Today sees the release of the Quantize Miami Sampler 2019, compiled and mixed by US house icon DJ Spen, who first laid his hand on the decks at the age of thirteen, while growing up in his native city of Baltimore, and hasn’t looked back since. Also known as Sean Spencer, the internationally renowned DJ and producer began his illustrious career in the mid-’80s as a hip-hop radio DJ making beats under the moniker Numarx, responsible for writing and recording ‘Girl You Know It’s True’, later covered and made into a smash hit by Milli Vanilli.
The years that followed saw DJ Spen move away from hip-hop and towards the classic Chicago house sound that would define his productions for years to come, after joining forces with famed production collective The Basement Boys. Working under the name Jasper Street Co., DJ Spen released his first 12″ through Basement Boys Records in 1995, the energetic gospel house cut ‘A Feeling’. This was the first in a lauded series of releases for the label that brought Spen commercial and dancefloor success over the next decade, earning him international recognition as a house music pioneer.
In 2004, DJ Spen split from Basement Boys, releasing through Black Vinyl Records and his own label Code Redbefore founding his second imprint Quantize Recordings, which has since become a regular outlet for his music. Alongside his own productions, DJ Spen has built a reputation as a talented and prolific remix artist, putting his own unique stamp on pop anthems from Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Everything but the Girl, Toni Braxtonand more.
“I know that it might be a little unusual for a DJ to use gospel music for a Top 10,” explains Spen, “but gospel music is intrinsic to who I am. At the end of the day, gospel music represents happiness and love to me – not to mention the amazing vocals. So while all my music isn’t necessarily gospel, I love to bring a positive message through my music. There’s nothing better for me than seeing someone’s smile light up the dance floor because of my music or a person telling me that my music uplifted them or gave them hope. So here’s my Top 10.”
1. The Clark Sisters – ‘You Brought The Sunshine’
“I love this record. The vocals are amazing, the production work is stellar and when it came out, it stood out like a ‘pop’ record when other gospel records didn’t have the same kind of sound quality.”