With more than two and a half decades of production behind him, David Penn has long known how to bring the party, if not with his own productions than with his re-edits of classics such as Heller & Farley’s Ultra Flava and Todd Terry’s Babarabatiri.

The Spanish DJ and producer actually got his big break back in 1995 as part of Kadoc, the group behind The Nighttrain – remember that! – but for the past 25 years, he has been recording under his own name, releasing stand-out tracks such as Stand Up, Nobody and Hipcats. 

Elsewhere, his Urbana Music label marked its 20th anniversary last year, with his Urbana Radio Show recently celebrating a milestone 600th episode. 

Penn’s latest release is Satisfied, alongside OFFAIAH (aka producer Michael Woods), which was released on Toolroom at the start of March. You can download/stream it here

909originals caught up with him.

Hi David, thanks for talking to us. To start with, tell us about your latest release – Satisfied, alongside OFFAIAH? How would you describe it?

I would describe it as a happy summer track, with feel-good vibes and energy.

Have you worked together before? If not, how did the collaboration come about?

It’s the first time. We really like each other’s productions and we spoke about making something together last summer, but we’ve been standing by ever since. My DJ friend KPD accelerated the project by writing to Michael to make it happen, and I am so thankful to him. 

Michael sent me an idea and I loved it so we’ve been sending the project between us to complete it. I am so happy with the result.

Your Urbana Radio Show has now reached more than 600 episodes. Has your approach with the show changed over the years?

Well I always wanted to show the people the music that I like, and normally upfront tracks that are promos, bootlegs or classics. The difference could be the experience to make it faster, but the essence is the same as it was at the beginning.

Has running the Urbana Music label influenced your production approach, or how you make music?

I created Urbana in 2003 to release the music I really like without any pressure from others. It was still the vinyl era, when it wasn’t easy to find my productions, because sometimes I was on US or UK labels, so I preferred to centralise my music in one place. 

Now we are celebrating 20 years by revising old catalogue tracks with new versions.

In recent years you have become renowned for your remixes and edits – of Pete Heller, Todd Terry, Chic, etc. We presume with each of these you have the dancefloor in mind?

Of course, I am so lucky to remix many of my favourite tracks through the years. I always want to respect the original but by making it in a different way, changing melodies, sounds or adding piano to tracks that it never had before.

With over two decades of experience, how do you feel your style has evolved over the years? 

My sound has continued evolving, that’s for sure. Maybe during the 2000s my music was not as energetic, but now it is stronger and more polished and professional too. 

I always think about the dancefloor when writing harmonies, and I try to make my productions more musical, often with peak-time in my DJ sets in mind.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the global house music scene, and how do you see it evolving in the coming years?

House is always there, sometimes it’s more or less trendy, but for me it’s the beginning of the rest of the different styles such as tech-house, techno, melodic etc. I think house will never disappear, only changing some sounds.

There are cycles when an artist’s old songs become successful again, as the new generations didn’t know them before – and I am happy to be one of them!

Arguably the track that catapulted you into public knowledge was The Nighttrain, as part of Kadoc. What are your memories of that time, and what do you think of that track, looking back?

We made the track with a very basic studio, one Sampler Akai s900 and a Korg M1, and it’s one of a few times that everything came together really quickly. 

At that time, we were totally unknown and we started a world tour with no experience! That was something that forced me to grow fast and to learn to understand the industry.

This year marks 25 years of you producing under your own name, David Penn. What are some key lessons you’ve learned in that time that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?

To follow my instinct. Sometimes in my career I doubted a lot when making decisions about what to do or not. Now I just try to enjoy every track – every song has something from my heart and I think the people feel it. I don’t make music for business reasons, I only make music that comes from inside. 

Also, to read the contracts thoroughly to avoid any confusion later, haha!

What does the summer have in store for you?

I have many gigs this summer in Ibiza again, and I’ll also be in Asia and Europe, principally. I am so excited for the season ahead! 

Also, I’ll be releasing a number of new tracks, so I can’t way to showcase them when I play them out!

Keep up to date with David Penn’s latest releases and tour dates here.

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