Bubbling beneath the tech-house surface since 2007, Berlin-based Sante is set to conquer the global dancefloor in 2013. After crossing the Ts and dotting the Is on his latest remix of Dino Lenny’s “West End Girls,” Sante (aka Philip Maier) had a moment to catch up with Beatport News and discuss today’s Track of the Day, his humble beginnings, and what we can all look forward to in 2013.
Tell us a little about your musical upbringing. Were you entirely self-taught? What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up? What instruments do you play?
I am still a big fan of The Cure, Talking Heads, and New Order. This was the kind of music I listened to when I was younger and I still love these bands. I started playing guitar at the age of 15, but at the same time I got more and more into electronic music and I really fell in love with it. Maybe this is why I am DJing today and not playing in an indie band. You get so much more opportunities as a solo artist, musically. You can experiment and find your own sound.
Your recent and past productions on 8bit, Desolat, and Defected explore every stylistic corner of house and techno, and there sure are a lot of them. How do you usually find inspiration for a new track or project, and what is your favorite digital environment to work in?
It depends a bit on which mood I am in. When I am coming from a great weekend with good gigs then I am mostly in the peak-time techno mood, because I am still stoked from the reactions of the crowd. Then on the other hand, there are some days where I am more melancholic or relaxed, so then it could get more into deep house. So, there are no boundaries for me in music and genre. I also have my laptop, Logic, and Ableton with me everywhere I go, so I can [work] in the hotel room. There have been many ideas made on the road and finished in the studio later.
While all of your productions feature your signature underground sound, they all also display a certain distinctive quality that help them slip into the catalog of the label they’ve been made for. How do you maintain such a consistent but ever-evolving sound?
First of all, it’s groove music made for the dancefloor, so this is my main focus when I do a track—that it will bring enough energy to make people dance or get crazy.
When you get a call for remix duties on a track, what are you usual first steps? How much of the original do you keep intact, and what elements do you tend to rework entirely?
When I get the call for a remix, I listen to the original and there should be at least one element which catches my whole attention. Out of this element I start to build a new song. It doesn’t matter what it is—a vocal, chord, or melody—it just has to lead me to a new track.
Your remix of Dino Lenny’s monster “West End Girls” on Strictly takes a much darker turn than his original rework of the Pet Shop Boys’ tune. How did you choose this headier flavor for what will certainly be one of the stand-out tracks of the coming months?
I really loved the vocal, and as you can hear, Dino is saying the word “underground.” When I chopped the vocal at the right tempo for me, I started to build the bassline around that. It said “underground,” so I tried to do an old-school kind of Chicago-inspired track.
What’s your live/DJ set up usually like?
I am going to play with two Pioneer CDJ-2000s, an Allen & Heath mixer, and I use a Mini Kaoss Pad for the effects, because you can bring so much energy to the dancefloor when you are using the right effect at the right time.
After your huge 2012, we’re expecting lots more this year. What can we look forward to?
Gig-wise, I am really looking forward to my first Brazilian and Australian tour; hopefully it will work out. I have a couple of Avotre showcases with my boys, too. We have one at Rhythmatic on February 2, which I am really looking forward to. It’s the first time we’ll be bring Avotre to London! Release-wise, there are a few coming… There will be a new Cocoon track, one for the 100th compilation; a new one on Sci + Tec; and currently working on a new 8bit release. I’ve also started working on my first artist album, which I have been really enjoying. It’s due for release later this year, so we will see—it’s been a lot of fun experimenting and working with lots of different people.
Catch Sante tomorrow at the Avotre Label Showcase at Rhythmatic tomorrow night (February 2nd) in London.