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Drum and bass

Drum and bass

Drum and bass (also written as "drum 'n' bass" or "** drum & bass**"; commonly abbreviated as "** D&B**", "** DnB**" or "** D'n'B**") is a genre and branch of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats (typically 160–180 beats per minute[4]) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines,[5] sampled sources, and synthesizers. The style grew out of breakbeat hardcore and jungle in the United Kingdom during the early 1990s.[6] The popularity of drum and bass at its commercial peak ran parallel to several other homegrown dance styles in the UK. A major influence was the original Jamaican dub and reggae sound. Another feature of the style is the complex syncopation of the drum tracks' breakbeat.[7]

Drum and bass subgenres include breakcore, ragga jungle, hardstep, darkstep, techstep, neurofunk, ambient drum and bass, liquid funk (aka liquid drum and bass), jump up, drumfunk, funkstep, sambass, and drill 'n' bass. From its roots in the UK, the style has established itself around the world. Drum and bass has influenced many other genres like hip hop, big beat, dubstep, house, trip hop, ambient music, techno, jazz, rock and pop. Drum and bass is dominated by a relatively small group of record labels. Major international music labels had shown very little interest in the drum and bass scene until BMG Rights Management acquired RAM in February 2016.[8] Drum and bass remains most popular in the UK, although it has developed scenes all around the world in countries such as the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, New Zealand, Greece, Canada, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Australia.

Drum and bass
Stylistic origins
Cultural originsEarly 1990s,[2]LondonandBristol, United Kingdom
Typical instruments
Derivative forms
Fusion genres
Regional scenes
Other topics


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a growing nightclub and overnight outdoor event culture gave birth to a new electronic music style in the rave scene, which combined sampled syncopated beats, or breakbeats, and other samples from a wide range of different musical genres and, occasionally, samples of music, dialogue and effects from films and television programmes. A faster subgenre was known as "hardcore", but from as early as 1991, some musical tracks made up of these high-tempo break beats, with heavy basslines and samples of older Jamaican music, were referred to as "jungle techno". (influenced by Jack Smooth and Basement Records), and later just "jungle", which became recognised as a separate musical genre popular at raves and on pirate radio in Britain.

It is important to note when discussing the history of drum and bass prior to jungle, music was becoming faster and more experimental.

Professional DJ and producer Costica Kristian di Vogli (known professionally as C.K.) stated, "There was a progression as far as the speed of music is concerned.

Anyone buying vinyl every week from 1989 to 1992 noticed this."

By 1994, jungle had begun to gain mainstream popularity, and fans of the music (often referred to as junglists) became a more recognisable part of youth subculture. The genre further developed, incorporating and fusing elements from a wide range of existing musical genres, including the raggamuffin sound, dancehall, MC chants, dub basslines, and increasingly complex, heavily edited breakbeat percussion. Despite the affiliation with the ecstasy-fuelled rave scene, jungle also inherited associations with violence and criminal activity, both from the gang culture that had affected the UK's hip-hop scene and as a consequence of jungle's often aggressive or menacing sound and themes of violence (usually reflected in the choice of samples). However, this developed in tandem with the often positive reputation of the music as part of the wider rave scene and dancehall-based Jamaican music culture prevalent in London. By 1995, whether as a reaction to, or independently of this cultural schism, some jungle producers began to move away from the ragga-influenced style and create what would become collectively labelled, for convenience, as drum and bass.[3]

As the genre became generally more polished and sophisticated technically, it began to expand its reach from pirate radio to commercial stations and gain widespread acceptance (circa 1995–1997).

It also began to split into recognisable subgenres such as jump-up and Hardstep. As a lighter and often jazz-influenced style of drum and bass called "intelligent drum and bass" gained mainstream appeal, additional subgenres emerged including techstep (circa 1996–1997), which drew greater influence from techno music and the soundscapes of science fiction and anime films.

The popularity of drum and bass at its commercial peak ran parallel to several other genres native to the UK, including big beat and hard house. Towards the turn of the millennium, however, its popularity was deemed to have dwindled, as the UK garage offshoot known as speed garage yielded several hit singles. Speed garage shared high tempos and heavy basslines with drum and bass, but otherwise followed the established conventions of "house music", with this and its freshness giving it an advantage commercially. di Vogli says, "It is often forgotten by my students that a type of music called "garage house" existed in the late 1980s alongside hip house, acid house and other forms of house music." He continues, "This new garage of the mid-90s was not a form of house or a progression of garage house. The beats and tempo that define house are entirely different. This did cause further confusion in the presence of new house music of the mid-1990s being played alongside what was now being called garage."

