While drum & bass has maintained a foothold in the United States for well over two decades, it is only now seeing an emergence into the mainstream.

Major stateside festivals have adopted the genre while social media sites like TikTok have helped it trend alongside a recent influx of drum & bass-influenced pop music. Although European artists have predominantly reaped the rewards up to this point, there are a handful of North American artists earning their keep as well.

Bensley, Justin Hawkes and Kumarion are just a few to recently light the torch. Their new collaborative EP, Carry The Fireis a formidable showcase that weaves through a variety of drum & bass, from anthemic, mainstage-ready hits to jump-up heaters.

Backing their star power is more than just raw talent, however. Their manager, Anthony Tedder, has given them an even bigger platform by providing them with a brand new place to release music: his new record label, BEACON.

BEACON stands firmly by its name as a stable place for drum & bass artists to release music.

“Out of all the mainstream dance music labels, there are a few that release drum & bass consistently,” Tedder says. EDM.com. “One of the issues we frequently run into is scheduling and garnering interest in drum & bass tracks. All of those labels that release drum & bass only release a small percentage of their catalog as drum & bass. They’re releasing dubstep, bass house , 140, experimental or anything else. Our main goal is to create a space where drum & bass artists have a US imprint to get their music out in front of people.”

While some homegrown labels have thrived, such as Reid Speed’s Play Me imprint, they tend to cater to the underground. BEACON, on the other hand, is looking to push a more festival-oriented sound.

“The purpose of BEACON is to provide a modern context for drum & bass in North America and create an access point to help people deepen their love or discover drum & bass,” Tedder continues. “We want to pay homage to what the scene has had to offer over the past 30 or so years. While the heads know, many don’t know, drum & bass has been around in the US essentially as long as it’s been around in other places. It’s important for us to acknowledge the cultural foundation that’s already been built.”

Further, BEACON looks to focus on North American talent as much as talent that hasn’t been given as much attention across the pond.

“We want to create an ecosystem for homegrown artists to flourish and garner the same success that international talent has gotten over here. We also want to extend opportunities to international artists who haven’t had the same exposure as some of the OGs so they can come over here, release music, get involved, play shows and create a footprint in the States.”

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Conceptually, BEACON doesn’t simply end at a label. Tedder’s ideas extend much further and he hopes the brand evolves into a cultural phenomenon.

“BEACON is more than just a record label,” he explains. “It’s a music and lifestyle brand that also releases music. The brand is meant to be the foundation for the modern drum & bass community in the US. We’re going to have merch, we’re going to have events, we’re “going to build out tours. I want our brand to be a source of positivity and use our brand as a place to further the culture.”

Tedder’s desire to advance the genre’s influence doesn’t just come from the talent on his artist management roster, but from a passion deeply rooted in his own experiences in electronic music.

“I was at Electric Forest 2013 or 2014,” he recalls. “On that lineup were Wilkinson, Andy C and Noisia. I remember seeing those sets and thinking, ‘Wow, this is cool.’ It took me back to a time in 2011 or 2012 when I saw Rusko and Sigma on tour and loved the fast-paced music I was hearing. It unlocked another side of dance music that I didn’t really know anything about.”

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Tedder’s vision for the label aligns with his vision for the future of drum & bass. “We’re seeing drum & bass booked at nearly every single festival in North America right now and with every additional one, it’ll just keep growing,” he predicts. “I don’t see drum & bass as a fad or a sizzle in the pan. It’s something that’s grown slowly but surely after being supremely marginalized. I think that’ll compound until we see a full-on drum & bass festival in the US and more drum & bass artists playing the mainstage at festivals mixed in with other artists.”

Not only has the festival circuit contributed to drum & bass’ rapid rise to popularity at festival stages around North America, but social media and pop music have also leaned into the genre as well.

“One of the most telling things leading to drum & bass’ growth is seeing the trend of sped-up pop songs,” he continues. “They’re taking a 140ish BPM pop tune and speeding it up to 160 and it goes viral on TikTok. People are passively listening to faster music and I think that plays into it. I can see it becoming something bigger and better than it ever has before. A great example is ‘Strangers’ by Kenya Grace. After getting into it people look out what they’re listening to and passively listen to it more. Drum & bass has something for everyone and that’s what makes it stand the test of time. time.”

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At the end of the day, the purpose of BEACON, Tedder says, is to serve the needs of the community.

“The main reason we’re starting this is that we’re seeing needs. I’ve been given so much by dance music and drum & bass and I’ve enjoyed the culture so much that I want to help create a community, help it flourish, and create new ways for it to be accessible to people.”

Although BEACON is a fresh face on the block, Tedder and his team are well on their way to developing something a blossoming North American scene desperately needs. He says more music is on the way throughout the rest of 2024.

Artists interested in submitting demos to BEACON can find the label’s form here.