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What Is Drum And Bass What Is Drum And Bass


What Is Drum And Bass

Written by: Marcelia Furtado

Discover the captivating rhythm and electrifying beats of Drum and Bass. Explore the origins, styles, and evolution of this dynamic genre, with a deep focus on the powerful and mesmerizing Bass.

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Table of Contents


Drum and Bass, often abbreviated as D&B or DnB, is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by fast breakbeats, heavy basslines, and intricate percussion patterns, creating a high-energy and fast-paced sound. With its origins rooted in the UK underground rave scene, Drum and Bass has evolved and diversified over the years, garnering a dedicated global fanbase.

At its core, Drum and Bass is all about the rhythm. The breakbeats, typically sampled from funk, soul, and hip-hop records, propel the music forward, providing a driving force that keeps the energy levels high on the dancefloor. Complementing the beats is the prominent bassline, which adds depth and intensity to the tracks.

What sets Drum and Bass apart from other electronic music genres is its versatility and ability to incorporate various musical elements. It draws influences from jungle, reggae, dub, and techno, resulting in a uniquely diverse and eclectic sound. From soulful and melodic tracks to dark and gritty basslines, Drum and Bass has a wide range of styles and moods.

Throughout its history, Drum and Bass has been a breeding ground for innovation and experimentation. Producers and DJs constantly push the boundaries of the genre, exploring new sonic landscapes and pushing the limits of production techniques. This constant evolution has helped Drum and Bass stay relevant and remain at the forefront of electronic music.

As an integral part of the electronic music scene, Drum and Bass has developed a strong and passionate community of artists, labels, and fans. It has its own dedicated subculture, with clubs, events, and festivals dedicated to showcasing the best of the genre. From small basement raves to massive outdoor festivals, Drum and Bass events attract thousands of music enthusiasts who come together to celebrate the music and the unity it brings.

In this article, we will delve into the history of Drum and Bass, explore the characteristics that define the genre, discuss its subgenres and influential artists, and look at the impact it has had on the music landscape. So, put on your headphones, turn up the bass, and let’s dive into the world of Drum and Bass!


History of Drum and Bass

The roots of Drum and Bass can be traced back to the UK rave scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time, electronic music was undergoing a revolution, with the emergence of genres like acid house, techno, and breakbeat. It was in this atmosphere of musical experimentation and cultural change that Drum and Bass began to take shape.

The origins of Drum and Bass can be attributed to the breakbeat hardcore and jungle genres, which were characterized by fast, chopped-up breakbeats and heavy basslines. As the rave scene evolved, producers started experimenting with these elements, pushing them to new extremes and giving birth to a sound that would become known as Drum and Bass.

One of the key figures in the early development of Drum and Bass was DJ and producer Roni Size, who formed the group Reprazent. In 1997, they released the groundbreaking album “New Forms,” which won the Mercury Music Prize and helped popularize Drum and Bass in the mainstream. The success of “New Forms” opened the doors for other Drum and Bass artists to gain recognition and paved the way for the genre’s further growth.

Throughout the 1990s, Drum and Bass continued to evolve and diversify. Different subgenres emerged, each with its own unique characteristics and influences. Jungle, liquid funk, neurofunk, and jump-up are just a few of the subgenres that have emerged within the Drum and Bass umbrella.

The global popularity of Drum and Bass skyrocketed in the early 2000s, with artists such as Pendulum, Chase & Status, and Sub Focus gaining widespread acclaim. This popularity led to the inclusion of Drum and Bass in major music festivals and clubs around the world, further solidifying its place in the electronic music scene.

Today, Drum and Bass continues to evolve and push boundaries. Producers are constantly incorporating new influences and experimenting with different production techniques, resulting in a genre that is always pushing the limits of creativity. While it may have started in the underground rave scene, Drum and Bass has become a global phenomenon, beloved by fans and respected by artists and producers alike.

The history of Drum and Bass is a testament to the power of musical innovation and the impact that underground movements can have on the mainstream. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a genre that defies categorization, Drum and Bass has truly left its mark on the world of electronic music.


Characteristics of Drum and Bass

Drum and Bass is a genre of electronic music known for its distinct characteristics and unique sound. Here are some key characteristics that define the genre:

  1. Fast Breakbeats: The backbone of Drum and Bass is its fast-paced breakbeats. These beats consist of chopped-up drum samples, typically taken from funk, soul, and hip-hop records. With BPMs ranging from 160 to 180, the breakbeats provide the energetic and dynamic foundation of the music.
  2. Heavy Basslines: Another defining feature of Drum and Bass is its emphasis on heavy and powerful basslines. These basslines often incorporate elements of sub-bass frequencies, creating a deep and rumbling sound that adds intensity and drive to the tracks.
  3. Percussion Patterns: Alongside the breakbeats and basslines, Drum and Bass is characterized by intricate and complex percussion patterns. These patterns utilize various percussive elements such as hi-hats, claps, snares, and cymbals, adding layers of rhythm and texture to the music.
  4. Sampling and Sound Design: Drum and Bass producers are known for their creative use of sampling and sound design. They often sample vocal snippets, instrumentals, and sound effects, manipulating them to create unique and innovative sounds. Additionally, producers experiment with synthesizers and drum machines to craft signature sounds that are synonymous with the genre.
  5. High Energy and Intensity: Drum and Bass is renowned for its high-energy and intense sound. The fast-paced beats, heavy basslines, and intricate percussion patterns create a sense of urgency and excitement that captivates listeners and moves crowds on the dancefloor.
  6. Diversification and Fusion: Drum and Bass has a rich history of diversification and fusion with other genres. Subgenres such as liquid funk, jungle, and neurofunk have emerged, each with its own unique blend of influences. Drum and Bass has also incorporated elements from genres like reggae, dub, and techno, resulting in a genre that is constantly evolving and pushing boundaries.

