To celebrate twenty years of Defected Records, we are hosting a very special two-part radio show that traces back the rich musical history of the label, hosted by Sam Divine, she will be talking to Simon Dunmore about the records, parties and everything in between that has gone into building Defected to where it is today. From the underground anthems to #1 singles, here are the thirty-eight tracks that have defined the last twenty years and shaped the label.
A bona fide dance floor classic, when we snapped this hot import up from Miami’s Soulfuric label we never could have anticipated it would still be rocking dancefloors twenty years later. Simon Dunmore believes that, “The fact that it’s 20 years old just shows that it set the tone of the label in a really, really good way.”
ATFC - Bad Habit (2000)
A track that epitomises 2000’s vocal house, with ATFC on production and one of the biggest pairs of lungs in British house music, Lisa Millet, on vocals ‘Bad Habit’ showed that ATFC were not the one hit wonder people assumed, and a remix from just about everybody ensued. DJs from Steve Angello to DJ Spen have listed it as one of their favourite Defected tracks.
Johnny Corporate - Sunday Shoutin’ (2000)
Simon says that “house music probably has more longevity and creates more classic moments than most genres within dance,” and when it comes to underground anthems, it does not get much more serious than ‘Sunday Shoutin’, with one of the most unmistakeable saxophone hooks and diva vocals in house music history.
G Club presents Banda Sonora - Guitarra G (2001)
A track that captures the Balaeric vibe like no other, with its Latin beat, chilled out Spanish guitar and piano parts. When this track was released it played everywhere from the Space Ibiza terrace to London’s The Cross. As soon as Simon heard it, he knew it was a track that would, “sound amazing in the sunshine.”
Kings Of Tomorrow – Finally (2001)
Julie McKnight’s vocal on ‘Finally’ is one of those rare soulful vocals to ascend beyond specialist dancefloors, and you can see why. With Kings Of Tomorrow providing a grooving backdrop to her notes on love and heartbreak, that Simon describes as “absolutely amazing lyrics,” they created an iconic piece of house music.
Roger Sanchez - Another Chance (2001)
The first ever Defected #1 in the UK singles chart, and perhaps one of the most well known pieces of dance music from the past two decades, a piece of music that is very close to Simon's heart, and from a producer with legend status.
Shakedown - At Night (Mousse T. Remix) (2002)
Another unmistakable vocal from a house track, ‘At Night’ still plays on dancefloors every weekend. Mousse T’s thundering mix with techy effects was a far cry from the disco infused original, but it was his mix that made Simon want to sign the record, “From the moment you heard it, you thought: I can’t wait to play this out on Saturday night.”
DJ Gregory – Elle (2003)
Described by Simon as, “an amazing character, who makes amazing records,” DJ Gregory provided a hypnotising and passion filled musical moment with ‘Elle’, delivering Brazilian and African influenced sounds from his Faya Combo archive.
Blaze - Do You Remember House? (Bob Sinclar Remix) (2002)
“To be able to work with the Blaze catalogue is really fulfilling, because they made some of the best house records of all-time,” said Simon. Here, this track that brings the uplifting spirit of classic house to the dancefloor and remains a staple in many DJ’s record bags.
Soul Central - Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own) (Danny Krivit Re-Edit) (2005)
“Truly great music is timeless, and truly great music is universal,” says Simon about this record. Remixed 15 years after Derrick May’s Transmat Original inspired a generation of clubbers, Danny Krivit delivered a house track that has stood the test of time and still plays at our parties today.
Bob Sinclair - Love Generation (2005)
Perhaps the ultimate feel-good anthem, reaching platinum status in two countries and gold in a further three, this infectious track with its spanish guitars and reggae-style vocal has universal appeal.
Ron Hall & The MuthaFunkaz - The Way You Love Me (Feat. Marc Evans) (2006)
A soulful classic, where melodies and lyrics make for everything. The infectious loop makes it a crowd-pleaser, and is Dimitri From Paris’ favourite Defected track – after getting the opportunity to remix it, he still plays it at Glitterbox parties today.
Fish Go Deep - The Cure & The Cause (Dennis Ferrer Remix) (2006)
Coming post the UKG wave, ‘The Cure & The Cause’ is arguably one of the most distinctive UK Funky records ever to be made, and is still sampled today, confessed by Simon to be his favourite producer of modern times, “Dennis Ferrer had that thing of marrying tech, house and soul, and getting the balance absolutely right, he did it perfectly on this record.”
Copyright - He Is (Ferrer & Sydenham Remix) (2006)
A true Ibiza classic of the mid 2000’s, this record was payed homage to in Carl Cox’s final set at Space Ibiza, securing ‘He Is’ in the house music halls of fame, “it’s true testament to the record,” believes Simon.
