Dan Bell, best known for his timeless classic 'Losing Control' (1994) as DBX, was a key figure in the development of what came to be known as minimal techno
. He spent the early 90s working closely with Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva in Detroit on the Plus 8 label, and produced several of the imprint's famed early singles, ('Technarchy,' 'Cabaret Seven'). Later Bell was integral in establishing international distribution paths for many small independent US labels. 2008 saw the welcome revival of Bell’s DBX moniker.
Born in Sacramento, Bell grew up near Detroit and was influenced by the sound of techno on the radio during the 1980s. After moving to Toronto to attend film school at Niagara College, Bell began DJing, bought recording equipment, and entered the production world with a job at a recording studio. The work was mostly for hip-hop groups, but Bell stayed late to produce his own tracks. While still in film school, Bell had a surprise success with his first 12' released on +8 records in 1990. The record was 'Technarchy' co-produced by Richie Hawtin and John Aquaviva as Cybersonik.
In 1991 he moved back to Detroit and joined Hawtin's Plus 8 label, producing several more of the imprint's famed early singles with Hawtin and Acquaviva. Bell left +8 to start his own imprint, Accelerate, in 1992 where he released a string of influential releases as DBX. 'Blip,' and 'Flying Saucer,' on the 'Ghetto Trax' EP and 'Electric Shock' from 'Bleep' became DJ favourites well beyond Detroit. In 1994, the UK’s Peacefrog licensed two DBX EPs, 'Alien' and 'Losing Control', paving the way for 'Losing Control' to become one of the biggest underground dance hits of the decade.
At the end of 1994, Bell set up Seventh City Distribution, stepping in to help small US-based techno and house labels with distribution. He helped finance the start-ups of several labels including Anthony Shakir's Frictional and Dopplereffekt’s Dataphysix. He also created three new labels – Senenth City, Elevate (with then unknown house producer Theo Parrish) and Harmonie Park (originally with Rich Wade). Bell also co-owned Rotate, a record store across the river from Detroit in Windsor Canada for two years. He had started producing again by 1996, recording for Klang Electronik as well as Accelerate, and produced the Elevate Special Projects I and II
. Seventh City distribution folded in 1998.
Bell relocated to Berlin in 2000 where he produced his first mix CD, The Button-Down Mind of Daniel Bell
, on Tresor Records and did a series of remixes for a diverse range of artists including, John Tejada, Pantytec, Akufen
, and Anthony Shakir. In early 2003 he released his second mix CD The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back
on the Paris-based label Logistic. Bell’s has DJed across the world including every major US and Canadian and European city. Bell has also worked under the aliases: Drum-Adi-X and Gazoo with the latter seeing a release on Pole
’s ∼scape label. Aside from Cybersonik, he has been in groups Spawn and Tiny Robot. 2008 saw Bell revive DBX with a series of live appearances featuring a hardware set-up with most of the original equipment used for the recordings.
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