As the co-founder and A&R director of Defected, arguably the United Kingdom's leading dance music imprint, Simon Dunmore is a highly influential industry figure who remains a DJ at heart and whose professional experience predates the founding of his label by well over a decade.
A longtime record collector, Dunmore first began spinning records in 1982 as a soul music DJ with a particular love for the Salsoul, Philadelphia International, and Motown labels. During the 1980s he worked at one of London's premier record stores, Soul & Disco Centre in Rayners Lane, and he also worked as a journalist, writing for Blues & Soul magazine and then founding his own fanzine, The London Soul Circular. All the while, he continued to advance his reputation as a DJ throughout England and beyond; he went to Ibiza as early as 1985, before the rise of acid house and the commercialization of the island. In 1989 Dunmore began working in the A&R field, initially for Cooltempo, a London-based subsidiary of Chrysalis. While at Cooltempo he signed smash hits such as Arrested Development's "Everyday People" and Kenny Thomas' "Thinking About Your Love" -- not to mention dance classics such as River Ocean's "Love and Happiness (Yemaya y Ochún)," a Masters at Work production featuring salsa star India -- and he also remixed a number of singles for the label. In 1995 Dunmore moved to AM:PM, a dance music subsidiary of A&M, and while working there signed more hits, for example Ultra Naté's "Free," Mousse T's "Horny," and Roger Sanchez's "Another Chance." Toward the end of the decade, Dunmore and colleague Janet Bell decided to "defect" from AM:PM after learning that Universal Music Group, in the wake of its takeover of A&M, was planning to cut their division. Hence the founding of Defected in 1999. From the time of its inaugural release, Soul Searcher's "Can't Get Enough," a Top Ten hit, Defected enjoyed an incredible run of success. Rather than sign artists to long-term contracts, Dunmore licensed particular tracks for re-release and, given the brand equity of Defected, generally propelled them to a much greater level of success, often breaking them into the British mainstream. In addition to his A&R work over the years, Dunmore continued to spin records on a regular basis, DJing at clubs as well as on CD. He has a long list of mix albums to his credit, many of them in the popular Defected in the House series; for many years in a row, beginning in 2004, he helmed the Eivissa volumes of the series. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi