Among a host of acts from the deeper realms of dance at this month’s inaugural Zoo Project Festival, we caught up with Chicago-bred house gangster, DJ Sneak. Never one to shy away from the mic, camera or social networking site, Sneak sat down after playing arguably the most fun set of the night to talk British weather, Twitter, and playing for the love.
So how was it?
It was great. It didn’t rain and that’s awesome.
You were expecting rain? In England?
Come on. I guess I’ve been in Ibiza too long. I rented a villa in San Jose this year and brought my family there. Usually I go home for the summer to be with them but this time I said “hey, let’s take a long holiday and I can just work in between”. That’s been working out really well. A lot of DJs are doing this now, moving their families there during the summer.
That makes sense. You played Zoo over there too this year – how did that come about?
Yeah – last year I played Zoo twice and this year once, opening for Moody Man. His flight was delayed and I happened to be in Ibiza, so I played a couple of hours and it really went off. So I think this is why I’m here today.
Well it went off tonight too. Zoo parties in Ibiza have been known for a deeper sound, but here you are smashing it with the house music. Did you feel like you filled a gap at this event?
When I got here there were all these kids telling me to bump it up, cos they were just ready for it man.
Ready for the house gangster?
So let’s talk about twitter. You get so much love on twitter.
Twitter’s good because it lets me know they’re paying attention and I’m making a difference. I’ve been around this business for 20 years and I’m probably more relevant today than ever. That’s because the passion in what I’ve done has always been for house music. It’s what I love to do and I’ve never changed my attitude.
Your tweets are provocative but you seem to be fighting for a cause rather than just cussing DJs for the sake of it.
Everything I’ve said on twitter this year has been my genuine opinions, aimed directly at the people in question. I think I have the right to put my opinion out there, as one of the people who was first making festivals like this happen across the US. I respect a great DJ. A DJ who comes to play from the heart and goes out there and does a great job. No matter if they use computers, USBs, or whatever. I mean love my vinyl, then until recently I was playing CDs, but now I’m on USB too. And that’s another battle everyone’s talking about. But I had two hours to get through immigration, get to the hotel in central London, and then get picked up to drive here. So my timing is so crazy that if I had to wait for luggage I would’ve missed it.
You’ve succumbed to the USB ports?
I’m trying to be smart, you know. I can do the job – you saw what happened tonight. It’s real DJing.
You feel strongly about DJs who just expect the love and reverie to come to them.
If you expect that shit then go out there and work. Do. Earn it. Then people will give you all the love that you’re looking for. When you go out there and shock people, even people who don’t know who you are – I mean, I’m 41 man and these kids are like 20 – for them to even know who DJ Sneak is today is amazing. But they thought “ok, I’mma give this old geezer a try. Lemme see what he’s got”, and they had a good time. They’re not here to see Avicii or Swedish House Mafia or whatever. They’re out to see a real DJ come and do a real set.
So summer’s clearly over now as we’re freezing our tits off tonight, but what’s been your highlight?
Ibiza has been unbelievable. I played DC10 three Mondays in a row. I played Pacha. I’m playing Cox’s closing party this Tuesday. I played for Zoo Project, plus a six date residency for Blue Marlin. I played for everybody. Keeping a non-exclusive, open-minded, make-me-an-offer-and-I’ll-come-rock-it-out policy. I don’t car how much money’s on the table. If I think you’re doing a great job, like Zoo Project does a great job, I’ll come and do it.
Here’s a Sneak peek (yep, we just did that) at his Movement Detroit show from this summer. The track ID is Riki Inocente ‘This iz Underground’ – out soon on Sneak’s own Magnetic Recordings imprint: