Sander van Dijck, stage name San Holo, has built the reputation of a future bass god over a mere few years. DJ, producer, record label owner- you name it, he owns it. Back in 2014, San Holo caught onto the limelight with his remix of Dr. Dre’s ‘The Next Episode’ which received over 150 million views on YouTube alone, but that was still just the beginning.
Since his entrance into international fame, he has released music on a variety of recording labels including his own label, bitbird. San Holo is prestigious for his original ‘Light’ which snagged the No. 13 spot on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Chart. Constant touring and instant attention grabbing new music reassures avid fans that San holo is the real deal.
Check out our exclusive interview with San Holo below:
Family and friends know you as Sander van Dijck, but fans know you as San Holo. Can you give insight as to how the San Holo project was born?
I’ve always been interested in rap & hip-hop and so the San Holo project actually started out as a beat-making project. Some of my friends are rappers and needed beats to rap on. I just needed a name for the project. People have been calling me San (short for Sander) as long as I can remember and one day one of my friends came up with San Holo as a joke. But it actually grew on me! Pretty soon things started growing and blowing up so there was no way back – haha. I still like the name though!
How has international fame shaped you?
It has really changed my day to day. Getting to tour all over the world is amazing and humbling. It can be hard sometimes to be away from family and friends, but in the end I think it has only made me more appreciative of life and music!
Talk to me about your musical background. How did your passion for music begin?
I started out playing guitar when I was about 13. I was really focused on school at the time and getting good grades. I didn’t really have an outlet or a hobby to balance that. My mom said, “Son, you need to find a hobby!” So, I started taking guitar lessons. Playing along to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, stuff like that. From that moment on, I knew music was going to play a big role in my life!
Listen to ‘The Future’ below:
How does the EDM scene in the Netherlands compare to the EDM scene in the United States?
It’s very different. Not to say one is better than the other, just different. I think the Netherlands is more into Big Room, House type stuff. Techno also, especially at ADE. I think the U.S. is more Future Bass, Trap oriented. The U.S. has always been very open to my style of music. But, I do have to say that we did a bitbird showcase last week at ADE and the crowd was absolutely nuts! So, I think the Netherlands is catching onto what is happening over in the U.S. I think it’ll take time but it’s already happening.
Your first big step through international doors was back in 2014 with your remix of Dr. Dre’s ‘The Next Episode’. What inspired you to remix Dre?
After making beats for my friends, I wanted to start making songs that were mine. But I had no idea where to start making originals or how to build a name for myself. Then one of my friends said, “Why don’t you start out with remixes? Remix hip-hop classics like Eminem and stuff?” I thought to myself, “I can’t touch those classics!” And later on started thinking, “Why the hell not?!” So that’s how the ‘Don’t Touch The Classics’ series was born which ‘The Next Episode’ is one of. People really seemed to dig it and I’m glad they did!
How has your sound changed since releasing that remix?
I’m not sure if the idea of what I look for in music has changed that much. I’ve always been looking for new sounds and looking how far I can push boundaries. Looking for something that is different. But I have been incorporating a lot more guitar into my music lately and I also recorded the vocals for ‘I Still See Your Face’ myself. I can tell you it’s still not easy and i’m not comfortable with it still, but it’s definitely something i’ll be doing more of moving forward. That’s probably been the biggest change in my music, I still do try to have the San Holo sound in every release whether it’s a trap banger, or more commercial, or something even like ‘I Still See Your Face!’
Keep up to date with San Holo’s Gouldian Finch 2 Tour:
What other sub genres or styles are you interested in testing out?
I don’t really like thinking in genres. I just want to make songs that evoke certain emotions and make people feel a certain way. Like with the label, bitbird, we release bangers from guys like Taska Black and Deon Custom. But we also release classical pieces like the ones from Dutch pianist/composer Analogue Dear and more indie stuff from The Nicholas. Genre doesn’t matter to me. If a song is good, it’s good!
While building your career, you have released music on several different recording labels. Now you are releasing music through your own label, bitbird. Can you talk to me about the process of starting up bitbird?
bitbird just started out as a promotional platform for artists. But soon after, we decided to make a record label out of it and release songs that inspired us and were unlike anything we were already hearing. It’s crazy to see how the music on the label resonates with people! It’s really humbling. There are so many crazy and talented producers out there that deserve to be heard. I’m really happy that we can give these guys and girls a place for their creations!
