Rbla. Claudio Williman, Punta del Este, Maldonado, Uruguay

Overview

ROGER SANCHEZ & PIC SCHMITZ @ OVO Club Conrad, Punta del Este

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ROGER SANCHEZ

In Roger Sanchez’s eyes, music is cyclical. It’s about “drawing influences from the past and re-imagining it in a completely different way.” Hence why his forthcoming album will be called Roots.

Sanchez’s musical roots go back to the mid ‘80s, when the then-teenage breakdancer started DJing, and became fascinated with the new house music making its way to his hometown of New York from Chicago.

“At that time, the dominant forms of dance music in New York were freestyle and hip-hop, and house was almost the return of disco,” he says. “It was stripped down and four-to-the-floor, but there was something really magical about it, and it drew me in.”

Sanchez’s musical roots go back to the mid ‘80s, when the then-teenage breakdancer started DJing, and became fascinated with the new house music making its way to his hometown of New York from Chicago.

“At that time, the dominant forms of dance music in New York were freestyle and hip-hop, and house was almost the return of disco,” he says. “It was stripped down and four-to-the-floor, but there was something really magical about it, and it drew me in.”

He quickly moved on to producing — his early releases came out under the name Roger S. — and promoting. Many of Sanchez’s early parties were paid for with money he made selling mixtapes on the street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

“It was me and a couple other guys that were on the block, and I’d stand there with a boombox and people would come up and buy the tapes,” he says. “That money was what I would use when I had to pay bar guarantees, and that’s when my real DJ following took off in New York.”

Those mixtapes were, in some ways, Sanchez’s early forays into the business end of the music industry. Since then, he has launched four different record labels. His most recent and most successful label, Stealth, was founded in 2002. Since then, it’s become a launching pad for many of today’s fastest rising young producers.

“One of the things I’ve focused on, beyond releasing my own music, is have it be a conduit for new talent,” he says. “That’s something I’ve always done all my life, ever since I’ve been in the position to do so, is bring the next generation through.” He’s also won multiple awards, including a 2003 Grammy for Best Remixed Recording for his reworking of No Doubt’s “Hella Good.” He also won the first-ever Best Podcast Award at the International Dance Music Awards for his podcast “Release Yourself.”

Sanchez also hosts a weekly Release Yourself terrestrial and online radio show which reaches over 15 million listeners worldwide. For the last 13 years he has also curated a series of Release Yourself compilation albums for Stealth, multi-disc sets which are known for their explosive blend of deep house, Latin, tribal and tech sounds. Sanchez’s own Release Yourself parties are notorious all night affairs, explosive five hour sets expertly crafted to give clubgoers an immersive and uplifting experience.

As a 20-plus year veteran of the electronic music game and label owner, he’s happy to see DJs and producers selling out stadium-sized venues. That said, he worries that all this success has caused electronic music to get a little formulaic. “Commercial dance music sounds homogenous these days,” he laments. Roots, he says, is meant in part as an alternative. He says that in the last couple years, he’s seen a movement back towards slower, funkier dance music, with artists using new production techniques and applying them to classic dance music sounds.

PIC SCHMITZ

To be born a DJ is a privilege of few. As it is the path from mixing K7 tapes 20 years ago to keeping up with the trends of dance music today. Being a chameleon with strong references from classic house makes Pic Schmitz up for the job of always flooding dance floors with happiness and delight. Sexy house you can sing to: that’s his biggest specialty. No wonder his gigs are always crowded with the most beautiful women. Charisma is also something a DJ has to show – not by putting his hands up and being followed by a light at all times, but first of all, by transcending it to the dance floor in the most subtle ways and also the most important one: playing that right song at the right time.

This pretty unique feeling, plus his unarguable presence and style has made Pic Schmitz a classic choice for events such as Winter Play (Brazil’s biggest weekend party), Café de la Musique, Posh Club, Hed Kandi Punta del Este and Miroir Club. Also, he is the favorite warm-up for DJs such as Kaskade, Erick Morillo and Grant Nelson – to name a few.

Despite being a true passionate DJ and mix his songs wholeheartedly, Pic’s love for house music doesn’t stop on the decks: lately, his tracks “You Say Hello” and “Another Way” have been acknowledged by masters like Erick Morillo and Fedde Le Grand. The studio is also a place to be in touch with his fist crush: classic, sexy and soulful house music. From that crush, two love affairs emerged: “Smooth” and “For the Love of House” podcasts, where Pic can be free to explore music and share the energy to even more people around the world.

 

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