"We've always shared the inspiration and love for music together"
We have the great pleasure of interviewing the great artists San Proper & D. (real name Derek Van Beelen) in full creative effervescence. They have recently released: "Home", for MUSAR iconic record label, to explore the house genre; expanding it in new and idiosyncratic ways. An EP difficult to describe in words, except maybe for how the compositions make you feel. It is an EP that will give a lot to talk about. And if not, come in, read and dance.
Where can we find you right now?
D: On the road by metro coming back from our weekly Sauna-jam at Volkshotel where San has his studio in the basement.
I need some time to enjoy the country-side with my girl, so for the next couple of days, I will hibernate with her at the farm of San's mother.
S: Me, I will hibernating in my studio, down in the dungeon working on some new jams and tracks for MUSAR. Also preparing some lessons, for i wanna be a teacher like D, therefore I've tricked two people into following my lead on an intense basic-bass-guitar-training. My first two victims are Julien Chaptal and the infamous floor-filler Vanessa Vassallo.
How did you start off your day?
D: I got up early to make music with young children in Amsterdam-Noord, I regularly do this a couple of days a week, for I have classes with mentally challenged kids. I had good training trying to manage San.
S: I woke up from another nightmare into the next, realising again my woman left me, so I wrote her another song for my solo album.
Do you remember the first time you met?
D: It was at club Trouw (R.I.P.) via our mutual friend DJ Melon who runs the labels "Ratio?" and seems to be involved with "Raw Meat" as well. For a while I ran the Trouw-agency with some of the residents of this club in Amsterdam and Melon was persuading San to join. It was a quick meeting in the smoking area of the discotheque where San told me; I need you to know who I am if you want me to work with you. And so I did, the agency imploded soon after and then I was left managing Proper for the next coming years. At the time when we met on that first encounter I was bluffing, for I never heard of the man, afterwards he invited me to his place where he was working on his album "Animal" on Rush Hour Records, where I ended playing some drums here and there, soon after he included me on drums for the live shows we did.
S: That's probably kinda how it went down, to sum it up, I do have to admit; I tend to forget the reality of my personal history and dance around the actual facts to come up with a different story, but we will save that for next time, ok?
How did you end up producing an EP together?
D: During our time as an agent-manager-friend-fellowshipmusician-PA-babysitter, we have shared our love for instruments, jazz-music and electronic stuff, it was logical for us to produce together also because we did his Animal-tour together. And then after I did my first release on his label Proper's Cult, but we've always shared the inspiration and love for music together.
"Home" was one of those jams lost on a pen-drive and being played around the globe, luckily Dweedo, who runs MUSAR, picked up on this and asked us to make a full-fledged EP.
Which evolved in more to come after this release.
S: I can't add much more... Apart from the fact you can expect another EP soon with some teasers here and there, for the album we did is also ready for the pressing...
Has the COVID19 pandemic affected you creatively?
D: During the first lockdown I rewired my studio and got into video-lessons for my students, which turned into instant viral classics amongst these kids. Fortunately, schools are open again. It's really important to keep it 'live' with a big group as I work with. Next to that San and me had more time to chill-out and make music as he was more around here in Amsterdam, since he wasn't travelling as much as the compulsive DJ he still is. We also started with the Sauna-studio-sessions during these last months, meeting up either at his or mine with usually Dr. Proper feeding me at his place after a full-package of dear studio-time.
S: Uh-huh, that's right.
What can you tell us about your new EP ‘Home’? Is there any story behind it? What do you want to transmit with this release?
D: Before we made this track we played at this festival Thuishaven. 'Thuis' meaning Home. But we got blacklisted after the show as San was a bit late because his flight was delayed. The show itself was great and we went to my place to capture the vibe of a great show. The day after the San came to my place with an abundance of gifts including a big cart box letter D.
S: Of course I was somewhat offended with the organisation of that party, but although I flipped that frustration into song, I was also writing and singing these lyrics with several references. "You gots to bring it on home", that's about love as well as owning up to how you oughta present it, as a musician with a great cut, beat or jam. Obviously, Sam Cooke's "Bring it on Home" also has a share in there...
What does your studio look like? And what type of hardware/software do you like to work with?
D: My studio is more like a rehearsal space which you can imagine having with your band as a teenager, but all my drums and percussion are set-up and ready to be recorded, plus I fool around with triggers and modular-funk. Of course it's impossible to maintain a full band by myself, so when band-members started to drop out, the machines started to drop in. My girl says it's just more and more knobs...
S: My studio is a bit claustrophobic for some, but that's pure because of all these string-instruments, synths, drums and percussion and I do jam around a lot with other producers in that building. I am somewhat of a hoarder and I've brought back lots of exotic instruments while touring as a DJ.
How has it been working with MUSAR? What do you appreciate about this label?
D: Dweedo, the main man, he is very much on top of things and also very active with joining in on the creative process.
S: I love the philosophy, the vibe of the label, the music we will be releasing and it's other releases. The artwork is always very stylish as is the music...
What was the latest record you purchased? Do you go to stores and buy vinyl or are you a digital shopper?
D: I found the first album by Miriam Makeba at a thrift shop in Noord.
My latest digital purchase is the new album of a close friend Maxi Mill.
S: I strictly buy vinyl, I've bought an amazing Italian classic at Platypus Records: Mauro Sabbione -Matia Bazar - Elettrochoc - Tango from 1983...
also, check this one;
And Madonna's "Justify My Love" on 7":
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything, but you love it?
D: Everything can be mixed. Forget the beatmatching and go with vibe mixing. You can go quite extreme and be amazed by your own collection.
S: Couldn't agree more...
What have you guys got coming up in 2021?
D: Something very special.
S: Are you referring to our upcoming album on MUSAR?