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Dan Saenz

Last Night a DJ Save My Life

In addition to performing at gigs all over the world and serving as resident DJ at the Playboy Mansion, Saenz is working on his debut album for Ultra Records, home to Kaskade and Markus Schulz, among others. He recently spoke with SF Station.

SF Station (SFS): Are you originally from San Francisco?

Dan Saenz (DS): No, I'm not a Bay Area native but I've spent of lot time in San Francisco DJing during the heyday of the rave/music festival scene. I've always loved the city, so I eventually passed on an opportunity in London to move here.

SFS: Let's talk music. How did it feel when you found out you and Ron Reeser were on the ballot for a Grammy?

DS: We were all super excited! The Grammy’s are pretty much the pinnacle of success in music. We didn't win, but even being considered is a huge accomplishment in my opinion.

SFS: How did you get involved in music?

DS: I grew up playing guitar and drums in countless rock bands. A few bands won studio time in local competitions, so I had a few key studio experiences that really stuck out to me. I was really drawn to the whole process of recording and production. I eventually went to college for music and studio production, alongside Joey Youngman (Wolfgang Gartner). That’s when I got serious about music and developed a lot of my studio chops.

SFS: When did you start producing dance music?

DS: After graduating college in San Francisco, I moved to down to Los Angeles. I got a job as an Engineer at Cherokee Studios in West Hollywood. It was a pretty amazing experience working in the studio that recorded some of the most well known records of all time — Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, the list goes on and on.

SFS: What kinds of artists did you get to work with while at Cherokee?

DS: In addition to some amazing up and coming artists, I worked with Kanye West, Queens of the Stone Age, Spoon, Dido, and a slew of other well-known artists. The Dido record "Safe Trip Home" actually got nominated for "Best Engineered Album". In the down time, I always was bringing in projects that I was working on and got to play with some amazing gear. Like many of the big historic studios in LA, Cherokee eventually went under.

SFS: At what point did you get signed to Ultra Records?

DS: After Cherokee Studios closed, I decided that I wanted to focus on songwriting and developing as an artist. Shortly after, I moved back to San Francisco and starting writing and producing dance music full-time alongside Ron Reeser. We worked together for several years sending projects back and forth over the Internet. We wasted a lot of money flying back and forth between SF and LA working on projects, so moving back to San Francisco just made sense. A year or so later we signed to Ultra Records.

SFS: What's in store for you and Ron Reeser this year?

DS: Over the past few months, we've really been working on developing a new sound and starting on our debut artist album for Ultra. We've been collaborating with some amazing artists, so we're really excited to drop our new singles.

SFS: What tracks do you wish you produced in 2010 so far?

DS: There are quite few lesser-known tracks that are favorites of mine, but I'd say that David Guetta's "Sexy Bitch" wouldn't be a bad one to choose. Mainstream Pop success for a dance track is a big deal in my opinion. David Guetta is really paving the way for house to crossover into mainstream appeal. I'm excited to see what's next for house/dance Music.

SFS: You've DJ'ed at some pretty glamorous parties. There must be some interesting incidences. Care to share?

DS: I've been a resident DJ at the Playboy Mansion for a few years now, so there really isn't a shortage of crazy stories. However, the majority of those stories need to be censored so I'm gonna skip them all together.

I just played at Haze Nightclub in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and had a nice little jaw-dropping experience. The GM at Haze had just let me know that I had to shut off the music after this last song. Immediately after, there was a guy who overheard and was super persistent about me playing one last song. He eventually offered me $10,000 to play this track. However, the GM wouldn't let me play another song. I was super bummed, but it was a funny experience.

SFS: What was the song?

DS: AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long”. The odd part is, I literally had just downloaded a great remix a few days prior.

Check out Dan Saenz online,