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Roger Sanchez on Smoke Free Clubbing, UK Drugs & Ali G Comparisons

Author: Jonty Adderley / Angie Ng
Tuesday, December 25, 2001
Superstar DJ/ producer Roger Sanchez has long been one of dance music's best known names, though in 2001 he suddenly found a new audience, courtesy of his Toto sampling smash hit Another Chance. Derivatively simple yet wonderfully effective, the filter disco track topped the UK's pop charts and became one of the biggest tunes of Ibiza 2001, dovetailing nicely with Sanchez's summer Ibiza season. Currently rounding off 2001 with a worldwide DJ tour, he flew in to Kuala Lumpur last weekend, on the way to Australia.

"We just talked about him earlier on and we were just like; 'Whatever'. Lately I've been getting it more than Armand but I think Armand got it quite a bit before." Sitting in a Kuala Lumpur studio wearing sunglasses, hat and carefully coiffed beard, Roger Sanchez laughs as he concedes he's recently overtaken Armand Van Helden as dance culture's number 1 Ali G look-a-like.

"It's funny, I met him out of character and he's very normal, almost shy in a way," he added, recalling the recent MTV Europe awards. "I suppose Ali G is kinda' like 'the It'; his stage persona. He's pretty outrageous, pretty funny, …but it's not me."
Roger was speaking to Skrufff's Angie Ng, as he prepared for his gig last Friday at the Movement Club, his 2nd in Kuala Lumpur in the last year.

Skrufff: You're here in KL again just months after 'Another Chance' went global, how much has your DJing changed over the last 12 months-

Roger Sanchez: "My sets have become very emotional especially within the last year. They've got elements of funk, soul, tribal elements and darkness and have that journey aspect a little. I like to incorporate effects. I do things with 2 or 3 turntables, 2 CD players, and samplers, so it becomes a lot more of an experience, also combined with visuals. Then it becomes a bit more than just playing big tracks."

Skrufff: Have you been playing 'Another Chance' in every single set this year-

Roger Sanchez: "I've actually tried to wean myself away from it a little, since the summertime. During the summertime, I was playing it quite a lot then tailed it off. So now I'll do something different with it in every set and make it just a little bit more of an on-the-spot remix."

Skrufff: You're an American DJ clearly quite happy to still travel including here in Malaysia, how much have you personally been affected by 9/11-

Roger Sanchez: "Everybody has been affected by it but New Yorkers in particular and I'm a New Yorker. For me it's a little different because I travel so much and I see different parts of the world and what happens in places like Spain or the UK, which have had to deal with terrorism over the years. But it has definitely made people a lot more apprehensive about traveling. It's made people question things like music and fashion and their importance in life but at the same time it has made life even more precious. So there's very negative but also very positive aspects to it at the same time. It was a horrible thing but I think it's also sensitized Americans a little more to what's going on around the world. I was maybe a little apprehensive about being in Malaysia but then again I really don't worry about it. My feeling is like; when it's my time to go, God has a plan for it and it doesn't matter whether I'm on a plane, bus, or in the bathtub, it's just my time to go. So, I can't let it affect me. If I let it affect my life to that degree, it means that the terrorists have won."

Skrufff: How has your attitude to music and work been affected-

Roger Sanchez: "It's important for me that I do what I do because I provide people with something else, a joy of life, perhaps. Some people forget how important music and fashion really are- they're important because they're both aspects of being a human being and enjoying life. And if you let them take them away from you, once again they win. I think it's very important not to underestimate the importance of life as it is. But also not to lose sight o