Despite this, the emergence of further subgenres and related styles such as liquid funk brought a wave of new artists incorporating new ideas and techniques, supporting continual evolution of the genre. To this day, drum and bass makes frequent appearances in mainstream media and popular culture including in television, as well as being a major reference point for subsequent genres such as grime and dubstep,[10] and producing successful artists including Chase & Status, Netsky, Metrik, and Pendulum.

Musical features

Drum and bass incorporates a number of scenes and styles, from the highly electronic, industrial sounds of techstep to the use of conventional, acoustic instrumentation that characterize the more jazz-influenced end of the spectrum.[5][3] The sounds of drum and bass are extremely varied due to the range of influences behind the music. Drum and bass could at one time be defined as a strictly electronic musical genre, with the only "live" element being the DJ's selection and mixing of records during a set. "Live" drum and bass using electric, electronic and acoustic instruments played by musicians on stage emerged over the ensuing years of the genre's development.[12][13][14]


A very obvious and strong influence on jungle and drum and bass, thanks to the British African-Caribbean sound system scene, is the original Jamaican dub and reggae sound, with pioneers like King Tubby, Peter Tosh, Sly & Robbie, Bill Laswell, Lee Perry, Mad Professor, Roots Radics, Bob Marley and Buju Banton heavily influencing the music.[15][16] This influence has lessened with time, but is still evident, with many tracks containing ragga vocals.

As a musical style built around funk or syncopated rock and roll breaks, James Brown, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, the Supremes, the Commodores, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even Michael Jackson acted as funk influences on the music.[17][18][19][20][21][22] Jazz pioneer Miles Davis has been named as a possible influence.[23] Blues artists like Lead Belly, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters and B.B King have also been cited by producers as inspirations. Even modern avant-garde composers such as Henryk Gorecki have received mention.[24] One of the most influential tracks in drum and bass history was "Amen Brother" by The Winstons, which contains a drum solo that has since become known as the "Amen break", which, after being extensively used in early hip hop music, went on to become the basis for the rhythms used in drum and bass.[7]

Kevin Saunderson released a series of bass-heavy, minimal techno cuts as Reese/The Reese Project in the late '80s, which were hugely influential in drum and bass. One of his more famous basslines (Reese – "Just Want Another Chance", Incognito Records, 1988) was indeed sampled on Renegade's Terrorist and countless others since, being known simply as the 'Reese' bassline. He followed these up with equally influential (and bassline-heavy) tracks in the UK hardcore style as Tronik House in 1991–1992. Another Detroit artist who was important to the scene was Carl Craig. The sampled-up jazz break on Craig's Bug in the Bassbin was also influential on the newly emerging sound. DJs at the Heaven nightclub on "Rage" nights used to play it as fast as their Technics record decks would go, pitching it up in the process.[25]

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the tradition of breakbeat use in hip hop production had influenced the sound of breakbeat hardcore, which in turn led to the emergence of jungle, drum and bass, and other genres that shared the same use of broken beats.[26][27] Drum and bass shares many musical characteristics with hip-hop, though it is nowadays mostly stripped of lyrics. Grandmaster Flash, Roger Troutman, Afrika Bambaata, Run DMC, Mac Dre, Public Enemy, Schooly D, N.W.A, Kid Frost, Wu-Tang Clan, Dr. Dre, Mos Def, Beastie Boys and the Pharcyde are very often directly sampled, regardless of their general influence.[28]

Clearly, drum and bass has been influenced by other music genres, though influences from sources external to the electronic dance music scene perhaps lessened following the shifts from jungle to drum and bass, and through to so-called "intelligent drum and bass" and techstep.[29][30][31][32] It still remains a fusion music style.

Some tracks are illegally remixed and released on white label (technically bootleg), often to acclaim. For example, DJ Zinc's remix of The Fugees' "Ready or Not", also known as "Fugee Or Not", was eventually released with the Fugees' permission after talk of legal action, though ironically, the Fugees' version infringed Enya's copyright to an earlier song.[28][33] White labels, along with dubplates, played an important part in drum and bass musical culture.