What is it like working for yourself opposed to under someone else?
It is really liberating but also hard at times. I used to play guitar in bands and all the bands just broke up at some point because of different opinions. That’s also kind of why I started producing, because I could be like a one-man band in a way! So in that sense it’s liberating to be captain of my own ship. On the other hand, I have to make all decisions myself. Which can be hard sometimes. But I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Turn up your speakers to ‘Light’ below:
‘I think too much when I think about the future’ are lyrics that nearly everyone can relate to. When you think about your future, what do you see? What inspired the vocals? Our team is interested! We’re inspired by you.
James Vincent McMorrow came up with the lyrics but they resonated so much with me. I can get caught up in my mind when thinking about the future. It can be hard, but it’s necessary to take a step back sometimes and just appreciate where you are in the present.
What thoughts do you find yourself constantly stressing over when you think of the future?
I used to do that a lot more when I was a teen. Stressing over my grades, wanting to be the best guitar player in world, stuff like that. But I’ve let a lot of that stressing out go. I still get a bit nervous when I release a new song. But that’s more because I sometimes have no idea of how people will react to it.
How do you silence negative self-talk?
I think that every person struggles with it one way or another. Some have it more than others. For me, it’s reminding myself how lucky I am that I get to do what I do on a daily basis. I mean making music is literally my life haha! And I’m just so fortunate that my music seems to be resonating with so many people!
The entertainment industry has been struck with a series of unfortunate events over the last few years, most recently the shooting in Las Vegas. Can you give reassurance to avid fans and attendees by telling us your best concert or festival experience? Talk to us about the security you feel while performing, etc.
I just want to say how heartbreaking it is for everybody that not only lost anybody, but was even just in Las Vegas or involved in the concert. Festivals have always been a place where people are supposed to come together with the single purpose of celebrating an artist or band that they like and it’s tragic how that was taken away from them.
Check out ‘I Still See Your Face’ below:
You’ve had many artists remix your music. Have you ever found yourself in a position where you wish you could have taken ownership of a remix rather than the original?
Great question! But I’ve never felt that I wanted to take ownership of a remix. Not because I think my original is always better than the remix. But simply because they’re different. Every producer has a different vision and way of making music. To me, it’s so cool to see how one song can be interpreted in so many different ways.
Have any of those remixes inspired you to test new sounds and styles?
You’ve collaborated with a range of different artists. Who has been your favorite artist to collaborate with? Why?
I don’t have a favorite, but working with James Vincent McMorrow has been the most memorable. I’ve been a fan of his music for years! And I’m still mind blown to this day that he answered my email. We come from totally different styles of music but I think we have the same approach and philosophy when it comes to music.
Do you have a message for your fans attending Gold Rush?
Thank you all so much first of all for coming out! I’m really looking forward to this one! I didn’t really play many festivals this summer in the US but all of the ones I did were super memorable and I hope this one is no different. I’ve spent a lot of time working out my new live show and I’ve got a lot of unreleased material, new visuals etc. I’m also going to be bringing out my guitar. Can’t wait to show you all out there!
Don’t miss the opportunity to see San Holo preform at Gold Rush, click here for tickets!
Any final words for our readers?
Thank you so much for having me and shout out to everyone for taking the time to read this. Gonna be on the road in the U.S. with my boys DROELOE and Just A Gent for the next 2 and a half months. I realized that I haven’t put out as much this year like I did in the past just because of how big ‘Light’ grew but I promise you guys I have a new single very soon and a lot more to come through 2018. I’ve also been working really hard on a radio show which will be airing very very soon.
Sander, thank you so much again for taking the time to chat with us! Please let me know if you have any questions. I would be happy to answer them. Feel free to add any additional thoughts you may have!
No problem at all, thank you for the cool questions 🙂 Be sure to check out my record label bitbird and i’ll see you on the road
Don’t miss San Holo at Gold Rush November 18th-19th at Rawhide Western Town. General Admissions are currently being sold at $159. For more information on the event or tickets click here.