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Dieselboy: Dongeon Master Damian Dominates Stateside

Monday, September 3, 2007
Originally Published in The Front Magazine, Issue 3 December 2004

Once a best kept secret of underground music, drum 'n' bass (dnb) was pushed into America's mainstream awareness by a number of enthusiests, including Damian Higgens, a.k.a. DJ Dieselboy, who paved the way for many other aspiring American drum and bass (dnb) DJs to get their music heard, instead of sitting on the sidelines while the best of Britain pounded out the majority of the genre's material.

A self-proclaimed movie fanatic (he watched four to five films a weeka nd can recite any movie line) and breakdancing aficianado (a junior high school hobby that resulted from watching many episodes of Soul Train), Higgins DJed house parties for his fellow University of Pittsburgh friends. Higgins practiced his beat-matching (a mixing technique that involves shifting recording speeds to match the song played prior to change-up) on air at Carnegie Mellon University's radio station during a weekly hour-long radio show. Learning how to mix on the station's turntables, Higgins started making tapes and distributing them not to local raves and clubs, but via internet chatroom junkies willing to lend their ear to Dieselboy's talents. Listeners welcomed the change of pace and word spready quickly about Higgin's mixes.

It seemed that drum 'n' bass was everythwere; TV commercials, radio ads and background music in a number of box-office hits, for example 1999's Go, Drama/Thriller 15 Minutes and 2002 film The Bourne Identity. This subgenre, also known as jungle music, took listeners by storm and Higgins hadn't missed out by jumping in on the uproar.

Now hailed as one of the Founding Fathers of American Drun 'N' Bass, Dieselboy has compiled quite the impressive resume. A definitive persfectionist, Higgins has been part of the stateside electronic movement from the beginning and has a passion for the DJ genre that he considers not just a gratifying trade, but a serious art form.

He has maintained one of the longest-standing spots in a dnb weekly (Platinum in Philadelphia), was the first dnb DJ to land a single on the Billboard's dance charts and has even hda the privilege of playing Fabric in London. In 2003, BPM Magazine readers nominated Higgins for "Best Breakthrough DJ" as well as "America's Favorite DJ" in the annual American Dancestar Awards. Not too shabby when most of the dnb field is populated by artists customarily in the UK.

Higgins has also contributed a number of albums, including 1997's 97 Octane followed by A Soldier's Story and System Upgrade, both released on Moonshine, the premier American mix lable.

In such an uncompromisingly innovative venue of music, Higgins has been able to reinvent his music, progressing ever-so-nicely, which represents more of a departure from each past album rather than a continuation.

His newest album, Dungeon Master's Guide encompasses the expanse of his musical sensibilities that loyal fans have long-since appreciated, but also offers a dance music educated stronghold for new-comers.

The Fox Theater & Cafe features DJ Dieselboy on Dec. 4. For more info, visit www.djieselboy.com. *

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I'm Sami Jo From Denver, CO, United States Samantha loves to travel, lose herself in a good book, practice yoga at her favorite local studio, The Yoga Mat, and connect with friends, old and new. Her love of working with creative minds extends into her personal endeavors, as well. She and her husband conduct a project called "Songs For Jake," a music collaboration channel designed with the simple mission of getting great songs to one really big music lover. Through her business, Roger Charlie, Samantha focuses on publicity and management, working closely with authors, musicians, and creatives who find value in a more personal approach through communications.
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