In the current state of dance music, over-branded producers gimmicky festival sets and unsurprising EP/single releases are not uncommon whatsoever, unfortunately.

It almost feels like finding a diamond in a haystack when that one producer you’ve been following for years on end but haven’t kept an eye on his/her every move releases something that completely blows you away. It’s that exact moment when your brain is trying to decide “wait a minute, this doesnt sound like him/her at all.” In that moment you decide whether you enjoy the artist’s new risk-taking work of art or completely forget about what you had just listened to.

Only great artists can force a fan into one of those situations. No enough artists take risks with their music in fear of mass criticism from fans expecting a variant of earlier releases. One of those great artists in electronic music that no one truly has a pulse on what they’re going to do next is Dutch musician, bitbird label executive and world-wide touring DJ, San Holo.

I had the honor of asking San some questions before his first performance in China at the Storm Festival. Below we talk about his imprint label bitbird’s upcoming compilation album Gouldian Finch 2, his North American tour with DROELOE and Just A Gent, and who he thinks are the hottest rising acts in dance music right now. Check it all out below.

On October 5th bitbird is dropping their 2nd artist compilation album ‘Gouldian Finch 2,’ if you had to choose 3 tracks off the album that would blow away someone that has never listened to bitbird music, what would they be?

#1 would definitely be “If Only” (Mega Collab). This song is a collab with 8 of the bitbird artists and it’s BIG. It features Eastghost, Analogue Dear, Taska Black and DROELOE among others.. #2 is Vic Alexis’ “After Vanishing.” Vic’s sounds and synths all come from analogue gear and what he produces just touches my heart every single time. #3 would be Analogue Dear’s “Faulkner Heroine.” Analogue Dear is classical pianist, who has been with us for quite some time. With bitbird, we believe that genre doesn’t matter. So whether it’s a banger or a classical piece, if it’s good, it’s good!

You recently put out the lead single from Gouldian Finch 2 “I Still See Your Face” in which you are singing. Can fans expect more singing from San in future releases? 

I recorded the vocals through my crappy macbook microphone just as sketch thinking I would later replace the vocals by an actual good singer haha. But those sketch vocals just felt right, so I kept them as is. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now, I’ll be singing a lot more on my new fall tour shows so who knows!

What has been the source of your musical inspiration and song creation outside of music itself?

I get a lot of inspiration from life itself really. The experiences I’ve been going through, stuff like that. I would say that I’m a pretty nostalgic person so a lot of the inspiration for music I have comes from old memories and stuff. Life!

You’ll be performing for the first time in China at Storm Festival Shanghai soon. What do you think are the biggest differences between the East and West in dance music?

Once I’m on stage, there’s really no difference to me. But off stage, I think people in the East are bit more preserved and shy maybe than in the West. I think the fans in the US are definitely the craziest I’ve ever met for sure. I don’t have too much touring history in Asia so I’m sure I’ll see more fans soon 🙂

yooo STORM Festival Shanghai this was insane. Played until the cdjs broke down. They shut down the festival right after this moment. Literally everything was soaking wet. Thanks for dancing in the rain with me though! Love 🌧💙

Posted by SAN HOLO on Monday, September 25, 2017

For ADE this year, bitbird will be throwing their debut showcase. Do you have any plans to bring bitbird parties on the road?

That would be dope, definitely something that we’re planning for the future. Back in April we did a soft bitbird style event in LA with DROELOE, The Nicholas and Devoted. It wasn’t a full ‘showcase’ but we’re definitely hoping to kick those off soon. This fall, I’m bringing DROELOE and brand new bitbird act Just A Gent on tour again so think of that as a semi-bitbird tour!

What is your favorite city to play in and do you have any dreams venues in mind that you have yet to perform at?  

L.A. would be my favorite. We’re playing two nights at the Novo by Microsoft which I’m so excited about. We sold out the first one really quickly and then I saw all the social media comments and I really wanted set up a second one and I’m super happy we were able to pull that off. I already played Red Rocks last year so as far as dream venues go the two Novo shows that’s up there right now 🙂

Who in your mind are the best new rising talents in dance music right now and why?

Be on the lookout for Taska Black, he’s next up. Gonna be big things coming from him. The song he made for Gouldian Finch is a straight up hit! Also Marcioz would be on that list. He made a remix for “The Future” which is just mindblowing. He also has track on Gouldian Finch #02 which is amazing.

Now that the Summer festival season is wrapping up, in terms of touring and releasing new music, what can fans expect from San Holo during the rest of this year and the next?

I just started the Gouldian Finch world-tour with DROELOE and Just A Gent. We’re going to be in Asia, North America and Australia for the next 3-5 months. Besides that I’m gonna be working on new songs and there’s definitely a lot of amazing releases coming out on bitbird in the coming months so definitely check those out too. Hopefully I’ll be able to write some records on the road and focus on putting out plenty of new music for everybody in 2018!