San Proper mixes Nightclubber 197
Affectionately known as one his country’s best-known electronic music exports, San Proper is a musical magpie like few others in his field. A truly eclectic and exciting DJ, his discography boasts releases on the likes of esteemed Dutch imprints such as Dekmantel, Rush Hour and Dopeness Galore, as well as numerous star turns for the ever-influential Perlon label. Never boring, always interesting and utterly unpredictable, San’s extensive output is one that in many ways, is an extension of his personality. A man who’s totally and utterly consumed by music, we’re really delighted to be hosting him on this week’s mix. Listen to San’s mix for us here and read the interview below…
Going back a bit, what actually inspired you to pursue a career in music and as a DJ? Did things develop very organically or did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
I’ve been listening to tapes since when i was rolling around on the floor playing with toys at home, but always playing a soundtrack for my weird imagination. I have been playing instruments since I was 8 years old, which resulted and extended into guitar-play throughout my teens while collecting vinyl and absorbing a lot of different styles of music, while playing with various bands. The selection of music I collected forced me into presenting it and playing it for a crowd to convince the room and agree on the value of importance of that wow-factor of a record and celebrating that with dancing etc. It has always felt like a mission, to play and perform and preach music.
A lot’s changed over the last few years, with social media being the obvious point. Has a DJs job remained the same do you think? And is it tougher or easier to carve out a reputation these days, do you think?
I am still live up to the way I was raised with this trade. I play mostly hard-copies of vinyl and an occasional digital new jam with my USB key while testing test-pressings or masters,
But I do love to select the content of my record-bag with the tracks I rediscovered in my physical library while I am trying to look for a record at home to present abroad.
From your perspective, what was the golden age of Amsterdam house music? And how do you look back on this time?
I can’t really say because I am a sentimental guy looking forward to it, and I really have to acknowledge that every era has magical memories and moments to praise, but I don't do favorites, it’s not a competition…
The likes of yourself and David Vunk are renowned as a bit of a character in electronic music. Is this a reputation that sits well with you? Do you ever worry that it distracts from the music?
Well no, i think the signature of the personality of an artist, a musician, a DJ, a producer should echo through the art. Don’t get me wrong; I do love shy artists just like I appreciate out-going people who add their own flavour to the sauce.
Amsterdam has been in the news a lot recently for wanting to discourage British tourists from acting irresponsibly. As someone so tuned in to the city, what are your thoughts on this?
Hey man, it’s fun out here, I can't blame people for going wild, but of course the decency of responsibility should always be kept in mind while living up to your boundaries.
You’re probably best-known for your work at Rush Hour, Dekmantel and Perlon. How did you first come to those label’s attention? And how critical has their support been to your story?
I really hold all three record-labels accountable for what I have become, so address them if you are either not-amused or charmed or gob-smacked.
Do you generally produce music with a distinct label in mind? Or do you make music and then think about where it would fit best? We’d love to hear a bit more about this process…
I try to support the local labels at the cities where I collaborate while touring and playing abroad. Instead of supporting your football-team you could support the musical pride of your home-town when you tackle…
Can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us? What was the vibe you were going for with it?
It speaks for itself, though it has a lot of unreleased tracks I’ve done over the last few years.
I’ve read that you’re someone who finds music very therapeutic. Can you give us some insight into your daily schedule and how it’s dictated by music?
I wake up with a song stuck in my head, to get rid of this echo i am medicating myself with playing classics or inspirational stuff to warm up the day, then probably hit the studio or work from home all day with slow and groovy approach to play, record and present music up to the point I would either play a Disco, hit a bar or stay at home with cinematics.
It sure is daily therapy…
As someone so invested in music, are you generally listening for pleasure or for inspiration? Do you consciously separate the two?
Actually, the two go hand in hand, in my opinion.
How do you stay motivated and inspired as an artist and what drives you to continue pushing the boundaries?
I stay inspired by musical history, the blues in my daily life and the prospect whilst looking ahead.
What does success constitute for you? Do you need to ‘better’ each record you put out? Or do you think of things in these terms?
I think it is not necessary for me personally to speculate on that toi much, I'd rather keep some purity when I am supposed to strive for success, but that’s what makes it last, plus the challenge of improvement gives you a perfect recipe for the right potion.
Do you feel you make music for yourself or others? How important is the feedback from your peers and the public to you? Are artists lying if they say they don’t care about this?
Reflection is the key and it will open doors.
I also read that staying positive is very important to you. In a scene that’s often so unbalanced and reliant on hedonism and travelling across time zones, how do you find balance in your life?
Hedonism is based upon having an eye for detail and seeing the beauty. I am optimistically skilled with that one.
What’s next for you - musically and professionally - that you’re really excited about?