More than 20 years ago, they started at the bottom of the barrel introducing some of the greatest house hits of all times into the electronic scene. More than 20 years of building experiences, releasing tracks, and fulfilling dreams. More than 20 years of making history.

Defected Records. This mythical label set up in London in 1999 became the roof of British House by excellence since its first release. Simon Dunmore is the man behind the success of Defected, one of the most important labels in the international house scene. From Bob Sinclar, Roger Sanchez to Noir or Pirupa, Defected releases have marked the different eras of the genre during their 21 years of existence. 

Long associated with legendary house producers such as MK, Dennis Ferrer, Dimitri From Paris, and Masters at Work, Defected is also known for or its 300 000 members, with 120 events and festivals organized each year in Europe and the rest of the world. Yet, if these figures are enough to make anyone’s head turn, Simon Dunmore chooses to keep his feet on the ground. 

Head honcho Mr. Simon Dunmore

As a result of a defect. A brief history.

Going back to the birth of the label, it all started in 1999 when Simon Dunmore, who until then had been the director of AM:PM (label imprint of A&M), quickly took advantage of the particularly fertile British music landscape, driven by a vibrant club scene and good exposure for House and Dance Music in general on national radio. 

But success didn’t come easy. Dunmore and his partner at the time Janet Bell saw the Universal Music Group take over the A&M company they were working for and decided it was the right time to go back to the drawing board and leave the label, in contempt of its notoriety. Defected Records was born.

“The multinational cut our wings and we felt that it was a good time to start doing something on our own. Indeed we defected”

Initially funded by the Ministry of Sound, it is already after their first-ever release “Can’t Get Enough” by Soul Reacher that the track reached No.8 in the Top 40 UK charts. That was the initial confirmation that their gamble was about to pay off. Adding to this, Defected will start signing more artists and names such as AFTC, Bob Sinclar, Banda Sonorra, Dennis Ferrer, DJ Gregory, Inner City, or Sandy Rivera. 

In 2003, Defected evolved into Defected In The House, bringing its concept to thousands of people each year. It was first established in London’s well-known club Ministry Of Sound, which was going to be its home for the three following years, and soon after in London’s Pacha.

The golden years were not over and still aren’t. In 2005, Defected already reached its 100th edition, and to celebrate it, the duo Blaze produced a new classic, the memorable “Most precious love”, with the voice of Barbara Tucker. In the same year, “Finally” by Kings of Tomorrow was voted 31st best song of 2000-2010 by Resident Advisor. Bob Sinclar‘s 2005 song “Love Generation” reached 12th place in the UK singles chart and was a huge hit throughout Europe and Australia, reaching one of the greatest hits of all time in Germany. Soon after, Dunmore arrived at Pacha Ibiza. He took a huge step and managed to establish the Defected concept on the white island. Currently, Defected is still on the white island which massively changed and evolved in the past years. Despite the world and technology changing, Defected found a way to adapt, to satisfy everyone, and evolve in the right way, at the right time.

The great success story.
Checklist on how the label survived.

  • A passionate label manager. Dunmore spent in reality much more time in the music industry. Before Defected Records was born, he spent 15 years as an apprentice, worked in a record shop, worked for a label promoting and prospecting artist, but most importantly, during all this time, he was already preparing the launching of Defected.

“I wanted to be master of my own destiny, and 20 years later I’m still doing what I love.”

  • Dunmore’s straightforwardness. When it comes to business, Dunmore is known for having a rigid character. Without a doubt, that positively influenced the success of its label. He has learned to tell the truth and to tell it quickly, even if it upsets. He learned to say it early enough so that a situation like not booking someone again, can still be turned around.

“Having been in the industry for 30 years, and having invested my life into it, if someone doesn’t deliver, I should be able to have an opinion on that.”

  • A label that emerged. As mentioned earlier, the world has evolved. Digitalization arrived, and all of a sudden, people started downloading music, but that didn’t mean that nobody listened to CDs or vinyl records anymore. There simply was a way to satisfy everybody and Dunmore found it. Musically speaking as well: the music they released in 2012 is very different from the ones they released in 2002. Few labels have managed to adapt to the evolution of music the way Defected has.
  • A label defined on how well they rise after falling. Despite its glory days throughout its early years, a massive phenomenon which is now known as the “EDM boom” profoundly changed the electronic landscape. This evolution has strongly favored the development of genres whose styles are strongly opposed to Defected‘s. The label has thus seen its activity decline and most of the producers left the traditional house. This relative loss of visibility and revenues did not prevent Defected from pursuing an authentic artistic direction, with the notable release of Solomun’s remix “Around” by Noir & Haze in 2012 or the release of the mega-hit “Cola” by Camelphat and Elderbrook in 2017, that broke every single chart.

Overall it is clear to say that Defected has crossed rough waters to become the super-brand it is today. To remind ourselves, their releases have been charted by brilliant artists being, Danny Krivit, David Penn, Dennis Ferrer, Loleatta Holloway, Roger Sanchez, Fatboy Slim, Guy Berger, Hot Since 82, Monkey Safari, SteveBug, and thousands of more. Twenty years after, Defected is still standing and seems more powerful than ever. This was shown through their development of several sub-labels such as Glitterbox, DFTD, Soul Heaven, radio shows but also through their presence at parties and festivals like Defected Croatia and Defected London. More than a label, it’s a whole universe that has been created around the brand.

Among all the glorious tracks that have been born within the Defected family, theBasement has highlighted some of their favorite Defected classics:

Bob Sinclair – I Feel For You (2000)

Soul Central – Strings of Life (2005)

MD X-Spress – God Made Me Phunky (2008)

Junior Jack – Es Samba (2009)

Shakedown – At Night’ (2001)

Soulsearcher – Can’t Get Enough (1999)

We could be posting tons of them during hours, as the catalog is so large that it would take a few days to be fully played.

A very special moment during these difficult times of lockdowns. Make sure to watch Simon Dunmore’s virtual festival with his two sons sharing his passion. This must be the ultimate father & son goal!

And just to sum things up, let’s finish this homage with one of the biggest figures in the House Music world, Todd Terry, delivering a full house classics set at Defected Croatia 2019, that surely will put a smile on your face.

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