Behind The Beat: San Holo
2015 was a huge year for electronic music. From garnering more attention on the radio, monster releases from new artists and the ever present shift of genres, electronic music continues to expand, shift and find its niche. One artist that made waves in 2015 and poised to be a growing force in 2016 is the Dutch producer San Holo.
We had the opportunity to discuss with Sander (his real name) about his quick growth in 2015, important releases, and what he plans to do going forward. He just recently released a new track on Spinnin’ Records which adds to his growing discography. Listen below and get to know San Holo.
San Holo – Can’t Forget You (ft. the Nicholas)
Only The Beat: For everyone who may not be familiar with you, how did you get your start in the music field? Past lessons, family involved? Did you have other instrument training other than computer programs?
San Holo: I started playing guitar about 11 years ago and played in quite a few bands. After High School I studied guitar and music production at the Rotterdam Conservatory where I learned a lot about music theory, songwriting, arranging and the studio process. Right after graduating I started focusing on electronic music production because I really wanted to be able to create entire songs myself, and from there, San Holo was born.
OTB: You’ve had quite a 2015 with your Victory EP on Monstercat, a NEST HQ premiere, touring, growing bitbird and being a part of Porter Robinson’s Worlds remix album, what in your mind made the biggest impact on you and why?
San Holo: I think Skrillex tweeting about ‘We Rise‘ (the Nest HQ release) on the day it was released was something that made a huge impact on me. Also the fact that people started recognizing my sound as the San Holo sound was something really important for me. Having my own sound is the most important thing.
OTB: I first heard your music from the Victory EP released through Monstercat, what was it like creating this EP? How was creating this EP different from your other releases and dealing with Monstercat?
San Holo: The Victory EP was my first release on a big label and it was quite experimental so I was really excited to see how people were going to react. I don’t think the process of creating this EP was in any way different. I always just try to make music that sounds like something new, while trying to keep my own sound. I love it how people call something ‘weird’ at first, but later totally get it. I think this is what happened with the Victory EP 🙂
OTB: After listening to your EP, it’s hard to put a finger on a “genre” for it. What are your thoughts on genre’s as a whole/do they even matter to you?
San Holo: That’s great! I don’t like hearing music in genres. I like hearing music as music. I can do any “genre” I want, as long as I keep my own sound. That’s how I like to think about it.
OTB: In past interviews, you spoke about the rapid growth that your channel has undergone in the past year, what are some of your plans for 2016 to keep this pace going?
San Holo: Of course it would be great if the growth keeps going but it’s not something I’ve really been focusing on, it just happened. A lot of it was down to the fact that the ‘Don’t Touch The Classics’ remixes blew up.
Ultimately I think all this growth in 2015 came from Soundcloud, which is all about the music, and it’s the music that is the most important thing and something that I’m going to be involved in for the rest of my life.
And this isn’t set to change in 2016, it’s still going to be all about making, and releasing my music. That’s where the growth is going to come from.
San Holo Don’t Touch The Classics
OTB: Your manager, Budi Voogt, continues to be a successful manager and expert in the music industry, how has it been having him as a manager and what is the most important thing you’ve learned from him about the music business?
San Holo: What I have learned about the music business is that it’s not about music. That’s why I’m happy to have a manager like Budi because he’s great at dealing with that stuff, so I can focus on making art.
OTB: In 2014, you created bitbird as a label/creative company. What has been the highlight of creating and running the company? What has been the hardest thing about running it?
San Holo: The cool thing about having your own label is that you have a safe place. A place where I can release anything I want to without any label head saying ‘you might want to change that bla bla bla.’ Also we get to promote artists that we really believe in, and can support them without giving them unfair contracts like a lot of labels are doing. Essentially we are all about being open minded, so the artists get a lot of creative freedom.
OTB: How has it been to step out from your computer and the studio and play out livesets? Where do you hope to play live next?
San Holo: I love seeing a crowd rock out to my music. That’s just beautiful and I really like playing my music for lots of music lovers. But still, the studio, making music, is where my heart is at. The good thing about touring is that you get to see so many places and meet new people, which is very inspiring. Also these days you can make music wherever you are, with a laptop on the go. And so a lot of my tracks are born in weird places. Like in an airplane or in a random hotel. Touring and playing live definitely changed my productions in some way. I really hope to be doing some bigger festivals soon as well.
OTB: Getting to be a part of Porter Robinson’s Worlds Remix album must have been exciting. How was the process of remixing the track? How did it feel to be a part of the album?
San Holo: Porter Robinson contacted me about being part of the remix EP. Of course I was like ‘YES let’s do it!’. Natural Light was a tough track to remix though, because it’s quite minimalistic. However, I’m very happy with how it turned out and everyone goes nuts when I play it live!
Porter Robinson – Natural Light (San Holo Remix)
With massive releases and growing his new record label, San Holo is on the quick path to becoming a household name in the electronic industry. His music has been picked up by up and coming artists Alison Wonderland and Mija along with legends Skrillex and Porter Robinson so if you haven’t yet gotten familiar… get familiar.
Check out San Holo now across all social media sites and keep an eye out for the Dutch producer in 2016. He just finished a month long tour in the U.S. and trust me, it won’t be his last time in the states. Give San Holo some love in the comments below and be on the lookout for more music from him soon.
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