Drum elements


The Amen break was synonymous with early drum and bass productions but other samples have had a significant impact, including the Apache, Funky Drummer, "Soul Pride", "Scorpio" and "Think (About It)" breaks.[34][35] Early pioneers often used Akai samplers and sequencers on the Atari ST to create their tracks.[34]


Of equal importance is the TR-808 kick drum, an artificially pitch-downed or elongated bass drum sound sampled from Roland's classic TR-808 drum machine, and a sound which has been subject to an enormous amount of experimentation over the years.[37]

Rhythm composition

Many drum and bass tracks have featured more than one sampled breakbeat in them and a technique of switching between two breaks after each bar developed.

Examples of this can be heard on mid-90s releases such as J Majik's "Your Sound". A more recent commonly used break is the "Tramen", which combines the Amen break, a James Brown funk breakbeat ("Tighten Up" or "Samurai" break) and an Alex Reece drum and bass breakbeat.[38]

The relatively fast drum beat forms a canvas on which a producer can create tracks to appeal to almost any taste and often will form only a background to the other elements of the music.

Syncopated breakbeats remain the most distinctive element as without these a high-tempo 4/4 dance track could be classified as techno or gabber.[39]

The complex syncopation of the drum tracks' breakbeat is another facet of production on which producers can spend a very large amount of time. The Amen break is generally acknowledged to have been the most-used (and often considered the most powerful) break in drum and bass.[7]

Bass elements

The genre places great importance on the bassline, in this case a deep sub-bass musical pattern which can be felt physically through powerful sound systems due to the low-range frequencies favoured. There has been considerable exploration of different timbres in the bass line region, particularly within techstep. The bass lines most notably originate from sampled sources or synthesizers. Bass lines performed with a bass instrument, whether it is electric, acoustic or a double bass, are less common, but examples can be found in the work of artists such as Shapeshifter, Squarepusher, Pendulum, Roni Size and STS9.

Atmospheric elements

Atmospheric pads and samples may be added over the fundamental drum and bass to provide different feels.

These have included "light" elements such as ambient pads as found in ambient electronica and samples of jazz and world musics, or "dark" elements such as dissonant pads and sci-fi samples to induce anxiety in the dancer.

Vocal and Melody elements

Old-school DnB usually included an MC providing vocals.

Some styles (such as jazz influenced DnB) also include melodic instruments soloing over the music.


Drum and bass is usually between 160–180 BPM, in contrast to other breakbeat-based dance styles such as nu skool breaks, which maintain a slower pace at around 130–140 BPM. A general upward trend in tempo has been observed during the evolution of drum and bass. The earliest forms of drum and bass clocked in at around 130 bpm in 1990/1991, speeding up to around 155–165 BPM by 1993. Since around 1996, drum and bass tempos have predominantly stayed in the 170–180 range. Recently, some producers have started to once again produce tracks with slower tempos (that is, in the 150-170 bpm range), but the mid-170s tempo is still a hallmark of the drum and bass sound.[28][40]

A track combining the same elements (broken beat, bass, production techniques) as a drum and bass track, but with a slower tempo (say 140 BPM), might not be drum and bass, but instead may qualify as a drum and bass-influenced breakbeat track.[41]


Many mixing points begin or end with a "drop". The drop is the point in a track where a switch of rhythm or bassline occurs and usually follows a recognisable build section and breakdown. Sometimes, the drop is used to switch between tracks, layering components of different tracks, as the two records may be simply ambient breakdowns at this point. Some DJs prefer to combine breakbeats, a more difficult exercise. Some drops are so popular that the DJ will "rewind" or "reload" or "lift up" the record by spinning it back and restarting it at the build. The drop is often a key point from the point of view of the dance floor, since the drum breaks often fade out to leave an ambient intro playing. When the beats re-commence they are often more complex and accompanied by a heavier bassline, encouraging the crowd to begin dancing.

Live performance

Pendulum performing live in 2010

Pendulum performing live in 2010

Drum and bass exhibits a full frequency response which can sometimes only be fully appreciated on sound systems which can handle very low frequencies, including sub-bass frequencies that are often felt more than heard. As befits its name, the bass element of the music is particularly pronounced, with the comparatively sparse arrangements of drum and bass tracks allowing room for basslines that are deeper than most other forms of dance music. Consequently, drum and bass parties are often advertised as featuring uncommonly loud and bass-heavy sound systems.

There are however many albums specifically designed for personal listening.

The DJ mix is a particularly popular form of release, with a popular DJ or producer mixing live, or on a computer, a variety of tracks for personal listening.

