Hello everybody, I tell you one thing: anybody who doesn’t know about the name Eddie Sancho isn’t a real Gang Starr head. Voila. I always had this man high in the list of the people I want to ask just a couple of question. I remember buying my favorite 12inches (off course Premo produced) and always saw (almost everytime) this name popping up… Who the fuck was this guy? Just read the discogs profile as we enter the interview: “”Engineer Extraordinaire” aka Eddie Sancho is an engineer from New York, NY, USA. He is mostly known for his work with hip hop’s greatest stars, such as Jay-Z, Nas, Gang Starr, KRS-One and many more.”
- Some people say your are one of the reasons of the Premo sound in the 90s, can you introduce yourself to the readers?
What up this is Eddie Sancho, born and raised in Queens, New York. Premier has always been crazy with the production and beats way before we even met. But it’s true when we started working together, both of us excelled in our craft. Premier with the beats and me with my engineering skills created something special! It’s hard to find words to describe our combination, but M.O.P. summed it up perfect with their lyrics on Follow Instructions, “Bill and Fame make magic like Premier and Eddie Sancho”. What more can I say!
- How did you got in touch with engineering and with DJ Premier?
Way before becoming an engineer I started off as a DJ. Any income I was making at the time would all be gone buying records at the famous “Rock & Soul” record store in NYC. I would vibe off all genres of music and loved to read the credits on them. I started noticing and realizing that theirs so much involvement that goes on in making music. I would read the credits and see produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by such and such and I was like what does this all mean. While looking for answers to all this, I remember hearing a radio commercial for IAR (Institute of Audio Research) and basically the message was “get involved in the music business, make a future for yourself in audio”. I knew right there and then this is what I wanted and that I was gonna make it happen!
My first collaboration with Premier happened while working with Lord Finesse on “Return of the Funky Man” Remix. Premier came in to record scratches for the song and at the time he was looking for a studio to work on the “Daily Operation” album. Premier liked the way the mix sounded and contacted me the next day to assist him on the album. Premier had another engineer working with him, but he quickly noticed my work ethic and made a decision for me to take over the project, and as you know the rest is history!
- A lot of people are misunderstanding the work of an engineer, can you tell us exactly what you did and what the process was?
The role of a engineer is not only to record audio, but to edit and mix it in such a way to make the audio sound the best it possibly can! Times have changed and everything is digital now, but I’m glad I came up in the era of analog. I remember recording on 2″ tape and mixing down to 1/2″ tape. Setting up for live sessions with lots of outboard gear and making sure everything would work properly. It was definitely more work, but it was a great learning experience! I feel there are two sides to an engineer: The Technical and the Creative side, both that I have mastered with my experience over the years. During the recording session, my responsibility is getting clean, balanced recordings of all audio tracks. Beyond that, I can be involved with the creative process as the client wishes. It all depends on the relationship with the client, but for the most part they respect my opinion. Once all of the audio has been recorded, and if any overdubs or edits are needed, the next process is to mix the song. Mixing is
what I concentrate and do more of now. This is what I truly love in taking a song at it’s raw stage and making it bang through the speakers!
- You produced Rawcotiks “Hardcore Hip Hop” and a few other tracks, how come so less? Never thought of becoming a producer?
Absolutely!! It’s just a matter of finding time within my work schedule due to all the requests I get as a Mix Engineer. Part of my success as an engineer is because I’ve been doing it for so long now and I’m good at it, so to put my name as a producer on something has to be right and carry the same weight, but I’ve made it a priority to get my production heard this year and beyond. It might take me a little longer like I said due to my schedule, but it will be worth
while, trust me!
- You worked with the most classic tracks in hip hop history, any stories behind these tracks?
I have way too many stories and unfortunately they are very personal to me and won’t be able to share them all, but there’s one Jay-Z moment I can speak on, it happened back in Oct. 1999 while working on “So Ghetto”. There was a baseball playoff game between the NY Mets & Atlanta Braves. (FYI: I’m a huge Mets Fan!) So everyone is watching the game in the lounge as well as Jay-Z and I remember he was on his 2way texting back and fourth with Jermaine Dupri (he’s from Atlanta) about the game whether the Mets would come out with a win, and I remember when Jay-Z was ready to do vocals, I had him waiting until the game was over (laughing), but he was mad cool about it. It was just a funny situation.
- With the tragic passing of your friend Guru, how was he in real life? Who was Guru for you?
To be honest it hasn’t really hit me that Guru is not with us anymore. I was on my way to L.A. when I heard the sad news and just maintained focused by blasting Gang Starr music on my iPod. Guru is family and we shared great times together! Not only do I respect him as a person and an artist, but he was a good friend as well and just very blessed to have worked with him in the early start of my career. I will never forget the love he always showed. Guru will be missed, but his legacy will always remain with us through his music!!!
- You probably the man to ask, do you know anything about unreleased Gang Starr tracks?
I don’t know of any that I’m aware of.
- What’s favorite tracks that you’ve worked with?
Oh man, way too many to name, but any songs from Gang Starr, Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, KRS, Dilated, Evidence, Alchemist, M.O.P., Prodigy, Rakim. I can go on, just way too many too name!!!
- What you’ve up to now Eddie?
On the Mixing Side: currently I’m finishing Ev’s new album “Cats & Dogs”, be on a look out for that dropping this year! Then I will be working with Rockin’ Squat from France on his upcoming album. Dilated Peoples new album towards the end of the year and a couple of other projects in between. On the Production Side: I’ve been in the lab working with two great artists this year… The first is with Singer/Songwriter/Bass/Guitar player Iserene Oasis the Bass Sis! With an intro like that you know it’s gonna be dope!! (laughs). It’s a mixture of funk, rock, neo-soul, folk alternative with some straight headbanging beats! Check out more music from Iserene at http://www.myspace.com/isereneoasis. The second is with the talented Maria Isa. I met Maria at an Evidence show in New York City, but she resides in Minnesota. I was very surprised when I listened to her album “Street Politics”. I felt her vibe and everything about her music. We’re currently working on a couple of songs for her upcoming mix tape album “Sip It”. All I can say is that she got skills with the rhymes and can sing as well. A multi-talented powerhouse! Check out more music from Maria at http://www.myspace.com/mariaisalolita.
- Why can’t we see you anymore on the inner notes of new Premo 12inch?
Under: Biggest Gord, Mike Rone, Lil Dap, Jeru’s cousin Main
Up: DJ Premier, Jeru the Damaja, Guru, Eddie Sancho
I would like to thank Eddie for his time and making me feel like a journalist haha. Oh Lord, why did I start this blog? And yes, there are unreleased Gang Starr tracks Preem told me. You can check out Sancho’s almost complete engineering list at Discogs and you can also follow him on Twitter:
Once again respect to the 90s.