Dave Spoon (AKA Simon Neale) arrived at dance music’s top table in 2006 with the Reason-produced At Night (later re-released with a vocal by Lisa Maffia as Bad Girl (At Night)). He’s subsequently launched a successful remix partnership with DJ Pete Tong and is part of the line-up for BBC Radio 1’s In New DJs We Trust show. Last year, Future Music cosied up to Dave in his rather special spare bedroom.
It’s hard to know where to look first when you feast your eyes on Dave’s hardware collection. There are the obligatory TR-808/909s (“I don’t use them that much any more but they are such classic bits of kit that it’s great to own them”), a Minimoog (“I use it to replace plug-in parts when I’ve finished a song”), a Roland Juno-60 (“For pads and that sort of thing, nothing comes close”) and a Sequential Circuits Pro-One (“It has the worst keys ever, but it’s still cool for phat sounds”).
Propellerhead Reason 4
As Dave explains, Propellerhead’s soft studio was all that was required to produce At Night. “That was all completely Reason and I wrote it in around two hours. It was all Reason synths, mixed in Reason, the works - it was a defining moment for me that track and there’s nothing to it when you break it down, really."
Novation ReMOTE SL 61
Novation’s Automapping keyboard is hooked up to Dave’s Mac. “At the moment the SL61 is the best thing for me as I love the feel of the keys plus it always assigns up the controls nice and quick even when I’m in Reason,” he says.
“I had the Yamaha HS80s before these but I find I can pick sounds out a lot better on these Adams,” says Dave. “I guess it’s the ribbon monitors.”
Dave’s career started to take off in 2004 when he was signed to Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records. “Owen from Toolroom was selling his record collection through the store where I was working at the time,” he recalls. “I noticed the Toolroom tag on his email and I knew Mark Knight and Toolroom, so I spoke to Owen and said I had these tracks that he might like to hear. So I sent them the same day, being surprised that he was even interested. The next day Mark Knight called me and asked me if I had another track and that became my first release - the 21st Century EP.”
“I guess people have to realise that there’s a lot I want to accomplish and a lot I haven’t achieved yet,” explains Dave. “These things are experiences and roads to other places, maybe even away from dance music. I really admire people like Stuart Price and Calvin Harris and would love to also get involved in writing and producing for other artists. I think you have to branch out - I’m not the type of guy that could sit in my studio in the dark with Ceefax on and make relentless minimal techno!”