No, it's not fair, but it's true: American drum & bass producers will never get the respect their British peers do, just as Brits making hip-hop will always be judged as lesser creators by the powers that be. It's a sad truth based not on quality of output but on country of origin. Because drum & bass was, by and large, created in the United Kingdom, the British are perceived to own the style, and Dieselboy, who should be treated with the same reverence afforded LTJ Bukem, Ed Rush, Optical, Dillinja and Peshay, is often passed over simply because of his Pennsylvania roots.Granted, Dieselboy (born Damian Higgins) does get some respect: He was given the Global DJ Mix Award for best drum & bass DJ in 1998 and is widely considered the top Yank D&B practitioner out there, mainly because he's not afraid to push the speed and volume way, way up when he's mixing, unafraid to test the level of tolerance in a crowd. Dieselboy digs the aggro jungle, and he'll be the first to tell you this. "It is hard to describe why I tend toward the harder-edged sounds of jungle," he has said. "If I had to put a finger on it, I would say that the stuff I like to play sounds extremely powerful. Intense. Explosive. That sound appeals to me. I like music that takes your breath away when you hear it on a massive sound system, music that sounds like you are listening to something from 10 years in the future. It all probably ties in with my taste in sci-fi, anime and video games."
When Dieselboy played in St. Louis a few months back, his set was, yes, quite aggressive. The volume, though, revealed a beauty buried within that's often overlooked in discussions of rough-and-ready jungle: Sounds cascaded and intertwined, and delicate intricacies gave way to massive gusts of energy. It was a powerful and moving experience, one that will no doubt be replicated at Lo. Get there early to hear the best of St. Louis' drum & bass DJs, the Faded Crew.