DJ Mag asked DJ Spen to pick “five of his studio must-haves” in their Studio Selections feature.
DJ Spen spoke with DJ Mag about the most essential gear in his studio, selecting five must-have pieces of kit and discussing how they’ve helped him produce some of his most famous tracks. Speaking about the Universal Audio 6176 Tube Pre-Amplifier, Spen recalled: “The compression on it is second to none […] I have recorded many vocalists with it, such as Ann Nesby, Sheila Ford, Tracy Hamlin, and Marc Evans.” He also sung the praises of the Korg MS2000 synthesizer, commenting that “this became one of my favourite tools when I recorded the Little Louis remix of ‘Misery’ with Gary Hudgins.” Spen also dished the dirt on two of his favourite plug-ins, singling out Yamaha’s Open Deck virtual tape-deck and the Waves Renaissance De-esser for honourable mention.
Dubbed a “classic house legend” by DJ Mag, DJ Spen kicked off his career in the ’80s working as a radio DJ while making hip-hop productions with the group The Numarx: a trio that would go on to record the enduring classic “Girl You Know It’s True”, later made famous after being covered by Milli Vanilli. The years that followed saw Spen move away from the hip-hop scene, embracing the classic Chicago house sound that would become his trademark, after joining forces with famed production collective The Basement Boys. Recording under the alias Jasper Street Co., Spencer issued his first 12″ through Basement Boys Records in 1995, the high-voltage gospel house track “A Feeling”. This was the first in a massively successful series of releases for the label that brought Spen both commercial and critical success, leading to worldwide recognition as a pioneer of house music. He continues to produce and record, while running his own label, Quantize Recordings.