DJ SNEAK aka CARLOS SOSA
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, a small Island in the Caribbean. I grew up on the beach, floating on the waves and dancing to salsa music. Music is a huge part of the Puerto Rican way of life and I feel blessed to have been born in such musical cultured place. When I think back to my childhood I can still hear the waves, the conga beats and the rhythm of the people I am so much a part of.
My family has a good mixture of several colours, even though we are all islanders we have a good mix and cultural blend. The Latin way of life revolves around family, food & music and this is pretty much how I remember my upbringing. Once I moved to Chicago in 1983 things changed quite a bit but I still had the love and guidance of family, particularly my mom. She is the reason I am who I am today and I will forever be grateful. She’s an amazing woman.
I picked up on music as young as I can remember, my first musical love was Salsa Music. The rhythms, sounds, melody and Latin beats ran through my veins as a young kid which is still very much a part of me, the tones still resonate in my minds and to this day I use them when I produce Music. Later in my life we ended up in Chicago were I was truly captivated by American life and the sounds of jazz, Funk, Soul, Disco and of course House Music. It almost felt like we landed in Chicago at the right time as it was at this time that the Chicago House sound was being introduced on the airwaves and at the incredible amount of parties that were taking place in the early 80’s. I was particularly drawn to House music because it had very little singing which was perfect for me because at the time I understood very little English. The instrumental endless music mixed together was very appealing to me and I feel like the Radio saved my life, it helped me integrate into my new life in Chicago and it was House music that kept me busy, grounded and out of trouble. To this day I love and strongly support House music, it really is my life.
My first true projects were not musical ones, I started off airbrushing and doing graffiti, then I was on to making money by selling my art on t-shirts and clothing, I did all this while working in a record store which led me to the music side of the business. By the early 90’s I got into retail and I was quickly selling massive amounts of vinyl at several records stores, which helped me further explore the music and develop the DJ Sneak sound. In 1991 I started Defiant records with my life savings of $2000 and took a chance at recording and selling records, first in Chicago, then to NYC and Detroit where House music and “ghetto” tracks were often supported. In the mid 90’s, while working at the world Famous Gramophone Records on Clark St in Chicago, I was able to really shape my style because of all the great collections of records that were being sold in the store. I was lucky to meet some of the future talents that broke through in the 90’s and because I was a great salesman of music I ran into people like Cajmere/Green Velvet as he was breaking through his labels Cajual and Relief imprints which became globally recognized. I was also able to meet other people in the Industry like “Johnny D” from Henry St, Kenny Dope, some of Strictly Rhythm’s talents and A&R people like Gladys Pizarro, she was the queen of the beats in the 1990’s. I managed to stay busy while developing and growing as a DJ/ Producer to the point that I had everybody calling me at my moms place asking me to sell them tracks. I was driven and highly motivated and I was dropping tracks & records every week, I was truly inspired and knew this was what I was suppose to be doing. This is how I broke thru and DJ Sneak became a known name across the world. Now in 2012 I am still as driven, motivated and strong willed as I was when I was 20 years old, I continue to support and produce the same House Music I always have and still love what I'm doing.
LABELS & PROMOTION
The first label I launched in 1991 was Defiant Records, while feeling defiant of the ones that were releasing music in Chicago in them days, I started on my own path and wasn’t going to let anyone tell me what I could or couldn’t do. I was told by many that I would never accomplished anything in life, that I should give up because my tracks were ghetto and under produced, but it was the essence of being a Chicago music child that keep me going. I struggled to get out there but no matter what roadblocks presented themselves in front of me during my journey I managed to break through them with my sound. I continued to work with many people including labels like Derrick Carter’s Classic Music, which also helped me break into the European market place. I coasted through the nineties until finally launching Magnetic Recordings in 2000, followed by Oomph Recordings for the deeper House sound, and for the past few years have been re-releasing my older tracks with fresh remixes on Sneaks Classics. Today I continue to push my sound and choose all the music being released on my 3 labels.
The future is very unpredictable, from my end I can tell you that I am a workaholic and the journey continues with many more releases, not only on my personal Labels, but on many European labels supporting my sound. I have been able to create a community of people that appreciate what I do musically – live, as a DJ and also as an experienced producer that has been able to survive the constant changes in the scene. I have been able to re-introduce myself again to a whole new generation of fans while still pleasing the old school DJs that have supported me since day one. I am very proud of this. The future brings more music, more remixes, more albums and many more mixes like this one. I will continue being me and as long as I’m doing what I love, I’m happy.