Known primarily for his work under the pseudonym Ticklah, Victor Axelrod's creative output is as ambitious as it is ample, ranging from work in retro-soul outfit the Dap-Kings and playing Nigerian funk in the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra to co-founding the Easy Star All-Stars (a project responsible for acclaimed dub versions of Dark Side of the Moon and OK Computer).
Raised in Brooklyn, he took to classic reggae and dub at a young age and started studying jazz seriously at age 17. Playing keys with various ska and reggae bands throughout his college days at SUNY Purchase, after graduation he joined Cooly's Hot Box and then filled a keyboard spot in Special Request until 1996.
In 1998, he released his first solo album, Polydemic, using the Ticklah alias. Around the same time he became one of the original members of Sharon Jones' Dap-Kings, and he joined Antibalas the following year. As he became well-known as one of the more versatile multi-instrumentalists on the scene, he started becoming more involved in studio production in Don't Trip, his Gowanus sidewalk studio, and collaborated with Michael G. in the Easy Star All-Stars while masterminding Roots Combination, another aliased solo project.
As he worked on his own creations in his free time, he also concocted remixes with DJ Spinna, recorded Ronny Jordan, and produced Dr. Israel's Inna City Pressure. Session work with producer Mark Ronson led to his appearance on tracks with big-time British artists Lily Allen, Robbie Williams, and Amy Winehouse, including playing on "Rehab." In 2007 he attempted to spread himself thicker and focused exclusively on Ticklah, before releasing Ticklah vs. Axelrod in September.