Noel Sanger is an artist who, while flying mostly under the mainstream radar, has cultivated a rich musical history along the way. His releases dating back to the 1990s remain in high demand, and his current work, always critically acclaimed, continues to see top DJ support.
As a DJ, Noel has manned the booth at some of the world’s best clubs, sharing the stage with some of electronic music’s top names. He has played at festivals such as Ultra Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival (Orlando) and his South Florida residencies have hosted some of the biggest names in dance music, with Noel playing to hundreds and even thousands of eager clubbers each week. Now residing in Orlando, Noel plays select shows nationwide and spends his weeks in the studio, remixing and preparing for his upcoming releases.
Can you tell us a little about your early musical experiences?
I got into electronic music really early, starting DJing in the 90s, gay clubs, straight clubs, raves, all of it. By the end of the decade I had released a few dozen records, and was touring pretty consistently, and I landed on the Balance Promote Group US booking roster alongside my progressive heroes like Sasha, Digweed, Dave Seaman and really the biggest names in progressive house. I got signed to Musicnow Records and then Nettwerk Records where I released a mix-comp called Summerbreeze II (a more progressive followup to Tiesto’s Summerbreeze) and subsequently toured with Tiesto as opener for his US dates until about 2003. I had releases on a lot of great labels: Armada, Perfecto, Coldharbour, Baroque, Lost Language, Spinnin’ and more. I started Dissident Music in 2008, had some great releases for a couple of years but let it go somewhat dormant for a while until relaunching it under Essential Media Group in 2018. Last couple of years I’ve been releasing on Dissident and other labels too, including Black Hole, Ride, Intricate, Silk and more.
How do you hope that your music influences or impacts your listeners?
That’s such a good question. I’m always looking for the best way to bring more goodness and peace and loving-kindness into the world. Music is one of the best ways to do that. If nothing else, with dance music, people get to escape into communal experiences for a short time. I think it’s a real benefit to mental health.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest remix....
For Last Sunset, Ranj Kaler had sent us this really nice deep tune with a gorgeous vocal from ASYN. We signed it right away and I decided to remix it myself. I wanted to increase the energy a bit, and honor the melancholy feeling of the vocal. To me it had the sad yet resigned feeling of a lost summer love, so I wanted to give it a summer feel that would play as well indoors in a club as it would outdoors in the sunshine.
Do you feel that your sound has evolved over the years?
It has definitely gone through phases. I feel like, since the late 90s, there has been a consistently progressive ethos to my music, but at different times It has ventured towards deeper house sounds, progressive breaks, progressive trance, at different times. Always anchored toward the centerline of progressive sounds with emotional melodies and chords.
Your Last Sunset remix sees you on Dissident... how important is it for you to have the support of a solid label on your releases?
A solid label is super important! If they are managed right, that can be a huge label or a tiny one, or one that’s maybe kind of in-between like Dissident. I spend a lot of time on the label itself, and I think we’re starting to get some of the pieces in place to grow a little bit. This year I have some new projects I’ll also be shopping to other, bigger labels, and just finished a remix for a fast-growing and well-run label called Masvingo.
Do you feel consistency is important in creating music? Or is it ok to experiment with different styles and sounds?
So consistency is key in regards to quality for sure. But I do love all kinds of dance music and I get bored basically making the same record over and over again. Like I said through the years I’ve ventured out here and there but even this year, I’ve released a breaks track, some progressive house, there was an organic house remix of one of my tunes and there’s more of it all to come! But the key is, it all sounds like me, and I would play almost all of it in a set, depending on the circumstances of course.
How do you see the next few years of your career panning out, in an ideal world?
I’d like to see Dissident Music grow into a more recognized brand globally, for one. I’d like to keep getting better as a producer, and have lots of time every day to make music. I have a new currently unnamed side-project for ambient/electronica type stuff, with an album almost done and I’d love for that to take off and maybe one day do some film scoring. Of course I’m ready to get back behind the decks and share some great music with great people!
What's the most important piece of advice anyone's given to you so far?
Probably something about showing up everyday and creating something even when it seems like there is no time or inspiration. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes or something. My brain tends to take a while to get into the flow, so once I’m there, I like to have time to stay there. That’s totally okay, but the problem is the inverse of that thinking, which is the idea that unless I have several hours to do a major session, nothing good can be accomplished. That’s just a lie my brain came up with. The reality is I can write the skeleton of a whole track in an hour. Not always, but it happens, so the idea is that showing up for even that 20 minutes, even if I don’t feel like it, even if I don’t think anything will come of it, it can be super beneficial. In fact… That’s what I am going to do right now! Thanks for having me!