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The History of Drum & Bass


The first signs of drum and bass in the UK were back in 1991, but back then it sounded very different to the Drum and Bass we know and love today. Starting out as old school Jungle and ‘rave’ music, the sound was characterised by broken beats. Influenced by producers like The Prodigy, early pioneers such as DJ Hype, Goldie, Fabio and Grooverider began speeding up hip hop and breakbeat and introduced the first sounds of drum and bass. It was around this time also that these and many other producers starting creating more complicated and scatty beats, and Jungle was born.


The early 1990’s onwards saw the rise of jungle music, and the introduction of the infamous Amen Break. Jungle music was and still is much more complex and scatty in rhythm than drum and Bass, and generally played at a much higher BPM. Jungle grew more and more popular during the mid 1990’s, 1994, 1995 onwards due to the likes of Rebel MC, Omni Trio and Shy FX. Along with Jungle music came the Junglist Sub-culture. Jungle was more than just a genre, it was a way of life, with youths across the UK being heavily influenced by this music and its Jamaican sounds and roots.


End of 1990’s into Early 2000’S, Techstep as it was called then, and Neurofunk was being pioneered by artists such as Bad company, Ed Rush and Optical, Fierce and Dom & Roland. Early producers of techstep generally matured in Neurofunk producers over time. Tech is still widely produced today, and with technology being more advanced now, the sound is heavier, crisper and filthier than ever, with modern producers such as Mejjus, Emporer, Noisia and phace tearing the scene apart. The late 2000’s has also seen new subgenres such as minimal and trap come onto the scene by producers from labels such as Critical music, med school and exit records.

LIQUID, JUMP UP & RAGGA - Early 2000's

Liquid stated to take off around 2002, after Fabio’s 1998 introduction of what he then called ‘Liquid Funk’. By 2004 it was classed as one of the biggest selling genres of Drum and bass thanks to labels such as Hospital Records and artists such as Calibre, NU:Tone and Logistics.

The revival of Jump up also occurred in this decade, due to the likes of producers such as DJ Hazard and Andy C which centred around more bouncy basslines once known as ‘Clownstep’. Dubwise and Ragga introduced the mix of reggae and jungle sounds with more advanced digital production and a drum and bass bassline. Aphrodite, Serial Killaz, Ed Solo and Benny Page are all well known names within the ragga community with many still producing tracks today.

FULL SPECTRUM - 2010's onwards

The drum and bass scene has grown massively in popularity. While all the subgenres mentioned above continue to heavily influence and saturate the Drum and bass scene today, the last 10 years has seen a huge increase in popularity of the more techy side of Drum and bass, with many new underground labels now heavily promoting this sound. Its popularity has seen many more producers take on the sound, mixing it with jungle, ragga and oldschool to create a wider Drum and bass spectrum, many now refer to as 'Rollers'. The 'foghorn' sound became popular in 2019, but seems to have been just a faze rather than a continued popularity.

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