With over 20 years in the music industry, it’s fair to say that the House music icon not only knows his stuff but he’s also quite the draw, and only last year he signed an exclusive publishing deal with Defected Records the independent label that specializes in House music. He produces and releases all of his music on Urbana recordings, his own imprint and he was ranked at #10 of the ‘Top Artists of 2020” by Traxsource.
Naturally due to the impact of the pervasive pandemic, our interview was conducted over Zoom and David got in touch from his new studio in Malaga, Spain, where we talked about how he has dealt with the lockdown and inability to perform to live audiences, how he keeps himself occupied, the perils of buying a house in the current climate and more. As various countries begin to allow live music performances the opportunity arises once again to step out from the confines of his home, just three weeks ago David was out in Croatia for the Defected Croatia festival, where house fans of all generations, from all over the world, make their pilgrimage to The Garden, Tisno, which is on the shore of the Adriatic… a most perfect scene.
“It’s amazing, it’s my favourite festival. In other festivals you’ll have people, very separate, big stages and everyone is separate, with Croatia it’s really open. You can just go and talk to anyone”, “music without borders” I interject, “Yes, exactly… especially when the crowd is more or less interested in the same music, Disco, Tech House and House, especially. And, I just think the vibe is the same all over the place. Everyone gives off the same energy. It was the first time I’ve seen people dancing together and I was like I need this emotion”.
As one of the mainstays of the House scene, David is someone who thrives off the energy of the audience, it’s one of the main reasons why he’s looking forward to Love To Be… back together at Peddler this Saturday, where over a thousand people will be able to gather from the early afternoon until late night, to celebrate music, freedom and love of the sounds surrounding one another. Energy will be expected in equal measure from the 9-hour spectacular.
David gushes enthusiastically when I ask him about the importance of energy, referring to his recent show, “It’s so good, I’ve played there twice now and I love it. From the boat, where the energy is so good, right through to the main stage”.
"It’s one of my favourite places of the whole year”
Sheffield is the first of four trips to the UK over the course of the next few weeks that'll see him bouncing from Newcastle to the Seven-Hilled Shire (that’s Sheffield), Corfu, Leicester and then London. It’s safe to say that as the doors begin to reopen David Penn is certainly going to be busy.
“I feel really good about it all, it’s starting to become a lot better, in the UK it’s really different, everything is open with no restrictions. Unlike in my home country (Spain), where you still have to wear the mask and there are many limitations”.
This is his first time performing in the Kelham Island part of the city at least and he’s really looking forward to not only feeling invigorated by the mood of the crowd (his words), as well as seeing first hand the changing state of the whole area after hearing all about it in our chat.
When asked how he felt about the halt to performances early last year he was remarkably upbeat. “At the beginning of the pandemic, it was good, you know. I was able to produce a lot more, focus on my music. But after many months of doing this, you have to leave you know, to get out, get some inspiration, so I feel that this situation now is much better of course. My plans and my agenda is looking really good… because the last year was just postponing shows.”
In the lockdown, he not only produced music but he also moved from his home city of Madrid to Malaga and that was a stressful time, moving home and his studio while not gigging afforded him the opportunity to spend more time with his family, and watch Ozark on Netflix. A show he became pretty hooked on, the slow ambling pace (at times) intertwined perfectly with the state of affairs in his (and our) own pandemic impacted life, minus the whole Mexican cartel and drug trafficking elements, obviously.
“I’m living in Malaga now but I was living in Madrid (during the first lockdown), and I had a studio in the centre, so I could go to the centre because I work alone and it was weird being in the middle of Madrid. The streets were empty and there were no people anywhere.”
Now he’s out of a period of isolation, he’s now looking forward to bringing the good times and party vibrations, beginning with Sheffield. When asked what he planned to bring to his set, he said, “I want to just bring the positive vibe, uplift people and play some good music”, I asked if he’d consider playing or even mixing in a rendition of the disco anthem Yes Sir, I Can Boogie as a tribute of sorts to the late María Mendiola, who also happened to come from Madrid, he laughed, “Would they want me to play something like that? Would it even work?” before thinking it over for a moment, “maybe, we’ll see” and laughing.
"I’m happy that my production is going good and now when I’m festivals or clubs, like Peddler, everyone knows my music, and the other stuff was a little long but on the otherhand I’m feeling really good about this”