“I hope you’ll enjoy the mix of music I did for the podcast, I’ve decided to bring you to every corner of the room, all over the place. It’s all about time and space. Proper’s Animalism in yo face”
San Proper is a man completely immersed in the Amsterdam dance scene. Through releases on Rush Hour, collaborations with label affiliates Tom Trago and Awanto 3 and a mainstay at Trouw and countless other venue, he’s become an ambassador for the city’s underground music culture. Seeing San Proper play out is where the real magic happens. Brilliantly unpredictable, his live and DJ sets encompass styles from afrobeat to minimal techno, belearic to soul. Producing a large proportion of his own vocals or singing live is one of his trademarks, as is his unconventional demeanour behind the decks and larger-than-life personality; all of which has won him a great many fans.
Before headlining the STW Room 2 takeover at XOYO this weekend, we’re delighted to present a mix and interview from the man. Grab tickets here.
HEY SAN. HOW ARE YOU? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO RECENTLY?
Feeling good. I’ve been travelling a lot, playing gigs and jamming with other producers. I recently had a week back here in my studio in Trouw and this bomb of inspiration exploded. I’ve finished a bunch of tracks and I’m in the mood to write more.
WHAT DREW YOU TO HOUSE MUSIC IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Disco-music and the Funk. Maybe Otis Redding even had something to do with it.
YOU’RE A VERY COLOURFUL CHARACTER IN DANCE MUSIC CIRCLES. WHAT DO YOU FEEL SETS YOU APART FROM OTHERS IN THE FIELD AT THE MOMENT?
I’ll leave that up to you, while I’ll be living proof. I listen to my heart, though my feeling is my ears, I see with my sense of smell, I taste through my eyes and I follow my animal instincts.
YOU’RE ONE OF THE MOST HANDS ON DJS WE’VE SEEN WHEN IT COMES TO USING THE MIXER. CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR DJING STYLE A BIT MORE OR DO YOU JUST GET LOST IN THE MOMENT?
I do get lost in the moment, because I can. But I also know what i’m doing, for i’ve been doing it for quite some time. If one makes a mistake it usually shows one is taking chances. Create some space to experiment, but keep in mind that one is here to present the music, not one’s technique or stunts. The music is usually good the way it is, so bring it at its best.
WE’VE BEEN AT ONE OF YOUR SETS WHERE YOU PLAY THE IMPERIAL MARCH FROM STAR WARS. IS ANYTHING OFF LIMITS FOR YOU?
Music I don’t like of feel at all. But I can’t think of an example right now, I’d rather focus on the good stuff.
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST SOUNDING RECORD YOU’VE BOUGHT RECENTLY?
In Brazil I found a box of 7s by The Cramps – nasty stuff. In Osaka, Japan at King Kong Records I found a similar box of 7s but with various Japanese bands from the sixties, the Beat-generation that sort of stuff. Last week in Amsterdam I found a great jazz record by Max Roach and Clifford Brown along with an extended version of ‘Train to Skaville’ by The Selector. In Paris I’ve got some real rare afro-beat-Disco by Shadow with the track ‘Let’s Get Together’. Check this out:
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PARTIES RECENTLY AND WHY?
Dekmantel Festival, for it has such an amazing line-up and good vibe. Nice people plus a good location. I also had a great time at Troop Cafeé in Kobe, Japan and, earlier that week, I had a very special night playing at Ageha in Tokyo with DVS1 and Westbam.
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO UNWIND?
I hibernate one day a week with movies, books, music and myself.
YOU SPOKE IN A RECENT INTERVIEW ABOUT BEING ‘ALWAYS ALONE’ WHEN TOURING. THIS IS A SIDE TO A DJ’S LIFE WHICH IS RARELY LOOKED AT – DO IT EVER GET TO YOU?
Yes, but I usually end up with so many sweet people all the time, it’s a good distraction. It helps me forget about being homesick and such. In general I’m not complaining about this at all for the blues is quite inspiring to write music to, ya know.
AS A DUTCH RESIDENT AND SOMEONE WITH AFFILIATIONS TO TROUW, WHAT HAS THE CLUB MEANT TO YOU OVER THE YEARS? HOW DO YOU FEEL ITS CLOSING AT THE END OF THE YEAR WILL AFFECT DUTCH NIGHTLIFE?
It tears me apart. I’ve got my studio here in the basement since Summer last year and I prefer this place over the studio I’ve got across the street, for it’s such an inspirational club. The restaurant is also amazing and the art-installations complete it all. Of course it will be drama when it closes, but I guess all good things come to an end. Though in this case I wish it wasn’t so…
YOU’RE DUE TO HEADLINE THE STAMP THE WAX ROOM 2 TAKEOVER AT XOYO THIS WEEKEND. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? DO YOU EVER TAILOR SETS TO A PARTICULAR CITY?
No not really, I’d rather tailor it to the night and the rest of the line-up, play along or rebel, can’t really tell. I sometimes feel the need to force the alternative, but on the spot it really depends on the rest of the room. It’s again about the music and the crowd, if they’re ready to fall in love for a bit…
FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY RELEASES COMING UP WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Yes, there’s a four-track EP coming out on Prospector records, together with Pit Spector. I did a track for the compilation of Cosmo records. And there’s a Trouw-compilation coming up soon. I did a 12″ for LessizMore with two original tracks and a Mayaan Nidam remix. I’m working on the next release on Proper’s Cult and I wanna drop a 2nd album in the Spring 2015.