Drum & Bass evolved from a vast array of music cultures and to fully understand the sound in which we relate it to today, we must understand those subcultures in which it comes from. It possibly starts in the 60’s with Reggae; ragga and reggae were important influences and Drum & Bass’ deep roots in black culture still remain. It is also important to touch upon Hip Hop and the violence that is often associated with it. In the 70’s MC’s would jump on stage with DJ’s behind a turntable and encourage party-goers to dance rather than fight, they were dubbed ‘Masters of Ceremonies’ (MC’s) and are still important in Drum & Bass culture as motivators. One of the chief aspects in the evolution of Drum & Bass is Breakbeat, as artists were rap battling, others were battling through the break in the beat by dancing and thus these beats were pushed to the forefront.
While a lot of this was happening in the big Cities in the US, Jungle was being formed in the projects of London. Ragga began to be sampled and it was mixed with elements of rave culture, Hip hop and Breakbeat. Although the breakbeats were fast, the bass was deep and slow, and so Jungle had arrived. By 1994 Jungle and Drum & Bass, once seen as two sides of the same coin, were to split completely into two. Artists began to spider from the traditional Drum & Bass sound; unlike genres like house which stuck to a somewhat traditional formula, Drum & Bass could mix with styles like jazz, salsa, ambient, rave, hip hop, becoming the extremely versatile genre that it is today.
Danny Byrd ▶ Danny is from Bath, UK and was one of the first artists to sign to Hospital Records in 1999. He is influenced by House, UK garage, R&B and old skool Rave/jungle/techno.
DJ Hazard ▶ Scott Molloy, from Birmingham UK, is a well know d&b veteran and is part of the True Playaz & Ganje Records with their own night at Fabric, London.
Ed Rush ▶ Ben Settle is one of the current leaders of the new school Drum & Bass scene and together with Optical, founded Virus.
Goldie ▶ Otherwise known as Clifford Joseph Price, well known for his life in Jungle and Drum & Bass. He also acted in Guy Ritches movie 'Snatch'.
Marcus Intalex ▶ Marcus Kaye spins a more soulful side of Drum & Bass and is the label owner of Soul:r and Revolve:r.
Shy FX ▶ Andre Willams hails from London, UK and specialises in Drum & Bass and Jungle. He's been on the scene since the 90's and is well known for his track 'Shake Your Body'.
Sub Focus ▶ Nick Douwma is from Surrey, England releasing music since 2001. He's worked with everyone from Rusko, Deadmou5, Dizzee Rascal to The Prodigy.
T Power ▶ Otherwise known as Marc Royal, T Power started his career in Hardcore but moved to d&b and jungle. He is often knwon for his partnership with Shy FX.
DJ Zinc ▶ Ben Pettit is known for his 1995's 'Super Sharp Shooter'. He stopped making Drum & Bass in 2007 due to 'detachment from the scene' but is still thought of as part of it's history.
Danny Byrd (Interviewed by HTPS)
I was into the music before it was known as "Drum and Bass", this would of been UK hardcore/breakbeat stuff like the Prodigy's first album. So I was always into stuff with breaks and crazy beats as I was learning the drums at school at the time. I think by about 1993 the ravey stuff had got quite childish and I kept on reading about this stuff called sophisticated jungle. It was funny back then that you'd probably read about it first before hearing it, as at the time there was no national radio playing the music. So if you were in London you were in the epicenter of this new sound, but Bristol was a close second and I used to tune into a show Roni Size + DJ Krust did every Thursday night on a station called Galaxy 101. By 1994 Jungle has become the biggest trend in music and the rest is history!
Going to a big rave called Tribal Gathering in 1996 is one of my stand out memories. This was the era where D&B had become quite dark, hard and techy. It was really refreshing, and DJ Randall played a awesome set reflecting this perfectly. I was into that Metalheadz sound at the time, my friend and I wanted to be like Ed Rush, so cut our hair off with some clippers at home! Mine stayed like that for probably far too long! [Laughs]… This was around the time that I first started producing properly too. So I was trying to emulate all of that hard reece baseline stuff but eventually I found my own sound within that which was pretty far removed from it ironically. There was also plenty of memories from Fabio's Wednesday night at Swerve in the Noughties!
The term "Electronic Dance Music" makes sense but why not just call it Dance music? There is also a definite sound attached with EDM brand that is not something I identify with too strongly. I think the EDM name was born out of something America could understand and sell to the highest bidder. This sounds like I am hating though because we have all benefitted in Dance music from this explosion. The nights are so much bigger now than they were 10 years ago and I'd always want my music to reach as many people has possible. Where the future lies I don't know but you can never sell music short as the public generally catch on eventually!
In terms of my all-time favourite Drum & Bass artists, there are too many to mention but today people like Dillinja, Roni Size + Full Cycle, Marcus Intalex. Although I'm equally inspired and influenced by the newer artists coming through like Maduk, Ownglow and Dimension. I think D&B changes so much that your ears have to be constantly listening out for subtle shifts in the sound. I couldn't stop producing and then suddenly pick it up 5 years later and expect to be up to speed!