With ‘Another Chance’ (2001) dubbed one of the tracks of the decade, Roger Sanchez has gone from living in Queens, New York, to being one of the world’s biggest DJs, commanding fees that would satisfy the budget of a small country (OK, slight exaggeration). Here he talks to Flavour about his latest productions, which look likely to propel him once again into the commercial world.
Serious question first: so ladies love a DJ, but what is the craziest thing a girl has done?
That is very intense as I am married – but let’s just say women have definitely exposed themselves to my music in different ways.
You recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of your Release Yourself brand – how was it?
It was fantastic; the fact I have done my event at Ibiza for 10 years is crazy. The energy was absolutely off the wall. At the end of the day, Release Yourself is my thing, from the graphics, visuals and conceptualisation, so it is really great.
You have embraced the business side of music and sell items like T-shirts and CDs from the Release Yourself brand.
It is very important nowadays to think in different ways, particularly because the way people get music is so different – you have the downloads – so you have to be smarter. You also have to recognise that the fans want to take something away as well. People want to relive the time they had at an event, so that is important.
What’s your take on the music business scene generally?
It has changed dramatically. Before, music was the product, but now, it is part of the product. I always tell people to wake up and realise Pandora’s Box is open. Music allows you to promote yourself, be that as a DJ, singer or whatever. Merchandise, live performances and so forth are what you actually use to make a living and not really the music.
‘Another Chance’ has been called one the most enduring tracks of the past decade – what makes a good remix or track?
Having a track that allows you to reach out and really touch someone is a hallmark of a great track.
Dance music seems to particularly capture people and pull them to the dance floor.
I think people want something different, and dance music is something that drives you to the dance floor and allows people to really express themselves. Expression in dance music is endemic to the genre.
Tell us about your latest single, ‘2Gether’ with Far East Movement.
You know what is interesting is that the collabo with Far East Movement came about because I was talking to the manager for their label, and I heard their stuff and I really liked their flow. It was not intentionally made to be a commercial song, but I liked their flow and I just thought that they would sound great over a new version of ‘2Gether’. Then they did something lyrically that seemed to cross a lot of different boundaries.
You used a sample from the B52’s ‘Love Shack’ (1989), which for some people will be a rather obscure sample to choose…
I was already well into making the track and I was looking for different acapellas that I could add to the track, when I came across the sample and I thought I will try something that could be mad cheesy or just work. The sample spoke to me, ‘we can get together’, which is what I wanted.
Tell us about the collaborations on new Flashing Lights.
I have just finished a track with Danny Jones from the band McFly, there is something with Afrika Bambaataa, a track with Sarah Harding, Taio Cruz… and I will be getting it on very soon. There are a lot of very different collabos that I wanted to get on there.
Lastly, what’s been one of the most memorable experiences for you since you since you started DJing?
The craziest thing was probably when I played for Love Parade: there were 1.2 million people and it was just crazy seeing that many people jamming to my tracks. It is just awesome to see people appreciating the music you are playing or you have created.
Swagger Like This
Who has more swagger – Nicki Minaj or Lauryn Hill?
Nicki has swagger for days.
Kanye West or 50 Cent?
Kanye is creative with swagger.
What are the important traits of swagger?
Confidence is the most important trait of swagger, knowledge of self, because if you know yourself, you can project yourself and creativity – because you have to be creative, otherwise you’re just biting other people’s swagger.
Which country has the ladies with the most swagger?
I have to say that Latin ladies have the full swagger.
‘2Gether’ ft Far East Movement is out now
Interview by Semper Azeez-Harris