Leaving a major corporation to start up your own thing may be a scary move, but for Simon Dunmore it was the best one he ever made. In the late ’90s, the former A&R man for Cooltempo and Polygram’s now-defunct AM:PM Records jacked everything in to go his own way, ‘defecting’ to his own agenda with a hefty list of contacts. ‘When you’re in a big corporation, you’re never in control of your own destiny,’ he says. ‘Even if you’re the big cheese there’s a chance you can fall out of favour, someone might not like you or you might be earning too much money and be laid off to cut costs. I set up Defected for security and to ensure I had a job by the end of it – and, 10 years later, we’re still here.’
Defected’s first single, 1999’s ‘I Can’t Get Enough’ by Soulsearcher, went to number five in the UK singles charts; a good omen for the fledgling company. Those early years netted them a number of hits, including 2001’s ‘Another Chance’ by Roger Sanchez, which clocked in at number one in the UK, and Kings of Tomorrow’s popular tune ‘Finally’. And the label’s success has continued into the present thanks to a whole bundle of quality popular producers – see the ‘Mass Defect’ panel for more info.
But Defected doesn’t just exist as a logo on some CDs; the label has also made a name for itself by throwing massive parties the world over, including regular gigs at Pacha in Ibiza, and a yearly bash at the Miami Winter Music Conference. And just as the creation of Defected was down to Dunmore’s desire for economic stability, the Defected in the House nights are the result of changing fortunes for the dance industry.
‘The kick-start for us developing the nights was when radio stopped playing dance music, or rather stopped playing it as much as it had been doing,’ Simon told dance website One Week to Live. ‘Suddenly we were obliged to scratch our heads rather vigorously and consider new ways to get our sounds out there – Defected in the House proved to be a major part of the solution.’
And now they’re getting their sounds out to Nasimi beach this week as part of a regular monthly residency. Simon himself will be coming to oversee the proceedings from behind the decks, with Defected resident DJ Yass and ace vocalist Lisa Millett also playing on the night. And in a bid to outdo the competition, they’ll be putting on a real show, with stilt-walkers, LED dancers, two 10ft video screens, a full lighting rig and CD giveaways, not to mention playing the latest Defected tunes. Sounds pretty good to us.
Simon Dunmore, DJ Yass and Lisa Millett play Defected in the House at Nasimi, November 13.
A small selection of Defected Records’ biggest and brightest artists.
If you’re compiling a list of Defected masters, you’d be a fool not to include Erick Morillo, the brain behind Reel 2 Reel’s perennial cheesefest ‘I Like to Move it’. That may be his best-known work, but he’s spent the years since pursuing both popular and underground house sounds, particularly through his own Subliminal label.
‘Oh, we hate Bob Sinclar,’ say our cooler-than-thou friends. ‘He’s always posing in fancy coats, and his music’s so commercial.’ ‘Yes,’ we say, surreptitiously deleting their phone numbers, ‘but that’s the point.’ Bob Sinclar is just a flamboyant cover for DJ Christophe Le Friant, and the man’s music may be cheesy, but it’s also undeniably catchy and brilliantly crafted for mass appeal.
As Kings of Tomorrow, Sandy Rivera was responsible for the massive 2000 crossover dance/pop hit ‘Finally’, which proved inescapable at the time and still raises its head today. He’s also released tracks as Awesome Foursome, D’Menace, Modbangers and countless others besides, generally following a soulful house sound.
Steve got into the DJing and production side of dance music to escape the life of crime that killed his father – so we can only assume that the naming of his musical trio ‘Swedish House Mafia’ is largely ironic. As one half of Angello/Ingrosso – the other half being best friend Sebastian Ingrosso – Steve has made one of the brightest careers in house music.