‘Sounds That Actually Have Feeling’: The Drum-and-Bass Revival Is Finally Here

How the resurgent U.K. dance genre points to changing attitudes about music and nightlife


British DJ and musician Goldie (aka Clifford Price), 1997.
Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

For years, the truism ran that drum and bass, despite pockets of true believers across the nation, would, in America, remain a specialty taste within electronic music, never mind pop. But, over the past few years, the genre has risen sharply in visibility, both in the U.S. and globally. Some of this is due to TikTok, where artists like the young British vocalist PinkPantheress — who sampled Adam F’s drum-and-bass classic “Circles” for her viral hit “Break It Off” — and piri, whose sprightly, slinky liquid D&B single “soft spot” has now passed 12 million Spotify plays, got their first boosts.

But TikTok is only part of the story. The drum-and-bass revival has been manifesting over the past few years in the DJ world. “It’s very common to hear D&B out, and with increasing frequency,” says New Yorker DJ Voices (Kristin Malossi), who plays regularly at venues such as Nowadays and Good Room. “More parties are booking D&B DJs at techno clubs, and plenty of techno DJs are playing D&B.”

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