Darren Styles

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Darren Styles
Birth name Darren James Mew
Also known as Unique
Born (1975-05-23) 23 May 1975 (age 39)
Colchester, England
Genres UK Hardcore, Commercial trance
Occupation(s) Record producer, disc jockey, singer-songwriter, manager
Instruments Keyboard, vocals, turntables, Music sequencer, sampler, drum machine
Years active 1993–present
Labels Kniteforce, Universal, UK Dance, Nukleuz, Raver Baby, All Around the World, Junkbox, dfm records, remix reloaded to name a few
Website www.darrenstyles.co.uk

Darren James Mew (born 23 May 1975), better known as Darren Styles, is a British record producer, disc jockey and singer-songwriter from Colchester, England. Originally a member of the breakbeat hardcore group DJ Force & The Evolution, Darren found success during the 1990s as one half of Force & Styles. The duo were pioneers of happy hardcore and wrote several well-known songs such as "Heart of Gold", "Pretty Green Eyes" and "Paradise & Dreams".

In the early 2000s, Darren Styles began producing more trance-influenced records with Mark Brady as Styles & Breeze. The duo released two hit singles "You're Shining" (2004) and "Heartbeatz" (2005) which both reached the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart. They have been involved in all volumes of the popular Clubland X-Treme Hardcore compilation series.

As a solo artist Darren Styles has released two studio albums, the Gold-selling Skydivin' (2008) and Feel the Pressure (2010). He has also frequently collaborated with several other artists such as Hixxy, Ultrabeat and N-Force.

Early life[edit]

Styles was born as Darren James Mew in Colchester, Essex, England. He was encouraged to play music from an early age by his father, a blues fan, and always had a passion for music. He spent many nights mastering his ability on the keyboard and developing his own style, inspired by dance music. In February 1992 in Clacton-on-Sea, Styles had his first "hands on" experience of the underground rave scene in "Oscar's Nightclub" on Clacton Pier. This event lead to him wanting to be a part of the dance music community.

Force & Styles[edit]

His first records were as part of the breakbeat hardcore group DJ Force & The Evolution (with Paul Hobbs, James Broomfield and Paul Hughes) released in 1993. The group signed to hardcore record label Kniteforce and many of their tracks were played by Carl Cox. The group also produced tracks using the alias A Sense of Summer for another hardcore label Universal Records owned by Slipmatt.

In 1995 he and Paul Hobbs set up their own label UK Dance Records so they could quickly release more material and have complete artistic license over their records. They began producing using the alias Force & Styles and released many 12-inch records on UK Dance and by 1996 their popularity had grown so that they were DJing every weekend up and down the UK, as well as touring Australia, North America, and Ibiza on a regular basis. The two also held residencies at various events including those by Slammin Vinyl, Helter Skelter and United Dance.

By 1997, they had produced some of the biggest happy hardcore tracks of the time, many of which went on to be covered by commercial dance artists, including singles "Heart of Gold", "Paradise & Dreams", "Pretty Green Eyes", "Pacific Sun" and "Field of Dreams". Force & Styles picked up many awards at this time and they were the first ever hardcore DJs to do a guest mix for Pete Tong's Essential Mix radio show on BBC Radio 1.

Force & Styles released three albums: All over the UK (1996), Simply Electric (1998) - a compilation of tracks by DJ Force & The Evolution and Force & Styles - and their greatest hits album Heart of Gold (2000).

Styles & Breeze[edit]

During the early 2000s Styles began adopting a more trance influenced sound and started producing with Mark Brady as Styles & Breeze. Most notable of these productions was the single "Let Me Fly" produced under the name 'Infextious' and released on Hard House label Nukleuz. They also started making Hardcore which was released as 12" records for Hixxy's label Raver Baby.

Styles & Breeze have also released two top 20 singles, "You're Shining" and "Heartbeatz" featuring Karen Danzig, on the major dance label All Around The World.

Solo career[edit]

Styles' first solo record was "Feelin' Fine" which was released as Unique in 1998. His solo career as Darren Styles started in 2002 after releasing a record for Nukleuz and other labels. He has also released many records on Raver Baby and his first solo single was "Save Me" released on All Around the World

Styles has released singles collaborating with other artists on tracks such as "Sure Feels Good" and "Discolights" with Ultrabeat and "Right by Your Side" with N-Force. In 2008, he released Skydivin'. The album was a collection of old and new hardcore and commercial songs. This album reached No. 4 in the UK,[1] # 41 in Ireland and has since been certified Gold in the UK. His follow up single to "Discolights" with Ultrabeat was the song "Girls Like You", released 2 February 2009. Styles owns Junkbox Records which has released a number of singles.

In June and July 2009, Styles and Ultrabeat embarked on a ten-date UK-wide co-headlined tour, accompanied by Breeze, Infextious, DJ Frisco, MC Domino, Rebecca Rudd (Ultrabeat) and N-force. Starting in Sheffield, the tour went to Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and London. In late November and early December 2009, Styles was part of Clubland Live 3 which toured through England, Scotland and Ireland.[2]

Styles' new album Feel the Pressure was released on 23 August 2010, and features his top new singles such as "Outta My Head", "Sound Without a Name" and "Holding On".

Personal life[edit]

Styles is married to Fiona Merry who appeared on the reality television series Shipwrecked. They had a baby girl on 3 November 2010.

Awards[edit]

  • 1997 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producers: Force & Styles
  • 1997 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Live PA: Force & Styles
  • 1997 Hardcore Heaven Awards Rookie DJs of the Year: Force & Styles
  • 1997 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Record Label: UK Dance
  • 1997 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Visiting DJ: Darren Styles
  • 1997 Kiss FM Awards Best Hardcore Record: "Heart of Gold"
  • 1998 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producers: Force & Styles
  • 2003 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producers: Styles & Breeze
  • 2003 Kiss FM Awards Best Hardcore Record: "You're Shining"
  • 2004 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producers: Styles & Breeze
  • 2004 Kiss FM Awards Best Hardcore Record: "Heartbeatz"
  • 2005 Kiss FM Awards Best Hardcore Record: "Slide Away"
  • 2006 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producer: Darren Styles
  • 2006 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best DJ: Darren Styles
  • 2006 Hardcore Heaven Awards Track of the Year: "Save Me"
  • 2007 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best DJ: Darren Styles
  • 2008 Hardcore Heaven Awards Best Producer: Darren Styles
  • 2008 Hardcore Heaven Awards Track of the Year: "Flashlight"
  • 2009 Hardcore Heaven Awards Outstanding Contribution: Darren Styles
  • 2009 Hardcore Heaven Awards Track of the Year "Sorry"
  • 2010 Total Dance Music Album of the Year: Feel The Pressure
  • 2010 Hardcore Heaven Awards Track of the Year: "Smack You Like a Bitch"
  • 2011 Hardcore Heaven Awards track of the Year: "You & I" (Darren Styles & Gammer)

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]