Roger Sanchez – 24 hours in Ibiza

Like with many residents and visitors of Ibiza, Roger Sanchez exudes a strong passion and love for this small island off the coast of Spain. His Ibiza love affair goes as far back as the early 90s, stemming from a vibe that was very much about expression, release and allowing the music to truly take over. “The idea of Ibiza is and always has been unique,” he muses. “You’ve got the juxtaposition of the world renowned nightlife matched with the lush paradisiacal setting where people were and are, very much invested in whichever music scene they are into.”

Roger first stepped foot on the white isle for a DJ gig after hearing the buzz about the Balearic sound of Ibiza when it was making waves throughout the music communities worldwide in the early 90s. By the time 1995 rolled around, many clubs Roger had been playing at in the UK had started doing pop-up events, and it was a Cream event at KU (now Privilege) that eventually brought him to the island.

With firm roots in NYC, a villa in Ibiza, previous long-running residences all over the island, a record label, an iconic podcast and more on the burner, the Grammy award-winning artist today uses the island as a creative base for collaborating with other like-minded DJs and producers and a holiday retreat for valuable family time. “I love that you can completely get away from the clubs and experience the relaxing side of Ibiza, or you can indulge in some of the best nightlife scenes found in the world,” he explains. “Also because I have a home where I feel like I have put down some level of roots, Ibiza has become so familiar.”

Main photo by Natalie Beth Harris

What’s always in your suitcase when you come to Ibiza?
A lot of moisturiser and sunscreen because I have the studio tan going on year around! My headphones and computer also go with me wherever I go. What I bring in my head is a sense of openness. It’s not something you can pack in a bag, but it’s something you can take with you everywhere. It’s about being open to what’s going to happen next and what I can do to make that experience that much more memorable and beautiful.

Does Ibiza feel like work or a holiday to you?
It’s a bit of work although now I am taking a different approach; for around 13 years I did my own events on the island during each season. Each year that required me to put together promotion teams, concepts, visuals – it was a lot of work. But, when you love what you do, it’s just part of the process. In the early days I used to play the pre-parties, and then play the club from beginning to end so it was a long night. Having done residencies for so many years I am now pressing restart, and going back to playing around for different people at different venues. I have a feeling it may eventually lead back into a residency, but for now I’m having fun and taking this time.

What is your favourite part of the island?
I quite like Cala Bassa as I live nearby and I’ve been spending a lot of time here in the last couple of years. Sa Caleta beach is really nice too because I love quiet places and places that are a little bit far away. Roca Llisa and Sacca Roca are beautiful areas on the island, perfect for living too.

Who do you spend time with while you’re here?
If I am travelling with my family, then always my family. The past few years my schedule was very intense, but I have reorganised my life to make sure family get priority and that I can spend as much time as I can with them. If I’m not in family mode, then I’m in work mode; I’ll catch up with other DJs and producers that share a similar musical mind-set as me, such as Harry Romero and Darius Syrossian.

Anything special that you make a point of doing when you’re here?
Sleep! Whenever I can, it’s something I do not get enough of. The other thing I do is try and spend as much time as I can near the water. If I can, I take a moment and go down to the shore and do nothing but think. This is so important to me. Also, there is a restaurant called Sa Torre that is very unique and killer for the island’s best sunsets. It’s on the San Antonio side of the island so you get the most gorgeous amber sunset dead centre between two peaks and a cliff (plus they have an amazing chicken tagine) It’s an absolute must do.

Is there such a thing as a typical day in Ibiza for you?
It depends if I am playing or not. If I have a gig, my process tends to get me up early in the morning for a gym session, and then I’ll hang around my villa mostly organising music. On other days, I’ll spend my time at La Escollera, or I’ll drive to Santa Eulalia or Talamanca, or when I have a full day off I’ll go to a beach like Cala Bassa and spend the entire day there. Although I try to take time off for holiday, most of the time I’ll find myself doing a lot of collaboration work with other DJs, hanging in their studio or mine – Ibiza becomes more of a creative time for me.

Ultimate Ibiza track?
For chilling, E2-E4 by Manuel Göttsching. It’s an old record that was actually from the Paradise Garage days. It’s 12 minutes and very simple in its theory. For going out, a classic house track like Finally by Kings of Tomorrow – one of my all-time favourites.

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