Additionally, there are many albums containing unmixed tracks, suited for home or car listening.[42]

DJ performance

Although this practice has declined in popularity,[3] DJs are often accompanied by one or more MCs, drawing on the genre's roots in hip hop and reggae/ragga.[44]

MCs do not generally receive the same level of recognition as producer/DJs, and some events are specifically marketed as being MC-free.

There are relatively few well-known drum and bass MCs, including Stevie Hyper D (deceased), MC GQ, MC Moose, MC Dett, MC Fearless, the Ragga Twins, Dynamite MC, MC Fats, MC Conrad, Shabba D, Skibadee, Bassman, MC Stamina, MC Fun, Evil B, Trigga, Eskman, Harry Shotta, Mr Traumatik and MC Infinity.[45]

Live instrument performance

Aphrodite in 2009 at Pirate Station, the world's largest drum and bass festival at that time, in Moscow.

Aphrodite in 2009 at Pirate Station, the world's largest drum and bass festival at that time, in Moscow.

Many musicians have adapted drum and bass to live performances, which feature instruments such as drums (acoustic or electronic), samplers, synthesizers, turntables, bass (either upright or electric) and guitars (acoustic or electric). Samplers have also been used live by assigning samples to a specific drum pad or key on drum pads or synthesizers. MCs are frequently featured in live performances.

Drum and bass artists who perform using live instruments include:

  • Apollo 440

  • The Brains

  • Camo & Krooked (as Zeitgeist)

  • Chase & Status

  • DJ Fresh (as FRESH:LIVE)

  • Dieselboy

  • Fred V

  • Grafix

  • Goldie

  • High Contrast

  • KJ Sawka

  • LiveSummit

  • London Elektricity (as London Elektricity Big Band)

  • Modestep

  • Nerve (Jojo Mayer's band)

  • Netsky (as Netsky LIVE!)

  • N.O.H.A.

  • Pendulum

  • The Qemists

  • Reprazent

  • Roni Size

  • Rudimental

  • Salmonella Dub

  • Shapeshifter

  • Sigma

  • Squarepusher

  • Sub Focus

  • Wilkinson


Congo Natty, a ragga jungle artist

Congo Natty, a ragga jungle artist

Smaller scenes within the drum and bass community have developed and the scene as a whole has become much more fractured into specific subgenres, which have been grouped[46] into "light" (influenced by ambient, jazz, and world music) and "heavy" (influenced by industrial music, sci-fi, and anxiety) styles, including:

Mainline drum and bass

  • Ragga drum & bass was inspired by the original ragga jungle style, with influences from reggae and dancehall music. Notable artists include Shy FX, T Power, Congo Natty, Potential Bad Boy, Marcus Visionary, Serial Killaz, Ed Solo, Deekline, Isaac Maya, Run Tingz Cru, Psychofreud, Benny Page and vocalists such as David Boomah, Top Cat, Tenor Fly and General Levy.

  • Jump-up, appearing in the mid-1990s,[47] employs heavy and energetic drum and bass,[47] characterized by robotic and heavy bass sounds. It also is generally less serious and contains more humor than other subgenres. Notable artists include DJ Hazard, Generation Dub (Original Sin & Sub Zero), Baron, Desire, Cabbie, Macky Gee, Clipz, Nightwalker, Callide, Hedex, Epsy, Taxman, Jaydan, Sub Zero, Original Sin, Annix, Konichi, Decimal Bass, Spaow, Nu Elementz, Tyke, DJ Zen, Majistrate,[48] Twisted Individual, Distorted Minds, TC, Heist, DJ Guv, Looney, Premium, Upgrade, DJ Pleasure, DJ Hype[3] and his label Playaz Recordings. "Clownstep" is a derogatory term sometimes used to describe excessively silly and/or cliched jump-up.

  • Drumstep or halftime is a combination of drum and bass and dubstep, where the beat structure is half time, while the remaining elements still adhere to the usual sub-bass and tempo of drum and bass.[50][51][52]

  • Drill 'n' bass (also known as Fungle and Spunk jazz) incorporates double-time drum 'n' bass with undanceable rhythms, low-brow humor, and ambient vibes.[53] The subgenre was developed by Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, whose rapid and irregularly syncopated basslines discouraged dancing. Other pioneers include Bogdan Raczynski and Datach'i.[54]

