On a partly cloudy Sunday afternoon at Ultra Music Festival, We Rave You spoke to Future Bass artist San Holo to talk about his music, influences, and emerging label. Holo was so relaxed yet enthusiastic while discussing his music; he is clearly connected to it on a personal level.
The Origins of His Music
San Holo’s musical talent is unmistakeable. His talent was honed through musical training begun as a youngster. “I’ve been playing guitar for 11 years now. Playing guitar, playing in bands is where the core is for me. [That’s] where all my music and all my ideas come from while playing an instrument,” Holo describes. Five years ago, however, San Holo decided to make the venture solo, pursuing a career producing Electronic Music.
“I started learning Ableton and Logic and started producing and ever since then, I have been creating my own music. At first, it was very experimental stuff and then a couple of years ago, I really began to get interested in Bass music, and that is when San Holo was born.”
San Holo’s stylings break down barriers. His tracks combine pieces from different sub-genres, with the mix shifting from record to record. The result is a style all his own; it’s truly unique. “What really speaks to me is that I can do any genre I want, as long as I have my own sound,” San Holo explained. “I can make any BPM I want. I can go 120 BPM, ok. I can go 160 BPM, ok, as long as it has my own musical universe and people recognize it no matter what.” Most often fitting into the Bass genre, Holo creates music that is very “melodic with harmonies and chords because that is what touches me… I am not trying to make Dance music, I am trying to make emotional music… It is about touching people.”
Featuring Roots in Hip-Hop
In addition to his background with the guitar, San Holo spent time creating Hip-Hop beats with friends, having a lasting influence on his style. One of San Holo’s most famous records appears in this hip-hop realm: his outstanding remix of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” San Holo has also been inspired to think outside the box by another rapper.
“I love Kanye West. Not only as a rapper but just as an artist. I really appreciate what he is doing. He is really pushing the boundaries and that is what I am trying to do as well. I’m trying to find new things, trying to bring new things to the scene.”
Innovation, though, does not come without its issues; “Sometimes, not a lot of people understand [the music] at first. But then, after a couple of weeks, they realize that actually this is pretty cool and unique, instead of weird and bad.”
Featuring on the ‘Worlds Remixed’ Album
San Holo’s unique sound caught the eye of another well-supported innovator in Electronic music, Porter Robinson. Their styles match up well; both create emotional, melodic music. Robinson reached out to Holo to get some of Holo’s new records to feature in his DJ Sets. After liking what he heard, Porter Robinson asked if San Holo could remix ‘Natural Light’ to be featured on Robinson’s ‘Worlds Remixed’ album. Holo describes he “made [the record] in a day and [Porter] really liked it. I was honored that he asked me to do that. He is really big in the United States… People are crazy for [the remix] here.” Holo’s ‘Natural Light’ highlights his melodic bass influences while still keeping the original sounds of Porter Robinson intact. It is an incredible blend that we hope to see more of in the future.
San Holo has had a busy March. Touring around the United States on his New Sky tour, San has hit cities like New York, Portland, Washington, DC, and Chicago, as well as Miami. San says, “[The tour] has been going really good… people go really crazy… It is very exhausting [though] as I am a person… who doesn’t like sleeping in other places. I like being home and making music… That was something that I had to overcome.” The New Sky tour wraps up in early April with shows in Florida, St. Louis, and Vancouver.
Fostering the bitbird Label
Having emerged as a star producer, San Holo has begun the next step in the musical progression, creating his own music label, bitbird. “From now on, I am going to release a lot of my own music on my label… We have a very specific view on how we want things to be.” San wants the bitbird concept to really focus on the music and helping and supporting the signed artists. Holo explained, “we really want to be for the artists. Our loyalty rates are way better than all the other labels. We are very open-minded too, to artwork that people want to have… We are going to do some cool stuff with it.” Curating the label has been going extremely well for the Dutchman. According to San, “people really notice the quality we are putting out and actually come to us and say ‘I would love to release on your label…’ If we enjoy the sound of [it], it is not about any genres or what… it’s about that X factor. It’s about that special feeling you get inside.” San Holo teased some of his unreleased material, in addition to some other tracks from the label, during his Ultra set and it seemed to really please the crowd. The bitbird label seems to be off to a successful start.
It was great to chat with San Holo. We were impressed with his passion, and his emotional music reflects that passion. Judging by his Ultra Music Festival set, San has some great records in the works. We are excited for what the future holds for not only him but also his bitbird label.