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New Zealand Herald

Bringing Down The House

April 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003
New Zealand Herald. All rights reserved. 

House music was originally like a foreign language to Puerto Rican-born DJ Sneak, aka Carlos Sosa, who discovered underground club culture when he emigrated to America as a teenager. Sosa has since become one of house music's leading DJs, having worked with the likes of Daft Punk and Basement Jaxx.

"Back in 1983, my parents moved to Chicago and I was 13 at the time," says Sosa, who is now based in Toronto.

"Music was part of learning a new culture. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico so I had no knowledge of the music industry. Music was part of learning about [American] culture when I moved to Chicago. I ran into house music. I was in the right place at the right time.

"And I started making music after DJ-ing for a bit. I was blending tracks together so after mixing for a while, I felt like putting my own stuff together."

Sosa's breakthrough came in 1996 when he wrote his best-known track, You Can't Hide From Your Bud, which created the distinctive disco filter sound that has since been echoed in many house records.

"You Can't Hide From Your Bud was a phenomenon," says Sosa. "I did it when I was 20." Sosa collaborated with Daft Punk on Digital Love, one of the singles from the Parisian pair's second album, Discovery.

"Daft Punk are mates of mine," says Sosa. "It's weird because all those guys look at me like I'm their big brother. I went to Paris to do the track so I was on their turf, in their studio. We jammed and while they were doing a lot of chopping and putting music together, I sat back and wrote the lyrics.

"I'm a graffiti writer as well so I was scribbling and writing all kinds of stuff. I actually wrote the words on a record cover. Daft Punk ended up doing the vocals themselves. It was just like telling a story. Sometimes in house music when you have an instrumental and you put vocals on top of it, it makes the track special, and that's what happened with Digital Love."

Combining a humorous lyric with a funky tune also worked in Sosa's favour on his Bear Who-sung single, Fix My Sink, which reached No 26 in the British charts.

"I knew that Fix My Sink would do something," says Sosa. "It was the first record I've ever had in the charts but I don't really make records for the charts. I make records for DJs to play. It's hard to categorise Fix My Sink. I'm a house guy but it's more than just a funky song. It's more trying to reach people who don't know about house music. It's a cross between funk and soul with a bit of electronic music thrown in. The only thing I'm trying to get across is good music. I'm trying to bring funk and soul back into electronica because dance music has lost its soul."

Auckland clubbers should expect to hear plenty of soulful sounds when Sosa plays Unity.

"Expect a whole lot of melodic, harmonious music in a funky, beaty Chicago style," says Sosa. "I always like to keep it funky. Not progressive, not trance, not deep house."

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