Light drum and bass

  • Intelligent drum & bass or intelligent jungle is a smoother style, influenced by ambient music, chillout, jazz and Soul music. It was pioneered by such artists as Omni Trio, Foul Play, Seba, Blu Mar Ten, Nookie, Hyper-On-Experience, DJ Pulse, Higher Sense, Deep Blue (Sean O'Keefe, Cause4Concern Records), Photek, Jack Smooth (Basement Records), Blame,[55] LTJ Bukem[55] and his label Good Looking Records,[6] and the label Moving Shadow. Atmospheric drum and bass creates a calmer yet more synthetic sound. It was pioneered by Calibre,[56] Zero Tolerance (Zero T) & Beta 2, London Elektricity,[56] High Contrast,[56] Logistics, Nu:Tone,[56] Danny Byrd, Cyantific, Netsky, Lenzman, Technimatic (Technicolour & Komatic), Hobzee & Zyon Base, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Hybrid Minds and labels such as Hospital Records, Fokuz Records and Liquid V.

  • Jazzstep or jazzy jungle demonstrates heavy influence by jazz. It uses typical jazz scales, rhythms and instrumentation. Notable artists include Roni Size & Reprazent,[57] Goldie,[57] Utah Jazz,[58] Morgan Sullyvan, Makoto, Alex Reece,[6] and DJ Dextrous.

  • Liquid funk (or simply "liquid") draws heavily on harmonic and melodic grooves, and samples from funk, jazz, soul, R&B, disco, house and breakbeat. The first liquid-only event was "Liquidiser" at Bristol Academy.

  • Sambass, a Brazilian drum and bass style, incorporates elements from samba, bossa nova and other Latin music styles. Pioneered by artists such as DJ Marky,[59] XRS, DJ Patife and Bryan Gee's label.

Heavy drum and bass

  • Darkstep is characterized by fast drums and a general dark mood, drawing influences from dark ambient, industrial and hardcore music. Prominent artists include Technical Itch, Dylan, Kryptic Minds & Leon Switch, B-Key, Resonant Evil, Infiltrata, SPL, Counterstrike, Evol Intent, The Panacea, Limewax, and Current Value.

  • Techstep is characterized by sci-fi soundscapes[3] and samples from science fiction culture. Pioneered by artists such as Bad Company UK (DJ Fresh, D-Bridge, Maldini & Vegas) Ed Rush, Optical, Konflict (Kemal & Rob Data), Dom & Roland, Dillinja, Ram Trilogy (Ant Miles, Andy C & Shimon), Moving Fusion, Decoder & Substance, Digital & Spirit, Future Cut, Dylan, Loxy & Ink, Total Science, D.Kay, Stakka & Skynet and Keaton with Usual Suspects or Universal Project, Klute, Concord Dawn, and the label Moving Shadow.[60][59]

  • Neurofunk or neuro is the progression from techstep[62] incorporating more elements from jazz and funk. Prominent artists include Ed Rush, Optical, Matrix, Bad Company UK, Cause 4 Concern, TeeBee, Future Prophecies, Black Sun Empire, DLR, Calyx, Hive, Gridlok, Noisia, Phace & Misanthrop, Silent Witness & Break, State Of Mind, The Upbeats, Chase & Status, Jade, Mindscape, Spor, Psidream, Catacomb, Rregula and The Clamps.

  • Breakcore is a style of electronic dance music largely influenced by hardcore, jungle, digital hardcore and industrial music that is characterized by its use of heavy kick drums, breaks and a wide palette of sampling sources, played at high tempos.

  • Hardstep is a harder style which uses gritty basslines and heavy yet simple electronic melodies.[6] Notable artists include Dillinja (early work), DJ Krust, Mampi Swift, Dieselboy, Current Value, Tre Technics, MachineCode

Genres influenced by drum and bass

Born around the same time as jungle, breakcore and digital hardcore share many of the elements of drum and bass and to the uninitiated, tracks from the extreme end of drum and bass may sound identical to breakcore thanks to speed, complexity, impact and maximum sonic density combined with musical experimentation. German Drum and Bass DJ The Panacea is also one of the leading Digital Hardcore artists. Raggacore resembles a faster version of the ragga influenced jungle music of the 1990s, similar to breakcore but with more friendly dancehall beats (dancehall itself being a very important influence on drum and bass).[63] Darkcore, a direct influence on drum and bass, was combined with influences of drum and bass itself leading to the creation of darkstep. There is considerable crossover from the extreme edges of drum and bass, breakcore, darkcore, digital hardcore and raggacore with fluid boundaries.

Dubstep originated from DnB slowed down to half speed and mixed with dub reggae, as experimental mixes on B-sides of garage records.

Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) is a form of art music based on DnB and other electronic dance musics, exploring their boundaries using ideas from science, technology, contemporary classical music and progressive rock, often creating un-danceable, art gallery style music. Pioneered by Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and other artists on Warp Records.

The genre has influenced many other genres like hip hop, big beat, house music, trip hop, ambient music, techno, rock and pop, with artists such as Bill Laswell, Incubus, Pitchshifter, Linkin Park, The Roots, Talvin Singh, MIDIval Punditz, Missy Elliott, The Freestylers, Bowery Electric, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie (the last two both using elements of Goldie's "Timeless") and others quoting drum and bass and using drum and bass techniques and elements. Recently created in the United States is a genre called ghettotech which contains synth and basslines similar to drum & bass.[40][64][41][66][67]


Record labels

Drum and Bass is dominated by a small group of record labels.

These are run mainly by DJ–producers, such as London Elektricity's Hospital Records, Andy C and Scott Bourne's RAM,[68] Goldie's Metalheadz, Kasra's Critical Music, DJ Friction's Shogun Audio,[69] DJ Fresh's Breakbeat Kaos,[70], Ed Rush & Optical's Virus Recordings [94], Futurebound's Viper Recordings and DJ Hype, Pascal, NoCopyrightSounds and formerly DJ Zinc's True Playaz (now known as Real Playaz as of 2006).[71]

Prior to 2016, the major international music labels such as Sony Music and Universal had shown very little interest in the drum and bass scene, with the exception of some notable signings, including Pendulum's In Silico LP to Warner. Roni Size's label played a big, if not the biggest, part in the creation of drum and bass with their dark, baseline sounds. V Recordings also played a large part of the development of drum and bass.[72] Roni Size, Krust and DJ Die produced some of the first tracks to be considered mainstream drum and bass tracks.

BMG Rights Management acquired Ram Records in February 2016,[8] making a strategic investment to help RAM Records (a London-based drum and bass record company co-owned by Andy C and his business partner Scott Bourne). RAM Records has been pushing the boundaries of drum and bass further into the mainstream with artists such as Chase and Status and Sub Focus.[68] Bringing back UK jungle music artists from LTJ Bukem's label Good Looking artists Bay B Kane, breakbeat hardcore heavyweight Nebula II and original junglist Gappa G.

Now defunct labels, include Rob Playford's Moving Shadow, running from 1990 until 2007, which played a pivotal role in the nineties drum and bass scene, releasing records by artists such as Omni Trio.

Formats and distribution


Originally drum and bass was mostly sold in 12-inch vinyl single format. With the emergence of drum and bass into mainstream music markets, more albums, compilations and DJ mixes started to be sold on CDs. As digital music became more popular, websites focused on electronic music, such as Beatport, began to sell drum and bass in digital format.

Distributors (wholesale)

The bulk of drum and bass vinyl records and CDs are distributed globally and regionally by a relatively small number of companies such as SRD (Southern Record Distributors), ST Holdings, & Nu Urban Music Limited.[73]

As of 11 September 2012, Nu Urban ceased trading and RSM Tenon were instructed to assist in convening statutory meetings of members and creditors to appoint a liquidator.

This left many labels short on sales, as Nu Urban were one of the main distributors for the vinyl market in the drum and bass scene.[74]

Regional scenes


Despite its roots in the UK (with Fabric being the epicenter of DnB), still treated as the "home" of drum and bass, the style has firmly established itself around the world. There are strong scenes in other English-speaking countries including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United States, and New Zealand.[75]

Continental Europe

DnB is popular in continental Europe. The Czech Republic currently hosts the largest drum and bass festival in the world, LET IT ROLL, with an annual attendance of approximately 30,000. The genre is also encountered in Slovakia, and local producers in both countries such as A-Cray, Rido, Forbidden Society, L Plus, B-Complex, Changing Faces, Lixx, Dephzac, and Gabanna are becoming well known worldwide. There are several other drum and bass festivals being held each year in these countries, including Trident Festival, Exploration Festival, or Hoofbeats Open Air in the summer, or one-night events such as LET IT ROLL Winter, Imagination Festival, and LET IT ROLL Winter Slovakia in the colder months. During club season, promoters race between each other to organize better events, often resulting in up to ten parties being held during one weekend, with no more than a two-hour travel between them.

Austria has a large emerging DnB scene with many artists such as Camo & Krooked, Mefjus, Fourward, Body & Soul, Ill.Skillz and mainly the Mainframe record label being all based in or around Vienna. Notable venues and events include "The Hive" and "Beat It" held at Flex almost every Thursday and Saturday, "Vollkontakt" at Fluc, "Switch" at Flex, and the monthly Mainframe Recordings Label Night hosted at Arena by label head Disaszt.

