Roger Sanchez on the Power of Music

Ahead of his headline spot at the forthcoming Glitterbox, world renowned DJ Roger Sanchez speaks to HISKIND about what to expect from the night and why music is so important in these dark times.

Welcome back to London! How does it feel to come back and play here?

London is like a second home to me – I’ve been coming here since the 90’s so it reminds me of New York in that there’s a sense of familiarity. London crowds aren’t easily satisfied – the bar is set so high because there is so much talent coming through. You have to bring your A game everytime!

What are you expecting from Glitterbox this Sunday?

Ministry as a room just lends itself to more proper house nights. It’s a huge space with a massive sound system – I’ve played Ministry in many incarnations but this’ll be the first at Glitterbox – I imagine the night will bring you back to the 90’s in the sense of that happy, euphoric vibe from the crowd so I’m really looking forward to feel that energy go off in that room.

You’ve got this persistent work ethic that’s made you so successful, does that come naturally?

My father instilled that work ethic in me from an early age and was instrumental in constantly pushing me to try to better myself. He gave me that desire to always want to exceed myself. I guess it also comes from the desire to learn and push the boundaries of what I can do. To this day I’m still hungry for it.

We heard you were initially going to be an Architect instead of a DJ?

I came to a cross roads when I was in college. I was playing a lot as a DJ and it was distracting me from my studies so my Dad, who’s an engineer, sat me down and said “Son, I see your spending a lot of time with music and DJ-ing – I just want you to know that whatever you choose to do, you should do it from the heart – don’t be an Architect because you want to make me happy – you need to follow what’s in your heart”

And look what happened!

I say the same thing to my son now – do what you really love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

What are your thoughts on collaborating?

I did a song with Tough Love, which has Boy George on vocals. In the past I’ve worked with artists like Incognito, Stealth – for me it’s about what another person brings to the table. You have to bounce ideas back and forth and come up with something that I might not have done before. I’m doing quite a few with newer artists because there’s a lot of talent out there. I’ve just finished a record with Huxley that is a more vocal record; different from anything I’ve done before.

How have you seen music in your world or as a wider scope change over time?

Obviously the world situation, especially political, has fuelled artists – at least the socially conscious ones – to make statements. The time we’re in now seems very transitional, there are very disturbing things happening now that never did before.

Music and nights out can be an escape from these harsh realities for some, don’t you think?

Yeah, house music has been the one that’s always there. I’ve seen it come back into full force, which is why now it kind of feels like the 90’s again. Part of that is the climate right now – when things are dark people naturally want a place they can go to that feels lighter.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

The only advice I would give is to be mindful of people’s motives. I wish I’d been a little less trusting and a lot more aware – but there isn’t too much I’d do differently because all paths have lead to where I’m at right now, even the difficult ones. The thing I’ve really learned over time is to be more discerning of whom I trust.

To be see Roger Sanchez and more at Glitterbox this Sunday, get your tickets here.

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