These characteristics, along with the genre’s constant innovation and experimentation, have contributed to Drum and Bass’s enduring popularity and influence in the electronic music landscape. Whether you’re a fan of the high-energy beats or the intricate sound design, Drum and Bass has something unique to offer to music enthusiasts around the world.


Subgenres of Drum and Bass

Over the years, Drum and Bass has evolved and diversified, giving rise to numerous subgenres that have helped shape the genre’s sonic landscape. Here we explore some of the key subgenres of Drum and Bass:

  1. Jungle: Considered one of the earliest subgenres of Drum and Bass, jungle emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by its heavy use of reggae and dub influences, rapid breakbeats, intricate drum programming, and chopped-up vocal samples. Jungle often includes prominent basslines and uplifting melodies, creating a fusion of hard-hitting beats and melodic elements.
  2. Liquid Funk: Liquid funk is known for its smooth and melodic sound, incorporating elements from jazz, soul, and funk. It features rolling basslines, atmospheric pads, and soothing melodies, creating a more relaxed and atmospheric vibe compared to other subgenres. Liquid funk is often associated with its soulful vocals and has gained popularity for its accessible and euphoric sound.
  3. Neurofunk: Neurofunk is characterized by its dark, futuristic, and experimental sound. It features intricate drum patterns, heavy basslines, and glitchy sound design. Neurofunk producers use advanced production techniques and complex rhythm structures to create a dystopian and aggressive atmosphere. The subgenre is known for its technicality and complexity, delivering a hard-hitting and visceral listening experience.
  4. Techstep: Techstep is a subgenre that emerged in the mid-1990s, focusing on abstract and industrial sounds. It combines metallic and metallic-sounding basslines with deep and dark atmospheres. Techstep is characterized by its heavy use of samples, distorted beats, and aggressive sound design. It provides a darker and more abrasive listening experience, appealing to fans of the harder and more experimental side of Drum and Bass.
  5. Jump-up: Jump-up is known for its energetic and party-oriented sound. It features catchy melodies, bouncy basslines, and often incorporates playful vocals or samples. Jump-up is characterized by its dancefloor-focused approach, aiming to create a high-energy and fun atmosphere for ravers. It has gained popularity for its infectious hooks and crowd-pleasing nature.

These subgenres, along with many others, showcase the versatility and diversity of Drum and Bass. Each subgenre offers a unique blend of influences and characteristics, catering to different moods and tastes within the genre. Whether you prefer the dark and technical sounds of neurofunk or the soulful melodies of liquid funk, there is a subgenre of Drum and Bass out there to suit your preferences.


Drum and Bass Artists

Drum and Bass has been shaped by a multitude of talented artists who have made significant contributions to the genre’s development and popularity. Here are a few notable Drum and Bass artists who have left a lasting impact:

  1. Goldie: Considered one of the pioneers of Drum and Bass, Goldie is known for his influential album “Timeless” and his distinct style of mixing elements of jungle, reggae, and soul into his music. He is also the founder of the renowned Drum and Bass label, Metalheadz.
  2. Andy C: Andy C is a highly regarded DJ and producer in the Drum and Bass scene. He co-founded the influential record label RAM Records and is known for his exceptional mixing skills and energetic performances. Andy C has played a significant role in popularizing Drum and Bass globally.
  3. Noisia: Hailing from the Netherlands, Noisia is a trio of producers who have made a significant impact on the Drum and Bass and bass music scenes. They are known for their complex sound design, experimental approach, and productions that push the boundaries of the genre.
  4. Alix Perez: Alix Perez is a versatile producer known for his deep and soulful take on Drum and Bass. His melodic compositions and intricate soundscapes have earned him a dedicated following. Perez has also showcased his skills as a DJ and label owner.
  5. Camo & Krooked: This Austrian duo has gained international recognition for their innovative approach to Drum and Bass. Their music often combines elements from other genres like electro, dubstep, and pop, resulting in a fresh and unique sound. Camo & Krooked’s energetic and anthemic tracks have made them a prominent force in the genre.

These artists, along with countless others, have made significant contributions to the evolution and popularity of Drum and Bass. They continue to shape the genre through their innovative productions, captivating performances, and dedicated involvement in the global Drum and Bass community.


