Producer Simon Neale has been playing with electronic music for years. Growing up listening to a mixture of synth-pop/early 90's House, and attending a secondary school that had an undiscovered TB303 and Juno 60 (covered in dust) in the music room cupboard, you could say production was inevitable! School assemblies were never quite the same with House and Breakbeat driven tunes pumping out of the main hall.
Nowadays using his ‘Dave Spoon' alias he’s firmly established himself as one of the hottest DJ/producers the scene has to offer, releasing top quality productions with his trademark grinding basslines, and rocking dance floors across the globe with his twisted electro sound.
And here's his interview!
So firstly, how did you initially hook up with the guys at Toolroom?
It was totally by chance! I was buying a record collection off someone called Own and then realized that he worked at Toolroom Records, so I spoke to him and sent a basic demo that same day of "21st Century". The next morning Mark Knight called me and the rest is history as they say! It was meant to happen :)
How did you feel when they asked you to provide a mix for the Toolroom Knights series?
Well I did a couple of compilations last year, but to do one for Toolroom is an honour. They've helped massively to put me on the map and get my music to the masses. Also, it's the first time I've had a whole compilation to myself, both discs are me!
Why do you think you have forged such a strong connection with the label? Is it a sharing of ideals or simply that you have similar styles?
It's a mixture of stuff really. I think the main reason is that we all grew together; I mean Mark Knights career has shot Toolroom into the elite but I feel as the label was growing, so was I, and vice-versa. Aside from that, of course, we share the same vibes and ideas and I also love their set-up in Maidstone.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix?
There’s alot of big tunes from people like Zoo Brazil, Deadmau5, Butch & Myself too of course! The 2 discs are deliberately different to represent my influences and also simply what I'm into right now.
What where you looking to achieve or put across with the mix?
Well, I wanted it to represent where I'm at at the moment. The Main Room disc is really a perfect example of my DJ set's so far this year. Whereas the Basement disc has a lot more of the tracks I love to listen to and play on my Radio 1 show. There have been a few gigs this year where I've played a lot of those tunes out... gotta love those basslines, old skool noises and fidgets!
Is it a straight up decks and a mixer affair or did you employ any studio trickery along the way?
I used Ableton Live to produce the album and although I love the fact you can do so much with Ableton, I purposely didn't do anything I couldn’t achieve with with CDJ's and a mixer. I think it's easy to get carried away and lose the essence of being a DJ so I kept things simple but true to how I play live.
What’s you view on the CD compilation market? Do you think it’s in danger of becoming obsolete or do you think people will always have a desire to possess music in the physical form?
Personally I'd like to hope people will still want something physical, but the digital revolution isn't done with us yet so who knows where we'll be in a year or 2?! Compilations are very important to get onto as an artist, and I'd fear the worst if anything changed too much. It's important that DJ's represent themselves in this form as it's the only way to bring themselves to the masses without playing 24/7 all over the globe|!
How is the new Radio 1 residency working out for you?
It's awesome, I love it. I always wanted to try Radio, but to be asked to do Radio 1 was a huge surprise and although I went straight into the deep end it seems to be working out very well. I hope more comes of it although this is amazing for me at this point in time!
What’s the ethos of the show?
“In New DJs We Trust” is there to represent 4 different styles of music each week on rotation. My show has been labeled ‘Electro House’, but it's really not that one sided. I cover most of the House music spectrum and always push new talent on each show. We're looking at re-jigging it a bit from July so there will be some new features on there too!
How is the rest of the year shaping up?
I've got a mini-residency at Amnesia for Cream in Ibiza through the summer, a few dates in the UK and around Europe... and we're looking at a short North American tour at some point too. I have plenty on in the studio, my new "88EP" on Toolroom is due, as is "Baditude" with Sam Obernik & Paul Harris which is likely to evolve into more of a regular project!
What you working on at the moment?
Well, I'm still working on my artist album, that’s why I temporarily quit the remixing last November! However, I've just sneaked a few in actually before I continue with my album... The Presets, ‘Alphabeat’ and a Tong & Spoon remix of Madonna's "Give It 2 Me". There’s also some original material coming from Pete Tong & I later this year too.
On top of all that, I’m in the midst of setting up a label as a platform for some collaboration I’ve done with people like DJ Zinc & Liquid... so there’s loads happening! I also need to work on my crap sleep pattern and playing less Wii.
Thanks Dave for the interview - and thanks to Kate for sending it our way!