Emerson began mixing Hip-Hop records at the age of 14, and by 16 was DJing regularly at local venues. He began to explore House Music and quickly acquired a reputation as one of the top British DJs, and demand for his services saw him playing at top clubs such as The Milk Bar, Limelight, and Venus. Emerson has garnered several accolades such as "DJ of the Month" in The Face magazine, and also i-D magazine.
In 1990, Martin Prudence, brother-in-law of Rick Smith, introduced him and Karl Hyde invited him to become the third member of techno band Underworld. 1994's dubnobasswithmyheadman was their commercial breakthrough onto the then burgeoning British electronica scene. While working on their second album, 1996's Second Toughest in the Infants, they released the single "Born Slippy .NUXX" in 1995, which was then re-released in 1996 and became a hit following its inclusion on the soundtrack to the movie, Trainspotting.
During his time with Underworld, Emerson also founded his record label, "Underwater" in 1994. It was initially an output for himself and the artists he met along his travels, but it grew to become one of the most influential dance labels of the early nineties. Underwater began as a deep techno label, but when Emerson's taste shifted from techno to a more house/progressive house style, the label followed suit. Its sixth 12" release (Life's Little Pleasures/Mr.Sonic) came from an artist listed only as 'Ned Flanders', but is rumored to have been Emerson himself.
Emerson also emerged as a much sought-after remix talent, with remixes for acts such as The Chemical Brothers and Björk.
Emerson parted ways with Underworld in 2000 and then concentrated more on his solo career as a DJ and remixer, and also a label owner. "Global Underground: Uruguay" (2000) and "Global Underground: Singapore" (2001) soon followed on the Global Underground label, with "Episode 1" on his new Underwater label following in 2002. He continued to release tracks by himself and new artists on the Underwater records label and eventually gained its own night at super club Pacha, Ibiza alongside fellow DJ Erick Morillo, to hold a joint Underwater/Subliminal Records night. During its second summer at Pacha, his Underwater Records night won 'House Event' of the summer at the DJ Magazine awards. After its success, Emerson decided to host its own full night at Pacha, Ibiza which became an extremely popular night on the island.
Over the past few years, Emerson has been busy touring the world whilst preparing for his own solo debut album. He rarely plays in the UK apart from his previous bi-monthly resident slot at London club The End (a venue which closed down in January 2009). In 2007 he performed at Sensation White in the Amsterdam Arena.
Since 2004, Emerson had been dating British TV presenter Kate Thornton, but on 3 February 2011, Kate announced that they had split up. They have one son named Ben, born in May 2008.
In 2009 he released a third compilation for Global Underground – 'Bogota' and in 2010 he launched a new label, DETONE, on which he has so far released the club tracks Gracelands, Decisions, Hard For Slow and Au Go Go, featuring the vocals of the lead singer from Empire of the Sun. Meanwhile, he continues his relentless globe trotting DJ schedule and in the past year, Darren has also begun hosting DETONE club nights at East Village in London.
October 2016 started a Bi Monthly night at the Arches in Brighton alongside Enzo Siffredi were it became a success and due for November with the DJ James Zabelia .
December 2016 set to play Liverpool at the shipping Forecast in the holdPsychotrance 2 (1994)
Mixmag Live!, Vol. 13 (1996)
Cream Separates (1997)
Global Underground: Uruguay (2000)
Global Underground: Singapore (2001)
Summer Love 2001: DJ Emerson & D. Dreyer (2001)
Underwater, Episode 1 (2002)
H2O (12 inch) (2002)
Underwater, Episode 2 (2003)
Underwater, Episode 3 (2004)
Underwater, Episode 4 (2005)
H2O EP (2005)
Underwater, Episode 5 (2006)
Global Underground: Bogotá (2009)
Gracelands (2010, Detone)
Decisions (2010, Detone)
Hard For Slow (2010, Detone)
Au Go Go (2010, Detone)
Hot Dog (2013, Bedrock)
Second Toughest in the Infants (1996)
Beaucoup Fish (1999)
Everything, Everything (2000)