By Jacob Katel
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Sorry, Roger Sanchez fans, your boy has been possessed by S-Man.
"There's a season for everything," Sanchez suggests. "Just like there's a day, there's a night. You need to have the darkness to appreciate the light."
It's been 20 years since the iconic spinner had the idea for S-Man, a dark, alternate persona he describes as "the other guy... like Darth Vader."
"It's become a split personality that just really does not care anything at all about commercial music, just strictly indulging whatever is really cool and underground with house," he explains. "I don't care about the biggest, most popular record or what's going to get everybody at that one moment to throw their hands up."
This spring and summer, Sanchez is setting out on a tour to celebrate the milestone, but even without a twentieth anniversary, the soulful producer just feels the time is right.
"Dance music has reached a commercial saturation point, and people are starting to look to alternative sounds within the electronic scene to reach that more innovative vibe," he says. "When dance music first exploded recently, it was because it was so different from everything else, especially in popular music. Now it's become very homogenized. There's so much of the same, and people want something different, something that's a little deeper."
More and more, his thoughts return to the dark side. Whatever the alias, Sanchez pushes to keep his efforts true to himself. And these days, he's aching to "go back to the core and the root of it."
"Now is the perfect time," he insists. "A lot of the sounds when I first came out with the S-Man in the '90s are back in a very major way, but done slightly different. That's where I've put my mindset: Let me take the original S-Man vibe but put it in a contemporary setting."
He's serious about it too. The DJ-producer just released a new S-Man single, "Dangerous Thoughts," on the new Undr the Radr Records — which is his second label, for those keeping count.
"I needed to differentiate 'Dangerous Thoughts' from the other releases on my other label, Stealth," he says. "So I came up with a label that's going to be very much dedicated to that underground, deeper, darker sound."
His next track, "Hot," a collaboration with up-and-coming techno star Sabb, will be released by the end of the month. And Sanchez says he already has six more solid tracks completed, which he plans to drop throughout his S-Man summer tour.
Next year, he'll begin recruiting like-minded artists for Undr the Radr's roster. And by then, he might even be in the mood to let Roger Sanchez return to his "friendlier, happier vibe." But for now, things are looking dark, and the S-Man is more determined than ever.
"It's to prove to myself that I can do it again and do it in a different way," he says. "Once you've been in the game for a long time and you've accomplished a lot, people like to put you in this 'OK, you're a legend and you had your time' box, and my thing is to prove to people, 'Oh, no, there's a whole lot more you just haven't seen yet.'"