Victor Axelrod

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Victor Axelrod aka Ticklah on the street outside his Brooklyn studio Photo by: Tatiana McCabe
Victor Axelrod aka Ticklah on the street outside his Brooklyn studio Photo by: Tatiana McCabe
Background information
Birth nameVictor Axelrod
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, engineer, DJ
InstrumentsPiano, organ, keyboards, drums, bass guitar, melodica, guitar, harmonica, percussion
Associated actsAntibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Easy Star All-Stars, Mark Ronson

Victor Axelrod aka Ticklah is a Brooklyn native and independent music producer and artist, who has been a continual and integral part of the NYC music scene for over a decade. As an artist he is a founding member of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and the Easy Star All-Stars. As a producer he contributed to one of the most successful reggae albums of the 21st century, Dub Side of the Moon (co-production, mixing), as well as releasing his own critically acclaimed solo projects, including Ticklah vs. Axelrod.


Axelrod's most prominent alias is Ticklah, a name created for roots reggae. He recorded his debut Polydemic album under the name Ticklah, on Razorfish Records in 1998. But in 2001 he put out his second solo album on Guidance Records under the alias Roots Combination, crediting the songs to fictitious performers due to contract obligations with Razorfish which prevented him from using the Ticklah alias.[1] In 2007 he reverted to the Ticklah name with the release of his third album Ticklah vs. Axelrod. Axelrod also used the alias Earl Maxton,[2] as the organist and one of the original members of the Soul Providers.

Early years[edit]

Axelrod began playing the piano at a young age. By the age of 17, he earnestly studied jazz, but also held a special interest in classic reggae and dub. While still in high school, he was already playing gigs with local bands in NYC's ska scene, including the Boilers.[3] He went on to study music composition at SUNY Purchase, where his musical career began to cultivate and take off. After college he played alongside other New York natives, including Tortured Soul's John Christian Urich, in the band Cooly's Hot Box and Easy Star All-Stars' Michael G. (born Michael Goldwasser)[4] in Special Request. His involvement with Cooly's Hot Box eventually lead to his introduction into music production. He recorded his first album in 1998 and produced his first reggae album in 2001.

Musical contributions[edit]

Axelrod has continually and successfully worn many hats in the music industry, as musician, producer, arranger and engineer he has contributed greatly to various musical genres from reggae, soul to afro-beat with dips into house and hip hop. As an accomplished musician Axelrod has performed, recorded and toured with many successful bands. In 1994 he accepted an invitation by Michael G. to fill a keyboard vacancy with Special Request,[5] whom he later worked with to produce Dub Side of the Moon.[6] At one point, he even played for three bands simultaneously; Cooly's Hot Box, Soul Providers (now known as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) and Antibalas. He began playing for Soul Providers in the mid nineties a year later with Antibalas,[5] but eventually left Soul Providers in 2003 to concentrate on the success and as a key member of Antibalas.[7]

Axelrod also worked with Grammy Award winning music producer Mark Ronson on both the Amy Winehouse and Daniel Merriweather albums. He recorded and performed with Winehouse for her Grammy Award winning Back to Black album, co-produced by Salaam Remi and Ronson. He currently does a multitude of musical recording for Ronson, previous session work with Ronson led to his appearance on tracks with other big-time British artists Lily Allen and Robbie Williams.[8] Even more impressive, throughout his career as an accomplished musician he also manages to produce and engineer influential musical contributions to the industry. He has a notable resume list which includes musical highlights featured on high-profile compilations such as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' "How Long" Remix (from the Scion CD Sampler Vol 19: Daptone Records Remixed)[9] and Rob Symmeon's "Chosen One," (featured on J Boogie's Dubtronic Science on Om Records and Serious Times form Ghetto Arc Records).[10] Axelrod has also co-wrote and co-produced alongside musical underground's main stay DJ Spinna, hit tracks including Sean Escoffery's "Days Like This" and Les Nubians' "Makeda."[8] In 2003 he contributed to one of the best selling reggae albums of the decade, Dub Side of the Moon, the dub reggae tribute to Pink Floyd's album, which he co-produced with Michael G.[8]

As a solo artist Axelrod has released three albums; Polydemic, his debut album in 1998, followed by Hi-Fidelity Dub Sessions: Roots Combination' in 2001,[1] and in 2007 the album Ticklah vs. Axelrod. Ticklah vs. Axelrod is his first album released on Easy Star Records and features guest vocals by Mikey General, Rob Symeonn, Tamar-kali, Vinia Mojica and Mayra Vega.[8]

Despite their resemblance, Victor Axelrod is not related to Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry.

In 2007 Axelrod established Don't Trip Studio[11] located in Gowanus, Brooklyn.


  1. ^ a b "iTunes – Music – Ticklah". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  2. ^ "Daptone Records Store". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "iTunes – Music – Easy Star All-Stars". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Victor Axelrod: Information from". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  6. ^ "Easy Star All-Stars | New Music And Songs". MTV. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  7. ^ "Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Bio, History, Info on JamBase". May 4, 1956. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d "Ticklah". Easy Star. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  9. ^ arsenal22960 (January 4, 2009). "Daptone Remixed – Part 6: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, 'How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?'". Spinner. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  10. ^ "Independent Distribution Collective – Missing Controller". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Scheiner, Matt (October 23, 2007). "Studio Two – Page 1 – Music – New York". Village Voice. Retrieved October 30, 2012.

External links[edit]