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stay vibrant ↑%

Even if it makes me blind
I just want to see the light
San Holo, "Light" (with Tessa Douwstra on vocals)
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Sander van Dijck, also known as San Holo, is an electronic music producer from the Netherlands. Known well for his distinctive, melody-focused style and sonic diversity weaving through the realms of future bass/trap and indietronica, San is one of the definitive acts of the independent dance music scene of the mid to late 2010s.

Born in 1990 in Zoetermeer and getting his start in the industry as a guitarist and producer for various bands (and as a music teacher), San's earliest solo work was under the ambient alias Casilofi. After debuting under the San Holo name with 2013's Corellia EP, he grew in popularity the next year when his remix of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "The Next Episode" went viral on YouTube through Trap Nation. Later releases of his like "We Rise," "IMISSU" and the Victory EP would drop through well known labels like OWSLA, Spinnin' and Monstercat, and in 2015 he started his own independent label named Bitbird (now home to like-minded artists like Taska Black, Duskus and DROELOE).

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San's biggest solo hit to date, "Light," released on Bitbird in 2017. His first full-length album, album1, came out the next year. San followed up the record with a few additional singles and an EP made during the 2020 lockdown period called stay vibrant, with his sophomore full-length, titled bb u ok?, following in the spring of 2021.

discography and compilations

solo albums:

  • Corellia EP (2013, self-released)
  • Demons EP (2013, self-released)
  • Cosmos EP (2014, Heroic)
  • Victory EP (2015, Monstercat)
  • The Trip EP (2017, Bitbird)
  • album1 (2018, Bitbird)
  • stay vibrant (2020, Bitbird)
  • bb u ok? (album 2) (2021, Bitbird/Counter)

compilations w/Bitbird:

  • Gouldian Finch (2016)
  • Gouldian Finch 2 (2017)
  • Gouldian Finch 3 (2019)

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don’t know where the tropes will take me now / but we’ll see

  • all lowercase letters: almost everything related to album1 is presented in this style, including his handwritten logo from the era and the track titles. most of his social media posts from then on are written like this too.
  • Author Appeal / Creator Thumbprint: He really likes birds, and frequently uses samples and synths that sound like chirping in his work.
  • Book Ends: There’s a four-note riff that runs through “everything matters” that re-appears at the end of “vestal avenue,” giving album1 a set of these.
  • Catchphrase:
    • During his early discography he used a particular sample of a woman saying “Swirl.” a lot. He started doing it less around when the Victory EP released, though, and dropped it entirely by the time album1 came out.
    • The album1 era saw him adopt “blessed” and “vibrant” as common phrases in his social media posts.
  • Chronological Album Title: album1, naturally, is his first full-length album. It's named that way because he wanted to encourage listeners to interpret the music their own way rather than relying on his creative intent.
  • Fading into the Next Song: On album1, the ending notes of "forever free" are identical to the opening of "surface." Much of the transitions throughout the record have the songs essentially cut from one to another, but in a way that intentionally calls attention to the switch in an interesting inversion of the trope.
  • Genre Mashup: Some of his early success as San Holo came about thanks to the Don't Touch the Classics mixes, which blended his future bass style with rap hits from the likes of Nelly, Outkast, Eminem and 50 Cent. The most popular of these was his take on Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode," with 240 million (!) plays on YouTube and a sizable chunk on SoundCloud prior to the mixes being deleted over copyright problems. As of album1, his stuff is more or less “indietronica rock future bass folk pop.” Much easier to listen to than to accurately describe.
  • Limited Lyrics Song:
    • "We Rise:" We rise / We fall
    • Most of “BWU” consists of permutations of the phrase “I just want to be with you.”
    • "Light:" Even if it makes me blind / I just want to see the light / Breathe in, leave it all behind / I just want to see the light
    • While common to his discography, album1 breaks from tradition with more lyrics in a number of its tracks, though "everything matters (when it comes to you)" exclusively uses its title as its lyrics, and "forever free" solely uses a vocal chop of its title and a repeated refrain, it's okay / we don't have to fix it now, during the bridge.
    • “bb u ok?” (the song) uses just the words in its title.
  • Remix Album: In addition to appearing on several for other artists, he’s put out his own for many if not most of his standalone singles. Of particular note: one of his most popular songs, “Light,” got a total of eleven additional mixes, and that’s only the ones that were officially released!* Signature Style: He’s considered one of the early pioneers in the expansion of electronic trap music into more melodic territory, with tunes like “Light” and “We Rise” combining the structure and drum patterns of trap/dubstep with the lighter melodies and supersaw synths present in pop. Unique hallmarks of his take on it include the bird samples and reverb-laden leads that bring bits of a trance feel into his style, and, circa-album1, his indie rock-esque guitar leads and textures.
  • Spoonerism: His stage name is one for that one dashing rogue, but it's based on his actual name ("San" being a nickname for "Sander"). Disney made an attempt to block him from using the name in 2014, but the suit didn't go anywhere.
  • Title 1: album1 is specifically named this rather than having a more traditional title to keep it open to interpretation. When his second record bb u ok? was announced, both fans and San himself started referring to it as “album 2” for consistency’s sake.
  • Unplugged Version: He's done several of these for some of his singles (including "We Rise" and "Lost Lately"), and the commentary track for album1 features him doing short impromptu performances of most of the songs.
  • Suprisingly Gentle Song: Most of his songs in bb u ok? (for ex: I just wanna fucking cry, i am thinking of you, ewing street, lonely in la, and heal (1%) )

Slow down
You're racing ahead
Drown out the words that they said
Won't you come up for air?
When you surface
I'll be right here
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