Darren Emerson is one of the most influential figures in dance music – after a career spanning more than 17 years and counting…
Whilst growing-up on a diet of hip-hop, break dancing and later acid house, Emerson brought his first set of decks at 14 and began DJing in clubs at 16. Inspired by DJs such as Jazzy M, Emerson would travel two hours on a train from his hometown in Essex to visit record stores across London for the latest vinyl. His first gig was at a club called Outers in Southend, playing early Chicago and Balearic house. He then progressed onto the Milk Bar and Limelight, DJing alongside Johnny Walker and soon gaining recognition, being named as DJ of the month in both the Face and I-D magazine – bookings from across the UK and beyond followed…
Emerson soon chose to ditch his job as an established city trader (or ‘runner’ on the stock exchange) and take on dance music full time. Recently turned 18, a friend introduced him to Rick Smith and Karl Hyde. Smith and Hyde had been in a band together for several years and needed a new injection from a DJ/Producer – in the form of Emerson – and the rest is… Underworld.
Signed to Junior Boys Own – whom Emerson was already producing for, the band released three albums: ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’, ‘Second Toughest in the Infant’ and ‘Beaucoup Fish’ – and have since sold over a million albums world wide. Their hits include Cowgirl, Rez, Dark and Long and Born Slippy – all classics. The band were also renowned for their stunning and unpredictable live shows.
2000 saw Emerson depart from the band and go at it solo style. Although Underworld had been his passion for 10 years, it was time to branch out; expand his DJíng and to work with producers he was meeting on his travels across the world.
The first collaboration saw Emerson and DJ cohort Sasha produce the Ibiza classic – ‘Scorchio’ – a perfect accompaniment for Space on Sundays. Re-establishing himself as a tech-house heavy weight, two Global Underground compilations soon followed; ‘Uruguay’ and ‘Singapore’ and the hugely succesfull Underwater Episodes 1 and 2. All proving that Emerson was back to doing what he does best; showcasing a party-wise selection of deep, chunky house and funky techno cuts to perfection. Emerson has also, since his first remix for Gat Décor’s ‘Passion’ on Effective Records in 1992 (Emerson’s first label), remixed tracks for Fat Boy Slim, The Prodigy, Puff Daddy, Hatiras’ ‘Spaced Invader’ (Defected) Meeker and gus gus.
Emerson started Underwater Records in 1994. Initially to release records for his friends, the label has, since it’s inception, seen releases from Steve Mac, Mutiny, Meeker, Gus Gus, Pnau, Paul Jackson, Sharam Jey and Tim Deluxe – whose ‘Sirens/ We All Love Sax’ and ‘It Just Won’t Do’ managed to put Underwater firmly in place on the independent label spectrum. In 2003 Underwater was voted label of the year by DJ mag and continues to go from strength to strength releasing albums and singles from its ever growing and increasingly varied roster of artists.
As well as producing club cuts for Underwater under his H2O moniker Darren has begun work on his eagerly anticipated debut album. Scheduled for a 2009 release the album is shaping up to be something quite special.
The 9th Feb 2009 will also see the release of Darren’s third Global Underground mix CD recorded in Bogota. Plans for the coming year include more club tracks and a world wide tour to promote the compilation
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