I first caught wave of Darren a few years back when I stumbled upon some of his work with Mark Brady under the name Styles & Breeze, and later had the experience of seeing him at some underground events in Arizona where he used to frequent. The name itself brings back nostalgia of the haydays of the American rave in the early 2000s as one of the finest examples of Hardcore with a Trance crossover. As Styles & Breeze the two churned out stacks of underground hits with two top twenty singles "You're Shining" and "Heartbeatz."
But Styles' roots go back much further as one of the UK rave movement's most prominent contenders. His first record releases trace back to the breakbeat hardcore trio DJ Force & The Evolution which arrived on the virgin scene in 1993. After garnering support from British megastars like Carl Cox, Darren formed a new alliance with one of The Evolutions' members Paul Hobbs to establish a record label that would support their efforts of dominating the sound of UK Hardcore. Fast forward to '97 and the two are in the sky 24/7 as they lead the revolution that echoed from Ibiza to Manchester and all the way to America as Force & Styles: Happy Hardcore.
There's no doubt today this sounds retro, but it is also one of the most influential electronic tracks ever produced after Ultrabeat went in for the remix. But alas, after being gradually influenced more by video games and J-Pop than acoustic sound, Happy Hardcore faded into the shadows faster than Dance Dance Revolution, paving a road for the harder sound that Styles would create with Breeze and beyond on his solo career.
Darren's sound will never lose its sleek production and unmistakable cheerfulness. Since the popularity of dance music sprung back here in America and the UK back in 2009, Styles has capitalized on the more aggressive sounds of dance drawing his new inspiration from evolving genres like Drumstep. One thing is for sure though, Hardcore will always be the game and Styles is going to bring that pure adrenaline-fueled hysteria straight to your ears at the Speedway this weekend - don't miss him!
By Edward Fancher