Listening to the atmospheric melodious gem that is ‘Cesme’ (pronounced cheshmear) provides you with evidence of one of the truly enduring, purest talents electronic music has ever nurtured. A man who harnesses the real soul and meaning of House Music way beyond the supposed limitations of the genre, Darren Roach is of a rare breed indeed.
His name is the kind of name that gets whispered in dark studios in dimly lit back streets, where fleets of studio engineers utter only the coolest, the most relevant, most influential names in this field of music. People sit up when his tracks come on, or rather if they’re lucky enough to catch him djing in a club then they’ll be lifted, spun, caressed, and harnessed by the man DJ Mag dubbed ‘Lord of the Groove’.
It could be argued that any dj who cares to admit he’s been around since the halcyon days of Acid House, ’88 and all that, could easily be written off as ‘having done his best work in the 90’s’ (or early Noughties if you like), as so many djs who drop out of the steadily evolving and competitive Electronic scenes seem to do, losing their pioneering streak along the way. Then they sell out, moving into ill fitting genres to make more dollar signs, but ultimately fade out in a rude rush of cheap ecstatic nonsense which belies their beginnings.
Well, not so with Darren. Staying true to those all important deep roots of his yet displaying panache and a flair for experimentation, he keeps pushing his sound further on labels such as DJ Sneak’s Majestic imprint or Terry Francis’ seminal Wiggle label (amongst a host of others), creating irresistibly groove led music always with that rare pulsing melodic streak at its heart. With such credentials this humble deck pioneer could be content to dj all over the place and make the occasional tune here and there, yet his output shines and reaches new levels each year putting him into that rare bracket of musician & dj who has reached critical mass, commanding pure respect from clubland everywhere, gaining new ground in the record store racks.
Naturally, like any dj who climbs to such heights he’s played those all important gigs that fascinate people and facilitate the modern producer dj lifestyle, skipping around the globe like a Techno minnow in a pond. He’s manned the decks at London’s premier club fabric, Creamfields in Istanbul, Amsterdam’s Dance Valley, Amnesia in Ibiza and he even spent the Millennium performing in Sydney. You’ll most likely catch him djing at Sancho Panza’s stage at Notting Hill Carnival most years, a fitting place for a Londoner to spruce the air with his soulful yet tough bass driven music through the streets of the capital’s biggest yearly festival.
In 2007 he set up his own EBM (Electronic Body Movement) parties, the go to place in East London to see and hear djs such as Dan Curtin and Lee Burridge, where deck masters who happened to come under his radar displayed their own take on the sound, many of whom had some years before that been serviced by him when he was head of Intergroove, the main distributors of quality deep electronic music in UK. Spreading vinyl releases far and wide, from Moon Harbour to Get Physical, it was Darren who seeded the foundations of many an imprint’s shelf life which, helped by his guiding work, achieved many of them enduring success, even making a handful almost household names within Electronic circles.
His own release schedule as an artist remains high priority, with a long list of new tracks ready for release on a slew of the finer labels the scene currently holds in high regard. With such new pastures to travel across, the past in a dj’s career remains important, but for this true gentleman of the scene it’s all about how his steadily expanding discography is engaging a new set of Roachfans, and opening up fresh live arenas for djing too, with clubs and festivals lapping up his rapidly evolving mix of classic yet futuristic music.