When listing off artists that are completely unique and offer a different perspective to the ever-evolving music industry, one name that instantly stands out is San Holo (and no, that isn’t a name play on the popular Star Wars character Han Solo). Sander van Dijck, who hails from the Netherlands, has had music running through his veins since a very early age but it wasn’t until the San Holo project started to appear and gain traction that his name was starting to be noted down, and slowly but surely began the change of how people viewed EDM. With all this in mind, we thought we would delve into his career and what we believe makes him completely different from everyone else.
The San Holo project officially kickstarted in late 2014, with the release of the ‘Cosmos’ EP (released by Heroic) and EP single ‘Hiding’ featuring The Nicholas which also happened to be the first ever official San Holo track. Even though he stated that he had no idea what he was doing at that time – with EDM being uncharted territory for him and his band/guitar background – it didn’t seem to stop crowds of music lovers flocking to his Soundcloud, resulting in him gaining hundreds of thousands of followers at that point.
One of the follow ups to the ‘Cosmos’ EP was the track ‘We Rise’. Gaining attention and appreciation from music master and OWSLA label boss Skrillex – which everyone knows counts for a whole lot – after releasing ‘We Rise’ on OWSLA and NEST together, this only meant Sander’s popularity would skyrocket into new extremes, and it did.
After ‘We Rise’ came hit after hit and it seemed like no one could stop him. Tracks like ‘Bwu’, ‘Raw’ and ‘They Just Haven’t Seen It’ were defining tracks in his career but it wasn’t until the incredibly huge track ‘Light’ came along that people truly started to take notice. As of right now, ‘Light’ has over 145 million streams on Spotify and over 15 million plays on Soundcloud with Gold certifications and is still a huge staple in sets for producers all over the world including Sander himself. With this track, Sander managed to create one of the most successful and popular tracks of modern day EDM history, and its popularity isn’t going to die down any time soon.
Together with childhood friend and now label co-founder Thorwald van den Akker, him and Sander decided to start up their own record label in 2013 (with first release being July of 2014 with Duskus track ‘The First Route’) named Bitbird. Seemingly becoming the most desired career move for the majority of artists in the EDM world, it can be hard to stand out with so many independent labels popping up all the time, but Bitbird feels different. Managing to build and retain a strong family vibe over the years, Bitbird grew with more artists and more releases over the years and now houses a catalogue of unique sounds across a spectrum of genres from the likes of DROELOE, Duskus, Eastghost, Taska Black and a heap more. Never once losing their values as a label, their family stays connected through ‘Gouldian Finch’ compilations where core members of the label and artists from outside the Bitbird world are invited to showcase their sounds which is all wrapped up into one album. Something else that completely sets them apart is their annual writers camps. Collecting multiple Bitbird artists and the team behind all the magic together, they all retreat to spend a week in the Netherlands swapping ideas and creating music face to face. In short, this is a label that others should be taking notes from.
As mentioned earlier, Sander has an extensive guitar background which can be seen through glimpses in some of his older tracks but was truly brought out in full force with the release of his debut studio album ‘album1’. Describing this album as ‘post EDM’, San Holo was able to showcase the softer, gentler side to his music through 12 tracks of pure emotion and little did San Holo know at the time that this album was about to open even more doors for him than ‘Light’ did. With this album release, he went on to receive an Edison Pop Award for best in the Dance category (basically the Dutch version of a Grammy award), went on an extensive ‘album1’ tour (and is still ongoing) which redefined the way DJs perform live by utilizing his trusty guitar and singing live and even did a massive Red Rocks headlining show where fans from all over the world flocked to the famous rocks to witness a spectacular performance, which was one of the best performances put on at the Amphitheater in the last few years.
With uplifting catchphrases such as ‘Stay vibrant’ and ‘Have a blessed day’ which are integrated into his Instagram posts daily as positive reminders to fans (who lovingly call themselves the Birdsnest), it’s easy to see why San Holo is one of the most genuine people in the music industry, and a breath of fresh air which is much needed in the scene right now.
Stay tuned for more updates on San Holo’s career which will be posted as they happen!
Image Credit: Rukes.com