London-based drum & bass luminary and Exit Records boss dBridge is writing mad. Yesterday, the man known on the street as Darren White took to his official Tumblr to defend the current state of drum & bass while responding to “this continued belief that DnB has been on some kind of hiatus.”
In his extended post entitled “Really Guys! Drum & Bass?,” the former Bad Company collaborator points out that there’s a modern misconception among journalists and musicians alike that drum & bass is all one entity. In reality, as he goes on to say, drum & bass is really a broad spectrum of sound that’s currently being created by a diverse group of leading producers including Noisia, Calibre, Loxy, Stray, and Fracture, among many others.
“As a genre I think it’s earned its place at the table,” he adds. “It’s enriched people who listen to it, clearly influenced producers, and has led the way in the production of modern electronic music for quite some time, much the same way house and techno has.” Respect where respect is due.
Read the complete Tumblr post from dBridge below:
It seems to be a popular narrative with journalists and other non-Drum & Bass producing musicians at the moment, to wonder and show surprise that producers are still making DnB, that it’s “still here” and that it still has any kind of musical value or worth. This continued belief that DnB has been on some kind of hiatus, that it’s been in a state of hibernation or, what I read recently “nearly a decade in dance music purgatory” confounds me. I can point out many labels and artists who have been releasing Drum & Bass-influenced music consistently, my own Exit Records being one of many. I don’t remember any noteworthy label taking a gap year from releasing DnB. Just because you’re not looking, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Some of us are admittedly out on the fringes of electronic music, but we have a loyal and dedicated following, we’re releasing great records on vinyl. Granted, maybe not ‘hand pressed by virgins in a Berlin loft’-vinyl, but vinyl worth listening to nonetheless. So whilst I understand the reason behind some of these sheep like statements, the shortsightedness of those making them does annoy me.
Like many other genres of electronic music, the all-encompassing word ‘Drum & Bass’ has been around for quite some time. It’s a name that encapsulates many different styles of the genre, from the chart-topping music of DJ Fresh & Wilkinson to the Dubbed out Techno heaviness of Loxy, the B-Boy drum work of Paradox, the clinical rigour of Noisia, the Jungle Juke-iness (is that a word?) of Fracture, the Hip-Hop swagger of Stray, the soulfulness of Calibre, all the way through to the minimal precision of Bop. Much like House and Techno, DnB has many offshoots and variants, that all essentially stemmed from the same thing but over time have evolved and now no longer have much to do with each other. The only thing that really binds them all is a tempo, and more importantly (or not?), the name.
This is where my annoyance stems. It seems people have just one view of what “Drum & Bass” is. I have an idea what that is, but it seems to me that some form of daft musical stereotype has taken hold of journalists and musicians who, frankly, should know better. It has its subtleties just like other genres, subtleties that if people could be bothered, or, I suppose, cared, would easily hear. For example, even though we made music together as Bad Company, comparing what I do now to what my buddy DJ Fresh now makes, is like comparing Steve Aoki to Jimmy Edgar. Yet, we still operate within similar brackets of dance music. It is this one-sided view of DnB that many seem to share that makes it difficult for me to identify myself within this genre anymore. And this really is a true shame, considering the fact that I’ve always identified myself with DnB and have felt to be a part of it, from the very beginning of the genre itself. This narrow-mindedness surrounding the term DnB has made me want to distance myself further, as it feels the term ‘DnB’ no longer reflects me and what I’m about.
But, as you might know, I’ve already spoken about my feelings on this in a previous blog post, and this is about something else.
As a scene DnB has outlived and survived many other burgeoning scenes (many of those that were seen as Drum & Bass killers), and it’s still here! Still filling clubs and festival spaces year in, year out. It has a fun side that isn’t going to change the world but provides enjoyment to those who want to lose themselves for a few fun-filled hours, and has a serious, ‘how the fuck did they do that’-complexity, that will musically blow any other electronic scene out of the water.
As a genre I think it’s earned its place at the table. It’s enriched people who listen to it, clearly influenced producers, and has led the way in the production of modern electronic music for quite some time, much the same way House & Techno has.
So, in conclusion:
It’s not going anywhere,
It’s been around long enough for you to know there are differences within the genre,
Show it the respect it’s earned and deserves,
And stop being so bloody daft!