Dangerous Music 2-Bus LT and Monitor ST are key studio ingredients in renowned producer’s Electronic Dance Music projects, as well as his R&B, Rock and Pop productions.
Junior Sanchez started making records when he was in high school. Now from the stage looking out over a sea of people in the dance crowd at an Ibiza island festival as a DJ – along with the Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello – it seems that first teenage track was quite a while ago. Sanchez has evolved from using major studios and large format consoles in New York and LA to designing and building his own high-end studio in his New York area house. To get back to the sound he had mixing on analog consoles Sanchez has chosen Dangerous Music gear for mixing and monitoring. “I have the Monitor ST, the DAC ST and the 2-Bus LT. It’s changed the whole platform of how I hear, it’s awesome,” says Sanchez. “I live my life Dangerously.”
Relating the sound Sanchez gets from the 2-Bus analog summing amp to his early years with consoles, he explains, “The 2-Bus offers every person that’s ever wondered or dreamt about working on a large format console that advantage of actually having that sound, that headroom, that sonic mass. For me when I first mixed through the Dangerous 2-Bus, it was like a sigh of relief, ‘Finally! I can push my productions to another level.’ That’s what the user is going to have with a 2-Bus, the experience of mixing on an analog console-without having a giant console in their room.” Sanchez says he plans to add a second 2-Bus LT for 32-channels of summing.
Electronic dance music (EDM) is only one of the musical styles that Sanchez excels in. His studio chops, creative synth programming and playing, along with deep collaborative skills lead him into many hit musical genres, from producing albums and tracks for Morningwood, Bush, Ima Robot and Good Charlotte to R&B star Mya. His remixes encompass a huge range of artists inside and outside the dance music scene: Madonna, Shakira, Katy Perry, The Bravery, Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Hot Hot Heat, The Faint, New Order, Giorgio Moroder and numerous others. Sanchez is working closely with Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello, playing at dance festivals around the world and releasing tracks and albums on Angelo’s ‘Size’ record label including an upcoming single featuring CeCe Peniston on vocals.
Deciding to put together his own studio, Sanchez reminisces, “Before I understood about the importance of monitoring, I would monitor through whatever console I was using. If I spent a lot of time in LA I would be using consoles at the Village Recorder, or if I was in New York I was at Integrated Studios in Tribeca where they had an SSL J series. So when I decided to build a room in my house-trying to put together a setup where I can be creative: wake up, go downstairs, write- the first system that came up when I was talking to friends about it was Dangerous Music.”
Sanchez first heard about Dangerous Music through a friend who had worked at a local music dealer. “When I decided to build my room in my house I called my friend Victor Rios, and he suggested a couple different summing devices and monitoring sections, including Dangerous Music. I decided to look into it so I did my research, talked to a couple different people, and I went online. The rest is history. I’ve been using the Dangerous Music gear for over three years now.”
Part of Sanchez’s system that has made a huge difference in his mixing is being able to hear everything with more clarity along the way with the Dangerous Monitor ST and the integrated DAC ST for consistent digital to analog conversion, “You have so many different options for monitoring, the Monitor ST has the subwoofer section as well, which comes in super handy. I have multiple sets of speakers, Adam S3As, Barefoot MM35, a Focal Sub and a pair of Avatones. All of those are integrated into my Monitor ST. The ST remote is awesome, I think it’s kick-ass, it’s sleek and doesn’t take up a lot of real estate on your desk.”
The EDM scene is growing exponentially states Sanchez, “I’ve been in this game awhile and I’ve never seen it at this magnitude. It’s because of the culture, because of the kids now, more kids are making music in their bedrooms with laptops and software, and it’s become this phenomenon. Electronic music is blown up. Everybody thought it was huge when Madonna signed Prodigy and Moby blew up and had his ‘Area 10’ tour. That wasn’t it, right now is the time.”
Speaking of young up and coming musicians making music Sanchez adds, “I can’t personally live my life ‘In-the-Box’ – I know a lot of people do – a lot of the young kids don’t know about summing. That’s one of my goals is to get the younger generation of producers, especially the laptop generation, to understand that: ‘You can’t have everything coming out of 1 & 2’ you’ve got to break out, you’ve got to sum your tracks – and ‘Monitoring is important too.’ It’s not just for the ‘Class A’ producers; the kids need to understand this. That’s one of my missions, to teach the young kids what’s going on. It doesn’t cost a lot, it doesn’t take a ‘gajillion’ dollars for you to have a really amazing setup in your house to make great records.”
