Welcome to the bass arena: this month London boy Darren White aka dBridge presents some of his own productions and releases of his label Exit Records in his exclusive Carhartt Radio show. Since more than 15 years the DJ and producer is part of the UK Bass scene and produces fearless rhythm music. During the peak of the Drum and Bass movement he shook the world as a member of the notorious quartet Bad Company. Currently dBridge caused international attention towards exceptional Drum and Bass tracks that he produced solo or together with Instra:mental. For Carhartt Radio he mixed a smooth but vibrating journey that stays soulful even when it rattles. To look behind the curtain we talked to him about his career, his love for bass music, and his future plans.
From Future Forces Inc to Bad Company to dBridge – since more the 15 years you are part of the Uk music scene - can you tell us how your story started? What was your first musical love affair?
dBridge: Music was always a part of my life from an early age listening to my mother playing John Holt or Dennis Brown to looking through her records and being fascinated by artwork on the Sugarhill label. I later grew up on 80's pop, Duran Duran, Eurythmics etc, and then went through my Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison phase, but my first real love of music started when I started to develop my own tastes, Pixies, Stump, The Cure, The Pooh Sticks, Chapterhouse, My Bloody Valentine, and The Stone Roses. I was a bit of a emo shoegazer and still am!
In what ways did your parents encourage you to be creative?
dBridge: They didn't to be honest. I lived with my mum and I'd been in and out of children's homes and fostered as a kid, when I was 11 I left home and went to live with my auntie and uncle. I lived in a small town called Malvern, where there wasn't a great deal going on but I was at a good school and was surrounded by nature, good friends, and allowed to grow up naturally rather than the somewhat forced nature of life in cities. I actually started off with a love of art.
How would you describe the musical bandwidth of your wildly ramified work?
dBridge: I grew up listening to a wide variety of music and enjoy a lot of diverse styles. When I first got into Jungle / Drum and Bass I loved the varied nature of it's sources. Producers would sample from all styles and genres and I loved recognising and being surprised by it's sources. This is still a part of my music I think.
You run a label, collaborate with others, produce, DJ, and do remixes: which of your artistic approaches is your favorite and why?
dBridge: Producing is and will always be my favourite. It's a personal extension of who I am and what I want to say.
What are your future plans for yourself as an artist and your label?
dBridge: I'm currently working on my new album, which is slowly getting there. I have no idea where it will take me or how it will come together but that's part of the fun. My label is going well, I've got lots of great release coming up from people such as Consequence, Dan HarbarNam, Dub Phizix, and Skeptical. I'm trying to establish Exit as a strong independent label. I've always looked up to labels like XL, Ninja Tune, and Warp who are strong indies who have roots in dance music. If I can emulate their success in some way I'd be happy.
What was your biggest hit so far?
dBridge: Probably my album The Gemini Principle!
The UK been always a place where new music styles emerge – from TripHop to Drum and Bass to Grime to Dubstep. What makes your home country so unique in innovating new music?
dBridge: The weather for one; it's grey so not much else to do. I also think Black and Caribbean culture has played a big part. From it's influences on Ska and Punk in the 70's to the Dub and soundsystem culture of the 80's. On a social level Working class people came together to enjoy and express themselves. This was the beauty of the dance music scene in the 90's; colour or creed didn't matter. Pirate radio is also a massive influences, it gives new and flourishing scenes a voice. Like Kool FM, Rush, and Shocking FM did for Jungle. RinseFM has done the same for Dubstep and Grime.
How do you see the future of UK bass music?
dBridge: It's hard to say. Dance music has become more global in the last few years. Drum and Bass was a very UK based form of music with most of it's main players being from here. Dubstep and it's derivatives has opened itself up more to the world, so it's influences are more varied. I think the question is wider than a genre. I think the question is what is the future of music?? I have no idea ....
What advice would you give to producers who are just starting out?
dBridge: Practise, show patience, and learn from those who went before. If their is someones music who you admire, look at how they got to where they are.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
dBridge: I got my complete back catalogue together and listened to it, something I hadn't done for a while. It was nice to mix them all again, I'd forgotten how a lot of the tunes had came about. I just tried to put together a selection of my favourite pieces from Exit.
How is music a part of your life?
dBridge: It's looked after me for nearly 20 years now, it's taken me around the world several times, put money in my pocket, and food on my table. It's caused me equal amounts of pain and pleasure. It's hard to define how it's part of my life when it is my life.
Do you have any hobbies beside music?
dBridge: Watching movies.
What records from the past coined your live?
Stone Roses - Fools Gold
The Cure - Fear of Ghosts
The Doors - People are Strange
My Bloody Valentine - Glider EP
Who are you listening to these days?
dBridge: At the moment I'm re-listening to a lot of J Dilla, and random 12"s I buy this week I bought Paul White's new Lp. A Four Tet, Lone and Pearson Sound remix of a Radiohead tune and a AFX and Autechre remix of a St Etienne track.
What are you current top10?
St Files and Calibre - Falling Down
Dub Phizix and Skeptical ft Strategy - Marka
Calibre - Closing Doors
Com Truise - VHS
Loxy & Resound - Black Hole
Adamski - Killer
Vanity 6 - Nasty Girl
The Family - The Screams of Passion
The Binary Collective - Sin Skin I
The Binary Collective - Sin Skin II
You come from London – how is life there after the riots? Did the atmosphere change?
dBridge: Not really to be honest. It's no real surprises it happened. Kids are being pushed into a corner and they finally pushed back.
What are your favorite spots and secrets in London that you can’t find in any travel guide?
dBridge: I live in Stoke Newington and we have a lot of great pubs and restaurants to choose from. I also live up the road from Dalston which has stepped up it's coffee game. Reily Rocket is my favorite spot.
Can you name us people that should collaborate for a better world in your opinion?
When do you feel most at peace?
dBridge: In Malvern.
Are there some things that you haven’t done yet but you always wanted?
dBridge: Go to China and live in Japan.
And lastly: what is the best part of being a producer and DJ?
dBridge: I'm a selfish producer in a lot of ways, I make music for my own sense of emotional wellbeing and to leave my mark on this world. The best part of being a DJ is where it takes me around the world.