David Penn founder of the music label Urbana Recordings and the music publishing company Zen Records has been working in the music industry for more than 15 years. Heavily influenced by funky, soul, jazz and by electronic music David Penn is a versatile producer, who tries to fuse his musical influences with new technologies combining old harmonies with contemporary sounds. His sound is in constant evolution.
David Penn releases tracks under different akas as: Deux, Montilla, Nuboy or Doblado and has worked with very important names in the electronic scene as Dj Chus, who David met in 1994 working since then in several projects, remixes and gigs, Ceballos, Toni Bass, Halo, Dj Jabato, Sebastián Gamboa, Camilo Franco and Olav Basoski. He has also worked in remixes for Jay-J, Junior Jack, Chus & Ceballos, Vibe Residents, Milk & Sugar, Dave Storm, Wackside, Lenny Fontana, Ron Hall, Jason Hates Jazz, Cam or The Thief among others. Some record labels that had seen David’s releases on their catalogue are: Defected, Black Vinyl, Purple Music, Azuli, Bluem, Maya or Rise.
In 2007 he was awarded with the Best House Production for his track Montilla “From the Stars” by Spanish magazine Deejay’s awards. All this releases, remixes, labels and awards have given David a big reputation as a remixer and as a producer being nowadays one of the most popular artists in the electronic scene. We caught up with him quickly; ahead of his first tour to Australia and headliner at House on the Harbour boat party, backdropped by the iconic Sydney Harbour, hosted by our good friends – Summit DJs
Hi David nice to speak to you, we’re delighted that you will be finally making your first trip to Australia for our Summit DJs ‘House on the Harbour Boat Party. How are you doing? And where are you reading this interview from?
All is good; it’s Friday and I am currently at the studio preparing my new demos to play out this weekend. I need to test the music I am developing even if it is incomplete.
Are you looking forward to playing on one of the best harbours in the world?
Yes I just can´t wait! And I’ve heard many nice things about how beautiful it is.
What took you so long in making the trip to play ‘Down Under’? And can you tell us a little of what your Sydney fans are in for?
Haha, well you must ask to the promoters that question as I’ve always wanted to come! Oceania is the only continent that I’ve never visited so I am very excited! About the fans, I expect to have a good crowd because all DJs that I’ve talked to have told me that the response of Australian fans is just amazing. They can expect some musical influences combining old harmonies with contemporary sounds
You’re an internationally renowned DJ and producer; how do you feel about the current state of house music?
I think it’s a good moment for house music; it’s coming back after some years of too much EDM! Some new talents are doing very good productions but I think that there is too much music which is incomplete. Anyone can make some beats but it can be difficult to find good records because many producers make records in 2 days and release them. I need to be 100% sure about what I want to release, I spend a lot of time to complete the tracks, and at the end it’s very important to be proud of your music.
You started playing the piano at aged 9; did you ever think this would lead to where you are now? And how are your piano skills these days?
Haha, how do you know about the piano? When I started to study music I knew that’s what I wanted to do in my life. After playing in some bands, I discovered the house music, the music that I could do by myself, the music that brings emotions not just beats. I continue playing piano, I love the music, and I need it!
How did you get into DJ’ing and who were your influences at the time?
After releasing music for some years I saw the reactions to my music at the clubs and I decided to start as a Dj. That was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. In order to produce house music you must play to see how it works with your tracks beforehand and you have to see what kind of emotions it creates in the crowd. My early influences in house music were Todd Terry, Masters at Work, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales.
Can you remember your first gig? And your worst gig?
My first gig was in a very small venue where I played as a resident for some months. That helped me to improve my technique with the turntables; at that time it was only vinyl and I love that. I won’t name the place of my worst gig but the equipment was damaged and the music stopped many times during my set…a gig just to forget!
You have played all over the world; if you had to pick one venue or city what would be your favourite?
Well… It’s a difficult question because I had many fantastic sets all over the world, but maybe some of the better ones have to be Stereo Montreal and M2 in Seoul.
What is more satisfying for you, producing a track in your studio or being behind the decks?
Both things are necessary and enjoyable. I love to be in the studio, but the emotions that I have playing out my music are beyond description. Music sounds very different in the studio and clubs, so I need to do both!
You have a very successful label called Urbana, can you tell us a bit about it?
I started with Urbana in 2003, when vinyl was still the standard, to release my vision of house music. I wanted to centralise my productions in one place and to release the music that I wanted. Now after almost 12 years, we just made a re-styling of the image, the web, and I am very excited for this new stage, I want to release more music now from myself and from the many talented producers out there; keeping the quality and not releasing without sense.
What does 2015 hold for you?
I am not sure but I hope to have success with my new productions, with my label Urbana and to continue DJing around the world! One thing is for sure, the year is ending well!
Thanks David, we appreciate your time and we’re really looking forward to partying with you!