In The Company Of: SAN PROPER

Posted in Interviews on Wednesday 3rd March, 2010 by David Russell

is an entire rafter of talented DJs and live acts playing at our extended Saturday night party, On & On... & On, but one person who has particularly caught my attention recently is San Proper. Supported by the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Laurent Garnier and Zip and his label Perlon, San is part of a growing number of Dutch DJs who are moving from local cult status to becoming international causes célèbres. If you need any musical support to let your ears decide on his talent, do check out his last release for the label, which, in my opinion, was one of the best singles of 2009. San talks to us about all things Amsterdam and his plans for the future before his set on Saturday 6th March; and if you like your music raw, genuine, eclectic and with an element of the unexpected, be sure to check out his performance during the night (or should I say 30 hour marathon).

Hello San, how are you today?
Feelin' great... I had a real innovating weekend. Disco 3000 invited Theo Parrish & Anthony Shakir last Friday at Paradiso, here in Amsterdam. Saturday I had my live-debut of a new project I've been working on - 'The Dirt Machine' with Tom Trago at Source on Ice in Utrecht, one of the most humble little festivals in Holland. Sunday I had a great time playing at Trouw with Omar S (FXHE),  Jan van Kampen (Dekmantel) & Serge (Clone). Today I'm picking up the test-pressings of my latest EP on Dekmantel records: San Proper's "Sex Drive Rhythm EP."  And there's more, for I'm playing at Fabric this weekend. Plenty reasons to feel great today, I'd say...

Your first few releases have been on Rush Hour, what drew you to release the majority of your work so far on this label?
Rush Hour is one of my favorite labels in general and I've always been picking up some of the most treasureous gems at the store they've been running since '97... The first 5 releases I did on RH (2007) are part 1-5 of my Proper's A'dam Family Series, where each part is presenting a collab of me and another local underground producer, to show what's brewing here in Amsterdam. Keep it in the family... Since last year I've been planning releases with Dekmantel records, a new, young label from Amsterdam - and Perlon, one of Berlin's most innovating labels.

How did your relationship with Perlon come about? Was it a direct result of a particular track?
Perlon fell for my charm when they heard my first release on RH, "Twif Twaf" which I did with Steven de Peven. It was unreleased at that time, but on account of that release, Perlon & Ricardo Villalobos decided to ask me to do a remix of his track 'Electonic Water,'  which eventually resulted in me doing the release 'Keep it Raw' and more tracks and releases to come...

What can we expect from the second release on Perlon?
More sexy, dirty, nasty house music with a Proper signature. There's another track which will be released first on the compilation of Perlon entitled "Lady Cop" and later this year the second EP will follow.

For those of us who have not been clubbing in Amsterdam, how does it compare to other European destinations like Berlin or London?

It's different but definitely worthy. The clubs out here can't stay open 'til later than 5 (or 6 occasionally) and there's too few squats and illegal spots out here, but clubs like Trouw, Paradiso & Studio 80 and organisations like Dekmantel & Disco3000 make up for it with great programming and booking international legends. There's also a lot of variety out here, which in my opinion is essential, and I'm also contributing to this neccessity with more obscure club nights like 'Far Out Psychedella',  a night with experimental 60s & 70s psychedelic pearls of tracks at club Canvas. And then there's also'Italo Elite' which I'm running with Tom Trago, Lupe & Martin Duvall at Club Up; a night to present the sound and culture of Italo-Disco in Amsterdam.

Do you ever see yourself moving from Amsterdam?
I've been born and raised out here and it's a perfect home-base for me. I could see myself living in other cities like Detroit, Berlin or London for a couple of months to work on productions and to get inspiration, but eventually I'll return to the Dam.

When did you meet fellow locals Melon and Tom Trago?
These guys are close friends of mine. I've met Melon, I guess, 'round '98,  when we both were doing nights at the Mazzo. We've been playing sets, producing tracks and partying for years. Right about that time I met Steven de Peven, who's also been a dear friend and inspiration ever since. In 2003 I met Tom Trago, we've been working in his studio a lot and he also turned to be one of my closest friends. I'll always play my tracks to these three cats first for their opinions and reflections on my music, before I'll offer it to a label.

What do you think you have in common?
All four of us have a similar taste in music, and we share a passion for presenting, mixing, playing and listening. Still with an individual swing to it, but on the level of music production I see all four growing stronger each week. Watch out for Steven de Peven a .k.a. Awanto 3's new release, it's amazing. Trago is working on his second album and more sickening releases. Melon's upcoming twelves are mindblowing too, really fruitfull and ferocious. Apart from the music, what we all have in common is... me.

Which producers / labels have caught your attention recently?
Last year I picked up some great productions by Kyle Hall/ Wild Oats, I got to know Juju & Jordash on Dekmantel and I got ahold of some more tracks by STL. Some tracks Actress did really impress me, and last weekend I got some tracks by Manual Tur on Mild Pitch. I'm also on the hunt for classics of Afro-beat, Wave, Italo & Disco all the time. Raw Meat is dropping new releases soon! Last year, the first release on 'Hand of God' came out, a new label from Amsterdam you can't and shouldn't miss. And like I  said before, Awanto 3 is coming with a new release "Get that Beedeebee", on Tom Trago's new label (I think it's called Voyage Direct Records) and Awanto is also releasing soon on Dekmantel and Prime Numbers if I'm not mistaken. Rick Wade did two great releases on Laid. Amir Alexander did a great EP on Bearatone recordings. Also, check out 'Convolution/Contamination on Skudge Records. Another tip: Levon Vincent on Novel Sound.

I understand you use a lot of hardware and sample of lot of live instruments that you have collected over the years; do you use a computer and much software or do you prefer the hands on approach to making music?
It's all about the combination in my opinion, the best of both worlds... I use a lot of analoque equipment and live-parts because that's just the way I write music, but the computer and software are important too with my work, from time to time.

In your interview with RA you say that 2010 is gonna be a year focusing on releases for you, what exactly do you have in the pipeline?
My release on Dekmantel; San Proper's 'Sex Drive Rhythm EP' will be officially released in two weeks from now. There's another single-sided limited release coming up together with Steven de Peven entitled 'Conquer End Naw House' and another solo-twelve with two tracks 'Shook' & 'I Entertain...' - both releases on Rush Hour. There's another 12" coming on Perlon later this year, plus the track 'Lady Cop' on their compilation-album this year. Apart from that, several remixes are coming up too. I've been working on an album of my latest project with Tom Trago; The Dirt Machine, which will be released this year as well.

And finally, what are you looking forward to most about playing at the On & On...& On party?
The venue, the line-up, the system, the city, the people... I can't really make a pick, but I'm real enthusiastic about every aspect of playing at fabric this saturday.  You know what's up - it's on and on and on... can't turn it off...

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