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Aberdeen Drum & Bass

A Brief History and the UK Scene

By Finlay James Morrison, Jonathan Brocks and David Schopen

A large audience standing in front of a stage illuminated by columns of fire.
Image courtesy of Jonathon Brocks

If you’re a fan of high energy beats and fast paced rhythms, then look to the newly established Aberdeen Drum and Bass Society, organising events in and around the City throughout the semester.

Drum and bass also known as D&B emerged in the early 1990’s in the UK. Characterised by fast breakbeats, in the 165-180 BPM range. Its origins can be traced back to other genres such as breakbeat hardcore, techno and most influentially Jamaican dub music.

Originating in London, and inspired by the British Afro-Caribbean soundsystem culture, it quickly formed the soundtrack for the early UK rave scene, with one of the pioneers being DJ Fabio, who started playing D&B in his sets at the legendary London Club, Heaven. Another important figure in the development of Drum and Bass is the DJ and producer LTJ Bukem, who is credited with creating the ‘intelligent’ style of D&B , featuring more melodic elements and atmospheric soundscapes. Following this the genre began to diversify, with sub genres like liquid, Brazilian SamBass and Belgian Jump-Up. Jungle music has played a significant role in the evolution of drum and bass, featuring even faster breakbeats, more aggressive basslines and ragga vocals taken from many of our favourite reggae artists, many of its DJs and Producers going on to become significant figures in the D&B scene. D&B has also gone on to inspire a wide variety of genres such as Hip-Hop, Grime and Techno.

Today drum and bass remains a vibrant and influential genre, with a thriving UK scene and international popularity, both in mainstream clubs and underground raves. With the UK being home to some of the biggest and most respected labels and artists including Hospital Records, Shy Fx and Goldie. Many may have already heard of D&B or listened to highly popular tracks such as Original Nuttah and the peoples favourite Jungalist, Nia Archives, who is well known for her Jungle inspired Boiler Room set and collaboration with Skin on Skin.

One of the more exciting developments in the UK scene in recent years has been the rise of new labels and artists who are bringing fresh energy and innovation to the genre. Labels like Critical Music, Shogun Audio and Exit Records have become major players, releasing cutting edge music from some of the most exciting new producers around. Another notable trend is the increasing prominence of live events and festivals, from the massive Rampage festival to the legendary Boomtown and all the way to Croatia with Hospitality.

Overall, the current state of the UK scene is one of creativity, diversity and exciting opportunities. With new artists, labels and events popping up all the time, the genre shows no signs of slowing down, and fans can look forward to many more years of groundbreaking music and unforgettable live experiences.

While paying homage to the British origins of drum and bass music we must also acknowledge the global sound it has become. Having particularly large followings in Oceania, the United States and South Africa.

In previous years Aberdeen has had a sizable drum and bass scene, however during covid there was a hiatus in events, which has begun to turn around in recent months.

Jungle Nation Scotland have led the scene for many years, having brought the likes of Pendulum, Goldie, and Fabio & Grooverider to Aberdeen before the pandemic. Even now, they are bringing some serious heat with Dillinja, Serial Killaz and their most recent event being Mrs Magoo. Their residents consist of DJ Davy, DJ Tez and DJ Tee who supply the crowd with non stop drum and bass over some heavyweight sound systems.

Midnightbass are situated in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. With the Bongo Club in Edinburgh being called the heart of drum and bass in Scotland, all thanks to Midnightbass. They have supplied the granite city with DJs from all over Scotland; with their last event having our society join them on the line up.

If you’re a fan of D&B or you're looking to connect with like-minded people, who are interested in learning to DJ, the new University of Aberdeen Society for Drum and Bass music is the perfect place for you. Whether you are an experienced DJ or Producer, or you're just getting started with the genre, the society welcomes anyone with an interest in drum and bass, jungle and the many sub genres. As a member of the society, you'll have the opportunity to attend events, meet other fans of the genre and gain experience with using decks. We also have opportunities available for DJ’s and producers to get their sound out through both our own and collaborative events. The Society welcomes everyone with an interest.

To learn more about the University of Aberdeen Society for Drum and Bass, Visit our AUSA page, find us on social media or listen to our collaborative playlist with the Aberdeen Student Radio. We look forward to seeing you soon and hope to get you skanking.


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