The best known face and sound in American drum and bass for over a decade belong to
Brooklyn-based Dieselboy, aka Damian Higgins. Now an international icon in this
volatile, UK-originated underground dance music movement, Dieselboy is the most indemand
American d&b DJ on the global club, festival and rave circuits on six continents.
Since the early ‘90s Dieselboy pioneered d&b in North America, first in Pittsburgh, then
from Philadelphia, exploding in popularity during the first wave rave outbreak in the late
‘90s. His prized mix-tapes and mix CDs have been the gateway for countless loyal fans to
the high energy, futuristic, science fiction vibe of d&b. Dieselboy’s style is characterized
by flawless execution and meticulous pulse-quickening sequencing that create intensely
personal, dramatic, cinematic experiences.
Dieselboy was the first d&b artist to chart a single on Billboard’s dance chart with Invid
in 2000. Invid became the first American track played at d&b legend Goldie’s London
club Metalheadz. America’s best-selling d&b artist, Dieselboy was the first American to
be voted into the UK-based Drum & Bass Arena Top 10 DJs online poll in 2004. In 2007,
Dieselboy and Goldie tag-teamed in Russia at a festival attended by over 25,000
junglists, and co-headlined again at SXSW 2007 in Austin, Texas.
In 1998, Dieselboy tied with atmospheric d&b legend LTJ Bukem for “Best Drum &
Bass DJ” at the Global DJ Mix Awards, the first time an American was nominated for the
Born in Florida in 1972 and raised in Colorado with two sisters by their single mom,
young Damian Higgins played drums in his school marching band, and his hobbies
included breakdancing, skateboarding, videogames, reading, film, and role-playing
games. In his senior year of high school he DJed dances, fading between CDs, tape
cassettes and a turntable.
As a University of Pittsburgh student, he threw house parties where he met two Carnegie
Mellon University radio DJ’s who taught him beat-matching at the station. He was soon
playing regularly on their weekly 6-hour radio show. He used his Internet handle, Diesel,
as his DJ name until he learned a local graffiti artist went by the same alias.
In 1994, on borrowed turntables, Dieselboy made a mix-tape called The Future Sound of
Hardcore and offered it for $5 on rave-related Internet listservs, which led to East Coast
bookings. In 1997, Nigel Richards, founder of 611 Records in Philadelphia, needed a
roommate so Higgins moved to Philly, became the d&b buyer and designed T-shirts and
logos for the store.
From 1998 to 2004, Dieselboy hosted “Platinum,” a Thursday weekly party renowned as
North America’s premier d&b club night at Philly’s Club Fluid.
In 2002, Dieselboy founded HUMAN, the d&b imprint of New York’s dynamic
electronic dance music label System Recordings which launched in 2000, boasting
Dieselboy as its first artist. He remains its best-selling artist.
In 2003, globally-distributed DJ Magazine invited Dieselboy to create a mix showcasing
American d&b entitled DJ World Series: D&B From the United States.
In 2006 Dieselboy presented The HUMAN Resource, a double-CD set for which
producer/DJ crew Evol Intent of Atlanta created a mix of all HUMAN tracks, which
debuted at #14 on the Billboard electronic album chart behind non-dance competition
such as Gorillaz, Madonna, Goldfrapp, and a Disney remix CD.
Dieselboy has played metal concerts with Orgy and Disturbed, and was the only d&b
artist invited by electronic rock superstar Moby for his national Area2 tour that also
included David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, Blue Man Group, Tiesto, and Digweed. Dieselboy
tagteamed with Andy C at the second U.S. Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in
Baltimore in 2007, sharing the bill with Smashing Pumpkins, the Police, Beastie Boys,
Wu-Tang Clan, Interpol, and Velvet Revolver.
Always keen to build alliances within the d&b community, Dieselboy has toured with
other DJ’s including Technical Itch & Decoder, DJ Rap, DJ Fresh, Bad Company UK,
and Hive.
In 2000 Dieselboy united with two other North American d&b legends, AK1200 and DJ
Dara to create a d&b super-tour, the Planet of the Drums. With MC Messinian who
joined in 2001, the POTD moved d&b out of the siderooms and onto the main stages.
2008 marks the POTD’s 9th tour, the longest running annual electronic dance music tour
of any genre.
Truly one of the world’s great ambassadors of drum & bass, Dieselboy’s much
anticipated ninth mix CD, SUBSTANCE D, a maximum strength psychotropic audioceutical,
is sure to be embraced by his ever-expanding youthful fan base. Catch
Dieselboy on his SUBSTANCE D Tour with rotating HUMAN artists aka the Monsters
of Jungle, including Evol Intent, Ewun, Gridlok and Infiltrata, this spring and summer.