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Junior Sanchez

New York house legend Junior Sanchez came up in the '90s and became one of the biggest names in the genre with his instantly recognizable, chunky, beat-heavy sound. Born Eugenio Sanchez, Jr. in 1977 and brought up in the Ironbound suburb of Newark, New Jersey -- a close-knit, working-class community -- he caught the music bug at a young age. Influenced by the early works of Todd Terry, Carl Craig, Masters at Work, Murk, David Morales, and Roger S, he started DJing at the age of 11, using his siblings' discarded records and two old stereo systems. By 15 he was playing in some of New York's hottest nightspots. Honing his craft on the job, he was soon one of the most sought-after DJs on the scene. Shortly thereafter he began producing his own music, forging his own instantly recognizable, chunky, beat-heavy sound, which took inspiration as much from '80s new wave, post-punk, and synth pop as from the classic influences of house -- disco, funk, soul, and R&B. Releasing his first solo EP, Da Bionic Trax, on Strictly Rhythm in 1996, Sanchez created a steady stream of floor-filling records. With a strong and focused work ethic, he also recorded under the pseudonyms Da Northface Killa and IMIURU ("I Am I, You Are You"), and was a part of many collaborative projects with other big house names like Armand van Helden, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, DJ Sneak, and Roger Sanchez. In addition, he worked as an A&R man for Rufftrax; ran the labels Cube, Brobot, and Kultur; and did remixes for major pop and rock names such as Madonna, Jamiroquai, Gorillaz, Shakira, and Placebo. Sanchez was a longtime critic of the commercialization and exploitation of dance music culture, and a vocal proponent of creative freedom. He finally released his debut album, Under the Influence, in 2017, paying tribute to the house music giants who had influenced him in his youth.
© John D. Buchanan /TiVo
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