Last week, I said we’d be changing it up with our next interview, so we’re doing just that. I was lucky enough to catch up with Ibiza House legend Roger Sanchez a few weeks ago, to talk about new material, DJ polls and his forthcoming residency in Vegas. Here’s how it played out…
GDD™: Roger, how’s it going?
Roger Sanchez: Good man, very well, how about yourself?
GDD™: Very well indeed, mate. Thanks for taking the time. Where in the world are you at the moment?
RS: Right now, I’m at the airport in New York, getting ready to go to Bolivia.
GDD™: Starting from the beginning: How well did New York City serve as a launch pad for your DJing career?
RS: New York City was very important, because it was the home of house music, hip-hop, break dancing and all the different things that culturally formed me in my early years – musically speaking . Then that really impacted on what I decided to do from a production standpoint later on. The house scene and everything, was from here in New York.
GDD™: I understand you initially started off in art and design, how did you fall into the world of music?
RS: Well, I used to break dance. That all really started when I was in high school of art and design, so that’s what really got me in to it. From break dancing, I got into DJing, and we used to have little battles outside of art and design, then I started doing events and house parties in my home town of Queens and that’s really how it all got started for me in the art scene there.
GDD™: I read somewhere that you were initially enrolled to study architecture and yet you still managed to find music from there?
RS: Well the interesting thing is all the arts are in some way interrelated, and one of the ways in which the industry created atmosphere was that you had a lot of artists who were also graffiti artists, that turned into break dancers, and so I think it’s one of the interesting things from that subculture that really became a major part of our scene.
GDD™: From what I hear, it still seems to continue in New York City, it seems pivotal?
RS: Well the interesting thing is, now it’s a little bit different from when I was growing up. What’s happened now, more than anything, the breakdance scene has become more like the cool kids; the new kids taking it to a more club environment. The scene now is not the full-on culture that it was back then – now it’s hip-hop mixed with everything, but back then it was more of a movement.
GDD™: You’re releasing a new record soon on your Stealth label – when’s that out and what can we expect? I hear there are some big name collaborations you’ve got going on?
RS: Definitely, well the next single is coming out November 9, and that’s with this band called Far East Movement, they have the number one record right now in the States. I’m then doing stuff with Maroon 5, Taio Cruz, a lot of different artists right now.
GDD™: You’ve had a really colorful career so far, but where do you consider to be your home away from home?
RS: Probably Ibiza, where I have a house. I’m there the entire summer time, so I think that really qualifies as my home away from home.
GDD™: I understand you have a family, and that your job dictates for you to travel the world, as well as pretty much live in Ibiza each summer – have you ever reached the point where you might have to stop DJing, almost a breaking point in your career?
RS: The difficult thing is to be able to have a family and do this effectively. I haven’t reached the point with DJing, but it’s definitely gotten to the point where I need to rebalance everything so that I can spend quality family time as much as working. My wife understands the necessity for doing what we do, it’s how we live and how we eat – at the same time, it’s who I am. So you know, I’m still in the process, I’ll let you know in a year or so [laughs]. I’ll figure it out.
GDD™: So when you’re trying to get away from the world of work, how do you kick back and relax?
RS: I personally like to hang out on a beach – Places like Thailand or the Caribbean, and then we’ll do a cultural city like Paris or Rome, so it’s a balance between the two.
GDD™: I was at DJMag’s Top 100 awards ceremony last night. If I put it bluntly, it didn’t really seem like a full representation of the plethora of electronic artists out there. How well do you think those types of polls represent the electronic genre, and how seriously do you take them as a DJ?
RS: It’s kind of hard to be honest, because I often find that a lot of these top 100s tend to be generated by internet, and the percentage that are looking online, may not be actual club-goers, but read a review for that artists that have a release. I tend to find that the voting’s often from a younger crowd who don’t necessarily go out all the time. It’s kind of a mix: there’s some true representation there, and then there are some acts where you go: “really?! I’ve seen a lot of other acts who’ve been playing the top festivals but they’re not represented there”. It’s kind of difficult, but then, the top 5-10 tend to be close to what’s really happening. Below the top 10, you start getting past it, the results tend to wave in and out. I try not to put too much focus on it, but then again, it’s an interesting barometer to see what people are paying attention to.
GDD™: For sure, so who would be your top 3 DJs for 2010?
RS: In terms of popularity right now, you’ve definitely gotta say that David Guetta has to be either number 1 or number 2. Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren have to be up there too, myself probably up in the top 20, but I think that Swedish House Mafia have had a big year, so they have to be in the top 5. Speaking about the people who’ve been making a lot of noise, especially on the sales department, I think those guys have really been doing it this year. But it’s funny, I’ve been in the top 5 before, and I feel like I could see myself up there again, but it’s very cyclical. It’s very interesting.
GDD™: You’re based in Ibiza, you must have seen a huge number of sets this summer, what was the biggest set you saw this year in Ibiza and who’s been the biggest surprise?
RS: One of the fun ones, was me doing my six sets from the beaches, some fantastic stuff with Release Yourself, it was amazing. The summertime beach vibe is really becoming deeper and tech-ier in sound, with people like Luciano and the Cadenza family really having a major impact on the more underground sound this year.
GDD™: You mentioned the Cadenza guys, do you see their style continuing on into 2011 and 12?
RS: I think that their sound is a really great underground and interesting sound. I think that their vibe is definitely strong – it’s good to see a return of the deeper house again because I think that everything starts to become a cycle, where everything begins to come back again. I think it’ll still be present in 2011.
GDD™: And how about the new year for youself – what does 2011 hold for Roger Sanchez?
RS: It’s gonna be a big year, I’m gonna be finishing up and releasing this next album, lots of collaborations, taking Release Yourself to the next level and definitely taking my stage production to a whole new level. I’m doing a residency in Las Vegas, it’s gonna be more global than ever next year. I’m gonna be getting around a lot and definitely do a lot of songwriting.
GDD™: That’s very cool. Which club and Casino’s that gonna be at?
RS: It’s gonna be at this club called Marquee, which is a brand new venue that the Tao group are opening up. An amazing brand new venue – huge – with incredible production in the place, I’m really looking forward to it.
GDD™: We’ll have to make it down there man, we look forward to checking it out.
RS: Definitely, you guys should come down.
GDD™: Again, thanks for taking the time mate, we appreciate it.