Ahead of his set at the secretsundaze halloween party, we caught up with San Proper, one of the most charismatic animals in showbusiness, to chew the fat about everything from his relationship with Rush Hour to his love of old soul…..
Hi San Proper! As the name of your recent LP implies: you’re definitely an animal, but what kind of animal are you?
A singing monkey, howling to the moon… the whistling dixie type o' stray-cat feathered omnivore with gentlemanlike human behaviour accompanied with some nasty animalistic tricks of the trade to support the culture of House-music.
When did you first realise that you wanted to have a life in music, do you come from a musical family or did you play an instrument as a kid?
I started playing guitar at the age of ten, thanks to my brother and his eclectic musical taste, but i've been playing tapes since an earlier age playing sam Cooke, Otis, Lou Reed, The Specials while recreating scenes with my Star Wars action-figures.
Tell us about your relationship with Rush Hour, how did you initially get involved?
When Rush Hour started out, running the record-store in '97 i came out at least three times a week to shop, listen and learn more and more about the electronic music they provided. Years later i released my "Proper's A'dam family Series" and a handfull of other twelves, which led to releasing my album "Animal" in the summer of 2012.
What’s your production process like, you use your voice a lot – do you start with the vocal, the drums, the textures or is it a different approach each time?
For the album i usually started with a topic, then vocals on top of some light 808 programmed beats, then i involved my two favorite drummers Melvin Faria and Derek van Beelen to let them improvise on top of my sketches so i could sample their live-drums and rearrange the tracks to it's final versions, but in general i like to apply various of formats to approach production.
You’re playing in London at the secretsundaze Halloween special on 27th October, some of the music on your Animal LP has a definite spooky atmosphere to it, have you ever had any supernatural experiences yourself?
Not to sure about that, but i often feel like life is one big coincidental supernatural experience.
I heard you were in the process of a collaboration with a visual artist, is that true and if so, hows it going?!
Yes, this project goes by the name of "Stiletto", hard-ass deep techno, sharp as a blade, sexy as a shoe. Coming soon to a theater near you.
You spend some of the time living in Paris, how does it compare to living in Amsterdam and do you feel a different kind of inspiration can be gleaned from each of the cities?
Yes, i like to travel a lot and this inspires me non-stop, but i've been living in Amsterdam where i was born and raised and i love it there too. About Paris, i always like to stick around for a week or two when i'm around, but i couldn't compare the two.
What or who is the greatest inspiration in your life?
It's what, and it's women…
The influence of disco is immersed in your music, when did you first get into disco and what are your favourite labels/artists of the era?
Can't remember exactly when it caught fire, but it felt it burn since i started listening to Funk. From the Meters to Funkadelic onto Kool and the gang, Cameo, Skyy and Sylvester. One of the first movies i recorded on VHS was "Trading Places" which has this excellent scene of a party at Eddie's new residence with topless girls getting down to Sylvester's "Do you wanna Funk?"
Let’s go back further in time, I hear the original FUNK in your music as well, talking about New Orleans – Eddie Bo, Allen Toussaint, the Meters etc. How do you feel about New Orleans funk?
I love it, that cajun indian influence. Leo Nocentelli, the guitar-player of the Meters taught me a lot about playing guitar through his style of playing. My father was listening to Professor Longhair a lot when i was young. one of originator of boogie-woogie piano stunting.
Finally, If San Proper were a cocktail, what would the ingredients be?
It would have top-secret ingredients with a hint of lime.
A drink which will make ya wanna dance.
Served in martini-glass with a slice of kiwi and slice of cucumber on the rim.
A drink which will make ya wanna sing…