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d Bridge Interview - The Godfather of DnB and Bad Company

by Emma Cowles. Published Thu 09 Feb 2012 21:57, last updated: 10/02/12

From the success of Future Forces, through the highs and lows of Bad Company, and now to the newly formed Autonomic, d Bridge’s audio identity has been in a constant state of evolution.

With each new project Darren White has pushed the limits of drum and bass to it’s darkest outer reaches; and following his latest venture with Instra:mental, Purple Revolver caught up with the legend himself in an East London café, and picked his brains on his loves, hates, and all things drum and bass. He even enlightened us on his favourite Japanese pickles.

Purple Revolver: Ok, first things first. What inspires you when you’re producing?

d Bridge: It comes from a lot of places, from movies, pictures… people’s stories and lives I suppose. A lot of my tunes seem to spin around relationships.

Purple Revolver: Personal ones?

d Bridge: Yea, some definitely. The Mrs would rather some of them weren’t to be fair…! Bellini and True Romance were in a weird way love songs for her.

Purple Revolver: And they say romance is dead! So do you find your most successful tracks are the ones you put most effort into?

d Bridge: Not at all. It’s the complete opposite! True romance was one of my biggest tunes - that was done in a day.

Purple Revolver: That’s impressive. I hear you were a lead singer in a band at school…what took you so long to sing on your own tracks?

d Bridge: Confidence…it’s scary cos it’s that one instrument that no one else has got. People were like, ‘how can someone that big sing so high’ (laughs). Actually, Calibre convinced me, cos he’s been singing on his own stuff, so it was hearing him do it.

Purple Revolver: Well we think you sound the business! What would you say was your ‘big break’ in the music biz then?

d Bridge: It took 6 years of hard graft tbh. It wasn’t until Future Forces that we started to get noticed, but we didn’t really ‘make it’ until Bad Company.

Purple Revolver: And how would you describe your time in Bad Company – positive and negatives?

d Bridge: Positives – The insane parties!
Negatives – The fact that we fucking hated each other a lot of the time! (laughs)

Purple Revolver: Ooh.. did you ever have any punch ups?

d Bridge: There was a few!

Purple Revolver: Some argue that Drum and Bass is all about the ‘dancefloor bangers’. Do you try to show another side to Drum and Bass?

d Bridge: Yea, that’s what we try to do with Autonomic. For me, Matrix’s ‘Sleepwalk’ album, Boymerang’s ‘Balance of the force’ album and Photek’s albums, are the ‘holy grail’ of production; where you can work with both environments, both dance floor and chilling in your living room.

Purple Revolver: Do you get love on both sides, from Dubstep and Drum and Bass?

d Bridge: Yea I do, it’s good. Admittedly when Dubstep first came along I wasn’t sure about it. I was a bit of a snob (chuckles). I’d listen to it and think…‘really?!’ From a production point of view. You’ve got this factor, like with the old jungle, where it’s put together really badly, but you can’t deny the vibe.

Purple Revolver: So do you think Dubstep surfaced as a reaction to the staleness of Drum and Bass?

d Bridge: Yes. DnB became a real ‘paint by numbers’. You knew how to get a response from people, so it lost its soul. I speak to a lot of Dubstep producers, like Skream, and they were massively into DnB. They missed what it was we were doing so went off and did their own thing. But the DnB scene become very insular; if you weren’t from London or the UK then you didn’t count. Whereas with Dubstep, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. That’s something DnB has had to learn.

Purple Revolver: How did Autonomic come about and did you expect it to be as big as it has become?

d Bridge: No I didn’t really expect it. It came about from me and the guys from Instra:mental, they were sending me their stuff and I’d start a lot of sets with their tunes. We put together a Podcast so people could hear it in context, and were averaging 60/70 thousand downloads a month. When Fabric picked up on it, it really took off…

Purple Revolver: What would you pinpoint as the main differences between the music you’re making now and your earlier work?

d Bridge: In some ways I’ve gone backwards just in terms of technology. Nowadays it can just be you and a laptop. But I remember the fun I used to have with all my analogue gear, so I’ve pieced it back together.

Purple Revolver: What do you have in store for us next?

d Bridge: Next - more releases from Exit, Dan Habarnam’s album, I’m working on Mosaic volume 2, a couple of singles from Amit, Indigo and Synkro. I’m also still trying to finish my album! I need to stop restarting it!

Purple Revolver: And any rising stars in 2012?

d Bridge: John Convex, definitely. Also Consequence, Dub phizix, Skeptical, Ake Djassen…and me!

Now going slightly off topic…

Purple Revolver: All time dream collaboration?

d Bridge: Well I would have said J Dilla. But living, Burial again. Working with him was excellent.

Purple Revolver: Guilty pleasure song?

d Bridge: Oingo Boingo - Weird Science!

Purple Revolver: Worst song ever made?

d Bridge: Slade, ‘It’s Christmas’ – that fucking song drives me mad! It’s just every year isn’t it. I feel sorry for people who have to listen to that shit all day in shops. You see them twitching slightly.

Purple Revolver: Top 3 films?

d Bridge: Cliché number one, ‘Bladerunner’. ‘The Breakfast Club’, for me it just takes me back and a series called ‘Young and Dangerous’, a Chinese triad – I love Asian movies.

Purple Revolver: If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?

d Bridge: A Japanese pickle – the one with the funny hair - a daikon pickle? The Japanese give life to anything, any inanimate object they give character. I just like what they’ve done to that pickle!

Purple Revolver: Fantastic. I think that is the perfect note to end on. Thank you for the chat!

d Bridge: My pleasure.

END.

White takes a final, philosophical slurp of his coffee and rises to his feet, ready to seize the day with upbeat enthusiasm. His congenial attitude and verve for life is infectious; and if you look back over his discography, it’s no wonder he is smiling from ear to ear. His style and output is the envy of producers all over the world.

And after all, traveling the world doing something you love would have even the stoniest-faced Victor Meldrew beaming like the Cheshire cat on disco biscuits. He has managed to stay relevant 20 years in and around the DnB scene – not to mention cooler than the Fonz’s cornetto - so no one can begrudge White's contented outlook. He's earned it.

Pictures by Ben Weinreich. www.wine-rich.co.uk




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