Having recorded and mixed on large format analog consoles for many years, Sanchez then moved to working with In-the-Box digital summing, but realized he had lost something in the sound he was trying to create. “I was working out of the house trying to complete an album project or a remix and I was hitting a wall. I was wondering ‘Why do I keep hitting walls?’ Everybody is talking about working ‘In-the-Box’-I hate being in a box ’cause I’m always hitting a wall! It was really annoying me until Dangerous Music came into my life, and it literally broke down those barriers, and gave me all this headroom. I was amazed that you can get this headroom in rack mount boxes, you have your Monitor ST and you have your 2-Bus, and now you can actually work without hitting a brick wall,” states Sanchez.
His clients hear the difference in the sound of his projects too. “People have been taking notice, and I’ve been preaching to a lot of my peers, whether from the electronic world or just producers in general, for example Steve Angello from the Swedish House Mafia. He comes from a really strong pedigree of DJs-Sebastian Ingrosso, DJ Axwell-Angelo is on top of the world right now. And when he moved to LA from Sweden he asked ‘I’m going to build a room in my house, what do I need?’ The first thing out of my mouth was, ‘You need a great monitor system and you need a 2-Bus.’ We went and got the Dangerous system: he realized how much better his mixes sounded, how much bigger they were. People take notice, especially in the electronic music world, because everything is so heavily scrutinized regarding how your music sounds; how big it is, how ‘impactful’ it is in a nightclub. We’re playing music for 50-to-60,000 people in a stadium-it needs to sound huge-it can’t sound tinny and small. All these ingredients that Dangerous Music gives you help with achieving that sound. It’s definitely noticeable!”
“I’m a gear-head, I live for gear,” reveals Sanchez, “but I get my work done-and then I say: ‘How can I improve my studio?’ ‘What are the tools I need to improve?’ I had my first record when I was a sophomore in high school. I didn’t understand gear-real estate! Gear is like acquiring things that last the test of time. I didn’t understand that in the beginning, now it’s a totally different ballgame. I have a slew of analog synths, Jupiter 8, Minimoog, Source Moog, Cat Octave, tons of good little toys, but I also use a lot of softsynths as well. I love Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere, the quality is amazing.”
Describing how his Dangerous Music hardware integrates with the rest of his studio Sanchez says, “I use Pro Tools, I have everything going from Pro Tools to my patchbay and to the Dangerous Music gear. I sum everything, drums, vocals, keyboards, effects, I have it all mapped out. I have a (Digidesign) Control 24 just for fader purposes, everything is monitored through the Dangerous Monitor ST. I don’t monitor through the Control 24, but I control Pro Tools from it. The outboard effects I have are an Eventide Harmonizer, EMI Curve Bender, SSL Compressor, two 1176s, LA-2A, LA-3A, and Distressors. All the outboard gear is hardwired, so I just bring up my hardware like plug-ins.”
Sanchez feels this is one of the best ways to set up a multi-track DAW with analog outboard gear and analog summing, “This is a balance, it’s the best of both worlds,” concludes Sanchez. The analog output of an insert on a track goes to one of the hardware devices, but then the analog output of that device feeds into the 2-Bus for summing in the analog domain-retaining everything the analog outboard adds. It does not feed back to the interface. This way the signal doesn’t have to be re-digitized back into Pro Tools as a standard insert.
Speaking of the quality of Dangerous Music gear, Sanchez adds, “The components and the build of the Dangerous gear are amazing, the quality is superb. Since I’ve had my Dangerous setup there’s not been one issue at all with anything. I have the Monitor ST, the DAC ST and the 2-Bus, and a few years later it’s still chugging away, it’s working like I just took it out of the box. It’s amazing.”
Sanchez is currently working in his Dangerous Music-based studio on several new projects including a full-length album for New Orleans-based band The Vettes. He has 2 singles coming out on EMI for New Zealand artist Annabel Fay (see the video for the first single “Hold On” here: http://tinyurl.com/d7z3owg). He is also producing Christina Millian’s new album, who recently signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money record label (Niky Minaj, Drake). “I did five songs for her album entirely on Dangerous. All my dance music, all my electronic music that I do that’s released on Steve Angello’s label is all on Dangerous. And everything that you hear that Steve Angello-from Swedish House Mafia-does is on Dangerous too, because he uses it, and it’s coming out of his room,” discloses Sanchez.
Check out Junior Sanchez’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JuniorSanchezOfficial