Darien J - A Track A Week For An Entire Year - Meet One of Brighton's Busiest Producers
Updated: Jan 6
We're so excited to bring back our Brighton Mixtapes Series. Since the success of our beloved Berlin Mixtapes Series, which has featured awesome guests so far, we felt there was a real gap in terms of showcasing the amazing talent within our own home city right here in Brighton. We have a wide spectrum of artists that span acrossany genres therefore we decided we would create the 'Brighton Mixtapes' Series, so that we can not only showcase established artists but also feature up and coming musicians that would like a platform to be heard.
Equally, whilst our focus at Berlin has always been somewhere between Deep House and Techno we can now open up and extend a wider reach into other genres that Brighton has to offer. Also each artist will be subject to a series of one answer quick-fire questions to accompany each guest mix to give readers a quirky insight into the artists' likes and dislikes.
Next up we bring you Darien J a producer, curator and mixer of deep atmospheric club music. He has a firm belief that dance music is for dancing not chin scratching, foot gazing, ego stroking or selfie taking. Darien constantly absorbs wide-ranging influences and like a musical sponge is wrung out on radio stations and dancefloors around the world.
Totally ignoring genre limitations he manages to combine elements from the deepest side of house, electronica and techno in both his DJ sets and productions.
Since his debut release of The Dubstar EP on Cubism Records in 2008 his skills in the studio have improved in equal but opposite measure. His latest releases can be described as sounding like ‘the abandoned love child of a twisted love triangle between Olivier Giacomotto, Stephan Bodzin and Solomon’.
Over the last few years Darien’s music has found homes on trendy labels like Motek, Submarine Vibes, Inside Out and Chapter 24.
Throughout 2021 he started to self-release one track every week that was made available free to fans who subscribe to his newsletter the week before general release.
We caught up with Darien to find out more.
Hi Darien, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
I'm really good, thanks! This week I have been mostly recovering from an epic Christmas Day that we had with friends here in our new little house in Brighton. I've managed to squeeze in some music making but my usual every day habit has fallen by the wayside somewhat.
How long have you been DJing?
I first had a go on a friend's decks back in '95 trying to mix jungle. Badly. I was hooked from the moment I managed to get two records to play in time with each other even if it was only a fleeting moment.
You have been doing quite an incredible thing this year, in which you have set yourself a challenge to release a track a week. How's that been going?
It's been a very interesting year musically speaking. It was around this time last year that I decided to do it as I had a good half dozen tracks ready to go and wasn't sure what to do with them. I definitely gave myself too much to do with the marketing side of things and as the year went on it became increasingly difficult to keep it all going.
This meant I had to focus on making more of the time I spent making music which lead to a more dynamic process. So now I'm performing and recording track ideas live and then finishing the best ones off.
Did you manage to do it every week, and are there any favourites?
I have so far! Although quite a few in recent weeks have been very much last minute uploads on a Sunday. One left to go and two days left of this year! 'Snowball Effect' from Week 3 is still my favourite and the first to include Bitcoin related samples.
What are your plans with the tracks? Are you looking to get them released?
I think I'm going to bundle them up into a pack and send them out to a few contacts. They are already released and available to stream on most platforms and download on a few so I will mainly focus on making more for general release.
You have released on a few labels so far, tell us more about those releases.
My debut Dubstar EP came out on Saytek's Cubism label back in 2008 which was a big moment for me. Perc did a banging remix of the title track that charted quite well so that was exciting to see. My collaboration with Chapter 24 label boss Sam Taylor that came out on Submarine Vibes called Gestalt was a great experience too. I've been using the drum samples he used in the Ableton Live project in every track I've made since!
Other highlights are the Born Rude EP on Detox Recordings from 2011 (the title track is still my favourite release to date and I play it every opportunity I get), and getting a track included on the Motek VA a few years back was a big moment.
Also, if you want a stand out track for a set then Allies For Everyone - Not Too Far (Darien J Remix) focuses on his amazing vocal for an epic breakdown.
You're a bit of a Bitcoin enthusiast, tell our readers why they should get involved.
Bitcoin is the hardest money and the best savings technology ever invented.
The legacy financial system we have currently is fundamentally flawed due to the money and state being inseparable. We are encouraged to spend and not save for our future. Inflation is killing fiat currencies. Bitcoin fixes this.
Where was your first gig in Brighton?
I think it was at The Tempest on the seafront. Love that venue in the summer.
You have played for us a couple of times at Berlin-Brighton including warming up for Jonas Saalbach at the Green Door Store and Emanuel Satie at Chalk. What have been your favourite memories?
The event at the Green Door Store was epic! The room filled up so quickly and was jumping for the whole of my set and it continued that way all night! That is one of my all time favourite gigs.
What can people expect from a typical Darien set? Deep atmospheric club music.
Where's your favourite place to just kick back and chill in Brighton?
I love Block on St James's Street in Kemptown. There's always great music there and the food is amazing!
And equally, where's your favourite place to let loose?
Funnily enough Waterbear is my new favourite venue (it's owned by the same people). The recent Berlin 7th Birthday and Size events there were both amazing.
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
I'm really inspired by my fellow Brighton based DJs. Since the end of lockdown in the summer of 2021 I've had the pleasure of getting to know so many and heard excellent sets from them all! The likes of Markus Saarländer, Chemz, Koipinoxia, Nina Carina, Brunonumerouno, Nadia, POok & Lola and Shillin.
All of whom I'm lucky enough to be playing alongside on NYE for Berlin-Brighton.
On the music making front I'm loving what Jiggler is putting out. Olivier Giacamotto tracks are always in my sets and what Kyle Watson is doing with the Bass House stuff is amazing.
What are your go-to labels?
Weirdly, I don't really have any as I tend to find music by following the artists rather than the labels. Those that appear regularly though include Suprematic, Stil Vor Talent and Highway Records.
You have compiled our latest Brighton Mixtapes Series Episode 011 - Tell us more about your mix. It's a deep excursion through all the genres I like to play building slowly from the more downtempo organic house stuff, through deep and melodic up to the techier and more punchy techno tracks.
What else can we expect from you soon? What's next on the horizon for DJ gigs, where can people see you next?
I haven't quite decided on the plan for 2022 yet but it will definitely involve regular live streaming from the studio and lots more music releases.
I'm looking forward to joining the Berlin-Brighton crew for NYE in a couple of days at Waterbear and I'll be playing alongside Chemz every Friday from the end of January for The Social Shift at Block.
Exciting stuff! It's been an absolute pleasure as always talking with you Darien. Next up here's the Quickfire Round:
Genre: Deep Atmospheric Club Music
Favourite Colour: Blue
What do you put on your chips? Salt & Vinegar
Apple or Android: Apple
Pioneer or Denon: Pioneer
Rekordbox or Serato: Rekordbox
Can you juggle?: Yes, 3 balls - Just!
Weirdest/Coolest item of clothing: Waterproof Mac
First record ever bought: Theme from Ghostbusters
Favourite place to hang out in Brighton: Block, Kemptown
Best club: The Waterbear
Where does the best roast: Tremenheere Kitchen in Penzance, Cornwall
Coffee or Tea: Both
Favourite Beer: Any Gluten Free
Favourite Footy Team: Real Bedford (non-league club now running on a Bitcoin standard)
Favourite Track right now: Feelmark - Orbital (Kasper Koman Remix)
View on Seagulls: Sneaky
Favourite seafood: Smoked Salmon
Favourite word: Megalomaniacal
3 words to describe your mix: Deep, atmospheric, club
To find out more and listen to Darien's music catch him on these socials:
1. John Monkman - Not Only With Orange (Original Mix)- Beesemyer Music
2. AWKA - Fruits Of The Earth (Original Mix) - Akbal Music
3. Savvas, D'Phault - Vue (Original Mix) - 3rd Avenue
4. Allies for Everyone, Space Food, Yannek Maunz - Silence (Original Mix) - YION
5. Wuachuma - Keep on Ridin' (Original Mix) - Saisons
6. Sahar Z, Shai T - Colours (Original Mix) - Moments
7. Big Al, Deep Active Sound, Moe Turk - Tactics (Original Mix) - Ready Mix Records
8. DP-6 - Illusion (DP-6 Aliens Dub) - DP-6 Records
9. Modeplex - Replace Me (Original Mix) - Natura Viva In The Mix
10. Nkemdi, John Creamer & Stephane K - I Wish You Were Here Feat. Nkemdi (Stan Kolev Remix - [BiG AL's Breakless Edit]) - Ready Mix Records
11. 2ways - Hedgehog in the Fog (Original Mix) - Suprematic
12. Ryan Murgatroyd, Mark Valsecchi, Wulfsohn - Rebel Kids (Wulfsohn Remix) - Swoon Recordings
13. Dave Davis & Denis Naidanow - The End (Kiko Remix) - Laark Records
14. S.Samo - Vibes (Katar & Minörs Remix) - Suprematic
15. Modeplex - I Miss You (Original Mix) - Steyoyoke
16. 1MRN - Light, Everywhere (Mark Valsecchi & Evan Kotton Remix) - Swoon Recordings
17. DP-6 - No Worries (Original Mix) - Suprematic
18. Darien J - What Money Is - #beboldbebravebeunique
19. James Dixon, Kamal Imani - Cosmic Being (Kastis Torrau Remix) - Stripped Recordings
20. Upercent - Garba Derba (Original Mix) - TAU
21. Tim Green - Scar (Original Mix) - Disc Over Music
22. Ryan Murgatroyd, Sobantwana - On My Mind feat. So-bantwana (Extended Mix) - Swoon Recordings
23. Arude - Dreams About Dreams (Original Mix) - Radikon
24. Darien J - Club UK (Room 2 Mix) - #beboldbebravebeunique
25. Javi Colors, Les Bruenettes - Sea Line Woman Remixes (Fernando Campo Remix) - SP Recordings