Interview: Roger Sanchez

Roger Sanchez, American superstar DJ

Photography by Barbara De Giacinto

After discovering the island in 1995, back when Privilege was Ku and UK DJs were still riding high on the Balearic wave, American superstar DJ Roger Sanchez fell in love with Ibiza, returning each year to witness the island’s change from Brit-centric clubbing capital of the world to an international jet-set destination that continues to expand, develop and attract new generations each year. 15 years down the track, Roger is one of the island’s most respected heavyweight DJs – we caught up to find out how he stays ahead of the game.

You’ve played at almost every club in Ibiza for over 15 years, and now you’re joining the ranks of beach parties at La Plage – tell us about it?
I wanted to do something different with my label Stealth rather than just fold it into a night at Release Yourself; I wanted it to be focused on other artists rather than myself. A beach party is a lot more relaxed, more chilled and a different vibe. I’ll be there hanging out, which is a big change for me, because normally I’m behind the booth…

You won’t be tempted to get behind the decks?
M-a-a-y-b-e, but I’m gonna let the boys (Muzzaik and Jesse Garcia) take over. It’s their time to shine.

It’s the 10th anniversary of Release Yourself – how do you keep it fresh?
I love what I do. Every year I change the look, the theme and the feel of Release Yourself, plus there are different sounds that emerge. I constantly allow myself to be influenced by up and coming DJs and producers and integrate with them. I have a good, older VIP crowd who continue to follow me but the trick is, to change sonically and bring in a younger crowd to rejuvenate it and keep it going.

We see you on Twitter, Facebook, and blogging – is this how you keep in touch with the younger generation?
It’s a real connection between people, myself and other producers and artists – we all interact together. I’m always twittering and connected to Facebook – it’s all me. I come up with stories or bizarre incidents that happen on the road to give people a little insight, plus talk about people I’m working with and tracks I’m excited about.

So who’s on your radar right now?
New cats like DJ Chuckie, I’m doing some collaborations with him, and with Afrojack. There’s also Chris Moody and Lex Da Funk, who I’ve signed to the label and Kaskade. I work with an artist called Natalia Kills who’s a new up and coming artist at Interscope – there’s a lot of fresh talent out there.

Sounds like you’re very busy! Do you ever take time off?
I’ve been making more time for family, it’s important for me to be able to find a balance. I’ve been learning to turn off the phone, put the computer down, play with my son and daughter and spend time with my wife. Family time is family time then when they’re not here, it’s work, work, work.

What are your favourite places to hang out here?
I love being over at Mambo, I love going to Talamanca, Cala Tarida and Salinas is really nice too. I like Blue Marlin and going to Tropicana with the family. I’ve also been spending a lot of time at La Plage, which has become my new little favourite beach bar. I’ll be honest with you, I used to not be into Playa Den Bossa until I discovered La PLage, and now I love it there, it’s really cool…

What keeps you coming back to Ibiza?
From the first time I came to the island I fell in love with it. The natural part of the island really reminded me of my parents’ background (from the Dominican Republic). I have a Caribbean, Latin side which is very resonant with Mediterranean. The nightlife is incredibly developed for where the island is located, it’s such a dichotomy but it really works. It’s got its own unique spirit.

This story was published on July 21, 2010

Photography by Federico Capoano