Roger Sanchez on the Dance Record That Always Makes Him Cry: "I Felt Like I Was Floating"

How an original Chicago classic changed a New Yorker's life forever.

by Roger Sanchez
Sep 9 2015, 3:35pm

In the Heartbreakers series, we look at the dance floor tearjerkers that make your night special, whether that's at the height of your high or the plateau. Electronic music has the power to break hearts and this is an appreciation of those songs that get us all misty eyed. This time round we asked the legendary Roger Sanchez to tell us about the track that gets him weepy every time he hears it.

If there's one track out there that I can say seized my heart from the very first time I heard it, it's "Can You Feel It" by Mr Fingers. I remember being at the Paradise Garage in New York the first time I heard it out. At the time i was a very young breakdancer, just a year out of high school. A friend of mine was a member of the Garage and he often invited me down to hang out there. It was Larry Levan who played it that night.

It landed with a crash of 909 rides and hi hats and thundering bass and euphoric-yet-melancholic pads and it was like nothing else I'd ever heard at that point. The dancefloor literally erupted with screams and cheers from the crowd and I swear the bass, just for a second or two, almost overrode my heartbeat. When it dropped into the breakdown — when it's just those chords and that bass — I felt as if I were floating. Until the beat dropped again and I was off!

This was at the beginning of my love affiar with DJing and back then I didn't have the right connections to even find out the name of the song. I spent weeks frantically searching for it at the record shops I'd started frequenting, like Vinylmania and Rock and Soul. The shop worker knew the track I was after — most of them were Garage regulars too — and that record didn't arrive till about two months after I'd first heard it. When I started producing my own records a few years after, "Can You Feel It" was a real inspiration. To this day it remains one of the most emotional moments in the history of house music.

Roger Sanchez's most recent single, "Remember Me" feat Stealth is out now on Stealth Recordings. You can buy it here.

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