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.
CREATURE OF HABIT
Texturally and aesthetically, it nods to techno and the bleak mechanic melancholy electronics you might have found on labels such as Warp and Soma in the mid ’90s, but the album’s heartbeat and soul are still drum & bass — just not as you might instantly recognise it. Or how many of the loyal patrons of Sun And Bass would recognise it, for that matter.
I thought, now here’s a chance to try some different things and go in a deeper direction, but I got the impression that wasn’t what I was expected to do. In the end, I gave them the rollers they were expecting, but I didn’t expect to have to do that.”
Point Blank are back with another track deconstruction from their master of deconstructions, Ski Oakenfull. This time Ski took aim at Canadian rapper Drake’s biggest hit of 2018, ‘God’s Plan‘. During the deconstruction, Ski will guide you through exactly how the record-breaking track was made and the elements you’ll need to create your own ‘God’s Plan‘ style beat.
Graham Massey and Andy Barker take their places at a table in the first floor restaurant at Manchester arts institution HOME, just a stone’s throw away from where local clubbing mecca the Hacienda once stood.
Famously, one of the founder members of the fluid collective that would become 808 State, Gerald Simpson — later to find fame as A Guy Called Gerald — had come through this scene, being a familiar figure not only on the North’s vibrant soul all-dayer circuit, but also on the dancefloor at the Hacienda in the club’s troubled early days.
“We were making a Biting Tongues record in the studio the night before, and Howard the sax player had left his soprano sax there,” Massey says. “I’d played wind instruments a bit but I was in no way a saxophone player. I could play the notes that fitted those chords.” It was, Massey says, included as a tribute to some of his favourite jazz musicians, specifically John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Pharoah Sanders.
It later became the de facto ‘final tune’ at the Hacienda for around six months, too. “It was like winning the World Cup,” Massey enthuses, before a daytime Radio 1 DJ, the much-maligned Gary Davies, began championing it on air in the summer of 1989. “He’d been out in Ibiza and heard it in a club, come back and thought, ‘I’m playing this daytime’,” Barker says.