Dave Spoon, a pseudonym for British house producer Simon Neale, scored a massive dance hit in 2006-2007 with “At Night,” a club favorite that appeared on no less than two dozen separate mix albums in one form or another. Though “At Night” quickly defined Spoon in the minds of many, it’s just one of several hit productions of his, not to mention high-profile remixes of Robyn, Paul van Dyk, Dizzee Rascal, and others. Born in Portsmouth, England, in 1977, Neale became obsessed with music at an early age. His first exposure to electronic dance music came courtesy of mainstream British acts such as Depeche Mode and New Order, followed by his 1988 introduction to acid house, Londonbeat’s “There’s an Acid House Goin’ On.” Around this same time, he was learning at school about how to create electronic dance music, using instruments such as the Roland TB-303 and Juno-60 as well as an Atari ST and an Akai S950.
Though he was still far too young to go clubbing at the time, Neale became increasingly hooked into the electronic dance scene after hearing a Kevin Saunderson (i.e., Detroit techno) mixtape in 1990 and then a Krome & Time (U.K. hardcore) mixtape in 1991. He also began listening earnestly to the BBC Radio 1 show Essential Selection. His musical interests developed over the course of the remaining decade, moving from rave to jungle and then to progressive house during the latter half of the ’90s. After the turn of the century, he began working at a friend’s record shop and, in the process, was turned on to Propellerhead Reason music production software, which proved a revelation for him.
In 2004 Neale, who by this point had been christened Dave Spoon by friends, made his recording debut, 21st Century, on Mark Knight’s Toolroom Trax label. The EP’s title track became fairly popular after Knight used it to open an Essential Selection mix on BBC Radio 1. After an EP on Big Love, Sunrise (2005), and a round of remix projects, Neale released his second Toolroom Trax EP, Outside (2006), which featured “At Night.” A massive hit whose popularity extended well over a year’s time, the track was licensed by numerous labels for international release and was eventually reworked as “Bad Girl (At Night)” for major-label release with So Solid Crew member Lisa Maffia on vocals. Meanwhile, Neale continued laboring as a prolific remixer, notably collaborating with Pete Tong for a 2007 remix of Robyn’s “Every Heartbeat.” Also in 2007 he released This Machine on Toolroom Records and Sylo on Toolroom Trax, the latter a joint effort with Mark Knight.