Valhalla Festival: Santé Talks Playing in Amsterdam, Label Business and Berlin Crowds

7 December 2016 16:09

Berlin-based producer Santé has had a busy 2016. As well as guiding his record label Avotre through its fifth year and recording a debut Essential Mix with good friend Sidney Charles, he has been playing shows across the globe; including a busy summer in Ibiza that featured a memorable appearance at the closing party for legendary club Space. 

On 17th December he heads to Amsterdam to play at Valhalla Festival, so we caught up with him to see what he's been up to, and what he's looking forward to in 2017.


You recently released your new Bring Back EP. What has the reaction been like so far? 

Well it’s a track I produced back in summer and I’ve been playing it out in clubs for a while, I played it a lot in Ibiza. I was really pleased with the reaction that it got from crowds and from DJs.

Obviously I’m not expecting it to be a number one record or whatever, but I’m really pleased with the response to it, especially from other DJs.



You also recently released an EP from Avotre’s newest signing Katja. Could you tell us a bit about her, how did you find out about her music?

It must have been about a year and a half ago, she sent me some demos of her stuff and I really liked it. I actually sent her a message back saying 'who produced this for you?’ and she was really offended and upset – ‘why can’t a woman be a good producer!?’.

So I apologised and said, you know, ‘it’s not quite ready yet but keep sending me stuff’. So she did and when I heard the recent track I thought ‘this is my cup of tea’, and it’s the right time for us to put it out on the label, so that’s what we’ve done.



Is there anything else we should look out for coming up on Avotre?

The big one is an album from me called House Lessons coming out early next year. It’s a mix of tracks and remixes by me.

Sidney Charles did one a while back, Russ Yallop did one, and now it’s my turn to put one out on the label.


I’ve previously seen you quoted as saying you want the Avotre brand to extend to your own nights or even a festival. Is that still an ambition?

Yeah it’s still an aim of mine, but I want to do it right rather than just having label nights with me and maybe one other person playing.

I want to build it so we have a big lineup of everyone associated with the label, so not just me and Sidney but people like Patrick Topping who did a remix of one of Sidney’s tracks. Rather than having an event like every week with two DJs it would be good to build some bigger, more special events.

But obviously that can be difficult to arrange with everyone’s schedules.



You’ve worked a lot with Sidney Charles now. How did you two first meet?

It wasn’t too dissimilar to Katja, he was sending me his music and I really liked it. So yeah we put some stuff out on the label. Right from the very beginning he’s been a big part of the label. And he’s still doing some A&R work for us. 

When he moved to Berlin a few years back – he’s from Hamburg originally – he ended up living on the same street as me so we became neighbours. And the rest is history.


How was it recording an Essential Mix with him for Radio 1 earlier this year?

Yeah it was really exciting. For me having an Essential Mix is still a big deal. So we thought really hard about it, and actually recorded about 7 different mixes.

We wanted to make something that really showed what we’re about, but that wasn’t too club focused. So it was quite a tricky experience, but it was great.



At Valhalla Festival you’ll be playing B2B with him. That must all come pretty naturally to you guys now?

Yeah of course. We play quite a lot of sets together, especially in Ibiza.

We enjoy playing together but of course we have to be quite selective about where we play B2B sets, so that we don’t do them every week. They still have to be special. And also we’re not a duo, we are two separate artists, and we don’t want people to forget that.

But as long as it’s for a special occasion, and also when we get a long enough set, it’s fine. Ideally B2Bs should be like 3 or 4 hours so that you can make it really special rather than only getting to play like 10 records each.


You’ll be returning to Amsterdam for the festival, a place you’ve obviously been to loads. Any particularly fond memories of the city?

Firstly it’s a really beautiful city, I love visiting.

I feel like the promoters in the Netherlands are really on point, they know exactly what they’re doing. And with festivals like this they really put the effort in to making the staging really impressive, and just making everything really easy for us.

But in terms of memories of Amsterdam I’m struggling, because I always end up getting hammered when I visit!



How does playing in Amsterdam compare with playing in, say, Berlin or Ibiza? Is there much difference?

In terms of the music I play it doesn’t really change that much. I think in terms of Ibiza, it’s the weather that makes the difference. I think in general when the weather’s nice and it’s warm, people are happier. So in Ibiza that means the music in general has a more euphoric feel.

Berlin is this hub of electronic music but it’s definitely not my favourite place to play. I think because everyone is so focused on ‘what are the new tracks the DJ is playing? What’s this one coming in?’, they’re too focused on that side of things and don’t always let loose and have a good time.

I think they’re maybe a bit spoiled. That’s probably the right word.

That’s just my opinion of course, there are some great places in Berlin but for me it’s not my favourite.


Finally, what are your hopes for 2017?

[laughing] A number one record! No I’m joking of course.

Just to carry on with how things have been going so far really, keep working hard and putting out music.

We’ve got a South America/Asia tour in the pipeline. then of course Ibiza which I think people are already in negotiations for; obviously I can’t say anything about that now but if that works out I’ll be really happy.

Basically if 2017 is as good for me as 2016 has been I’ll be really happy. And of course I want to stay healthy, that’s the main thing.


Santé will play at Valhalla Festival in Amsterdam on 17th December. Book your tickets and packages here, and see our guide for more information. 


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