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San Proper is a bit of an Animal

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What’s been the driving force behind you wanting to start a label other than it making sense financially? Do you have any particular direction that you’d like to take the label in?It’s more important to support the culture and represent good music. Apart from that it’s about writing history with vinyl and the love for music. It’s also my favourite way of handling my finances…

You DJ quite a bit in Holland, which is home of course. You also did a mini tour of the states in April… how was that?I’ve been playing abroad much more in the last couple of years but Holland is my House. I love to travel for music and then end up back in my studio again to express the inspiration I took on. 

You DJ quite a bit in Holland, which is home of course. You also did a mini tour of the states in April… how was that?I’ve been playing abroad much more in the last couple of years but Holland is my House. I love to travel for music and then end up back in my studio again to express the inspiration I took on. 

And how is your summer going?It’s amazing. Actually these last 2 weeks I’ve been back in Amsterdam doing a couple of festivals, but before that it was non-stop. Fury all across the globe! The festivals that I’ve been doing out here, Welcome to the Future and Henk op de Helling, has all turned out really good. Last Saturday’s NDSM festival in Amsterdam was a festival with only live electronic acts and was definitely a highlight.

I also did a 7-hour set at Trouw to announce the new label, Proper’s Cult. It was a solo session in the basement and then the next morning around 7am we started another club night straight after. As Trouw has a 24-hour permit they can do extra long sessions and this Saturday night thing went on the next day. That Sunday at 7pm, the crew from Concrete in Paris were invited to do a day/night party and that was very successful with a really amazing vibe. With Cabanne and Molly from Rex and lots of my friends playing. 

Henk op de Helling was a festival for live electronic music acts. How do you feel about playing live?Well for me, playing records and then playing live is like God and the Devil, you know. One can’t do without the other in my book and it’s also a little obsessive and compulsive, like producing. I like to present my music so people know what I’m about and this is the perfect format for it.

What does your setup consist of for the live show?I do a lot of vocals myself, some guitars and I bring some crazy little toys and some percussion and some other little bits. I don’t want to get too technical though as it’s much more about what I’m presenting rather than the technical aspect of it. 

Do you feel more shackled when playing live because of the need for a more rigid, organised structure compared with a DJ set?That’s true but it doesn’t necessarily make one better than the other, it’s just something else and I love to, of course, present the music that I produce. You can’t compare the stuff you produce yourself with the stuff you’ve collected over the last 20 years though. The music of the rest of the world is like… I mean I love my own music, but you can’t compare that to the entire library of music out there.

You have a collection of instruments that you’ve collected from your travels. What is your most prized possession?Can’t put a tag on any of my gear that I have collected. I’m a sentimental guy, but I picked up a twelve-string semi-acoustic bass-guitar in Leeds last year. I hardly use it though, but it’s a trophy for sure. I also got a red Cajon, together with an acoustic flying-V in Ibiza last Summer, they both sound great too.

Jumping ahead to the future. If electronic music didn’t exist where would San Proper be today?He’d be a bit lonelier I guess… 

Here’s a Free Live mix from San Proper to support this interview, you can grab it from our soundcloud below:

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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