Arguably one of the most influential DJs in modern U.K. dance music, Darren Styles has been instrumental in helping hardcore crossover into the mainstream. Born in Colchester in 1975, Styles, christened Darren Mew, was encouraged from an early age to pursue his interest in music by his father, an avid blues fan. His first taste of the underground rave scene at Oscars Night Club in Essex in 1992 instigated a love of dance music, and a year later Styles signed with legendary hardcore label Kniteforce Records, alongside friend Paul Hobbs, under the name Force & Evolution. By 1996, the pair, who'd since become Force & Styles, were touring the U.K., DJing around the world in countries such as Australia and the U.S., and holding down residencies at Slammin Vinyl, Helter Skelter, and United Dance. Due to the increasing demand for their work, Styles and Hobbs also started their own record label, U.K. Dance, and later become the first ever hardcore DJs to do a mix for Pete Tong's Essential Mix on Radio 1.