In an age where our industry has become overly saturated with the same old shit, it’s always refreshing to see a new face taking chances and exploring their own creative freedom and expressing themselves in a way that will truly be remembered.
San Holo, the 24-year-old producer from the Netherlands, is one of those faces making his mark on the world with a wealth of creative ideas.
His recent Victory EP fittingly on Monstercat, features a three track experimental journey through a visionary approach to future bass. And with the label’s latest album, Monstercat 022 – Contact focusing so much on connecting individuals and sense of family, San Holo’s full audio-visual experience with Victory (featuring his creative platform Bitbird) couldn’t have better timing.
I was able to catch up with San and explore his mind for a little bit while he was standing outside in line for a Fleetwood Mac concert. As you do.
This year for the first time I feel like people are listening to what I’m doing, I could honestly die happy today
San Holo doesn’t want you to categorize his sound…
“I’ve just always liked music in general. I started playing guitar when I was 13, eventually went to a music academy and then started producing music. I used to love bands like Rage Against the Machine, I never want to be categorized as one thing, I want people to remember my music for it’s quality, not it’s genre.
I actually started out making beats for some Dutch rappers. I quickly realized I could make this music without any vocals and really take creative control and do it for myself. That’s when I really started developing and I found my sound.”
I love when people think my music is weird, then they listen again and they’re like ok this is good, and then again and they’re like this is amazing!
He touched the classics and blew up his SoundCloud
“When I was done producing for Dutch hip hop artists that weren’t really getting a lot of exposure, I started remixing some classics that no one had done before. A lot of people told me ‘don’t touch the classics man’. But I did it anyway and people really seemed to enjoy it. About a year ago I posted the first one and I remember being ecstatic about it hitting 100 plays. Now it’s over 2 million, it’s crazy.
For me it’s still hard to understand how my SoundCloud blew up so quickly. A year ago I had 300 followers and now I’m here with 130,000 followers. I spend a lot of time on my music, trying to be original and unique. But I have a really good manager, Budi, he’s really talented at what he does, so I think it’s a combination of making unique music and doing strategic releases. I think I released over 10 tracks and two EPs last year alone. I kept feeding people my music, building my hype and my content.”
“What I really like about Monstercat is their dedicated fan base. All of those people always get so excited about a new release; I’ve never seen that on another label. The fans also have such high expectations and really trust the label to give them quality. It gave me great exposure, and the fans are brutally honest. They’ll always say whether they hate it or they love it.
They gave us the opportunity to work with the concept of the EP. They gave me total freedom. When the first teaser was posted, there was this thread immediately on Reddit; people were going crazy wondering who it was. I had no idea they were so dedicated! I can’t even count how many threads there are about this EP and about me. The online community they’ve created is impressive, that’s something they do really well, finding different ways of reaching people and involving their listeners.”
Bitbird will be so much more than a label.
“I have a company with a good friend of mine called Bitbird, and we’re making that into a label/creative company that does video clips and artwork for artists in our own way. That’s why I wanted to do something with the visual elements for my Victory EP. I think the creative freedom is really important too, that’s something we want to do with our label as well.
I just don’t like when people think in genres, I want them to think in music. For me there are no genres. I want to expose people to new things. I love when people think my music is weird, then they listen again and they’re like ok this is good, and then again and they’re like this is amazing! You kind of elevate yourself.”
He wants you to interpret his Victory EP in your own way.
“The repeated use of the frame in the teaser and videos, we came up with that at Bitbird, and to us it’s totally clear what it means. But I’m not really into explaining the concepts because then what it means to you will disappear. It’s all about interpretation. If you think it stands for a relationship, then it can be that. For me it’s about different universes, but I won’t go into that detail, I don’t want to take away that magic for other people. Having to explain my concept of artwork feels like when you tell a joke and have to explain the punch line, it just shouldn’t be explained.”
Now he wants to take his growing online community into the live element.
“I think the people who listen to me online and the people who will come see me play live are going to be really different people since I have so many young followers. I think my main goal right now is to step outside of the online community and go into the live setting and meet people, talk to fans and introduce music that’s more incorporated with a live element.
I have this YouTube series called The Trip. It’s been following me through my shows, backstage, studio sessions, anything really that I can document and look back on to remember this incredible trip.
I really want to meet and thank everyone who listens to my music. This year for the first time I feel like people are listening to what I’m doing, I could honestly die happy today.”
San Holo – Victory EP is out now. Support…