For any DJ and bedroom producer, the ability to “hustle” is often the most underestimated, yet most important factor in determining whether they will fade out or successfully make their mark on the industry. Good hustle is the epitome of both the man and monumental career of international DJ, Roger Sanchez. From humble beginnings in New York City, diggin’ in dusty crates of old vinyl and spinning at house parties in Corona, Queens, to dominating huge dance floors and headlining festival main-stages in every corner of the globe, Roger is truly a self-made man and a house music legend.
The crafting of Roger Sanchez, the DJ, started in the late 80s, where as a young man he was enticed by the explosion of hip-hop that was taking over the city. Embracing the culture as a b-boy and graffiti artist, he would hit parties on the Bronx River and before long, his friends had him trying his hand on the wheels of steel. In a time and place where hip hop, house music, and “turntablism” all collided in a perfect storm of creativity, opportunity, and sick beats, Roger seized his moment and began to build his empire on vinyl and slip mats, starting with a few singles and expanding into a massive collection of over two thousand original productions and remixes.
Releasing music under a multitude of monikers, including the S-Man, Roger S., The Nu- Solution, Underground Solution, DV8, Ego Trip, El Mariachi, The Funkjunkeez, Tribal Infusion, Twilight, and Transatlantic Soul, just to name a few, Roger has been able to maintain the essence of his sound, his flavor, his “sabor”, if you will, while still using each alter ego as a tool to expand on various fresh and experimental sounds. Each one of his multiple music personas have allowed him the opportunity to defy the mainstream and travel out to the far reaches of the musical galaxy, collecting depth, wisdom, and perspective along the way and applying them to his future endeavors in innovative dance music sounds, allowing him to remain fluid and cutting edge across decades.
Always motivated by that innovative spirit, Roger was an early pioneer of podcasting and was awarded the first-ever Best Podcast Award at the International Dance Music Awards in 2007. He currently hosts Release Yourself, a weekly terrestrial and online radio show and podcast that features not only his own productions and those of successful house music staples, but also features up and coming tracks and artists. It attracts over 10 million listeners around the world and is broadcast in thirty markets on every continent, and if that weren’t enough, he creates many of his podcasts and mixes from the road, enduring a tour schedule that would exhaust even the most hardened of festival warriors with the vibrance and consistency of someone who has just returned from holiday.
With all that energy and motivation, it’s only logical that he would push himself to the creative limits, assembling an annual Release Yourself compilation which highlights his own tracks, as well as tracks from both breakthrough and established artists. He further extends his influence by helping release the music of new artists on his labels and through his own personally built production studios. In addition, Roger has captained a slew of releases on such influential labels as Strictly Rhythm, One Records, and Defected over the years. Keeping in tune with his varied and diverse career, he has also founded several labels of his own, namely Narcotic, R-Senal and Stealth.
“The S-Man was my alter ego for when I wanted to do stuff that was just dark, dirty, straight dance floor with no regard for radio or anything like that. Just the raw expression of what I feel works for me on the dance floor. I really get the chance to open up and try different sounds”, says Roger. “I think the S-Man brings back a lot of what I learned in the early years of my production... the really straight back-to-the-club roots of it. It’s taking on the elements of deepness, making it dirty again, adding elements of hip-hop, and just bringing it all to bear.”