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Roger Sanchez on Michael Jackson and Why Phats & Small are Cool

Author: Skrufff
Sunday, July 22, 2001
34 year old New Yorker Roger Sanchez is one of the biggest names in US house, initially through his remix career for the likes of Michael Jackson, Kathy Sledge and Juliet Roberts. More recently he's developed his international DJing career to the point where he's now hosting a weekly night at Ibiza's upmarket El Divinos (which was reportedly packed this Monday, despite going up against Manumission). Though it's his new single Another Chance that's really catapulting him to superstar status, having topped Britain's pop charts 2 weeks ago. That's he's now a genuine premier league contender was proved by Paul Oakenfold this week who dismissed Another Chance as 'just Daft Punk, Mark 2'.

Like his good friend and fellow American Armand Van Helden, Roger Sanchez seems blissfully unaware of the irrevocable damage Brit comedian Ali G has inflicted on the B-boy image. Sitting in London private members club Home, dressed head to toe in Staines massive streetwear, he's thoughtful and reserved rather than cracking 'booyakka' jokes - sharply barbered beards, shades and designer sportswear clearly still mean something different in the Ali G-free land of America. Skrufff's Benedetta Ferraro (wearing her Gucci shades) asked the questions.

Skrufff: 'Another Chance' recently hit the number one spot in the UK singles chart, how much does this mean to you-
Roger Sanchez: "It's hard to say, since it's not something I was expecting or looking out for, I guess it would have felt different if I had desperately tried to achieve it. I feel good though, I may be getting a little bit busier now, and maybe… people will start recognising me in the streets, who knows-'

Skrufff: How likely is the track to achieve a pop chart number one in the States-
Roger Sanchez: "I don't know about the States, because it's such a different market over there. To be honest, I don't really care if it does or not. I've never been a pop chart artist, I've always been very much on the underground, so this is something that I never really had to worry about and I don't think I should start worrying now, otherwise I'd drive myself crazy. I don't want my music to be driven by the chart factor, I'm more concerned to make the music I love and being able to satisfy my audience."

Skrufff: Surely though, your executives' opinion at Sony may be slightly different…
Roger Sanchez: "I think when Sony signed me, they had an idea that my music verges more towards the underground. They were viewing the deal on a more 'long term' basis; besides, you never know what might cross-over. This track being number one in the UK is a big surprise to me, and I think it is to them too, but at the same time it's good because it justifies the type of music that I make for the masses."

Skrufff: Why have you waited until now to release "First Contact"-
Roger Sanchez: "I'm really slow… The truth is, it wasn't ready, and I never try to do something when I'm not totally ready. I feel that an album should tell a story. I didn't want to do another house album which was yet another collection of tracks, I've done many compilations over the years, instead I wanted this album to be very personal. I didn't feel I really had a story to tell until a couple of years ago. Now I do, and here it is."

Skrufff: "First Contact" features a variety of styles from vocal house to filtered disco and Latino house, how did you decide which one would have made it into the melting pot-
Roger Sanchez: "I just included what felt right. I kept on messing with the re-arrangement of the tracks until I felt confident that I could listen to it whilst washing the dishes, if you see what I mean. I can put Massive Attack on, for example, clean up the house and leave the music playing in the background, because it has a flow. I wanted to achieve the same effect with my album, a certain flow, so that people don't have to fast forward certain tracks. Real