Roger Sanchez is one of the great American house 015. But while he's treated like a king in the UK, he is relatively unknown in his native country. Words: Jim Byers
It must be strange being Roger Sanchez. Or any other famous American DJ you can think of. The New York house guru heading for The Tunnel in Glasgow. is one of a band of US DJs worshipped in Britain. but virtually unheard of at home.
House music in America has remained a minority genre. never really reaching the cultural recognition it deserves — despite its roots. It was invented in New York and Chicago‘s gay discos. lovingly crafted by a handful of music-loving DJs. Then fate stepped in. Throw in a small Balearic island and a drug called ecstasy. and the whole thing got turned on its head.
What was once a music- based. black American/gay disco scene. became a drug- based. white-glove wearina. whistle-blowing British nightmare. House music had become ‘acid house’. its black American roots bastardised by white British ignorance.
‘lt’s funny.‘ says Sanchez. ‘Not as many people know of me. or people like me in America. as they do here in the UK. I‘m no one compared to the hip hop guys like Babyface or Puff Daddy . . . those guys are in a different league. You have to realise that in America the big form of music is hip hop.
‘Dance music is still predominantly a gay thing. although I do see that starting to change. There’s been a lot more media coverage of DJs and producers recently. It‘s still got a long way to go. I do see it coming back to America though. it's just taking the slow route.‘
Stranger still for Sanchez. 1996 saw the UK producing some truly excellent music. further shifting the balance of power from America to Britain. The
88 THE “ST 18 Apr—i May 1997
‘Scottish clubbers have a warmth and an open- mindedness towards DJs.l always feel very welcome and very loved there and I always try and give the love right back.’ Roger Sanchez
Roger Sanchez: New York house guru
house scene here experienced a minor renaissance. as a handful of DJs and producers moved away from the commercial scene and took the music back underground. More importantly. drum ’n' bass. an inherently British phenomenon. acquired unexpected mainstream acceptance. The trip hop/breakbeat scene. another British sound. also played its part.
For the first time in almost a decade. British dance music was truly fit to be exported back to its birthplace in the States. so much so that various American DJs could regularly be heard playing British house. British drum 'n‘ bass and British breakbeat in their sets.
‘My sets are a lot more eclectic now.‘ says Sanchez. ‘l’m into breakbeat stuff and I’ve been into drum ’n‘ bass for a while now. I‘ve always believed in moving forward musically and having an open mind. so if I feel a crowd is ready for it. I‘ll drop drum ‘n‘ bass. 1 like to vary it. I think more DJs should experiment with different musical vibes.‘
His willingness to experiment with music and to absorb new inﬂuences will find expression on his forthcoming solo album for Sony. ‘lt’s going to be very diverse.‘ he explains. ‘l'm gonna take a lot of different fiavas. everything from house to dark stuff to a little hip hop and a little drum 'n‘ bass.‘
Expect more standard Sanchez house material on his remix of the forthcoming Brand New Heavies single. He has also just completed a recording project with Junior Sanchez and DJ Sneak (The S-Men) which will come to life at the Tribal Gathering festival in Kent this May. The three will perform on six decks. three mixers and a keyboard.
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FOUR EDINBURGH CLUB venues are working to raise the standard of capital clubbing, with renovations a-plenty. The Attic on the Cowgate is closed for extensive redevelopment. Major improvements include a new, repositioned bar and a new DJ booth, decor, sound and lighting, toilets, air conditioning and a wooden dancefloor. The changes will also increase the venue's capacity slightly to 300. The new- look Attic plans to reopen on Friday 18 April, when it re-stakes its claim as an important part of the city’s club and live music scene. Major developments are also afoot in Victoria Street, where the Music Box will soon become The Liquid Room, a restyled live music and club venue with 20k of sound at its disposal. lts opening date is thought to be early May. Elsewhere, La Belle Angele continues to upgrade its facilities and its reputation; a sprung wooden floor has replaced the concrete one, new toilets have been installed and the club has been redecorated.
IN GLASGOW, TWO new clubs are set to open in May. At the beginning of the month, Trash opens in Pitt Street, in the premises formerly occupied by Rhapsody. The venue has been redesigned and refitted by its new owners and will aim at a diverse audience with three club spaces. Meanwhile in the city's West End, The Volcano, which closed last month to make way for a new road, has had a rather bizarre reprieve. Owner of The Apartment Colin Barr, who originally ran the venue before selling it to The Tunnel’s Ron McCulloch, has the site back again. McCulloch gave up the site in March, under the impression the venue was to be demolished, but Barr has been given a year’s licence
; for the premises. Renamed let, the
5 club opens at the end of May.
TUNNEL FANS WILL rejoice at the launch of the latest line of the Glasgow club’s merchandise, including pendants, T-shirts, jackets and more. These will be available from the new shop located in the entrance of the club, where tickets for future events can also be purchased, day or night. (Rory
Elsewhere. his label Narcotic continues to promote I
quality house from both sides of the Atlantic. the next
release features the S-man himself and two of this ‘
country‘s finest. Basement Jaxx and Smokin‘ Beats. But is he looking forward to playing in Scotland? You bet.
‘Scottish clubbers have a warmth and an open— mindedness towards DJs.‘ he says. ‘1 always feel very welcome and very loved there and I always try and give the love right back.‘
Roger Sanchez plays with Nick Warren and K-Klass at Cream, The Tunnel, Glasgow, Sat 26 Apr.