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Darren Emmerson about evolve and his favorite old-time tracks

Interview: Darren Emerson launches ‘Evolve’, a quarterly mix series

Over 3 decades in the game already. Much respect for an artist that is still high in the game in this fast-paced scene. Darren Emerson collaborates with the cream of the crop, runs his Detone label and still plays the biggest festivals around. Hence, Carl Cox still regards him as an all-time favourite and continues to add him to the line-ups for his massive Intec parties worldwide.

Darren’s “3D” offshoot with his brothers in arms Danny Howells and Dave Seaman, continues to set dance floors on fire around the globe.

Since 2012, Darren is pushing things forward with his imprint Detone Records. A platform to discover and to nurture the next generation of techno artists. Since it’s inception, the label has established itself as one of the top underground hubs for innovative talent such as Saytek, Jon Tejada, Steve Mulder, G Flame, P Ben, Satoshi Fumi among others, as well as being a platform for his own musical output.

Darren Emerson is pushing things forward with his “Evolve” mix series.

The next step in the process is a quarterly mix compilation which he titled “Evolve”. Darren will be selecting some of the best techno/house releases from his Detone label, along with exclusive new tracks.

Naturally, as things change in our life we are EVOLVING, so this project will represent my journey as an artist and a label owner.

We sat down with the master himself and a short chat about “Evolve” and some of his all-time favourite tracks.

Darren Emerson “Evolve” compilation is out now on Detone Records. Find it on Beatport »

Darren Emerson, over 3 decades in business

Hope things are fine these days?
Hi… Yes thanks, everything is wonderful !!

What was/were the highlight(s) of the year for you in 2018 and why?
I DJ’d at some great parties with Carl Cox. The one in Dublin with Carl was at Ballinlough Castle, there’s always a fantastic crowd in Ireland.

Also touring with my 3D buddies Danny Howells and Dave Seaman. We had a few amazing tours, South America was superb, Argentina always rocks and then visiting Machu Pichu on our day off with Dave Seaman. When we arrived after a 3-hour train journey through the mountains, my girlfriend rang me to tell me that she was pregnant. So I was walking around Machu Pichu with a big grin on my face.:) A very special moment! I also ran the London Marathon for a great cause – Teenage Cancer Trust. Was very tough as it was the hottest ONE on record but I did it.

TGMS: What an amazing year and congratulations!!

Did you encounter any downsides this year and how did you overcome them?
I was very ill with a parasite that wiped me out. I had to start my marathon training all over again and only had a short space of time to get marathon fit. I did it. If you put your mind to something you can achieve anything.

TGMS: So jealous! But yes, if you want to achieve something and you are willing to go for, it will work out!

You are around for a long time already. Where do you get the energy and creativity from to keep going?
I’ve found running is great for the mind and also giving me more energy.

Darren Emerson - launches Evolve, a compilation series

You’ve recently released “Evolve”, a quarterly mix compilation. Please tell us about the inspiration behind it and where you want to take this?
I wanted the first edition of “Evolve” to highlight my evolution as an artist, so it includes bits that I’ve done a few years ago and some stuff that’s come out recently, plus some brand new exclusives including “Stop It” and “Scratcher”. Naturally, as things change in our life we are EVOLVING, so this project will represent my journey as an artist and a label owner.

Tell us more about the compilation? How do you select your tracks? Is it a reflection on your own past and look into your future?
It’s a bit of everything, but everything that’s on the Detone label. We’ve had some great releases over the years and it’s good to use some old ones that sometimes we’ve overlooked. Then, of course, some new tracks and new productions too. The first edition features tracks from Hansgod, John Tejada, Saytek, Linear B, Jon Cowan, Thomas Angstrom, Copy Paste Sou and Sinisa Tamamovic and more, along with many of my own.

What exciting news do you have in the works for the coming months or year ahead?
A new baby arriving in February 🙂

Working on my White Lamp project with a new release called “Harmony”- Looking at a spring release on a new White Lamp label. And working on some collaborations and new projects. One I’m excited about is working with Neil from Leftfield.

Which 3 to 5 tracks ultimately are the favourites of your life/career thus far. And what kind of impact did they have on you?
You have given me a challenge here. Picking 5 tracks is almost impossible – I’ve gone for more of the dance side of things from early DJ days. These all had an impact on me.

1. Davy DMX – One For The Treble
This must be one of my all-time Electro tracks with a cool girl vox, heavy bass line and perfect scratching. One of the best Electro / early Hip Hop records ever made, it’s simple but as is with all strong records, its simplicity is the key. I was lucky to have a pair of decks in my bedroom when I was 14, so I would use two of the same records, cutting and scratching and listening to the masters Grandmaster Flash, Red Alert and Marley Marl. Good times.

2. Man Parish – Hip Hop Be Bop
All-time classic electro boogie/funk Hip-Hop masterpiece that was part of the breakdance scene coming out from NY City and rose to have international appeal. The production on this is just amazing. If you do not connect musically with the vibe, rhythm and infectious beat of this record, then there’s definitely something wrong. 😉

3. Laurent X – Machines
This was written by an old friend from Chicago, Mark Imperial. He’s made some classic tracks. On the flipside to Machines was another great track called “Drowning In A Sea of House” which was a deeper house cut. But it was all about the acid track which takes me back to dancing in Spectrum with the strobe light flashing away. The high hats working like a rattlesnake and the best acid riff to blow your mind. Then the vocals – “Machines – They’re taking over”. Just outstanding. Thanks, Mark Imperial 🙂 !!!!

4. Jungle Wonz – The Jungle
Of course, there are so many choices when it comes to putting my most influential tracks on here but I would have to put Marshall Jefferson’s Jungle Wonz up there with my all-time House tracks. It wouldn’t be right not to have Marshall on the list as he’s made so many great recordings. (If I could I would put more on this list) For me, he was definitely one of the best house producers around at the time. The Jungle is just an amazing piece of work with the coolest vocals from Harry Dennis, top bassline and strings to die for. This track still holds true today. A masterpiece from Jungle Wonz aka Marshall Jefferson.

5. Derrick May – It Is What It Is
I couldn’t make a list without putting one of Derrick’s tracks on here. Of course, we all know his tracks, but this one has always been close to my heart. With the little high acidy riff, an amazing bassline and emotional chords, it always does it for me. Very emotional. Again fond memories of jumping around to this in the sweaty nightclubs … everyone with their eyes closed and big smiles everywhere. Thank you, Derrick, for making these timeless amazing tracks. I will never get bored listening to this.

What do you say to aspiring creators out there trying to find their voice and identity as artists?
Believe in yourself. Follow your heart. Do it your own way. Be nice to people and fuck the ego off.

Thank you so much and take good care.

Again congrats to both parents

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