Producer, arranger, dj and musician from Madrid-Spain. He has his own record company “Zen Records”, and release diferent proyects with different names from 1992.
Influenced from its childhood by funky, soul, jazz and by electronic music in his adolescence, he knew that his future would be in music. Very versatil, he try to fuse his different influences with new tecnologies combining old harmonies with new sounds evolving day to day. One of his biggest hits was “The Night train” from Kadoc, who was selling all over the world more than two million copies (singles and compilations), and was number 12 in the UK charts and number 1 in Holland more than 1 month. In those days he played in Denmark, Germany, France, UK, Holland, Miami & Rusia. In 1994 he met Dj Chus who has been working with him since then in several proyects, remixes and gigs. Producer under names as Deux, Montilla, Nuboy or Doblado, David Penn has worked also with Dj Chus, Ceballos, Toni Bass, Halo, Dj Jabato, Sebastián Gamboa,Camilo Franco and Olav Basoski. He made 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. He had released records all over the world in labels as Defected, Black Vinyl, Purple Music, Azuli, Bluem, Maya or Rise. In 2003 starts a new division of Zen Records called Urbana Recordings with a big dj recognition, releasing new fresh music from his Mediterranean country. His records are played by djs as Roger Sanchez, David Morales, Bob Sinclar, Dj Chus,…Nominated as Best Breakthrough Label in House Music Awards (UK) and Deejaymags (Spain) 2005. As a dj he played in the Winter Music Conference in Miami, in Rusia in front of 5000 people, in Japan, Mexico, Poland, Estonia, Bulgary, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Malta, Egypt, Germany.
An amazing 22 years in the industry already. You are quite an icon. How do you manage to stay fresh as ever? What’s your secret to your success?
I think it’s because of the continuous work in the studio. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what to do, you can have personal problems or things that prevent you to connect with the actual mood, but my secret is not to stop producing because at the end you will do something that connects with the audience. And I feel that nowadays many DJs are getting more attention than me, as let’s say maybe 2 or 3 years ago.
What is the biggest and most interesting change you have seen over the years?
Well, when I started in the music industry we were pressing vinyl and sending them to the distributors. But now you have to know about social media, photography, new software, … It’s a lot of extra work these days and less profit. But this is what I like to do and I´ll be doing this the rest of my life (I guess). Also, new technology helps a lot to make music but it’s also more difficult to stand out.
What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful?
To find your personal sound which is not easy, it takes a lot of time working in the studio. And when you find it, please try not do the same formula again and again because you can burn your own sound.
Do you feel there was a “breakthrough” point after which suddenly things changed for the better and brought you, as David Penn, to where you are now? If so, what was it and why do you think it happened?
Of course. Until 2011 I was gettin success with my sound and suddenly there was a lot of EDM and techno and it felt like: “You have to choose one of these styles”. But I didn’t want to change, I like house music. Yes, you need to evolve but surely not lose the essence of your own music. It was a difficult time for my me. Music genres come in cycles, I know. A good thing, house music is gaining respect again.
Sometimes, during performances, people asked me to play radio hits. Can you imagine? I always asked: “Does it make sense that I am going to play the same music you have on your phone?”.
What are your fondest musical memories?
I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me at all times. I could play music at home, they gave me the opportunity to study piano when I was 9 years old. I always remember my early years when producing music and when I was doing my first vinyl selling or like 1.000 or 2.000 copies. And from one day to other we were touring around the work with Kadoc “The Night Train” in 1995 which was really a big hit. In 1999 I started to produce as David Penn. That was a new start again. It’s not easy but if you really believe in what you are doing you will find your place.
With the musical background you are carrying, what advise do you have for young talents out there?
Try to differentiate yourself from the rest.
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!
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!