RR: Darren, welcome to Sydney. You’ve been here before, what are your thoughts on the house music scene here?
Darren: Yeah I love this place, been coming out here for over 20 years. The first time I ever came out was with Carl Cox and Fatboy Slim, I had such an amazing time. It was over Christmas, and we spent Christmas Day on a massive yacht sailing around the harbour, eating massive lobsters and drinking fine wine haha. I’ve seen the house music scene here blossom into one of the best in the world - great DJs, great crowds, great venues. So yeah, I always look forward to coming here.
RR: We noticed you caught the Pete Tong and Heritage Orchestra gig. We were there too, how did you find it?
Darren: Yeah mate, apart from having jet lag it was great. It definitely woke me up and gave me a kick up the arse! There are a lot of people doing that kind of thing these days, but I think Pete’s one is great - having all the old classics done by a great classical orchestra.
RR: You’re here for the Global Underground 20yr anniversary gig. GU is arguably the biggest music compilation series in the world and you’ve done 3 mixes for them - Uruguay, Singapore and Bogota. What were the differences in your experience of recording the three?
Darren: Well I was lucky to get some of the best places in the world, but to be honest it’s the same process each time - do the gig, then go back and recapture the set and feeling you had when you were there. I’m really glad I said yes to Andy at GU for doing them as they were great adventures in fantastic locations. I also met some great people that are still good friends from around the world.
RR: If you had to pick the one that was most significant to you which would it be?
Darren: I think Uruguay, as the place just blew me away. We had the maddest time there! Sasha and Lee Burridge were there too, dancing around to my set. I met a lot of good people on that trip, just great memories.
RR: You were part of the legendary electronic band Underworld. Looking back on that experience, what was it like at the time? Did you know how influential Underworld would be for electronic music?
Darren: Yes I was, it was a very exciting time mate. Just writing and jamming everyday in the studio with the boys is great fun when you’re just 18. I didn’t know it was gonna blow up the way it did, but I definitely knew we were onto something good. With things like that you just can feel it in your gut - we just had to go with it.
RR: Must have been a mad time. The Underworld track ‘Born Slippy: Nuxx’ was a huge hit and featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack. Have you seen the sequel, T2 Trainspotting? What did you think of it?
Darren: Yes I saw it a few months back with my girl. I thought it was wicked! Danny Boyle is a clever man and the crew did an amazing job with everything. Robert Carlyle was amazing as Begbie.
RR: You’ve done remixes for world class artists like Bjork and the Chemical Brothers. How do you approach remixing a track?
Darren: It changes every time, I don’t really have a formula. I just get in, listen to the parts I like best then get to work. For me it’s all about the grooves - if you get that sorted, it’s a good start and everything will follow.
RR: You’ve been a top flight DJ for a long time, do you have any tips for DJs just starting out?
Darren: I would say be yourself, follow your heart and gut instinct, practise and listen to the music you love. And try and pick up on all the good things you like and put them into your sets.
RR: With all the late nights, tiring flight schedules, alcohol etc in the industry… how do you look after your own wellbeing?
Darren: These days I’m a lot better at that than I used to be! I pick my battles these days. I also run a lot – I’m doing the London Marathon next April for the Teenage Cancer Trust. In fact, maybe some of your lovely followers would give a donation to see me go through hell for a great cause?? Haha.
RR: Haha we’ll ask them for ya! Your record label Detone is doing big things. What can we expect from it, and from you, in future?
Darren: Ahh mate! I’m really excited about Detone at the moment. We have some great artists that are part of the family. Saytek, Kristin Velvet, Rose Tinted & Anna Be, Satoshi Fumi to name just a few. We have some cool tracks planned for next year. Personally, I have an EP coming out in March called Stop It. It was gonna be released in December but I decided to push it back to next year so it doesn’t clash with a release I have on Carl Cox’s Intec label in February - Birdcage EP.
RR: Nice! We know this will be tough, but if you had to choose one standout set you’ve played over the years, which would it be? And what would you say has been the highlight of your career?
Darren: It’s just too hard to pick one set! I’ve been so lucky to play in the best clubs in the world over the years. I’ve had some great moments over my career though - having my kids of course, but maybe on a music tip… smashing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury on the Saturday night with Underworld.
RR: Quality. Thanks mate, appreciate the chat.
You can donate to see Darren go through hell for a great cause in the London Marathon here.