In Ireland, the biggest scene by far is in Dublin, with a night every Sunday by the Initial Kru mostly showcasing local DJ's but occasionally bringing over international guests such as Spirit and Seba.

Record label Boey Audio also run events showcasing local, national and international acts, as well as promoters such as Sól Fúd, Ragga Jungle Dublin and Springfield Crew Massive.

There are much smaller regional scenes in areas such as Limerick, Cork and Galway which usually have monthly nights.

South America

Brazilian drum and bass is sometimes referred to as "sambass", with a specific samba-influenced style and sound made popular by artists like DJ Marky and XRS.

In Venezuela and Mexico, artists have created their own forms of drum and bass, combining it with experimental musical forms.

In Colombia, there is a large underground scene.

RE.set and Bogotá Project are two collectives that organize drum and bass events in the city, as well as a bi-annual event called Radikal Styles that brings together local talent and international big names.

Media presence

Today, drum and bass is widely promoted using different methods such as video sharing services like YouTube and Dailymotion, blogs, radio, and television, the latter being the most uncommon method. More recently, music networking websites such as SoundCloud and Mixcloud have become powerful tools for artist recognition, providing a vast platform that enables quick responses to new tracks. Record labels have adopted the use of podcasts. Prior to the rise of the internet, drum and bass was commonly broadcast over pirate radio.[76]


The three highest-profile radio stations playing drum and bass shows are BBC Radio 1 with The Drum and Bass Show - formerly with Friction, who was replaced with René LaVice in 2017,[77] simulcast in the US and Canada on Sirius XM, and DJ Hype on Kiss 100 in London. Fabio and Grooverider previously held a long-standing drum and bass show on Radio 1. Radio 1 also had a 'One in the Jungle' show.

The BBC's "urban" station BBC Radio 1Xtra used to feature the genre heavily, with DJ Bailey (show axed as of 29 August 2012) and Crissy Criss (show axed as of August 2014)[78] as its advocates. The network also organizes a week-long tour of the UK each year called Xtra Bass. London pirate radio stations have been instrumental in the development of drum and bass, with stations such as Kool FM (which continues to broadcast today having done so since 1991), Origin FM, Don FM (the only drum and bass pirate to have gained a temporary legal license), Renegade Radio 107.2FM [95], Rude FM, Wax FM and Eruption among the most influential.

As of 2014, despite higher profile stations such as 1Xtra scaling back their drum and bass specialist coverage, the genre has made its way into UK top 10 charts with drum and bass inspired tracks from artists such as Rudimental and Sigma.

Earlier in August 2014, before Crissy Criss' show was axed, the BBC held a whole prime time evening event dedicated to showcasing drum and bass by allowing four major labels to participate.[79]

As of November 2014, there have been 6 drum & bass songs reaching the no.1 spot on the UK's top 40 chart, since the genre was first being played on the radio, around 1993.

The first of these was in 2012.

The fact that all 6 of these songs have reached number 1 in only two years shows the increase in popularity and commercialisation of the genre in recent years.

The artists that produced these songs are Sigma, Rudimental and DJ Fresh (all have had two No.1 hits).

Internet radio

Internet radio stations, acting in the same light as pirate stations, have also been an instrumental part in promoting drum and bass music; the majority of them funded by listener and artist donations.

Drum and bass was supported by Ministry of Sound radio from the early 2000s until 2014 and later featuring Tuesday shows from labels such as Metalheadz, Fabio & Grooverider, DJ Marky, Viper Recordings, Shogun Audio and Hospital Records. From September 2014, Ministry abruptly dropped all non-mainstream genres to focus on mainstream EDM, causing disappointment amongst the fans of the D&B community.[80] The leading Drum & Bass radio Station is now Denver's DnB Radio [96], established in 2003 by M. Ramirez.

North American radio

In Toronto, The Prophecy on 89.5 CIUT-FM with Marcus Visionary, DJ Prime and Mr. Brown Is North America's longest running Jungle Radio show.

Album 88.5 (Atlanta) and C89.5fm (Seattle) have shows showcasing drum and bass.

In New York, "DNB NYC RADIO" show with Host Dj Benzocaine on 90.3 WHCR-FM has a weekly 3 hour show which broadcasts in New York and New Jersey which plays only Drum and Bass every Thursday starting at 3 am. "DNB NYC RADIO" is the only weekly Drum and Bass show on the FM dial in Northeastern United States.

