How Dj Sneak Inspired Daft Punk
Oct 3, 2022
2 min read
The acclaimed DJ Sneak began playing out his original disco-infused house cuts in clubs around New York in the early 90s, creating a name for himself while simultaneously building connections with many of the biggest names in music we know and love today. Early supporters of the producer included Kenny Dope, Barbara Tucker, Todd Terry, Louie Vega, Roger Sanchez, Arman Van Helden, and Francois K.
Sneak was one of the first to champion the filtered-disco house sound. His sound largely inspired producers that spanned the globe. The famed electronic music duo Daft Punk name-dropped the “House Gangster” in their 1997 dance single “Teachers,” and also said that his 1997 track, “Sneak’s A Freak,” was the inspiration for their tune “Burnin’” from their iconic debut album Homework. They would go on to release a Dj Sneak remix of the song as part of the 25th Anniversary edition of the album in 2022.
What’s fascinating about Sneak’s championing of the filtered disco house sound is how the artist created it. Sneak limited himself to only four pieces of gear for his first productions. Not out of artistry but out of necessity. Stemming from his experimentation with the AKAI950 sampler, Sneak was ruminating on disco edits from mixtapes created by Ron Hardy and disco played out by Todd Terry.
“I went through each little button, and then one day, I found the filter. And I twisted a button. I was like, ‘whoa, what?’ And that became my trademark... So, Todd was doing straight disco, and I started filtering and making baselines out of shit. And then, sampling the same sample on another channel [for] the high end... The only people that were doing that shit were the drum and bass guys from the UK,” said Sneak in an interview with Gray Area.
And thus, Sneak established his dynamic sound and the filtered-disco house genre, inspiring an entire generation of house and dance music producers.