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Who Really Is The Drum And Bass Father?

Updated on November 13, 2015

Who really started the DnB scene?

Everyone will agree that drum and bass originated in the UK and it was with such a fresh sound that kicked it all off. This style was going strong in the early 90s and this style is argued to be where the idea of the true raver came from. Hardcore! Hardcore was something totally new and encapsulating and the hardcore raves would take place in derelict warehouses, open fields and nightclubs. The hardcore scene spread like wildfire and grew into something quite awesome, really. This growth garnered some acts with mainstream success bringing hardcore music into the charts (you may have a heard of a small group called the Prodigy!), where it inadvertently lost it's underground status somewhat and became slightly cheesy. As with all kinds of music, a divide started to occur and you ended up having sub genres. DJs who used to be on the same billing and in the same arena were never to be placed on the same flyer ever again, because you either chose to play mostly the newer emerging sound that was Jungle/ Drum and Bass, or you stuck with the Mickey Mouse voices and cheesy pianos of the hardcore, happy hardcore side. What we want to work out is who started it? Who created the first Drum and Bass track that created a new scene for people to follow?

Not Easy To Pin Down

You can do a google search to try and find out the answer to this question, but you wouldn't have a definitive answer. Music changes and drifts around, is always influenced by something else and is often a hybrid of styles. This music heavily relied on the use of sampling to create it's unique sound (rather like hip hop). The most sampled man in hip hop music was most likely James Brown for his vocal ad-libs, guitar and horn riffs and drum patterns, and much like hip hop, UK based hardcore producers used a lot of the same drum samples and sped them up to create that unique hardcore sound. The most famous break in the history of drum and bass and hardcore would have to be The Amen Break. A six second drum loop sampled from The Winstons' 1969 track - Amen, Brother. This loop is arguably the most sampled and used drum loop in electronic music production. It became a signature of the drum and bass sound and is still used today in nearly 2016. Could the use of these samples be the true origin of drum and bass? Could The Winstons' drummer actually be the true father of drum and bass? His loop is what created this amazing dance music phenomenon, so I for one am starting to think he is!

The DJ Makes The World Go Round

Let's be honest here, anyone can make music of any style, all sorts of weird and wonderful creations are being born every minute. I bet right now someone has just produced a track that can birth a new sub genre of drum and bass.. but I digress! To create the movement just producing the music isn't enough. There has to be a following for it and for that following to occur, there has to be a DJ who will play it. To make it into something big that has the power to start a new movement, you need a lot of DJs playing it. So maybe it's not about the people who make the music, but more about the DJs who play it and make it something that everyone loves to rave to. People are often inspired by things they like so if enough people like a particular sound that they try and emulate it, you then have a style that can be given a name. I think I've changed my mind again, I think it's down to the DJs of the time that made the new era of music.


Drum And Bass Production

I've gone back to the idea that it all starts in the studio. A lot of the drum and bass producers are DJs too and they play a lot of their own music and music from their label, so.. OK OK, it's both the artists and the DJs. No one has ever been able to narrow it down to one person, so maybe I can't. But there is a camp of iconic DJs and producers whom are often hailed as being the originators. I guess for some people it depends when they themselves came into the scene to know who influenced them on a personal level. There is no denying that labels are the most iconic thing here and early labels noted are Kickin' Records 1988 (Which later formed other labels, one of which was Hardleaders), Reinforced Records formulated in 1989 by Marc Mac and Dego, Good Looking Records which was started by LTJ Bukem in 1991 and Metalheadz, which was formed in 1994 by one of DnB's most recognisable icons; Goldie (alongside Kemistry and Storm). These aren't the only labels, there really were a lot of small ones around the same time. But I now am starting to wonder if a part of the scene is what has stood the test of time. Labels like Metalheadz and Reinforced records have been longstanding and so influential in moulding the scene that it was more a collective effort from a lot of different people with different musical backgrounds which created this tremendous and most variable kind of music there is on the planet. Drum and bass is the only music in the world to my knowledge, that can have elements of any other genre of music within it, but still be drum and bass, isn't that something!

The First Ever Jungle/Drum and Bass Album Sampler?

What's The Conclusion To This Story?

It really is like answering the chicken and the egg analogy, when you give an answer that makes sense, the other answer makes sense too! Forums on the internet erupt into arguments over this very question. For me though, I can only say that although I was there to hear the music change from one thing to the next, I certainly didn't hear everything and so I don't have a totally strong grasp of what it was that made the change. I stuck to what I liked, not over analysing. I personally think the change happened over a number of years. The style emerged over a period of time, quite like how a foetus develops in the womb before it is born into a fully developed little person after 9 months gestation. The music had to adjust over time before this new style finally emerged. It has many fathers and caregivers to have brought it to where it is today. Any look into what was making an impact in the raves from around 1990 onwards, and which DJs were frequenting the lineups will ultimately get you to the answer :)


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    • krbalram profile image

      rahul 2 years ago from Bangalore

      I don't know much about drum and bass but your blog created interest in it.