Last time UKF spoke to San Holo was June 2015. We caught him at an exciting time; he’d just levelled up with his Victory EP and was in the throes of launching his own label bitbird.
Fast forward two years and the young Dutchman known to family and friends as Sander van Dijck has shown continuous and consistent acceleration. Be it through his role as a producer, working with the likes of OWSLA, Monstercat, Spinnin’ and creating major crossover records such as Light or The Future, his recent feels-heavy track with Kygo collaborator James Vincent McMorrow. Or his role as a label founder and the development of his bitbird family; a left-minded, innovative crew of producers and electronic songsmiths such as Taska Black, Eastghost, Beaudamian, DROELOE and many more, bitbird has flown from height to height since its first release from Duskus.
Fast forward a few months more into the future and US San Holo fans will be able to see just how much he’s accelerated as a performer, too. His six week North American tour will be his biggest to date, will debut his brand new hybrid performance concept and see key bitbird artists joining him for the adventure.
Fresh from dropping a remix package comprising 13 versions of his latest hit from the likes of Feint, Wingtip, Jupe, Taska Black and many more, The future continues to look bright for Sander in many ways, we caught up with him to find out more…
How much has bitbird developed since we last spoke?!
It’s been crazy! I just launched it to release awesome music from friends of mine. Now we have our own office and staff and our acts are getting recognised. It’s been a beautiful trip so far. We’re just working on Gouldian Finch compilation which really says where the label is at musically and shows just how much talent our friends have.
You’re taking some label friends out on your tour later this year. It’s quite a big mission isn’t it?
Thanks man, we’re just trying to step up our game as much as possible. Some of my friends and bigger venues. Plus the whole show is a level up as I’m bringing my guitar with me, I’m DJing, new visuals and lots of new songs. It’s the type of tour I’ve always wanted to do. I’m just from this little town in Holland and here I am going to the big cities in America and taking my friends to share the fun.
How long did it take to develop the new show concept?
I had to really think what I wanted to do. My main love is making music; being in the studio with friends and creating things that never existed before. So my main question I asked myself was: ‘Do I spend all this time rehearsing and touring a big completely live act, or do I come up, or do I come up with a hybrid version where I can do everything?’ And, more importantly, having guys like DROELOE and Just A Gent coming with me. It’s so much more fun to share your experiences with your friends. I’m super excited to do this.
Let’s talk about The Future…
It happened because I’ve always loved James Vincent McMorrow. He sent me a track he was stuck with, I fell in love with it and went ahead and completely changed it. He loved it so we ended up releasing it. It’s doing really well. It’s been crazy, it’s even entered the Billboard charts which is amazing.
Is it hard when you set a new precedent like that?
Oh for sure. The hardest thing for me right now is to not think about the success of other tracks. You always think ‘I gotta top that, I gotta top that’ which takes the fun out of it. I don’t want this to ever become a job – I need to sit back and make music that I love like I always did and everything will be okay.
How about your thoughts about the future in general?
For me, this song is about me thinking about the future. I love thinking about the future – I do it too much! I need to learn to be in the now. There’s no future, there’s no past it’s all now – the rest is either a memory or a prediction. But I hope people come to a sort of like minded state of mind – we’re all in this together. We’re all trying to be better than each other, or fighting. We have the resources to make this world such a beautiful and cooperative place but the human spirit seems so corrupted. I know I’m talking about a utopia and I’m probably crazy for saying so, but if we could look past our own noses we could achieve it.
What would be amazing is a world where we look past each other’s differences. Or even better, we appreciate them. But what do I know? I think I’m too corrupt myself sometimes. I know sometimes I’m maybe too ego-centric and think about myself too much. But this is it – no one is perfect. As long as we stop hurting each other – that would be a start, right?
Bottom line: Don’t be a dick
Exactly! I know I’m sounding like a hippie but surely we all need to be heading in this direction
How about future technology?
Technology today is super inspiring, let alone future stuff we’ll get to enjoy and use. But I’d love for us to understand the human body more and be able to listen to it more accurately. Mankind has had some huge leaps in developing cures for diseases but there are still many more things we don’t understand about our body’s delicate chemistry. I suffer back pain a lot, for example. I went to a dozen specialists and they all had a different solution and idea of what was happening. So a complete understanding of the human body would be incredible – something where we understand exactly what is going on rather than second guessing.
And finally… The future of bitbird?
I want us to keep on growing. What really inspires me is the fact that we’re dealing with the future on our label. All the producers and artists we sign and work with are massive future talents. They’re all on the early stages of a very exciting journey. What they’re making is amazing but it’s just a little bit ahead of the curve or experimental to be successful in the mainstream. So I love the way we’re setting them up ready for when things do catch up with their way of thinking.
I love how people are following the label and investing faith in us even though we’re bringing something different and I would love to work hard to build on that and really have an influence on the way music is moving and for people on my label to be recognised as the main stage artists I already feel they are. Eastghost, for example; his stuff is true genius but very underrated. It’s hard to break through now. I feel like a lot of labels are looking for the sound now and not the sound that’s going to come. People love hearing something familiar and because that’s all we get in the mainstream and on the radio it’s very hard to get people to listen to something totally different. I’d love to see that change in the future!