Name: Junior Sanchez
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Blueprint EP on Kaluki Music
Recommendations: Any work by an Artist named Sandra Chevrier is so worth to visualize and digest. Musically, any Tame Impala will obviously inspire anyone on any sonic level.
If you enjoyed this interview with Junior Sanchez, check out his facebook page and soundcloud account, which offer background information, current news and plenty of music.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started producing at a very young age. Around 14 years old I got the bug from listing to early Tyree Copper, Masters at Work, David Morales, Roger S, Todd Terry. And the first chance I had to be in a studio was a life changer for me. So I never looked back.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
I've always learned that having your own fingerprint and in this case soundprint is very important. All of my friends and peers have their own, you know a Todd Terry sound, Armand Van helden, Kerri Chandler, Sneak etc. So I grew up knowing that having your own distinct sound is crucial for one's own identity.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Well in the beginning for me you had to really want to produce. So that meant you needed to either buy gear – samplers, compressors and workstations - or rent a studio which would cost a lot of money at that time. So that meant you really wanted to do this craft and invest not only time but money. Obviously today all that I just mentioned is inside a laptop and is easily accessible whether it's bought cheap or bootlegged software anyone has access to create and make tracks. So at this point it's not the bow, it's the Indian, it's how you use what you have and how creative you are with what you got.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
It’s changed immensely. I had a lot of synths and outboard gear huge mixing consoles etc to the point were my studio easily got to an excess of alot, alot of $. Now I’ve condensed my workflow to a very select group of things, mainly my summing kit which is by dangerous music 2 Buss + my computer (you're only as powerful as that today). My monitors are also important. A good mic, pre and mic and your good to go. Of course, software is a must - so there you have it.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
There are things that sequencers and technology can do that humans cannot. But it takes a human to first navigate it and lead or start the way. So it’s a combination of Human and AI that will continue to lead the way as far as creativity goes. I believe it always start within the heart mind & soul.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
It goes hand in hand. Today I start with my DAW a kick and an idea, from there it’s all a process of how I blend my creative and my technical aspects. I try and mix as I go along personally for my workflow. It works as I like to hear it being developed as I progress.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
All of the above. It's a mutual respect thing. If I haven't collaborated with someone before its a process of getting to know each others' workflow and being patient. If it's some I have, it’s usually a case where we know each other's strengths and work in a place of trust.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I wake up, have coffee that's the first thing, I really try not to turn on a TV or go on social media as I feel like it’s a complete distraction. From there, if I’m in my creative space I try and start either a new song or go to something I’ve already started and try to finish it. If it's a remix, I’ll listen to the original inspiration and take it from there. Some days, it's all about emails like something in this vein getting an interview done or just tasks that have been sitting in my inbox that have to be completed. It's just as important to stay on top of these things, as it's also a feeling of accomplishment just as being creative is.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
Shen I did my last album Under The Influence, I realized my inspiration was not what I thought it was. It was actually the people around me on a daily basis - my friends, my , the people who inspired me from inception like Todd, Sneak Roger, Armand, Kenny, Louie, etc. That was my mindset: to be inspired by my friends again and pay homage to that and not take my friendships for granted as far as creativity goes.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Easy. Social Media is 100% a distraction. So I believe that has to be used in doses, like there is a time and place for everything and that includes social media. Once you figure that out, it's easier to stay focused and be creative
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
They go hand in hand for me. I get inspiration from playing other people's music or hearing a track and how its accepted by the crowd, how it makes people feel etc. So its a very symbiotic thing: live and studio.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
Sound is important. I’m not a synthesis type guy that can lead many people into a rabbit hole of not finishing or having an end game. I dive into sound but once I hit something that triggers my ear and I like I commit to it. It's better than fiddling and tweaking for hours and getting lost in the sounds and not finding an end result.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
It’s all connected. Sounds, taste, visual sights, feelings. You can hear the frequency of bass in your chest and that affects the way you feel and hear and creates the domino effect in your experience as it alters your state of mind.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Art is your Heart - you can't spell Heart without the word ART. That’s my first and foremost rule. I don't live my life based on algorithms. I live based on my heart and art and everything else can revolve around that.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
It will always be a way of life and be a crucial part of humanity. We can't survive without food, water, the sun, and I believe music is one of those components that are a necessity for human evolution.