Music

An essential selection from Zoo Project Ibiza and riffraff resident, Lee Pennington


LEE PENNINGTON is one of the unsung underground DJ’s of the scene, he is founder of riffraff, one of the UK’s longest running house and techno events.

He also helps run and plays at Zoo Project in Ibiza, released 236 records under different names, runs his own series of production classes on Mixmasters TV, teaches a Music Tech course at Middlesbrough College, mixes, engineers, masters records for other producers, manages two record labels and is currently on his second watch of Game Of Thrones.

Lee’s sets always consist of his own productions and if it is not his own then it will be an edit of somebody else’s. This is why Lee got into DJing in the first place to mix his own productions as his first love is making experimental dance music, his second is testing it out on people. He recently uploaded 186 tracks of his back catalogue to his SoundCloud for free download and tells us there is another sixty or so going up once copyright issues are resolved with the labels. We asked him to provide us a list of ten of his favourite records that he would play from his releases, tell us why and a little bit about them.

Lee told us: “It’s hard to choose favourite records to play because my mood changes all the time, plus I never really know what I am going to play at an event. I always choose a ton of records and then that can change depending on the vein of the party and the attitude of me. I try and educate when I play my sets and play the most obscure stuff I can whether that is my own or someone else’s. If I hear a DJ then I want to hear new music to my ears I haven’t heard before and that’s what I try and do with my own DJ sets. I also like to hear the stories behind records because I think every piece of music should have one and not just be made by numbers to get a release, so here are some records with little back stories too.”

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Lee Pennington feat Manbear – The Wilhelm Scream – Keep Thinking

My favourite record I produced due to all the circumstances surrounding it. This record was fashioned after my cousin “Manbear” crashed a mountain bike with no breaks during a late-night early morning fag run to the all-night petrol station. When he came back to the studio, we set about sampling parts of the bike and sticking them in the tune. I always wanted to put the famous movie sound effect The Wilhelm Scream into a record and this was the perfect one to represent Manbears accident. The Jim Morrison sample of DJ’s taking pills and staying awake for seven days… well we will leave that up to you why that was put in there. The record became a Beatport number one and I still play it to this day, plus there is a banging X-press 2 remix of this. I play this record when I want things to start getting weird in the party.

Sqyre & Mia Wallace – Need It (DJ Alfredo & Lee Pennington Remix) – Bulletdodge Records

This record was created in fellow Zoo Project resident DJ Defex’s Ibizan studio when Scottish Label Bulletdodge Records sent me to produce a remix alongside the legend that is DJ Alfredo. The record was part of an album featuring productions from Carl Cox, Darren Emerson, 808 State, Robert Owens, Xpress 2, Joey Beltram, Phil Hartnoll and more heavy hitters. Never would I have thought that I would produce a record with the godfather of the Balearic beat and to come up with a piece of music which stayed at number one on traxsource for a month was incredible. This is a record I play at the end of my sets due to its euphoric string section.

Lee Pennington – Control Freak – Witty Tunes

I made it my mission to not do anything weird with this record and just write a track that does what everybody wants it to do. Basically my most pop tech house record to date, to see if it would get high in the charts. It reached number 2 on Beatport and Traxsource, was played by Carola, Locodice, Capriati, Noferini, included on high street store comps and kept my publishers busy. I play this record to get the girls on the floor, it works EVERY TIME because of its quirky vocal and bouncy bassline!

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Lee Pennington – Aliens in The Jungle (Chris Fortier Remix) – Cubism

Cubism Records was a label I wanted to get onto since starting out and when I used to play tons of Tony Thomas records on vinyl. When they signed a two track EP for me it was a step up the ladder, but what was even better was that Global Underground and Balance series founder, Fade Recordings LEGEND Chris Fortier agreed to do a remix for me. I play this record when taking the sets deep into tribal territory, it is a very hypnotic groove.

LISTEN HERE

Lee Pennington – Sleep Paralysis (Spencer Parker Remix) – Channel Zoo Records

This record for me is timeless, it is a pure simple acid trench that reeks of Berghain techno and is to me what a proper B-Side remix should do… BE DIFFERENT! Spencer completely mangled the sounds up for this compared to the deep house A side. To this day I still like to drop this into my sets and really push the crowd to their limits just to see if they can take it. For serious heads only!

Lee Pennington – My House (Rui Da Silvas Missing Beats Remix) – Bulletdodge

Most people know Rui for his chart topper “Touch Me”, but if you really know Rui then you should distinguish him for his underground sound of Lisbon Records as well as his masterpiece underground DJ sets mixed to perfection. This remix is typical Rui Da Silva, a million miles away from what most people expect but just what I wanted. This record is perfect for keeping the floor moving and deciding which way to go next with the set.

Pennington & Guthrie – Endor (Saytek Remix) – Deep Edition Recordings

Ask anybody from Teesside who is the most knowledgeable and respected DJ from those parts and Guthries name will creep up each time. To get in the studio with a DJ who I respected from an early age was special and then to have that record remixed by techno legend Saytek took it up a notch. I recently only started playing this record again after finding it in a folder on an old hard drive. It just drives the floor but has a nice melodic element to it from the original.

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LISTEN HERE

Perc – Ice Cream for Kenton (Lee Pennington remix) – Perc Trax

In the early days of riffraff, Perc was a regular guest DJ at our events and Teesside had a much more techno following back then. My favourite Perc Record was “Ice Cream for Kenton” which I first heard on Zabielas ALiVE album. When Perc asked me to remix this, I remember it being my biggest task to date even telling my Mam and Dad who had no idea what I was talking about. Most of my close friends say I never made a better record since this one… Take a listen do you agree? I hope not because if so, I should have quit whilst I was ahead. To be fair the large reverb breakdown slams the club.

LISTEN HERE

Groove Syndicate – Withdrawal (Jacky Remix) – Groove Syndicate Recordings

This record I hold dear to my heart due to me and Lee Walker putting out records under this alias and not letting anybody know who we were, then asking a young DJ we thought was going to do big things to give it a remix. This was Jacky’s first ever release of his career on our record label and it still rocks now. It was the start of Jacky’s production journey and to see him flying these days knowing we played a small part in helping him early on is brilliant. This record is all about the breakdown and how it helps release those endorphins.

Listen to Lee Pennington every Wednesday from 9pm on Ibiza Global Radio. CLICK HERE.

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