The moment I sit down with Sanaris Peacock, I am immediately consumed by his happy, go-lucky energy and charismatic personality. Sanaris laughs a lot when he talks. It helps to set the tone, easy-going. He also likes to dance when he disc jockeys. It helps to set the mood, carefree and fun. So, it comes as no surprise to me that he is one of the most sought-after DJs in Key West during the holidays. I recently saw this quote by celebrity DJ Tiesto: “DJs are the new rock stars.” It could very well be true of Sanaris. He seems to be living in his moment right now as he becomes more well known around the local music circuit. In the past few weeks Sanaris has played at the Marriott Beachside Christmas party, at the Star Wars premier after party, for the Keys Collection season soiree and at Mary Ellen’s Whoville event while at the same time keeping a day job.
Despite his packed calendar Sanaris retains a positive energy about him and it shows in his D.J. performances. Energy is important when it comes to controlling a room with just one click of the keyboard.
“I like watching people have fun and entertaining them,” Sanaris says. “It’s all about the crowd.”
One sign of a good DJ is when people dance, and Sanaris likes to dance as much as his audience. In fact, he says dancing is what brought him to DJ-ing in the first place. It was back in “the good old days” of 2003 when he was on vacation in Key West for spring break. Days when the streets were ceremoniously closed down every night and all he did was dance, dance, dance. Those very memories eventually propelled him to move to Key West and to seek a job at Sloppy Joe’s, the famous historic American bar on Duval Street. When suddenly a DJ position opened up and it was offered to him, he couldn’t resist letting music be the choice. He hasn’t looked back and has been building his experience ever since.
Sanaris now keeps a regular schedule of appearances at Dante’s Pool Bar & Restaurant, Mary Ellen’s, General Horselplan, and he is still performing consistently at Sloppy Joe’s. He also works with SoundWave, a wedding DJ service owned and operated by long term party planners James and Joanna Cooper. Sanaris explained to me how much the Coopers have helped and influenced him in developing his career when he wasn’t quite so sure of himself yet and a little hesitant. He’s very thankful for their guidance.
His family was also a major influence.
“For me, being a DJ started with dancing. I grew up with a bunch of female cousins and a sister who were always into music videos, but I just wasn’t. I didn’t get into it until I was about 21,” he confesses, “but my family did love to dance though. There is always a dance off at family reunions.”
Sanaris was born and raised in a little town called Cordele, Ga., with “not that much to do.” Cordele has a population of roughly 11,000 residents and is considered the watermelon capital of the country.
“It was a great place to grow up, but I had to get out of there,” he says.
So, he enlisted in the Navy for seven years. Key West was the last place he was stationed during his military career and he fell in love with the island for and unique undeniable charm.
“I love the people here. Everyone is so friendly and there are so many more things to do than where I grew up. I know I’m from a small place, but we have so much more to do on here our 2-by-4-mile island.”
“So what kind of music does a DJ listen to on their own time?” I ask Sanaris.
“I like old school, the funk and some of the ’90s girl jams like Britney and Christina,” he proudly admits.
“What do you think people should know about DJs?”
“That we are nice people. Some people think of us as pretentious, but we’re not,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to talk to us and make requests, because we are here for you. The best way I love to get a request is through technology by showing me a picture of it, and the best thing that I could hear is someone say ‘we had so much fun, we didn’t want to leave!’”
Watch out for the of DJs Key West. They are what’s happening. They always have been.
“DJs are incredible competition, musically. And they are the most musically creative and sensitive people in all the music charts. I am amazed.” — Yoko Ono ¦