Julian Jabre - Swimming Places (2006)
A true end of the night gem, simultaneously uplifting and reflective, the delicate piano against the house beat makes for a truly special record.
Sandy Rivera - Come Into My Room (Feat. LT Brown) (2009)
An artist that has released records on the label since its very beginnings, and a part of the Defected family, this track that encapsulates Sandy’s sound, perfectly balancing soulful sounds with a rolling house beat, “it’s absolute attitude, emotion and soul,” says Simon.
Blaze - Lovelee Dae (2009)
From its unmistakable intro, to the echoing vocal, ‘Lovelee Dae’ is one of the favourite vocal house anthems of the last twenty years. Coming from Classic Music Company, “our unruly, misbehaving little brother,” as Simon describes it, “this record compliments Defected perfectly.” The release inspired countless remixes, from Isolée to Bicep to Amine Edge and Dance.
Dennis Ferrer - Hey Hey (DF’s Attention Vocal Mix) (2010)
When we asked DJs their favourite Defected record, ‘Hey Hey’ was up there for a lot of them, from Sam Divine, to David Guetta, to Osunlade, to Kevin Saunderson. For house producers there are few opportunities for an underground record to touch the masses, however when Dennis Ferrer took to creating ‘Hey Hey’ he produced one of the biggest crossover records of the decade, and a track that clearly still resonates today.
Tensnake - Coma Cat (2010)
With its big synthy bassline, old-school piano stabs, and an overwhelmingly joyful hook, when Marco Niemerski slithered into his Tensnake skin to create ‘Coma Cat’ he created a track that had summer anthem written all over it.
Storm Queen - Look Right Through (MK Dub III)
The MK Dub Mix of Storm Queen’s house masterpiece was a defining moment for us, soaring to #1 in the UK singles chart, it is a failsafe party-starter. “MK is the most personable DJ I’ve ever met, he has time for everyone, even though he is as big as he is now,” says Simon, “he still has time for the people, and that is a really powerful tool to have.”
Noir & Haze - Around (Solomon Vox) (2012)
When Solomon took his turn at remixing this Ibiza anthem, it was heard everywhere from Hackney warehouses to Pacha Ibiza, and it became one of the biggest tracks of the year. “Remixing is really important within dance music, it can broaden the appeal of a release and mean it’s played by different types of DJs to a different type of audience,” said Simon, “the Solomon remix is arguably one of his best pieces of work.”
Flashmob - Need In Me (2012)
With its beautifully swung hats and a deep, wandering bassline ‘Need In Me’ has aged impeccably, a firm favourite of long-time resident Sam Divine, and a cult hit from the Defected stable. “Again, this was a record that we played in the office, and we just thought we would love to play it out that weekend, and that is normally a good reason to sign it,” said Simon.
Osunlade - Envision (Yoruba Soul Mix) (2012)
As someone we have worked with a lot over the years, this track from Osunlade shows the diversity of our catalogue, as his label Yoruba explored a more world music approach to dance music. “Musically the label is very diverse, but there is real depth and spirituality in everything he does, whether it’s producing music, djing or just being himself,” said Simon. “He is an amazing, engaging, interesting and magnetic king of person and I think it comes across really strongly in his music.”
A heavenly piece of dance music, Staton’s stunning vocals have earnt her a legacy beyond compare. When we sent off the original to be remixed, what came back was “as a remix should be, a completely different vibe to the original,” as Simon put it. “DJs that dared to be eclectic played that record, and it ended up being a dancefloor hit.”
When the original members of Inner City came together to produce ‘Future’, it was the first time they produced any music since their parting ways in 2001. “I listened to the Kenny Larkin remix, which was just so twisted, and I thought this would sound absolutely nuts in a club,” said Simon. With two of the most influential artists in dance music on the record, Saunderson ad Larkin are true legends, “we are still reaping the benefits of what those innovators and DJs did all those years ago,” Simon says.
FCL - It’s You (San Soda Panorama Mix) (2013)
A track that shows the deep house sounds that dominated 2013 at its finest, we had the exclusive digital release after the vinyl copies of the Acapella original were selling for £500 on Discogs. “Deep house was dominating the scene at the time,” Sam Divine recalls. “Deep house was a reaction to EDM, house music wanted to re-set and start again, and that was through techno and deep house,” said Simon, “those records came together to re-group the scene, and I’m grateful to be involved with a number of those records.”
Guti – Hope (2013)
This was our debut release on DFTD, “it’s impossible to sign all the records that we liked, we needed a second outlet,” explains Simon. Kicking it off with Guti’s ‘Hope’ set the standard high, the Argentinian musician created a track with the White Isle in mind, with a warm bottom end and an intoxicating vocal sample from Jason Hates Jazz’s ‘Pray For Love’.
Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On (2014)
With its infectious percussive medley of tropical triangles and melodious 808-like cowbells, then the moody Frankie Knuckles inspired bass line and piano chords, it is no surprise that ‘Pushing On’ became one of the defining records for us in 2014, as well as having crossover success. A firm favourite for Simon of 2014.
Hercules & Love Affair - Do You Feel The Same? (2014)
Every year produces its own catchy sing-along anthem that everyone knows the words to but few people know the name of: Hercules & Love Affair’s acid-pop masterpiece ‘Do You Feel The Same?’ was that record for 2014. Described by Sam Divine as, “an emotive record that defies genre,” Simon fell in love with the track as soon as he heard the unmistakable bassline. “Even though it came out on Defected, the track would have been a Glitterbox anthem for all the contextual reasons surrounding Hercules & Love Affair,” said Simon.
Debbie Jacobs - Don’t You Want My Love? (Dimitri From Paris Classic Re-Edit) (2018)
2015 marked the first year of Glitterbox, “sometimes you have to look backwards for your inspiration, I started to listen to the records that inspired, and I realised those records weren’t being recognised or played as much any more,” Simon explains, “I got asked by Booom if we would promote another night, so I had the idea to do something that celebrated great house music.” Glitterbox has continued to channel this inspiration in its releases, seen here with ‘Don’t You Want My Love?’
Fallout - The Morning After (Purple Disco Machine Remix) (2016)
Originally released in 1987 on the legendary 4thFloor Records label, man of the moment Purple Disco Machine took to remixing duties with ease, remixing the classic track with loving care, whilst giving it new life for contemporary listeners.
Lee Walker vs DJ Deeon - Freak Like Me (Armand Van Helden Remix) (2016)
Sam Divine recalls, “my earliest memory of this track was seeing Marco Carola play it at Music On, and then my entire feed the next day was videos of it.” In fact, it was these videos that led to Defected signing the record, “it showed how quickly a record can explode on social media, just by a DJ playing it and a punter filming it, it went viral,” Simon explains. This remix also marked the start of Defected and Armand Van Helden working together, “the guy is a hit machine,” as Simon describes it. This remix was no exception.
Midland - Final Credits (2016)
Since its creation in the depths of winter, to its vinyl release in June, ‘Final Credits’ had weekly airings everywhere from Panroama Bar to DC10, uniting dance floors and becoming an unlikely track of the year. When our Classic Music Company family could finally offer the digital release, we answered the calls of many. “Classic is a label for discerning house music lovers,” says Dunmore and Midland’s blissed out track is a perfect fit.
Donna Allen - He Is The Joy (UBP Classic Mix) (2016)
Soulfuric is a label that holds a special place in Simon’s record collection. Here, the head honchos Brian Tappert and Marc Pomeroy take on production duties as Donna Allen’s soulful vocals dominates the release, the collaboration between the three makes for a cut dripping in funk and gospel vibes.
Sonny Fodera - Always Gonna Be (Feat. Alex Mills) (2016)
Sonny Fodera’s ‘Frequently Flying’ album came at a time where tech house reigned supreme for many producers, “he made this album that was very song based, and enabled him to really stand out from the crowd,” Simon explains, “songs can work out of a club environment, and it is just more universal.” ‘Always Gonna Be’ showed his maturing song-led style of production, and managed to balance a heart-felt vocal with a rumbling bassline.
CamelPhat & Elderbrook – Cola (2017)
‘Cola’ had barely touched the ground when tastemakers’ ears were pricking up across the board, “we were in the A&R meeting, and after one listen I knew we had to sign that record,” recalls Simon, “but there is no way we could have imagined it would have gone platinum in six countries.” The track was also nominated for a Grammy award, making it one of our biggest ever hits to date.
Ferreck Dawn & Robosonic - In Arms (2018)
With 3.5 million streams and counting here in the UK, ‘In Arms’ became an anthem for this years’ Ibiza season, and a stand out record for the year for both Sam and Simon. A track that shows how Defected nurture their artists, Simon explains, “If you put the record out, and the record is a success, they go on to have great careers, and we are associated with a number of DJs that have gone on to do so well,” Ferreck Dawn and Robosonic included.
Fatboy Slim - Praise You (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
Twenty years after the original release on Skint Records, when we exclusively licensed this household track to Defected, the Purple Disco Machine remix gave his unmistakeable nu-disco twist on Fatboy Slim’s stone cold classic. “It dovetails really nicely into our 20thanniversary, and Purple Disco Machine is the man with the touch at the moment,” Simon said.