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WRITTEN BY DAN CARTERDan Carter is a British journalist and professional writer to the Dance music industry.
New York’s finest has become one of the most hackneyed clichés in the globe, let alone this industry and with its endless supply of innovative producers and trend setting movements in mind, one struggles to find a bad word against its rich musical heritage. Still at large and expanding globally, Roger Sanchez remains not so much a living legend of American House music, but one of its most proactive contributors to date. Still dubbed as the connoisseur of sexy floor-fillers across the globe, the award winning producer has continued to engage the globe with wave-upon-wave of universally solicited club banger while spotlighting countless additions to his renowned imprint Stealth Records. Dan Carter caught up with the beloved Stateside Housemaster to wrap up one of the S-Man’s most productive years to date.
Among his global romps to some of the more unsuspected avenues in global Dance music, the gateway that Sanchez has opened to this industry is staggering. The array of new and familiar demographics of this expansion remain an exciting element to sexy-House connoisseur. ‘I feel so lucky to have seen so much of the world. South America has truly blown my mind, especially Brazil. I loved the place from the very first time I played there, but dance music is just growing so big down there. I see a broader cross-section of people coming to the events and their reactions are just fantastic.’
But as far as international clubbing is concerned, Sanchez has always reigned in a supreme presence on one particular Balearic island. Proving that the hysteria has always surrounded his Release Yourself residency rather than the mere aura of its previous Tuesday abode of Amnesia, the 11th year of his long withstanding club night on the White Isle went with the same force as expected despite an impromptu relocation to underground haven of Electronic music, Space.
‘I felt that moving from Amnesia to Space was just the right move for Release Yourself. I wanted to have something that would breath new life into the party and space has always been one of my favourite venues in Ibiza.’
He added: ‘While amnesia remains a place I have always enjoyed playing, Space has a more underground vibe, which conveniently encapsulated the sound that I wanted to bring to Release Yourself.’
A knack for development and adaptation to every trend and niche within his industry appears to have been the vital bullet in Sanchez’s armoury since he first ignited the New York scene. Aspiring to be an architect in earlier life, a blatant passion for music outweighed the physical art urges that dominated his earlier mindset. He explained: ‘The love of art and architecture has never left me, but as music began to draw me away from it I decided to take the plunge full time into making music and being a DJ. In retrospect, this is probably the best decision I could have made for my career.’
This leap of faith, in turn, has produced some of House music’s most memorable offerings to date. From the likes of slick cult classics ‘Lost’ and ‘Another Chance’ and his Grammy winning remake of No Doubts ‘Hella Good’, to 2011’s dynamic crossovers ‘2Gether’ and ‘Worldwide’, Sanchez’s musical multiplicity has established him as something of an indestructible force within the relentless industry of tired genre constraints and endless repetitions.
Where others have burned out, Sanchez has proven himself a born survivor, paying little attention to the hands of time and trend. Taking the ever-risky crossover route alongside Far East Movement for a chart-worthy remodel of ‘2Gether’ earlier this year, Sanchez believes that the labels of underground and mainstream remain unnecessary items of musical patronage where his recording career is concerned.
‘I always put out whatever I’m feeling, regardless of whether people considerate crossover or underground. There was no hesitation in me putting out ‘2Gether’ because I always realised that I could always return with something underground that would show another side of my production sound. Music doesn’t have to be one-dimensional.’
As such, countless revisits of the legendary S-Man moniker have allowed Sanchez to engage in every imaginable avenue of global Dance music. Ditching the rap cameos for jackin beats and killer bass-lines for ‘Animalz’ on his own imprint Stealth Records, the reincarnation of this increasingly popular underground persona has bridged any gaps on concern that Sanchez remains loyal to his original calling. Sanchez explained: ‘The S-Man has always been my more underground experimental side and it’s great to be bringing it back with a very Techy sound. A lot of unexpected things come along with it!’
Where his own contributions have kept Dance floors across the globe in full effect, his own imprint Stealth records has continued to top-up the industry with wave-after-wave of promising underground talent. Championing such artists as Jesse Voorn, Baggi Begovic, Prok & Fitch and Jason Chance, Sanchez has balanced his own hectic career with a passion to keep new music afloat and alive despite the continuous pressures of the modern record industry.
He explained: ‘I feel like I push new artists and sounds and always encourage them to be creative and different. We are also developing live events now to give the artists we push a chance to play.’
He added: ‘The way forward for record labels to survive is to be able to not only create music to sell but also events and to be able to share in the revenues from different streams for the artists they represent.’
But despite being caught up within the hectic jetsetter lifestyle that overcomes a superstar DJ, Grammy nominated producer, increasingly prominent label boss and all-out family man, Sanchez remains a figure driven by an outright passion that has outlasted the speculated ‘golden age’ of American House music and led to even richer contributions to its promising future. Time has told that Sanchez, though a workhorse among the age of lazy technology and disposable music, is still in love with his craft.
‘I really and truly love what I do,’ he admitted. ‘Making music and playing to my crowd are two things I am increasingly passionate about and I have never lost the love and drive to continue doing that, because that passion has allowed me to stay on top of what I do.’
The life and times of Roger Sanchez, however vast and accomplished, are far from spent. With his Release Yourself radio show continues to unite fans across the globe with his unmistakable musical aura and the constant juggling act of his hectic lifestyle still in mid-performance, there are still challenges for the S-Man to face. His next single alongside renowned Dutch pitch-bender Sidney Samson, ‘Flashing Lights’, indicates that the pressure of staying afloat means nothing to Sanchez except for an excuse to keep raising the bar for fans and peers alike.
‘Every stage in an artist’s career is a challenge and the process is one big balancing act,’ explained Sanchez. ‘The next phase for me will be to develop Stealth whilst maintaining an output of fresh and inspired music alongside the label.’
For all the well-documented legends of House music, Roger Sanchez remains a member of the genre’s elite that has not stopped punching since day one. Still at large and making positive noise, the ‘New York’s finest’ moniker can be dropped and replaced with an infinite amount of affections for his strong grasp on global Dance music.