Darren Emerson is now one of the most influential figures
in dance music - and so he should be, 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 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. At 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 Infants' 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 still DJ 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,
he wanted to branch out; to expand DJing and to work
with producers he was meeting on his travels across
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'
proved that Emerson was back to doing what he does best;
showcasing his party-wise selection of deep, chunky
house and funky techno cuts to perfection. Emerson has
also, since his first remix for Gat Decor's 'Passion'
on Effective Records in 1992 (Emerson's first label),
remixed tracks for Fat Boy Slim, Hatiras' 'Spaced Invader'
(Defected) then self-signed bands Meeker and Gus Gus
to Emerson's now Underwater imprint.
Emerson started Underwater Records in 1994. Initially
to release records for his friends, the label has, since
it's inception, seen releases from Meeker, Ned Flanders,
Steve Mac, Mutiny and of course Tim Deluxe - whose 'Sirens
/ We All Love Sax' and 'It Just Won't Do', has managed
to put Underwater firmly in place on the independent
label spectrum. The first album released on the label
- a compilation mixed by Emerson and Deluxe was released
last summer - entitled Underwater: Episode One, which
exclusively included Emerson's solo track H20. Underwater:
Episode Two will be released in June2003 and is mixed
by Emerson and Mutiny. Emerson has also signed Icelandic
band: Gus Gus, to the label, whose hotly anticipated
deep house, electro clash album: Attention was released
in October and bought another facet to the label. Emerson
has also remixed Gus Gus' latest single release 'David'
- bringing a jakin' tech-house cut to the package.
DJing wise, Emerson has his hugely successful Underwater
residency at London's The End on the last Saturday of
every month. The residency began in February 2001 and
has since seen the likes of Fatboy Slim, Jon Carter,
Medicine8, King Unique, Tim Deluxe, Lottie, Kidstuff,
Yousef and Mutiny kick the dancefloor into touch. In
2001 and 2002, Emerson paired up with Erick Morillo
to create Subliminal V's Underwater at Pacha, Ibiza.
The night won Best Ibiza Club for both years at the
Muzik Awards. This year (2003) the nights are going
solo, Emerson will take Underwater to Tuesday nights
at Pacha thought-out the summer from June 24 to Sept
He is also DJing across the UK and the world - and
at some point he sleeps!!