David Penn is an icon in the Spanish Electronic music scene with more than 20 years of successful career. As a producer he has made more than 200 productions and remixes, such as Kadoc ‘The Nightrain’, Deux ‘Sun Rising Up’, ‘Fight Again’, Chus & Penn ‘Baila’, ‘Will I (Discover Love) (with Buika), ‘What Is House’, or his recent hits “Lovin´U” or the remix of Candi Staton “Hallelujah Anyway”. He remixed artists as Sandy Rivera, Mariah Carey, Boy George, Simply Red, Jon Cutler, Masters At Work, Adeva, Candi Staton which have been developed into authentic house anthems and released in labels as Defected, Toolroom Records, Sony, EMI. He has been a member of the New Iberican League with DJ Chus & Abel Ramos as well.
From Madrid he proudly manage his own label called ‘Urbana Recordings’, crowd acclaimed and undoubtedly one of the best House labels worldwide. As a DJ his sets are full of good & quality music obtaining an outstanding public response, that’s why he has been rewarded in the Deejaymags as the best house DJ in the last 5 editions and best house DJ at Vicious Music Awards 2011, 2012 and 2013. He’s required for the best parties, festivals or events, so he’s constantly DJing in the best clubs around the world.
Hi David, great to have you join us on Decoded Radio. You live in Madrid in Spain which is becoming quite the breeding ground for house and techno artists. Could you tell us about your first inception with house music? Who were your musical heroes back then?
I was studying classic piano and harmony since 9 years old and later contemporary music as jazz, Latin rhythms, and I discover house music in 1991 or 92, when I started to meet DJs and this kind of music that I could do alone in my studio. My first heroes were Todd Terry, Masters at Work, Frankie Knuckles, David Morales.
Where are the current hotspots in Madrid for house music? Has the cities night-life changed much over time?
Well, in the past you could go everyday of the week to clubs, the night life was much better I feel, now in my country, there is still a good night life but the crisis hit the scene in the last years. On that time the people wanted to go to clubs to listen new music, nothing compared with the present were in many places wanting to listen the same music as in radio. In Madrid there are good parties as Mondo, or some parties in Fabrik as GOA or La Riviera.
I’d like to move onto your career with an impressive 20+ years in the industry. What is your secret to longevity?
I like to make music and to play in the clubs, I still love to do it and I think that’s why I am in the industry.
We recently interviewed Steve Lawler discussing how much things have changed in the industry over the last two decades. What have been the most important factors for you?
There are many factors. 20 years ago you could earn money with the music, at least you can sell 2000 vinyls easily or make remixes with a good budget, now the music is your business card and there is much hard now to live with this way of life. I remember that I released some records in 2004 and also Pete Tong played in his shows and I didn’t have to do much promotion, now you have to make promotion in social media, have PR assistants, anti piracy systems, or now sometimes you have to invest more than the revenue. Also the electronic music is so big now and the people change their style easy when is something more commercial, I always tried to make the music that I feel, not about the money. Also the easy way about to release music now, it makes an excess of music that I feel that are unfinished and its more difficult to find good music.
With an impressive back catalogue of releases which of your tracks seemed to come together quickly, and which, if any, took longer?
Kadoc “The Night Train” was on my previous label Zen Records (wich is now the main company) and we took maybe 2 hours to make the first idea, the flow was really fast, and its so good when you are doing a new track and all pieces fit perfectly. Also DJ Chus & David Penn “Esperanza” was a big track and the first idea came so fast. In the other hand, my other project Deux “Sun Rising Up” (with Toni Bass) took so much time, we had a first idea that we like it but it took so long to find the right was but it been worth because the track was an international hit. I am still playing it on my closings.
Would you say Kadoc – The Night Train is your biggest release to date and did you ever expect it to become the anthem it did? Back in 1995 I believe and since remixed by many?
