House music is a labour of love. You only have to listen to it for a very short time to realise that at its best, house music can be an uplifting, all-encompassing, life-affirming experience. For some, the relationship they have goes beyond simply loving it to being an essential part of their existence. Once such man is DJ Spen, an artist who has spend his entire career creating music that stays as true to the roots of house as is humanly possible.
As such, he was the ideal candidate to select and mix the latest "For the Love of House" compilation - a retrospective series picking house gems from an exhaustive potential catalogue. We caught up with the man himself to get his views on love, life and most importantly... house music.
Question: How are you finding the global house scene at the moment? What do you see as the most prevalent trends? Is soulful house on a comeback?
Answer: I think the global house scene is very alive and vibrant. However I do find the most prevalent trend is that most artists are transient. They come and go, and we need artists with staying power. To answer the question of whether or not soulful house is on a comeback: I never thought it died. Soulful house is all about melodies, hooks, and great songs. Great songs never die.
Question: What should a record contain to get a DJ Spen seal of approval?
Answer: All the things I just mentioned, and I have to like it. Regardless of genre, a great song is a great song.
Question: As a label head, is this a good time to be releasing records?
Answer: I honestly think anytime is a good time to release records, especially if u have a solid song.
Question: Which is best nu disco or old disco!
Answer: Disco is disco, and house derives from disco. Therefore it's all disco to me.
Question: When you are producing records and a& ring records what advice do you tend to give?
Answer: Most times my advice is for the artist. Just telling them to make sure their songs are ones that the consumer and dance floor can connect with.
Question: Tell me about some of the tracks on the album that work best for you on the dance floor.
Answer: M&M "So deep" is a staple song that I've been playing for 20 years. People still love it. SuSu Bobien's "You don't know" and Marc Evans "Crescent moon" are also extremely popular.
Question: Are the tracks on this album tunes that every DJ should have in his box?
Answer: Absolutely! All the tracks were hand picked favorites that any and everyone would love and appreciate. All of these tracks both old and new were chosen because I personally love and I wanted to share that love with the world.
Question: Some people might argue that house has had its day, but commercially it's influence has never been more widespread, especially in the US and UK. How would you call it?
Answer: I think a big part of house's widespread influence is that people are creating house tracks without realizing it. House is a highly adaptable genre of music that seems to have staying power beyond other genres.
Question: Do you think it's important that young people know about house's heritage? Is that what you tried to do with this compilation, to educate people?
Answer: I do believe young people should know about house's heritage, however that was not the reason for this CD. I just wanted to compile good music, that everyone could enjoy. If people get educated in the process, that would be a wonderful bonus.
Question: Will you be collaborating with anyone special soon on your next releases?
Answer: Well anytime I work with the MuthaFunkaz, it's a collaborative effort. The group is huge. When working with such talents as Marc Evans, Biblical Jones, Sheila Ford, Erin Madden, Irvin Madden and Gary Hudgins, it's always a treat. I am also working with Karizma, Barbara Tucker and the original members of Jasper St. Co.
Question: Where can we see you playing around the world in the upcoming months?
Answer: Australia, Vancouver, UK, The Netherlands, and Karizma and I are teaming up to form The Deepah Ones. We will be DJ'ing all over the world and an LP soon to come.
Taken by Toni Tambourine (Defected Records), picture by Woolhouse Studios