Darren Price's debut album, released recently through NovaMute, is called 'Under The Flightpath' - an intentionally ironic title since Darren's studio is situated at the end of one of Heathrow's major runways. So is it a loud place to work in- "Yeah, it is!" he declares. "But so is my studio. We're right next to Terminal 4's main runway, so we've got the Concorde constantly flying overhead. When these bungalows were built Terminal 4 didn't exist, but now it does there are very few families that live around here - it's really very loud! But it also means that the bungalows are very cheap and we can make as much noise as we want . . ."
While not as well known as many of his peers, Darren has been DJing and making his own music for several years, as he explains. "Basically when I started to go out I immediately discovered acid house; that would've been around the middle of 1988 and I started buying records at the same time. Towards the end of '89 I bought some decks, although at the time I didn't really plan to be a DJ - I was spinning the records in my bedroom for a couple of years, making tapes for myself and my friends. It was my friends who hassled me and told me that I should actually be a DJ, and in the end it was Andy Weatherall who got hold of one of my tapes and he gave me one of my first breaks," he muses. "At the time he was running a monthly club in Nottingham called Venus and he used to get me to warm-up for him; he also recommended me to other people. So it was really him who got me out there and DJing."
The story continues, with a few twists along the way. "Then I got a job working in a promotions company, which shared its office with Boy's Own, and that's how I got to meet Steve Hall and Terry Farley and became involved with the Junior Boy's Own label - the first people I released records through in 1993 under the name Centuras. From there I went on to record for a label called Intelligence Records, which is a subsidiary of A&M in London, and also released some stuff on Darren Emmerson's small label Underwater Records under the pseudonyms of Eddie Wolf and Cliffhanger. I'm still working under the Cliffhanger name and there'll be another EP out shortly."
This disclosure creates its own question: how does Darren define the difference between the music he creates under the Cliffhanger moniker for Underwater, and that which he etches out under his own name for NovaMute- "Ummm . . . the Cliffhanger material is a bit more funky and techno-oriented, aimed at rotation by DJ's. I probably make harder stuff under my own name." He mulls over the issue for a moment longer. "See, I made the album with a bit more of an orientation towards home-listening with its mellow points throughout such as 'Things Change', whereas the Cliffhanger records are fully intended for the dancefloor."
Speaking of the new album, there's a diversity of influences throughout. The opening track 'Airspace', for instance, reminds me of some of the more ethereal offerings from Detroit produced in the past by people like Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen. "That kind of sound was definitely an influence when I made the album," agrees Darren. "All of the old Detroity kinds of sounds and the nice tunes with strings that they used to make. I used to buy so much of that stuff and it still sounds good now - it hasn't dated like other records have. I mean the music coming out of Britain at that time was called 'progressive house', yet if you listen to those records now they sound awful!" He laughs. "MorTags