San Holo is a Dutch DJ, guitarist, and producer who founded his own record label called “bitbird”. The inspiration to start his own label came from wanting to experiment more with his music. Although he is considered an EDM artist, San doesn’t limit himself to that genre alone and his latest single, “Lead Me Back” is evidence of that. The single shows a more vulnerable side to him and is a representation of what fans can expect from his upcoming compilation album, Gouldian Finch 3.
“Lead Me Back” premiered today via Alternative Press. CelebMix had the opportunity to speak with San Holo about the song, his next album, and upcoming tour. Check out our interview with him below.
You said that your new single, “Lead Me Back,” represents artistic freedom, which really began with your debut album, album1. What sparked your decision to experiment outside of typical electronic music?
I felt like I had gotten everything I could out of purely making electronic music. And being a guitar player originally, I wanted to combine the two worlds to see what would come out of it. When I showed “Lead Me Back” to my managers for the first time, they called it “Folk-EDM”. Which describes it perfectly in my opinion. I think the combination of those two worlds is what represents artistic freedom.
Speaking of artistic freedom, you have begun experimenting with real instruments in some of your songs. What was the recording process like when making this song? Can you tell us about the instruments you used?
For album1, I recorded a lot of real guitars, vocals and strings. Also recorded a lot of those things through tape machines and 4-track cassette decks. I started this song on acoustic guitar in my bedroom. Usually I translate those guitars parts to synth parts and leave the guitar out or make it be somewhere in the background. But for this one, it felt right to have it be the main focus of the track.
The single is featured on Gouldian Finch 3. What made you decide to make this the first single?
I think this song represents the Gouldian Finch compilation series in a perfect way. We, as bitbird, want to make a statement with these compilations and want to expose people to new kinds of music and new artists. Artists that do something exciting and new. Artists that think outside of the box.
How does it compare to the other tracks on the compilation?
I feel like every song is really different from the other on this compilation. They all have a certain kind of emotion we like with bitbird, but the genre spectrum on this one is really broad and this one is definitely different.
How would you describe the rest of the compilation?
It’s a really eclectic compilation with a lot of differents styles of music. I also feel this one is more organic and real instrument driven than the previous one. A majority of the artists on the compilation are actual musicians in addition to being producers. And that’s definitely something you can hear throughout.
You founded the record label, bitbird, which you’ve said started from other labels trying to change your music. Would you say it has met your expectations?
Definitely! It’s been mind blowing to see bitbird grow like this over the past few years and have people resonate with what we do. The main focus is to release music that we feel deserves to be heard. No matter what genre, no matter how big the following of an artist. Just good music that touches us.
The label picks up music from a variety of artists and genres, including those that don’t place a label on themselves. Would you consider your music genreless?
I wouldn’t say it’s ‘genreless’, but I don’t like to confine myself to one genre only. I listen to a lot of different styles of music from electronic to classic, from indie to metal and everything in between. And I like to approach my music in the same way.
You’ll be performing your new music on tour this spring. What can fans expect from the shows?
A lot of guitar playing, a lot of singing, a lot of album songs, a lot of amazing visuals and lighting. I feel like we’ve really stepped it up with this tour and I’m really proud of the live show as a whole. I think it really resonates with the idea of album1. To make things more live and organic.
The tour will wrap up in your hometown of Amsterdam. Did you decide to make it the last stop or did it sort of just happen that way?
We wanted to end the Europe run with a show in Amsterdam and I’m happy it worked out this way. Really can’t wait for that one. This is my first ‘real’ headline show in the Netherlands and it’s definitely a long-time coming, it’s very humbling that it’s already sold out!
Finally, what else would you like to tell fans?
First of all, thank you for listening to my music and supporting what I do! I’m starting the Europe leg of the tour next week. I’m also coming back to the US in April and doing a Red Rocks headline show in June with a lot of other amazing artists. So if you want to come out to one of the shows, you can get your tickets at sanholo.com. I’m also very excited for the GF3 compilation, which will be here soon! Love, San x
Thank you for speaking with us!
To purchase tickets to any of San Holo’s upcoming shows, click here.