Darren James / A&R / DJ / Graphics Guru
Darren James shows
Darren James was hooked by house music and electronica the very first time he heard an Electro Tape. Well, before that when hearing what people like Gary Numan, Vangellis, Jarre, Kraftwerk and so on were doing with synthesisers.
Even Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo, Blancmange and of course Yazoo. Anyway, this wasn’t Electro as you may know it since its recent inception as Electro House but the kind of breaking and popping quite minimalist dance music that dragged breakdancing and body popping to attention.
Whodini, Grandmaster Flash, Egyptian Lover, Dougie Fresh and Roxanne Shante infused hip hop with faster beats and fewer samples. Electro circled the more prominent house sound of the four four drum and off beat hi-hat of disco with its lush strings and horns but electro provided the ketchup for the fish and chips that was house (disco would be the salt n’ vinegar in this particular analogy).
As house made waves and joined with rave, Darren (as DJ Dayze at the time) hosted Frequency and Peach in the Northants area and got muddy in plenty of fields during those mad M25 days for Amass, Dreamscape, Tribal and so on.
Drawn towards the slower end of rave as it split into hardcore, jungle and handbag (Tony De Vit pioneering the early trance movement) it was this latter sub-genre that had Darren drop the DJ Dayze and go for a more sophisticated and polished sound.
After many successful residencies including heading up the Euphoria Albums promotional tour of the 00s and residencies in Ibiza, Aya Napa, Las Vegas and spots up, down and all around the country, Darren settled into a sound somewhere equidistant between deep house and trance. Spots with Clockwork Orange, Rennaisance, Taste, Sweat, Cream, The Abyss, Terrain, and a host of others have given Darren a ring side seat as house music evolved.
He likes to bring strings, chugging bass lines and tech chords, pianos, and vocals into his sets but isn’t bothered whether it’s a 4/4 boots and cats or epileptic breaks with surprising snares and kicks. It’s just got to be good.
For anyone interested, he mixes on digital vinyl using a Traktor Z2, 2 x Technics SL1210s (over 25 years old and still solid as a rock) an F1 for fiddling with FX and samples, and no sync unless absolutely hammered which doesn’t happen that often any more.