BBQ tips with the Master
What’s your family heritage and where did you grow up?
My family and I are from Puerto Rico, this is where I was born and then we moved to Chicago.
What school did you attend and was HOUSE a thing the kids were into at the time?
In Puerto Rico House music was unheard of. In Chicago in 1983 House music was being played on the radio; this is where I discovered it. Then in High school, I saw a guy DJ live at a school dance and I was hooked to the craft.
Where was the first place you heard house and what dj did you first connect with?
I guess my last answer gave away the where and when, but to be more exact I guess it was Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and Ralphie “the razz” Rosario cause he was Puerto Rican like me.
When and where did your dj career take off?
I believe it was in early 1994 after I started releasing all my tracks on Cajual and Relief Records. I had been DJing since 1986 around town, odd jobs, weddings and stuff like that. Anything to help me buy more equipment and to get me to play out in front of people.
What DJs inspired you early on?
There were many and I got listen to many of them on the radio, WBMX was the station. But I really think I broke thru when I saw Derrick Carter, he’s always been my Fav DJ. As a mentor he shared many great times with me playing’ around Chicago where we all got a schooling every time we saw him play. Bless his soul!
You recently opened your heart about European DJs taking over from the US jocks, what DJs were you talking about?
I knew this was coming and I’m glad to hear that people are paying attention. I wrote a blog on my myspace page to let some personal feelings out about the changes I’ve seen happening in the industry over the past 10 years. I was reminiscing about what it was like to go out and have a good time, listening to great tunes and enjoying it with good people. I feel that the simplicity in this is now gone and this is what frustrates me. It seems that being a DJ is no longer about playing good music but about playing whatever you think will make you a superstar. DJs motives have changed, it’s not about the music, it just about getting paid, laid and becoming famous. The DJs I spoke about in my Blog aren’t even DJ’s, they are BRANDS, products like red bull. They are DJs that are strategically marketed and who have no real knowledge or love for the music. This is what frustrates me the most, and in my opinion, this is what is polluting the industry. Being a DJ shouldn’t be about wanting to be famous, it should be about playing GOOD MUSIC THAT YOU LOVE and sharing that with the world.
We saw a youtube of yourself and Ricardo Villalobos back to back in Romania – that looked like one hell of a party…
The Party was AMAZING! This is the type of feeling I’ve been looking for, even though it was a huge party with 3 areas on the beach in Mamaia overlooking the BLACK SEA, the feeling these people were experiencing that night, and even into the morning is what I’m preaching about. Romanians are experiencing music in general but they are specifically exploring electronic more than ever. The Sunwaves Festival was an amazing show for many reasons but mostly because they love house music, they love techno, they love all you got to offer. The Ricardo Villalobos and Sneak encounter was a very crazy request from the main Promoter who obviously loves and respects both Ricardo and I and knew that we would vibe and be able to play a magical strange set for a crazy morning crowd … and it WORKED! The way we played together was very respectful to each other and since we are both Latinos we really clicked with each other.
Do you know Ricardo well?
We first met in Germany in the early 90’s. We’ve played at the same parties, like the arches in Glasgow, and we just have this great vibe with each other.
What about the scene in Romania?
The Scene in Romania is great from what I have experienced so far, they love House music and they really support artist and DJs. I feel very grateful when they approach me and drop some words about my stuff, they seem to know every detail about the music.
What are your fav Sneak tracks? That shades of jae track is mine (you did do that didn’t you?) How did that come about – oh and the Chaka ‘clouds’ cut up on strictly?
I have quite a few favs right now; I’m caught up on some old sneak tracks versus new ones. I’m trying to keep it going and get more people to get into the sound of SNEAK again. So I take more risks, getting the word out as much as I can, the website – djsneak.com will give you guys a well updated real time Sneak map on what I’m doing and where I’m going. Plus you get mixes for free, a complete SNEAK HUB of house music.
You look like a man who loves a BBQ. What’s your fave sauces and any marinating tips for meat (this might sound strange but we love BBQ at faithfanzine)
Ha! Funny you mentioned BBQ, I’m a GRILL MASTER SIR, I love to grill meat and anything that will brown and get crunchy. I have some great tips which I’ll be sharing at one time or another on the site … stay tuned for the sneak secret recipes!! I also put out a new record on a USA label called Houseguest, the DRY RUB ep will also give you some tips on a very special dry seasonings rub that you can make and put on any meat for BBQ’ing … Yummy!
As a DJ what are the fundamental differences that you notice between European and American dance floors (if there are any)?
These days I don’t see much of a difference at all because both areas have been affected by what has been happening in the industry. I think it’s more of a difference between the big corporate events vs the underground parties. I play all kinds of events and parties and most of the big scale nightclubs or sponsored events want the superstar commercial DJs with bad musical taste. When I step into a place like this, I play to get people’s attention. My goal is to get them grooving to good HOUSE music. I go in, I play all the tracks I LOVE, and people notice it! I love educating and re-introducing people to the classic HOUSE music sound. I want people to go to these events to dance and have a great time, not to feel like that they have to get shit-faced just to enjoy the RUBBISH that is being played.
What are your current faves … new djs / US house parties / producers / UK djs and producers?
Well my favorites things are the ones I am currently doing to spread the sound of House thru the world. I’m on a good HIGH and will keep going forward as long as people will have me. I got my website djsneak.com going, the label Magnetic Recordings still pressing and selling vinyl and I’m coming strong into the digital world too. US parties have been going off mostly in California, House is coming back big time in these parts. Producers, well anyone that will share their music and its DOPE HOUSE music, will get supported. From the UK, I send my MAD love and Respect to CHRIS SIMMONDS, he is still holding it down with the Cross Section music now online. I also want to send respect to the Smokingrooves, keeping it real in the UK and Dubai, doing their podcast shows to support house music. Good things are happening for house music, I love it too much to stop, and like the song goes “YOU CAN’T STOP THE HOUSE!”
Faith Strobelight Honey