DJ Sneak; House Gangster Interview
From Puerto Rico to Chicago & now Toronto, Canada resident, One of House music’s true pioneers, Carlos Sosa aka has the passion and drive to keep House music alive. Self-proclaimed House Gangster, Sneak has helped shape the course of dance music since the early 90s; his early music influencing the likes of Daft Punk, Bassment Jaxx and Armand Van Helden. His signature sounds – funky filtered disco-influenced house and tough, jacking beats – have revolutionized and redefined house music for well over 15 years. Having begun his DJ’ing career in 1983, Sneak continues to be at the top of his game: non stop beat bumpin’ sets are a one of a kind experience in the electronic music circuit and a barrage of top quality releases over the last 20 years have culminated and just keep on coming.
With Sneaks latest project out on Traxsource. We caught up w/ House Gangster to chat about Ibiza, the House scene today, Frankie Knuckles, his I’m a House Gangster imprint & more in this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
1) Hey Sneak, thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now…
Hey what’s up, I’m chilling in my villa in Ibiza taking care of business and enjoying the family life between weekends to hit the road like the road warrior… I’m feeling grateful for the many things happening in my life right about now.
2) Let’s jump right in and talk about your relatively new imprint “I’m a House Gangster” – How does this imprint differ from your now classic Magnetic Recordings label? What’s is this concept all about?
The concept has always been about finding new fresh people that want to be involved in just more than a record label, we promote a family lifestyle, enjoying the best of the best and always representing the real love and passion for everything we do. Jacking banging gangster beats and is what we love, low riders, tattoos, gangster swag is how we roll.
3) So, we are talking gear, merch, radio shows, label parties – the whole nine yards?
Merchandise, Record Label, Podcasts, Label Parties we have it all covered, We’ve been doing events everywhere where people are gathering to party plus conferences etc. ADE in Amsterdam, BPM in Mexico, WMC in Miami, Off Sonar in Barcelona, London, Ibiza — you name it, we’re in it.
4) You have some great up and coming artists featured on “I’m a House Gangster” – how important is it to find, foster and push new talent?
Well, I’m blessed to be within reach of people, I get like 50 demos/promos a day. I carefully go through all of them personally, from time to time I find a diamond hidden or juts a young producer looking for support from me as a DJ, after we get good we move on to signing music for the label. You never know what kid is next and how long he plans to be involved, we like to treat people like family, once you’re in you’re in. I got a team of great fellas that love to make them Gangster House Beats.
5) For those who may not know your history, where does your artist name emanate from, what’s its meaning & why did you choose it?
Those that don’t know need to get educated, I’ve been involved for a while, “Sneak” came from the streets of Chicago & Graffitti which was my first love & gave me my DJ name. I’ve been artistic ever since I can remember, drawing, painting, writing, making beats, DJing all came from my life in Chicago.
6) What keeps you both motivated after all this time? Tell us about the highs and the lows…
I’ve got a lot of motivation and am fortunate to be a very determined person. When it comes to making music, I look around as a sample slayer does looking for the best sounds and drums to put together. Really man I don’t know how I jumped into it all but once I did it was like joining a gang. In for life. When it comes to music I’m almost always on the high, it’s the other bullshit of this industry that sometimes get me down but I’m good at crushing that shit off and moving on. You can’t let the lows get you, I know they’re a natural thing but staying high is where I like to live!
7) Do you miss the “good ol’ days? Or, are things better now?
I roll with the times, I hold my own ground wherever I go, always representing what I consider to be good House music. I do miss the good old days of real records labels, A&R people, interaction of DJs in record stores, real PEOPLE acting like real people not this social media weirdness we all have to live with now. I also really enjoyed not having this EDM BS that is running around the US like it’s the best thing in the world, It’s NOT > we called these parties Raves and we did them 10-20 years ago.
8) You were “in the press”, so to speak, a lot last year for speaking your mind about “fakers” in the scene, and seemed to get up caught in debates about Dj’s who sync and have little or no respect for our scene – and you don’t apologize for anything other than for being who you are… Can you explain your side a bit better on this? Clear the air…
I am proud of who I am, no apologies for that. People like me or they don’t, and that’s fine with me. If your only reason to dislike me is because I’m an honest person and I speak my mind then I’m better off not having you around. It seems like everything I speak about becomes controversial these days, I just call it being real man, were surrounded by fake everything, fake is the new cool, I just spit it out more often and call it like it is … I think I do it cause I am to proud, because I care to much about what it has always been about for me, the MUSIC. Everybody can have an opinion but when I spit it out it becomes blog topics and etc. All BS really… I may be one of the last dudes who really has always cared about Music and DJing, bred in Chicago like a Junk Yard Dog.
9) Frankie Knuckles was a personal friend of yours, I know it may be hard to talk about, but I’d like to know what you think his untimely passing means to all that he left behind, tell us about how you are dealing with this – how will house music recover from this gigantic blow?
I’m going to admit that I cried like kid, I couldn’t stop thinking about why, but then I changed my thoughts about the beautiful teacher Frankie was for many people around the world. The man was a real Artist, he influenced so many people for over 30 years, I was to young to catch him in his prime back at the music box and warehouse but I had the pleasure to learn how to DJ with his music, Frankie was my teacher, a true innovator, a person in this DJ world that always showed the people how to do it with Class. Rest in peace, I know he is, and maybe in heaven he’s playing with our lost comrades thru the many years from DJs to fans. Bless his soul.
Frankie Knuckles & DJ Sneak
10) What’s your opinion of the current state of house music, right now?
Hahaha Man, this is the oldest question in the book, the state of music is SAD man, nothing is original, everything is fabricated in factories, marketing teams in offices, advertising and press teams with a plan to make a dumb farm boy into a superstar DJ. People need to get with the program, and wake up, pretty soon, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google & Youtube will all have record labels etc, create their own puppets to put on the shelves and then convince you all you should really like what they’re selling. We’re in a serious state of brainwashing.
11) Any advice for aspiring DJ’s/Producers that are thinking about getting in today’s fast paced game?
Practice, Work, Educate Yourself, find the real reason you want to get into it and if it’s fame give up now. Too many teams of rich people have this covered, look around you. If you want to do it for the passion of loving making music do it regardless if you make it or not. Don’t take no one else’s advise on how to make music, break the rules and be different, don’t try to be a copy of many copies circulating this industry, stay strong, stay real to yourself, if you have what it takes people will notice you without all the bullshit that these people pay for, you all can buy likes and friends etc it still doesn’t make you a star. Love what you do, or don’t do it at all.
12) Where can your fans catch you in playing over the next few months? Any Ibiza plans?
I’m in Europe this summer travelling to loads of festivals and also making the rounds in Ibiza as this is where I’m posted up for the season. You always check in and stay involved through my social media outlets. We got all kinds of good stuff going on! DJSneak.com & imahousegangster.com
13) Best gig of 2014 so far and why?
Hard to tell, I’ve had so many different experiences this year as I do every year playing all over the place and enjoying all kinds of crazy crowds. I’ve enjoyed some great b2b gigs with Doc Martin, my personal DJ hero, as well as some great sets with the Martinez Brothers who are 2 super cool cats. It’s been a great year so far and I honestly feel so blessed to still have the opportunity to share my love, passion and sound with the world.
14) And finally, what would be your short list of dream collaborations, past or present – dead or alive?
Honestly, I want to make music with real musicians, real producers in real studios, real vocalists with real talent. If you’re that person get with me cause I’m not stepping down, there’s many beats still to come, let’s do this!
Thank you all very much for the daily support, we appreciate your love, we’re always grateful.
Sneak & the House Gangster family.
Sneak’s latest release ‘Moody Warehouse Music Volume 2’ is out now on Traxsource.
I’m A House Gangster label page & releases on Traxsource.
Magnetic Recordings label page & releases on Traxsource.
Interview conducted by Chris Mackay for Traxsource
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