WHETHER under his own name or as Kings Of Tomorrow, Sandy Rivera is one of the most highly regarded house producers of his or any other generation.

Kings Of Tomorrow’s magnum opus, ‘Finally’ featuring the vocal talents of Julie McKnight, played a huge role this week at Space Ibiza’s last ever closing party, making it’s way into many of the DJs playlists in a variety of guises during the 20 hour marathon, not least during the last hour of Nic Fanciulli and Carl Cox’s emotional set in the Discoteca on Monday morning. However, to only know ‘Finally’ is to merely scratch the surface of Sandy Rivera’s exemplary catalogue.

‘You Work Hard For Your Enemy’ featuring DaNii is the new single from the US house artist and DJ and is a beautiful, mid tempo electronic jam that also bears all of the hallmarks of an end of night anthem. We caught up with Sandy this week to find out more about the single, upcoming plans for his live show, the closure of fabric and the implications for UK club culture and what it feels like to see ‘Finally’ bring Space Ibiza to tears.

Sandy has also kindly recorded an exclusive mix which you can listen to below and which kicks off with new single ‘You Work Hard For Your Enemy’ and features his classic anthem ‘Finally’ featuring Julie McKnight.


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You’ve cited your new single as marking a new project and direction for you – amongst everything else you have going on – what can you tell us about your plans?

I am well known for making songs for the past 20 years. I want to use this knowledge to make new music for various genres. I am more confident in the studio and sure I can make something new and interesting. I need to do it for myself and I absolutely enjoy taking some chances. No one ever liked “Finally” when I first did it and years later it becomes one of the best House songs ever made and still played today. The plan is to do what I want, what I feel and hope you can enjoy the music.

Do you feel the need to keep expanding the range of what you’re doing? 

Yes I do. I want to experience making music with out staying to a club format. I have spent a few years building new songs and exploring, writing songs, singing, recording live musicians and mixing. “You Work Hard For Your Enemy” is an example of what I hope to achieve more of. I wrote, produced and mixed that song. The demo of me singing was sent to the featured artist DaNii and she did a much better job than me. I am not getting younger, so it would be great to achieve the music I always wanted to do.

Are you keen to make this into a live project? To go wider than the club world?

That’s the plan? Always easy to say and so much harder to do. I have a studio project already set with 8 solid songs already with live and Electronic elements. These can always be remixed to fit the club world at any given time. The following step is to find a good label that can support a live act and help get it noticed. We won’t be able to fully take it live, if it’s not on a label that can support that. We can release singles if needed and let the public build up the songs if they like it? That would be the last option.

What have been your own favourite tracks from the past few years?

I have a few. “Fall For You”, “Burn So Deep”, “It’s Only You”  “Bang” those 4 songs ft April are all on Defected Records. “Physical” on Love & Other. On my label Deepvisionz “Take Away My Pain” “ So Good”, “Closer” ft Alex Mills, “Long Road Home” ft Kevin Mark Trail. It’s so great having my own label and releasing songs I enjoyed doing.

What else can we expect from you soon?

A few collabs with the likes of Jesse Rose, Matijn Ten Velden and Russoul. I also have a release on Poker Flat called “KAOZ” coming out this December with a remix from Dario D’Attis . I have about 3 releases on my own label Deepvisionz. This is all in the House music world, which I absolutely love doing and will always do.

You seem to put a lot of effort into finding new talent and providing an outlet for other artists. What motivates you?

It’s so great finding new talent. It’s obvious that everyone won’t get a career in the music industry, but that should not stop talent from delivering and performing a good song or production. To be around someone when they first here a record they made in a club, with the whole crowd singing it back, becomes a moment they will never forget and gives them the fuel to want to do more. These artist have made my career and I have helped make some of their careers, Like Julie McKnight, Haze, Rae, April.

What’s coming up across both labels this year that you’re looking forward to?

Deepvisionz keeps me the busiest as these become key releases for me and my career and the label itself. The year is coming to a close so we should have 3 releases out before the end of the year. I also have deepvisonz TRAX but that is only 4 releases a year and we have the last 2 for this year coming out soon. As for Blackwiz Records, my wife – C. Castel has taken control of that label. She is catering to the Tech House world and has released 6 release this year so far and another 3 to drop before the year is up. It all sounds good but the reality of some tunes is a 3 to 6 week shelve life. Way too many records are coming out weekly.

Who are the artists and producers that have caught your ear over the past year?

People like Dario D’Attis, Mat Joe, Sonny Fodera, Doorly, Kraak & Smaak to name a few.

