Was Wez Saunders eyeing up Defected top job for two years?

Many people seem to have been surprised by the news this week that the Defected empire has a new boss in charge. And whilst it hasn’t come as a complete surprise to Ears To The House – we’ve written before about changes at the label – the timing was slightly unexpected. We might have more to say about that tomorrow…

But amidst the glowing tributes to Simon Dunmore and his admittedly incredible legacy, there are all kinds of questions about this takeover of the company which he founded. One of those questions which we’re looking at today is simple. How long was this in the works – was this a stage managed buyout or just a shameless putsch by Saunders?


Reading the rather lofty pronouncement by Saunders on Tuesday about how he now owned the company, one phrase struck us – “New Era Music Company”. Now where have we heard that phrase before? Back in July 2021 from Simon Dunmore, that’s who. And this wasn’t the first time the term appeared – the two men have been using it for over two years.

A quick Twitter search revealed the first use of the term was on 17th January 2020 by none other than Simon Dunmore. Wez Saunders subsequently used it on 30th January 2020. It was used again the odd time until the pandemic hit in the spring – at which point, priorities for Defected understandably changed. But it started to appear again in June 2020 and was used sporadically until Tuesday’s announcement.

Which leads us to wonder what the overall plan was here. It’s clear that Defected will have to evolve during the 2020s – it’s had to constantly evolve since 1999, so why would that stop now? And whilst we’re not convinced by mischievous suggestions this was a shameless putsch by Saunders to get the top job, Ears To The House does wonder at what point a change of leadership appeared on the plan.

Simon Dunmore’s own statement makes for even more curious reading. He says he thinks of himself as a pirate, and he speaks of “a first mate ready to steady the ship”. We’re fairly sure Dunmore meant nothing but good things by his statement – but having discussed this here at HQ, we’re of the opinion the pirates analogy he uses does bring about the unintended but unfortunate image of Saunders ordering Dunmore to walk the plank…

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