A true gent by the name of Darren Emerson, an artist who has been at the forefront of dance music since 1990 and former member of Underworld has kindly taken time out to feature his label Detone Records on Decoded Radio. Not only this, he also introduces us to his new mix concept Evolve. We’ve recently been chatting about his studio overhaul over the past 3-4 weeks “I’ve had a de-clutter, so I’m going to be selling a few old bits off in the new year” he said.
If you follow Darren on social media you would have seen it’s a bit of a sore subject which ended well, thankfully. He had treated himself to a new curved monitor but it was damaged on arrival. When he returned it, he was having trouble getting a refund from them. Thanks to the help of Irvine Welsh who started a twitter campaign tweeting the company and using the hashtag #DontRipOffDaz a refund was eventually received. The power of social media followers on show right there.
We began our chat by recapping on Detone and why the label was originally launched in 2012. Darren explained “Detone was basically set up as a platform to put my own productions out at first. But obviously I’ve met loads of brilliant producers and DJ’s on my travels and it made sense to bring them on board and release their projects as well as mine to move the label forward.” During the period the label has been running, Detone has stuck to their roots with an underground vibe and putting out the best in House and Techno Darren could find. “I’ve created a great little family of producers that continue to give us top quality tracks, so I’m very pleased where the label is at the moment” he said.
‘Evolve’ is a brand-new quarterly mix compilation series. The first part which was released on December 14th features some recent releases from Darren alongside other Detone artists. He explains –
“All tracks are coming from the Detone label. We’ve released so many great tracks over the years and we felt we should delve into the archives to showcase some of these releases again, along with great new material from our artists and of course some of my own new productions. This first edition features some of my recent singles including ‘Bub’, ‘Creepin’ with Sian and also comes with 2 brand new cuts, ‘Stop It’ and ’Scratcher’, then we’ve also got some brilliant tracks from the likes of Hansgod, John Tejada, Saytek, Linear B, Jon Cowan, Thomas Angstrom and more.
“I wanted the first edition of ‘Evolve’ to highlight my evolution as an artist” Darren had stated. How has going through this process with Evolve made him feel about his evolution as an artist? Was it a valuable reflection on his music? “It’s always about moving on and evolving as I think it’s a natural thing to do. It was good to use some of my past tracks up to the present productions to show how things Evolve” he said. Each edition will showcase brand new productions from himself, plus special collaborations with long time industry friends. This must have been a very personal project. Darren told me “I’ve known some of these artists for many years, people like G Flame and Saytek. They are just fond memories of making great parties and hopefully there will be many more to come.”
Speaking of parties Darren is to announce a special ‘one-off’ party to celebrate the series however, this is still work in progress. “We want to do a few Evolve parties next year, we’re just looking to find the right venue at the moment, then watch this space” he said.
With evolution being the musical based concept, I asked if running parallel has there been any personal change in Darren’s life which has influenced or motivated him artistically? “Yeah, my kids are always a big inspiration to motivate me and push boundaries. We have another one on the way in Feb, which gave me the inspiration for the name BUB which is the 1st track on the album mix” he explained.
We briefly mentioned long-time friends which brought us onto talking about the new 3D project with Danny Howells and Dave Seaman which has taken off in 2018. It all started at Ministry of Sound where they were all booked on the same line-up. Dave Seaman then suggested that they start doing a thing together and 3D was born. “I really enjoy doing shows with the boys, it’s always a great vibe and a good laugh” Darren said. Together they have played a string of high-profile festival dates across the summer of 2018 and toured both North and South America. Darren told me “most gigs have been really good fun as all of us together creates a great vibe as we’re all a bit different in our styles but it works really well. Hard Pop in Juarez in Mexico on our last tour was amazing. The travelling can take its toll a bit after a few late nights and early starts though.”
As we were speaking of South America, I couldn’t not ask about his experience of being involved with the GU series, in particular Global Underground 015: Uruguay? The travel, the city, and La Morocha club in Punta del Este? He told me –
“I was lucky to see Punta / Uruguay before it blew up and became very popular to the world. I loved every minute of it, it’s such a cool place. I had a blast doing the gig and was with good company – Sasha, Lee Burridge and the GU crew all going crazy on the dance floor. Then followed by one of the maddest after parties at a friend’s house, it was a pretty special trip. It was always a good vibe with the GU crew and it was nice to bring something a bit different to the label with my harder techno grooves.”
And GU have just announced Patrice Baumel as next in the city series. “Yes, I really like Patrice, he’s a great artist. A good choice methinks.”
With over 30 years of accolades in the bank Darren spoke about some of the moments he holds closest to his heart. Off the top of his head he listed “Boys Own parties (standing in for Andrew Weatherall), being one of the 1st DJ’s to take Techno to Japan (which he had recently been told), GLASTONBURY – Rocking the Pyramid Stage, the Underwater Pacha residency, Underworld, the Detone label, The White Lamp alias, working with great artists like Bjork, U2, Diddy, tours around the world with good friends like Coxy and Fatboy Slim, Trainspotting, making countless amazing friends around the world. I’m sure there are plenty more but it’s really early in the morning.”
By many Darren is considered to be the master of the mix compilation so, what advice would he give to construct the perfect mix? “Ahh that’s very nice to hear. I wasn’t aware of that” he said firstly. “It takes me a while to do a mix, as you want it to last and not just be just another disposable mix as there are so many out there. So, take your time and make sure all the tracks mean something to you.”
Before we wrap things up you will all be pleased to hear of new music coming from Darren’s The White Lamp alias. He has a new single out in spring called HARMONY. “I’ve been sitting on it for a very long time as I was too busy with other projects and I want to make sure I give it 100%” he said. “So, I’m starting a new label for it too, and have some amazing remixes coming from Maxxi Soundsystem and Ron Basejam. We’re also gonna do a full live show with The White Lamp. We did one live show a few years back and it was great fun. So, all said, it’s going to be a busy year for me in 2019.”
Decoded Radio hosted by Luke Brancaccio presents Detone with Darren Emerson.
01. Golden Girls – Kinetic (Gai Barone Re-rub) [Unknown]
02. Luke Brancaccio & Simon Berry – I Hear This [Bedrock]
03. Madben – Exploration [Speedsound]
04. 88Dubs – Living In Paradise [Unknown]
05. Egbert – Zachtaaring [Unknown]
06. Egbert – Fractals [Unknown]
07. Tunnelvisions – Kudja’s Sacrifice [Unknown]
08. Victor Ruiz – Pulso [Unknown]
09. Luke Brancaccio & Simon Berry – I Hear This (Yotto remix) [Bedrock]
You can now listen to Decoded Radio over at Pioneer DJ Radio at the times below by visiting http://pioneerdjradio.com/
Every Friday 2100hrs Central European Time
Every Sunday 0400hrs Central European Time
Every Thursday 1300hrs Central European Time