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dBridge is the uncompromising producer pushing the boundaries of drum & bass

The first dBridge album in 10 years pushes the boundaries of what drum & bass can be to the limit, but as we find out when we meet him at Sun And Bass festival in Sardinia, it comes from a deep passion for the music, his family and friends…

Words:DAVE JENKINS 
Pics: KHALI ACKFORD, DOGGER

September 2018: Darren White, the artist we know best as dBridge, is in a good place. Literally, creatively, professionally, he’s in the midst of his most prolific and accelerated chapters of his career. He’s become a dad this year and, right at this moment, he’s on the silky sands of La Cinta beach, Sardinia. The warm turquoise sea ripples less than a metre away, Calibre’s about to play on a stage about 20 metres away, and Darren is surrounded by some of the most important people in his life. His wife sits on a lounger beside him, his baby son is in his arms. His friends are close by with their own young families. He also has some calamari.

The good place in question is, of course, Sun And Bass, an eight-day d&b nirvana where many of the genre’s DJs stop to take a rest after a typically hectic summer on the DJ merry-go-round. Darren seems relaxed, at home. The significance of both the location and this particular moment in time aren’t lost on him. He’s just weeks away from dropping his first solo album in 10 years, and it’s arguably his boldest personal statement to date. The masters have been submitted, his own artwork has been approved; he’s well past the point of final tweaks or last-minute changes. Sun And Bass is an ideal place for him to decompress from album mode, avoid the classic pre-release anxieties and re-engage with the culture and musical movement he’s been dedicated to developing since he first emerged in the mid ’90s. It’s also where he met his wife, and where they’ve chosen to take their son for their first holiday as a family.

“There’s a real positive energy right now,” White says. “Among us personally and in the tunes. There’s a group of us interacting a lot more, talking, having fun. There’s a spirit of competition, it’s moving things forward. Especially here. We've all got time to hang out and check what each other are doing,” Darren reflects. As true to his word as he is to the craft, DJ Mag sees him out most nights, front left, enjoying sets by his peers. “All of this is really important. We don’t need to stick together, but it helps. Drum & bass is quite insular in some ways, but here we definitely push each other.”

Want more? Read our Solid Gold features on Aphex Twin and The Prodigy