Darren started playing in 1989 and his first residency was Asylum in Woolwich Polytechnic. He then went on to play at various parties in London and in 1991 he went to live in Tenerife, where he worked with Mr C, C.J. Mackintosh, Matthew B, Ricardo Da Force (KLF) and Frankie Bones. On his return he began to get booked for Fabio & Grooverider’s ’Rage’ playing upstairs at Heaven, alongside Mickey Finn. In 1992, he became a resident at the infamous AWOL, teaming up with Randall, Kenny Ken, Micky Finn, Dr. S Gachet and MC GQ. It was then that AWOL released live at the Ministry of Sound, which became part of the Jungle explosion that kicked off around this time. As a result, Darren found himself a regular at all the key events including Desert Storm, Roast, VIP Bash, Dreamscape, World Dance, Jungle Fever, One Nation, Helter Skelter, United Dance, Thunder & Joy, and just about any Jungle party or club that was happening.
Darren went on to become a frequent visitor to Toronto working for Syrous, Big Bud and Pleasure Force making over 45 appearances in Canada to date. He was also regular in mainland Europe, USA, Asia and Australia throughout the 90s and 00s, as the Drum n Bass scene grew world wide.
Darren has vast experience of working in the music business. In the 90's he compiled the 140bpm compilations for Moonshine Music, and hand picked all the records that appeared on the MCA Total Science collection. Alongside good friend and founder of Blackmarket Records, Rene Gelston, he went on to start Mecca Recordings, having three top Twenty hits with Phoebe One and winning a MOBO for best British Hip Hop. Darren also went on to win the Diesel Nu Music Award for best Hip Hop album, Troublesome Waters, with MC Riddla and Bob Sonic. Darren has produced many records on Tone Def Records, owned the Prime Time Wax label and Wide Open Music and was involved in the Barry Boom remix with Micky Finn and Aphrodite.
In 2012, alongside Micky Finn and other partners, he launched Sunbeatz Drum n Bass Holidays in Ibiza which ran successfully for 7 years and today, today, he lives in Ibiza where he continues to run AWOL, alongside side his business partner, Milton, which has gone form strength to strength in the last 5 years, regularly selling out Ministry of Sound and Fabric. AWOL has also been a key part of Sunborne Festival since its launch three years ago, which last year had 11,000 people through its gates on each of the two days.
Since 2017, Darren has been Tour/Sound Manager for ‘Godfather of Deep House’, Larry Heard (AKA Mr Fingers), playing at some the most infamous festivals in some of the most stunning locations around the world including Sydney, St Petersburg, Georgia, Moscow and in 2019 they headlined Block 9 at Glastonbury and played the closing set of the final ever Dimensions festival in Croatia.
Living in Ibiza and working with Larry has influenced the music he is now enjoying playing which is more Soulful DnB and Liquid. Although he supported the streaming phenomenon throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, he focused his efforts on creating the first ten mixes in his new Darren Jay Mixology series which he gave away for free.
With over 30 years experience in music ranging from DJ-ing, A&R, running labels, running a studio, putting on music holidays, festivals and parties, he’s met a lot of people along the way and gained the respect that comes with that level of commitment to the industry. Today Darren, alongside Together at Amnesia resident, Dirty Herbert (AKA Jazzy), is focused on his new Balearic Breaks label and celebrating 3 decades of AWOL with a huge party at the Ministry of Sound on May 7th 2022.
Ministry of Sound, London
AWOL returns to the Ministry of Sound in May to celebrate THREE decades of Jungle and Drum & Bass.
Ministry of Sound, London
AWOL will host a stage with a full line up of Jungle and D&B heavy hitters in the beautiful resort of Dhermi, Albania