Which longstanding artist has surprised you recently (music, collaboration or similar)

MK would be the one. Mk has a good history of House Records. The success that he has had from being back is great and his remixes are timeless, to top it off one his remixes hit number 1 in the UK. ——

There’s been a noticeable resurgence of ‘real’ house music in the UK and internationally in the past few years – younger clubbers revisiting classic tracks and heading to events to see longstanding DJs. Is this something you’ve noticed? If so, why do you think this is so

Absolutely. Everything has it moments and we are at a moment where real House Music is back in a big way. Older House music has a great energy and a vibe. If you put a good DJ set together with a crowd who wants to experience it and they just let go and dance, it becomes an amazing moment you may have never felt before. We have an era of people who have missed that sound and platforms like Youtube allow you to travel back and find tunes. All these older artist are still around, like myself to share that experience and promote that old school House sound.

Can DJs play more classic records now than in previous times? Is there less of a focus or demand for exclusive tracks?

The exclusive tracks are sounding more and more like good old proper house tunes and songs. What is making everything good at the moment is how the old and new compliment each other. You can find various tunes from various genres that can make a great House set and pick the perfect time to drop a few classic tune.

Do you think this is backwards looking or a new generation embracing great music from the past?

Forward thinking was EDM and that destroyed good music for a good period. Then people started to miss and find good music again. Producers embraced the past and moved it forward to what it is at this moment. EDM was not the worst thing. EDM is also is responsible for bringing a lot more people back to House music. At this time we have a huge amount of genres and some really interesting music being made from 112bpms to 128bpms and this is what is making music great again. The best part of the past was the various artist being played at various tempo’s, styles, grooves and we are back to that, with tons of more records to choose from.

Space, Ibiza is now closed. What did the venue mean to you? And do you have any special memories of playing the much revered Terrace?

I have had some great moments at Space, not playing at all in the early mornings on the terrace after leaving Pacha. I also have had the honour of playing a few times and that was amazing. To loose the legendary club Space is almost like someone taking a big musical moment away from a lot of people. Space is a big part of Ibiza and the culture that preserves House Music. Very sad to see it go at this moment and I will hold my memories close. It’s a great brand and I hope it will find a new home in Ibiza in the future.

How did it feel to hear Finally play such a big part at Space Closing last weekend?

It felt absolutely great! It got played so many times by various DJ’s. Even more crazy to hear that Carl Cox and Nic Fanciulli played the Love Story Remix and the Danny Tenaglia Remix of “Finally” as part of the ending set. I had friends sending me messages from hearing it live and seeing it live on the web. Space will have it’s place again in the future.

UK club culture is facing a barrage of different pressures at the moment – most noticeably the closure of fabric recently. Have you been aware of the debate?

Yes. Once again another great venue gone. I have had a great time with friends when I did go to fabric. We never want to see venues like fabric or Space ever close, but it has happened in the past to plenty of other venues.

Did you experience a similar climate in New York during the late 90s and early 00s? What do you think was to blame in NYC and do you see parallels with what’s happened to nearly all of London’s best known clubs? 

Absolutely. I was around when clubs started closing left and right in NYC and it was horrible at that time. It was all based on the use of drugs and a massive phobia against night life in general. If was also about cleaning up crime and drugs to make the city more tourist oriented and I mean tourists that don’t like to party. I am not sure if it’s the same in the UK at this moment, since we are 30 years later and the UK crime was not like in NYC in 80’s and 90’s. It is about cleaning up the city somehow from drugs and to stop people from dying. Tragedies like that give any city all the reason to close any venue and then they can push for new development to the neighbourhood. Mistakes are always made and I think fabric got it bad in this case.

At this time, you can see NYC bubbling again. Now you have a better night life with more clubs and club culture involved. I think the UK is trying to find a new way and it starts with closing night clubs as always. Keep in mind, British people like to party more than I ever known in NYC or the USA back then, so it won’t take as long as NYC did to let the club life flow again.

How important has the UK been for you historically? Do you have any particular gigs or venues that stand out?

The UK is a huge part of my career. I have played the first time in 1996 with a small tour and we drove everywhere with Mat Playford who I met then and is still a good friend. The tour was set up by Defected Records own Simon Dunmore with a studio session, some things never change. I made a tune called Simon says bounce and it came out on NRK Records. I was young, clueless and having a blast. Then I got invited to play at places like Ministry Of Sound, To the Manor Born, The Egg, Turnmills and plenty more all over the UK. You get very well recognized for playing great venues in the UK globally. If you get Radio play in the UK, you will also get noticed Globally, since so many countries follow the UK. The UK is a huge part of why I am a global name. I also lived in London for six years around 2004 to 2010 and had a great time.

Where have you enjoyed playing recently?

Cacao Beach in Bulgaria for the closing party, Defected in Croatia, Ziggy’s at UNO in Malta, Defected in Serbia for Freedom Music Festival, Pacha in Mallorca, The W Hotel and CDLC in Barcelona. Nicky Beach in Marbella, Club Bellevue in Zurich, That’s House in Melbourne.

And last question, do you still play Finally?

Yes, I do. Various mixes for different venues. I always get asked for it and it never fails. Always great to see everyone singing it and the joy it still brings to people. I try to play it more towards the end of my sets.

Sandy Rivera – ‘You Work Hard For Your Enemy’ featuring DaNii is out now.