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High Octane: Juan Sanchez Talks Techno

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Juan Sanchez

So during the week, when you’re not gigging, what do you get up to?

Well I have my studio at home…

What do your neighbours think of that?

My neighbours are super cool and that’s why I still live where I do. I’ve been living there for almost ten years and I make so much noise! Somehow I’ve never had one complaint. The guy that live beneath me has even knocked my door a couple of times when I haven’t been making music for a while saying “Dude, what the fuck?! Let’s rock this!” and he asks me to put a CD through his mailbox now and then. He’s an awesome neighbour to have! It’s very important to have this freedom. I’ve always had my studio in my house, so I don’t know what it’s like to go to a studio outside of the house. For me, it’s perfect. If I want to work in the middle of the night, it’s right there. I also run a label, Format Records so when I’m not making music I’m listening to all the demos and promos I get sent.

How many do you get sent roughly?

I get maybe like five or ten a day, from all over the world. My label’s only existed for one year. So it’s really nice that people that have found me and sent me their music. Sometimes the music fits in with Format, but 99% doesn’t. Or they just send it fucking randomly to anyone and I’m a part of that! Sometimes they’re in a good direction, but not quite there. I do listen to everything I get sent, I don’t unfortunately always reply, because that would be like a full time job in itself. I only reply if I’m interested. With promos, I get thousands of those of course, I’m always on the search for new music, thinking about my next gig, making music myself, I try to go out for lunch! For now my life is under control. It’s perfect like this. I have time for everything, and I’m not a slave to my own success. I hope I can keep that way. I prefer to do less, and do it really well.

Juan Sanchez

Cool. We know Laurent Garnier listens to hours upon hours of new music every day. We don’t know where he finds the time! Have you managed to find discover any particularly exciting emerging artists recently?

We are now on the sixth release. So I’m trying to work with a pool of artists and build that over the years. The artists I sign, I intend to do about one or two releases with a year. I want to create a platform and for the world to know which artists are with Format. Then you can grow and build. So we have a certain sound. I have Doka, he’s become a good friend and after the success of his first release, he’s going to release another record on Format next year. We have Flug, from Barcelona. He did a remix on my latest EP for Chris Stanford on Quant. Joton, he’s from Madrid, he’s great. I try to focus on them and rotate. I will do the seventh record, then Doka will do one, then Joton. I’ve signed another guy called Qindek. He works all on analogue and he’s really cool guy.

We’re also going to start doing label nights starting in Utrecht, in a club called Basis. So this is how I like to approach it – you have artists on a label, you start a label night with your core artists, and this way you can expand and work on the brand. If you look at Drumcode label, they’ve been around for 20 years now and I hope to get to that point by following a similar philosophy. Keep the artists there and believe in them. Make sure your audience can know what to expect.

It must be a great honour to play at Berghain. A far as preparation goes, have you approached this set differently at all?

I’ve dreamed about playing here for a long time. I’d go so far as to compare this feeling to going to the Olympics! I’ve fantasised about it many times. I have four hours. So that’s a treat. If I had two hours then I’d really have to have thought “What am I going to do?” as I would have had to get all the tracks I wanted to play in there but luckily I have four hours and having known for the past four months that I’ll be here, I’ve been collecting my music and putting it in a separate folder. There are loads of tracks in there, stuff that I would like to hear in Berghain. I’m going to go through that and give it my best shot. I’ve also brought a TR8 drum machine, which works very well and it’s cheap! They gave it to me a year ago and I’ve used it as much as possible in my gigs to add an extra element to my performances. I know I can play certain music here – that at other gigs might not work so well. It’s like ‘If I go this direction, will I make it too difficult for myself?’. DJs think about that on a subconscious level but with this dance floor, I know it will be packed with music lovers. I have so much cool music that I rarely play that I’m excited to play out. A lot of stuff from when I first started to listen to techno from 1995, and 96 will be getting an airing. I can’t wait man!

Neither can we… So what’s the plan for 2016?

So my big plan is to focus on my international profile. Most of my work is in Holland. I have done almost everything you can do there, that’s why I’m so happy to get this gig before the end of the year. It feels like I’m getting some recognition. Which is very important, and I can already notice it. So many people sending me messages and wishing me good luck. I just want to play outside of Holland as much as possible. I’ve got a profile now and I will continue to build on that and now I want to start to travel more! I’m more than ready for it. You can’t push or influence it, you just have to let it grow organically. Good music will always find its way.

To get a taste of what he offers, check out Joton’s latest release on Format below – coming complete with a remix from ROD, you’re not going to want to sleep on this one…

Juan Sanchez is on Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud

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