A veteran producer and one of the most experienced artists in drum & bass, Darren White aka dBridge is an artist whose multiple transformations and evolutions glide through a staggering list of achievements. Over the course of a long and distinguished career, he has been at the heart of some the most exciting collaborative partnerships drum & bass has ever seen from Future Forces to Bad Company and most recently Club Autonomic. Forging a strong bond with Instra:mental, they showcased their Autonomic sound with an award-winning Fabriclive mix CD, worldwide tour and residencies for Fabric and Rinse FM. In 2011, dBridge returned the focus to his label Exit Records with the Mosaic Vol. 1 compilation and more artist LPs as he continues to be a mentor to the new breed of producers inspired by his career. As a solo artist, dBridge remains versatile with his own productions for Exit, Metalheadz, Reinforced, Hotflush and many more.
Although his love of music dates back much farther, Darren’s career began in earnest in 1992 when he moved to London to make music with and produce for his brother Steve (himself a successful solo artist and front-man for the group “Spacek”). Catching the buzz of the nascent rave scene along with his brother, he ventured out to club nights such as Roast and the Astoria and drew inspiration from the deep dubby tones of the Jah Shaka Soundsystem. Darren soon found himself working with UK hardcore group Armshouse Crew, the production posse responsible for Lennie De Ice’s proto-jungle anthem “We are I.E.” and began to master the synths and samplers that were the source of this new sound.
In 1995 he linked with the Trouble On Vinyl camp, who released his first solo production as dBridge, “Bring Da Flava b/w Keep it Real”. It was here, amongst like-minds and contemporaries, that he met fellow producer Jason Maldini and the pair went on to form Future Forces. Their early productions stood apart from rest and so a new imprint, Renegade Hardware, was established to cater for the tougher, grittier sounds they were creating. A steady string of releases followed, including the classics “Dead by Dawn” and “Triton”.
Combining forces with two equally divisive producers, Fresh and Vegas, the scene-defining Bad Company (BC) solidified dBridge’s next chapter. Creating a myriad of anthems that to this day will be heard played (and rewound) any number of times at any D&B night, in any city around the globe (“Planet Dust”, “Hornet”, “The Nine”), in BC’s 5+ years of working together, they redefined dance-floor Drum and Bass. The notorious super-group created tracks – and 3 full-length albums – that will remain drum & bass epitomes, tracks that will forever line the chapters of D&B history notes.
In 2003, dBridge opened a new chapter with the first release on his own label Exit Records. “Libra b/w The Bride” was soon followed by more solo outings, across a string of high profile labels including Soul:R, Creative Source, Liquid V and Metalheadz.
More than just a platform for his own music, Exit Records is the fruition of a lifetime goal for Darren and has developed to encompass styles beyond strictly drum & bass. Exit Versus plays host to dBridge’s collaborations with other artists and the first three singles saw him cross swords with the likes of Commix, Concord Dawn, A.I. and Fierce. Exit Aptitude by contrast focuses on individual artists at the top of their game and includes specially commissioned artwork in a limited edition vinyl package. Previous volumes have included luminaries such as Calibre, Survival, Rufige Kru and Instra:mental, each providing music with integrity and longevity and enhancing Exit’s reputation as a label with the strictest quality control.
In 2008, Exit released dBridge’s first solo LP “The Gemini Principle” to widespread critical acclaim with several tracks showcasing his talents as a vocalist as well as a producer, a sure sign of a confident artist not afraid to stamp his own personality on his music. A vocal appearance on Martyn’s “These Words” and further solo singles like “Wonder Where” and “Inner Disbelief”’ have gone on to cement the dBridge vocal as a distinctive, unique instrument.
Around the time of his “Gemini Principle” LP, dBridge crossed paths with two equally open-minded kindred spirits, Instra:mental, and eventually formed a creative alliance as Autonomic which spawned a club night, a podcast, an umbrella for their labels, and, most crucially, a sound. Together the trio presented the cult followed 12-episode (or “layer”) monthly Autonomic podcast series, gaining worldwide acclaim with over 60,000 downloads and a dedicated league of non-D&B listeners. Exploring their influences across all styles and time periods – in addition to teasing unreleased productions that sat somewhere in-between several genres – the podcasts set a precedence that caused the entire electronic music scene to take notice. Effortlessly blurring lines, the Autonomic sound was showcased on their award-winning “FABRICLIVE 50” mix CD, a radio show on Rinse FM, a globe-spanning tour, as well as an Autonomic club residency at Fabric.
With the standard set high by his debut solo LP, Exit followed up with albums from Survival, Consequence, Black Pocket (Steve Spacek), Genotype, They Live (Consequence & Joe Seven), and most recently a compilation album “Mosaic Vol 1” which showcased the cream of new talent alongside Exit Records veterans. Add to this many influential singles from artists like Synkro & Indigo, ASC, Code 3 and more, and it is immediately evident why Exit Records has become one of the most influential electronic music labels operating today.
As for DJing, dBridge is now cemented as one of the most important, and innovative DJ’s on not just the Drum and Bass scene, but the electronic music circuit. dBridge has been representing for A Bunch of Cuts at their new London residency, at Fabric as part of the Club Autonomic residency, as well as breaking new ground by playing at Berlin’s home for techno, the legendary Berghain club…. not forgetting his tours of clubs and festivals the world over, including Japan, Australia & New Zealand.
In 2011, along with creating more scene stealing solo productions, Exit Records’ musical direction and artist stable has become the main focus for dBridge’s attention. Constantly exploring the potential and boundaries of drum & bass music and staying several steps ahead of the rest, it seems inevitable that he will eternally remain one of the leading lights in independent underground music.
The plethora of dBridge’s quality releases makes it really hard to pick out only 10 tracks. Intentionally, his productions as a member of Bad Company & Future Forces have been left out in an effort to focus on his solo career as an artist. With unique criterion my own musical taste and in strict chronological order, ten of dBridge’s finest moments are demonstrated below:
- dBridge – Keep It Real (b/w Bring Da Flava, Trouble On Vinyl, TOV022, 1996)
- dBridge vs Resolution No.1 – Libra (b/w The Bride, Exit Records, EXIT001, 2003)
- dBridge & Vegas – True Romance (b/w Bellini, Metalheadz Platinum, METPLA001, 2004)
- dBridge – True To The Craft (b/w China Blue, Liquid V, LQD005, 2004)
- dBridge – Dolls (The Monochrome ep, Bingo Beats, BINGO028, 2005)
- dBridge – Love’s Ugly Child (b/w Without Answers, Soul:r, SOUL:R017, 2005)
- dBridge vs Artificial Intelligence – Odessa (b/w Nothing Is True by dBridge vs D Kay, Exit Records, EXITVS003, 2006)
- dBridge – Wonder Where (b/w No Future by Instra:mental, Nonplus, #001, 2009)
- dBridge – City Of Lonely Runaways (b/w Dischord, Disfigured Dubz, DIS015, 2011)
- dBridge – Detuned Heart (b/w From The Start by Instra:mental, Autonomic, NOMIC004, 2011)