Yes, “The Night Train” was so big, on that time I was only releasing vinyls with my first company Zen Records under different alias and this was incredible, in the summer of 1995 we pressed about 2000 vinyl copies and most of that were sold in Ibiza in just one week! Three months later was released in Holland, and was number 1 for 4 weeks at least and 6 months later, released in the UK where the track exploited for the world. We also went to Top Of The Pops, the mythical TV program where only 2 Spanish went: Julio Iglesias and The Baccara´s. This time was amazing, travelling around the world and playing in the best clubs at that time. It had many remixes maybe more than 20! I can remember the Olav Basoski, Kinetic, Wippenberg, Warp Brothers and also Montilla Remix that was one of my alias.
Your latest release with Rober Gaez “My Day” released on your label ‘Urbana’ has been made a feature track on Traxsource. How did the track come together? You have collaborated a number of times with Rober now. Do you have a good work pattern between you?
I’ve been working with Rober Gaez more than 10 years on Urbana, and its quite easy to work together, we have similar likes but we have our quite differences that I think it’s the good thing about our productions.
Moving onto Urbana Recordings, how is the label going? There have been some great material from the likes of Prok & Fitch, Audiowhores, ATFC, David Herrero, Tapesh, DJ PP to name a few.
The label is going very good now, I feel that in the last year we are in a better position, receiving much better music to release and getting more support for many DJs around the world. I am very lucky to get many good producers on the label and to work with people that I admire. Now I am doing productions with Sandy Rivera or Roger Sanchez that are artists that I admire from many years.
Since its launch in 2003 I believe, has its musical direction shifted at all? What is the musical ethos of the label?
I created Urbana Recordings to release the music that I like, to focus my productions in one place, and release music that express something, music that you can remember, not just beats and bass. Now I have the same vision, the music changes but the essence is the same, to release good music. Maybe the most know tracks were Deux “Sun Rising Up”, Dj Chus & David Penn “Esperanza”, Montilla “From The Stars” and more recent David Penn & The Cube Guys “In the Air” or my track from this summer “Back Again”.
You have kindly prepared a feature mix for us comprising of material only from Urbana Recordings. It must be difficult to narrow down a selection to 60mins. Are there any specific reasons the tracks you finally chose made it onto the mix?
I made the mix with 2015 releases, and you can listen the style, some labels are releasing really similar tracks every record and this is not my way. I prefer to release music only when it’s a good track at least for me, some of them could be more commercial and others not but I still want to release the music that makes me feel something good. In the mix you can have an idea of our 2015 releases.
David I’d like to thank you for joining us. Just before you leave could you give us a round up of your Christmas plans and New Year parties we can catch you playing and any news for us to look out for in 2016?
I am playing in Leon and Barcelona this Christmas and I´ll go to Pacha Munich, Colombia, Miami and London in the Winter Pride in January 2016.
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon with guest David Penn (Urbana Recordings label feature)
01. Juan Deminicis – At Dawn 9Original Mix) [Dopamine Music]
02. Danito & Athina – Milkyway (Original Mix) [Crossfrontier Audio]
03. Daraspa – Patterns (Deepfunk Remix) [Sound Avenue]
04. Orsen – Fade (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
05. Nahue Juarez & N’Pot – Selcouth (Plus Thirty Remix) [Stellar Fountain]
06. Javier Portilla & Sotela – Dont Get Lost (Cid Inc Remix)
07. Stas Drive – Intergalactic Summer (Kastis Torrau Remix) [Movement Recordings]
08. Robert Babicz – Red (Gorge remix) [Selador]
09. Ólafur Arnalds Feat. Arnór Dan – So Far (Guy Mantzur Sleepless Mix) [White]
01. Jochen Pash feat Josee Hurlock – I feel For You
02. David Penn – Back Again
03. Deux – What I Like ft. Sheilah Cuffy
04. Marc Vedo feat. Milla Falls – I Wanna Know (David Penn Remix)
05. Hardsoul & Ben Delay ft. Katie Costello – Shadowplay
06. David Penn – Eighty-Five
07. HOSSE – Do It
08. David Penn & Rober Gaez – Non Stop Rockin’
09. SP1DER – The Hype
10. Rober Gaez – Forget You
11. David Penn – The Chord
12. HOSSE – Uno
13. David Penn & Rober Gaez – My Day
14. David Penn, Rober Gaez & Rae – I Lift My Hands
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On rotation: Inside My House Radio www.insidemyhouseradio.com