The Rise of Drum and Bass: A Sonic Revolution in the United States

Photo: Enrico Perini

In the ever-evolving landscape of electronic music, one genre is currently undergoing a seismic shift in the United States: Drum and Bass (DnB). Historically entrenched in the vibrant European music scene, DnB is now experiencing an unprecedented surge in popularity on American soil. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the evolution of Drum and Bass, tracing its journey from European roots to the flourishing American music landscape. We’ll explore the factors contributing to its newfound resonance, from its festival circuit allure to the influence of streaming platforms and the collaborative spirit that defines this genre. 

Photo: Pixabay

The European Roots

Born in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom, Drum and Bass emerged as a fusion of breakbeat, reggae, and dancehall rhythms. Rooted in the hardcore rave and jungle scenes, DnB swiftly became synonymous with high-energy beats, intricate basslines, and a fast-paced tempo that set it apart from other electronic music genres. Key labels such as Metalheadz, Ram Records, and Hospital Records played pivotal roles in shaping the genre’s identity and nurturing a passionate fan base in Europe. As we explore the historical roots of Drum and Bass in the UK, it becomes evident that the genre’s journey is intertwined with the cultural shifts and musical experiments of its time. In the next section, we’ll transition to the contemporary landscape of Drum and Bass in the United States and unravel the exciting developments that have led to its current surge in popularity.

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The American Odyssey

While Drum and Bass enjoyed a niche following in the United States during its infancy, it took time for the genre to establish a robust presence. The American electronic music scene was dominated by genres like house and techno, initially overshadowing the intense and complex sound of DnB. However, the tides began to turn in the late 2010s as American audiences developed a growing appetite for diverse and experimental electronic music.

The Festival Circuit Influence

One significant catalyst for the rise of Drum and Bass in the United States is its increasing prominence on the festival circuit. Events like Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Forest have played crucial roles in introducing diverse genres to American audiences. With stages dedicated to bass music and underground sounds, these festivals became breeding grounds for the acceptance and appreciation of Drum and Bass. Renowned artists such as Andy C, Noisia, and Pendulum made indelible impacts on the festival scene, captivating audiences with their electrifying performances. The marriage of DnB’s high-energy beats with the immersive and communal atmosphere of festivals created a perfect storm for the genre’s expansion in the United States.

Photo: Yan Krukau

Collaborations and Cross-Pollination

Another pivotal factor contributing to the rise of Drum and Bass in the U.S. is the genre’s willingness to collaborate with other electronic music styles. DnB seamlessly blends with elements of dubstep, bassline, and even hip-hop, creating subgenres that appeal to a broader audience. This cross-pollination of sounds has allowed Drum and Bass to infiltrate mainstream electronic music spaces, making it more accessible to American listeners. 

The Influence of Streaming Platforms

The digital era has played a significant role in the globalization of music, with streaming platforms acting as powerful catalysts for genre exploration. Drum and Bass artists and labels have leveraged platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube to share their music with a global audience. As American listeners discovered the genre through curated playlists and recommendations, a new wave of DnB enthusiasts emerged, further fueling its popularity.

Local Scenes and Underground Movements

Beyond the festival circuit, local scenes and underground movements have been pivotal in fostering the growth of Drum and Bass in the United States. Cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Denver have become hotspots for DnB events, attracting both established artists and emerging talent. The intimate nature of these gatherings allows for a deeper connection between artists and fans, creating a sense of community that is crucial for the genre’s sustained growth. While some of these underground events are hard to come by – as you need to be personally invited or have attended a previous event – the underground movement keeps the local scenes alive! If you’re able to attend a function like this, you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of those nights you truly won’t forget, and you’ll be craving more!

Tickets – Apocalypse Fest 2023


My Experience at Apocalypse Zombieland

After attending Apocalypse Zombieland – a colossal music festival held at the iconic Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA – it was clear that the pulsating beats of Drum and Bass had found a new home in the United States. What set this event apart was the emergence of a massive Drum and Bass curated stage, a rarity on American soil, featuring a curated lineup of DnB maestros like Sub Focus, K Motionz, Netsky, Alix Perez, and Bou. The success of the Drum and Bass stage at Apocalypse Zombieland hinted at a broader cultural shift, where American audiences were not only embracing the genre but also demanding more dedicated spaces for its exploration. This unprecedented showcase hinted at a growing presence of Drum and Bass in the US, breaking free from its traditionally European roots. This exciting development signifies the genre’s newfound popularity in the United States. 


In conclusion, the recent rise of Drum and Bass in the United States is a testament to the genre’s resilience and adaptability. From its modest beginnings in the UK to the vibrant American landscape, DnB has found a new place to settle, resonating with a diverse and enthusiastic audience. As festivals, collaborations, streaming platforms, and local scenes continue to contribute to its expansion, Drum and Bass is poised to make an enduring mark on the American electronic music scene. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the genre, the pulsating beats and intricate rhythms of Drum and Bass are sure to leave an indelible impression on the musical landscape of the United States. 

– Rachel Richter

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