Logic Productions UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja You Don't Know / Warrior Logic Productions UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja Deadly Deep Subs / Calculus Beats Deadly Vinyl UK 1994 Sell This Version
Mr E*, Dillinja & Clarky Mr E*, Dillinja & Clarky - Steelers Anthem / Sax Into The Night IQ Records UK 1994 Sell This Version
none Dillinja / Essence Of Aura Dillinja / Essence Of Aura - 3:01 In The Morning / Innersence VIP(Acetate, 10") Not On Label none UK 1994 Sell This Version
HW002 Dillinja Heavyweight Vol 2(10", Ltd) Heavyweight HW002 UK 1994 Sell This Version
HW003 Dillinja & Ruffkut Dillinja & Ruffkut - Heavyweight Vol 3(10", Ltd) Heavyweight HW003 UK 1994 Sell This Version
Dillinja The Angels Fell (EP) Metalheadz, Metalheadz UK 1995 Sell This Version
Dillinger* Tear Down [Da Whole Place] Conqueror Records UK 1995 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 11 Reviews

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January 29, 2012
edited over 4 years ago
My favourite producer/composer, of any genre, be it NERD, Timbaland, Quincy Jones, Beethoven, Dr. Dre, you name it.

No one ever worked out how Dillinja made his sound, even if TC did try. But a Dilly track is a Dilly track, you can't manufacturer the vibe.

I won't bother to explain Dillinja's sound, because all you need to do is crank it up and listen.

To the dude saying it went wonky after 95 you have to be crazy, Dilly went next level from late nineties and DOMINATED the scene in early 2000s, with the roughest sound ever.

Dillinja is so influential that all producers - top ones in the D&B scene - have files on their computer named "Dillinja bass" in bids to categorise their best samples. Dilly is the one everyone, even the biggest producers like Pendulum and Fresh, aspire to. He defined the DnB bassline.


July 15, 2011
edited over 5 years ago
The jackie chan of the jungle world.

There were few that could match the mans quality from 92 to 95 it all went a bit wonky after that.
Still no matter what rubbish he produces today wont take away the fact the guy made serious tunes that still to this day kill the dance, and for that you have to salute him


January 7, 2010
thank you thank you thank you for giving me so many reasons to dance


June 11, 2007
edited over 9 years ago
Dillinja is simply the heaviest, most hard-hitting man in all of drum'n'bass.

Truly an eminent figure in the techstep scene, his basslines are rib-crushingly heavy and low; the Valve soundsystem is something to be heard (which, I've heard, can BE heard from about a block away).


April 6, 2003
Dillinja is the reason i upgraded my stereo!

Check the Valve soundsystem if you have the chance - truly amazing. I heard Grimey for the first time through that system - it was like getting a full body massage in waves from the feet up. (Which was good, obviously).


December 24, 2002
edited over 2 years ago
Dillinja is one of the most important and prolific drum and bass artists. People say he's commercial. I disagree. Heavy beats and bass, that's all!

June 6, 2001
edited over 15 years ago
This man IS drum and bass! Drum and bass in itself has had it's ups and downs but Dillinja is the only one if not one of the few who understand very well how the breaks and the bass should collaborate in unison. I find that this seriously lacks in most DNB producers, Dillinja nails it always! Hard, rugged beats and tough, swollen drop kick basslines that still make my mouth water. Total PHATNESS!!

October 27, 2016
edited over 15 years ago
Big up Dillinja, this producer has for many years been at the forefront of drum and bass and it looks like he will stay there for time.
It defies belief how he can keep coming with such fresh, fully phat dancehall pressure without putting a foot wrong. And the BASS!
IF u have never heard of Dillinja (or his cohort Lemon D) than u have never heard just how dangerous this man's subsonic vibes can be and his musical talent has continued to develop. When the album drops (sorry D but i aint holding my breath) this artist should get the attention his skills truly deserve.

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