Drum and Bass Events and Festivals

Drum and Bass has a vibrant and dedicated community of fans and artists who come together to celebrate the genre at various events and festivals around the world. These gatherings provide a platform for showcasing the best of Drum and Bass and offer an immersive and unforgettable experience for attendees. Here are a few notable Drum and Bass events and festivals:

  1. Let It Roll: Let It Roll is one of the largest Drum and Bass festivals in the world. Taking place in the Czech Republic, it brings together thousands of fans from across the globe to experience world-class performances from top Drum and Bass artists. With multiple stages, immersive production, and a palpable sense of community, Let It Roll is a must-attend event for any Drum and Bass enthusiast.
  2. Outlook Festival: Located in Croatia, Outlook Festival has gained a reputation as one of the premier events for bass music, including Drum and Bass. This unique festival takes place in a historic fort overlooking the Adriatic Sea, offering a stunning backdrop for performances from both established and up-and-coming Drum and Bass artists.
  3. Hospitality Weekender: Hosted by Hospital Records, Hospitality Weekender is a Drum and Bass event that spans over multiple days in the UK. Featuring a lineup curated by the Hospital Records label, this event showcases the best in Drum and Bass, with performances from esteemed artists and rising talents across the genre.
  4. Sun and Bass: Sun and Bass is a week-long Drum and Bass festival held in Sardinia, Italy. Known for its intimate setting and picturesque beachfront location, Sun and Bass offers a unique and immersive experience for fans of the genre. The festival combines daytime beach parties and nighttime club events, creating a relaxed and unforgettable atmosphere.
  5. Rampage: Rampage is a Drum and Bass and dubstep event held in Belgium. Known for its massive production and energetic performances, Rampage brings together some of the biggest names in the Drum and Bass scene for a night of high-intensity bass music.

These events and festivals are just a few examples of the numerous Drum and Bass gatherings that take place worldwide. Whether it’s a small club night, a massive outdoor festival, or a unique destination event, Drum and Bass events provide an opportunity for fans to come together, connect, and celebrate the music that unites them.


Impact and Influence of Drum and Bass

Drum and Bass has had a significant impact on the electronic music landscape, influencing and inspiring artists, producers, and listeners around the world. Here are some of the key ways in which Drum and Bass has made its mark:

  1. Innovation and Genre Fusion: Drum and Bass has been at the forefront of sonic innovation within electronic music. The genre’s experimentation with breakbeats, basslines, and production techniques has influenced countless other genres and subgenres. Elements of Drum and Bass can be heard in various forms of music, from mainstream pop to underground bass music.
  2. Global Reach and Community: Drum and Bass has developed a strong and dedicated global community. Through events, festivals, and online platforms, fans and artists connect and share their passion for the genre. This sense of community has helped build a supportive and collaborative environment that fosters the growth and evolution of Drum and Bass.
  3. Influence on Other Genres: Drum and Bass has had a profound influence on other genres of music. Its rhythmic complexities, heavy basslines, and futuristic sound design have found their way into genres such as dubstep, trap, and even mainstream pop. The genre’s energy and intensity continue to inspire artists from diverse musical backgrounds.
  4. Underground Culture and Counter-Cultural Movements: Drum and Bass has always been associated with the underground rave scene, serving as an outlet for self-expression and cultural rebellion. Its origins in underground music movements have helped shape the subculture surrounding the genre and have provided a platform for artists to create music that challenges societal norms.
  5. Innovations in Production Techniques: Drum and Bass has been at the forefront of technological advancements in music production. From the early use of samplers and hardware synthesizers to the integration of software and digital production tools, the genre has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible in music production, inspiring producers to experiment and innovate.

The impact and influence of Drum and Bass extend far beyond its dedicated fanbase. It has influenced the larger electronic music landscape, crossed genres, and inspired countless artists to explore new sonic territories. Drum and Bass continues to evolve and inspire, cementing its status as one of the most influential and respected genres in the world of music.



Drum and Bass is a genre of electronic dance music that has made a profound impact on the music landscape. Its fast breakbeats, heavy basslines, and intricate percussion patterns create an energetic and dynamic sound that captivates listeners and moves crowds. From its humble beginnings in the UK rave scene to its global popularity today, Drum and Bass has continuously evolved and diversified, giving rise to subgenres and pushing the boundaries of sonic innovation.

The genre’s influence extends beyond its dedicated fanbase, with its rhythmic complexities and futuristic sound design influencing other genres and serving as a breeding ground for technological advancements in music production. Drum and Bass events and festivals provide a platform for fans and artists to come together, showcasing the best of the genre and creating a sense of community and unity.

Drum and Bass has left an indelible mark on the electronic music landscape, inspiring artists, producers, and listeners around the world. Its innovative spirit, underground roots, and influential sound have made it a driving force within the music industry. As Drum and Bass continues to evolve and diversify, it remains a genre that constantly pushes boundaries and challenges the status quo.

So, whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering the genre, immerse yourself in the world of Drum and Bass. Explore the subgenres, appreciate the talent of the artists, and experience the infectious energy that makes Drum and Bass a truly unique and captivating genre. Let the breakbeats and basslines take you on a musical journey that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the power of electronic music.

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