Seattle also has a long-standing electronica show known as Expansions on 90.3 FM KEXP.

The rotating DJs include Kid Hops, whose shows are made up mostly of drum and bass.

In Columbus, Ohio WCBE 90.5 has a two-hour electronic only showcase, "All Mixed Up," Saturday nights at 10 pm.

At the same time WUFM 88.7 plays its "Electronic Playground."

Also, Tulsa, Oklahoma's rock station, 104.5 The Edge, has a two-hour show starting at 10 pm Saturday nights called Edge Essential Mix mixed by DJ Demko showcasing electronic and drum and bass style. While the aforementioned shows in Ohio rarely play drum and bass, the latter plays the genre with some frequency.

In Tucson, Arizona, 91.3 FM KXCI has a two-hour electronic show known as "Digital Empire", Friday nights at 10 pm (MST). Resident DJ Trinidad showcases various styles of electronica, with the main focus being drum and bass, jungle & dubstep.

In Augusta, Georgia, Zarbizarre of the Cereal Killaz hosts a show called FreQuency on WHHD on Friday nights from 11 pm until 1 am, showcasing drum and bass during the 2nd hour of the show.[81]


The best-known drum and bass publication was Kmag [97] magazine (formerly called Knowledge Magazine) before it went completely online in August 2009. Although it's still live, after 20 years Kmag ceased updating their site at the end of 2014. Kmag has announced a book to celebrate their 25th anniversary to be published in December 2019. Kmag's publishing arm, Vision, published Brian Belle-Fortune's All Crews Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture in 2004.

Other publications include the longest running drum and bass magazine worldwide, ATM Magazine, and Austrian-based Resident. London-based DJ magazine has also been running a widely respected drum and bass reviews page since 1994, written by Alex Constantinides, which many followers refer to when seeking out new releases to investigate. In 2012 Alex stopped writing the reviews, and they are now contributed by Whisky Kicks.


  • All Crews: Journeys Through Jungle / Drum and Bass Culture [88] (2005) by Brian Belle-Fortune (ISBN 0-9548897-0-3), nonfiction

  • "Roots 'n Future" in Energy Flash (1998) by Simon Reynolds, Picador (ISBN 0-330-35056-0), nonfiction (British edition)

  • Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture (1998) by Simon Reynolds, Routledge. (ISBN 0415923735), nonfiction (American edition)

  • Rumble in the Jungle: The Invisible History of Drum and Bass (2002) by Steven Quinn, in: Transformations, No 3 (2002), nonfiction (ISSN 1444-3775 [89] ) PDF file [90]

  • State of Bass: Jungle – The Story So Far (1997) by Martin James, Boxtree (ISBN 0-7522-2323-2), nonfiction

  • The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass (1999) by Peter Shapiro and Alexix Maryon (ISBN 1-85828-433-3), nonfiction

  • King Rat (1998) by China Miéville (ISBN 0-330-37098-7), fiction

Mainstream acceptance

The earliest mainstream drum and bass releases include Shy FX and UK Apache's single "Original Nuttah" from 1994 and Goldie's album Timeless from 1995. Other early examples include the Mercury Music Prize winning albums New Forms (1997) from Reprazent and OK (1998) from Talvin Singh, 4hero's Mercury-nominated Two Pages from 1998, and Pendulum's Hold Your Colour in 2005 (the best selling drum and bass album of all time).[82]

Video games such as Bomberman Hero, Hi-Rez Studios' Tribes: Ascend, Electronic Arts' Need for Speed: Undercover, Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series, and Sony's Wipeout series from Pure onward have contained drum and bass tracks. Microsoft Studios' Forza Horizon 2, 3 and 4 feature a Hospital Records radio channel.[83][84]

The genre has some popularity in soundtracks; for instance, "Ultrasonic Sound" was used in The Matrix's soundtrack, and the E-Z Rollers' song "Walk This Land" appeared in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.[85] Ganja Kru's "Super Sharp Shooter" is heard in the 2006 film Johnny Was.[86]

The Channel 4 show Skins uses the genre in some episodes, notably in the first series' third episode, "Jal", where Shy FX and UK Apache's "Original Nuttah" was played in Fazer's club.[87]

See also

  • Dogs On Acid

  • List of electronic music genres

  • List of jungle and drum and bass artists

  • List of jungle and drum and bass emcees


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