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Nuno Do Santos: ‘It was fully intentional to present the music in a way that felt compelling to me’

The Portugal-born Dutch national has a cheeky charm about him that is difficult to escape and that works so well in his favor when taking control of the decks. Whether it’s running his own label Something Happening Somewhere, producing music, or DJing, you can feel that Nuno is utterly in love with what he does.

Former resident of Amsterdam’s TROUW club Nuno Do Santos recently released his latest EP ‘Trigonometry of Love’, aligned to this we had the chance to exchange thoughts with him.

EG: Hey Nuno, thanks for talking with us… Where do we find you today?

Nuno Do Santos: Thanks. I’m renovating my studio actually. I just got a new floor which I just put in, so today I’m putting back in all my gear and reconnecting everything. I just bought a Yocto 808 clone, which is supposed to sound really really good and almost indistinguishable from the original. I bought it recently when a friend of mine was going to get one, but since I was touring quite a lot and I was renovating the studio I haven’t found the time to try it out yet! I’m super excited to get back in the studio and just connecting the Yocto up with my SH-10, this should keep me busy for a few nights.

EG: You’re fresh back from the Something Happening Somewhere Label showcase in New York. The US debut for the label parties. How did it go?

Nuno Do Santos: It was pretty amazing to be honest! The vibe was really good, which is always the thing that I find most important. Besides this, the guys from Fiction NYC with whom we hosted the night are really sweet and definitely great hosts! They really pulled it off with a great production, venue, sound and audience wise, it was all top-notch. Add to this killer sets by Love Over Entropy and Baikal and you’ll get something which felt quite special. Looking forward to working with them again in the future!

EG: Do you think the old Rock ‘n Roll adage of needing to ‘break America’ holds any weight for European labels and parties in our industry today?

Nuno Do Santos: There is quite a healthy and upcoming underground scene in America, so it’s nice to see a bit more crossover and interest in music like the stuff we do, but I don’t think it will make or break an artist.

“There is quite a healthy and upcoming underground scene in America”

EG: Your homeland, Holland, has a deep and sprawling history of electronic mu-sic in almost every genre. You also have a thriving club scene and appear to have one of the most liberal and forward-thinking societies today. Do you think the rest of the world could learn a thing or two from looking at how your country operates?

Nuno Do Santos: I would say that the grass always looks greener on the other side. I mean, it might appear to be quite liberal to some standards or looking from outside countries, but at the same time the most right wing party has just gained more votes during the last elections, two weeks back and there is still a lot of room for improvement and progress I would say. We do have a pretty healthy ‘clubbing’ and festival scene, in some cities, we even have a night mayor who his primary focus is to represent the cities nightlife. This all helps with some of the more open and progressive aspects since these environments are naturally places to evoke the more liberal side within people. When I look at something as simple as getting a permit for your festival or club, it’s a lot harder in for example the United States. Here in The Netherlands that’s handled a lot better I think, maybe even better than surrounding countries like Germany or France. It’s probably because our country is quite the control freak, which has its up-and-down sides ?

EG: Something Happening Somewhere is now 11 releases deep, with a strong reputation for its quality output and excellent vinyl artworks. Was it always the plan to present something more tangible, with a focus beyond the music and on the package as a whole?

Nuno Do Santos: As you say, it’s exactly the idea behind releasing music in this way instead of putting more stuff on the endless digital. It was fully intentional to present the music in a way that felt compelling to me, a form where the music is enhanced by the artwork and everything surrounding the release. There must be a story of some kind that people can connect with and hopefully, in this way will result in something worth having in your collection.

EG: Dixon’s Retouch of Love Over Entropy’s 2015 single ‘Tonii’, was a hit for the label. How did that hook up come about?

Nuno Do Santos: It all happened pretty organically, it definitely wasn’t like we were thinking ‘let’s ask Dixon to do a remix’. After Love over Entropy’s first release on SoHaSo, which got played quite a lot by guys like Dixon, Âme, Mano Le Tough, etc. I think they kept an eye out for his new stuff. Because when I posted something online about having just been blown away by the new Love over Entropy demo’s I got a message from Dixon asking if I could send it his way. For a time, there was an intention to do a proper Innervisions release, but it didn’t fully work out in the end. Since he was a big fan of the music he offered to do a remix for Love over Entropy’s new SoHaSo release instead, and that’s the story basically… These things don’t get planned as much as people often think.

EG: The label already has an impressive roll call of artists – The Drifter, Locked Groove, Love Over Entropy, Kiani & His Legion, Chymera, Melon & more. Yet no Nuno Dos Santos. Until now. Your ‘Trigonometry Of Love’ EP has just dropped. A deep, intricate and elegant EP. Tell us a little about it and why we had to wait so long for a release.

Nuno Do Santos: I was producing music all the time but I had some troubles finishing my demo’s. There was a moment where I just got my act together and felt like it was time to finish my EP. It’s also the reason why it has become quite personal, with quite a lot of stuff happening in my life and these emotions seeping in the music. I was going through a phase of finishing stuff and thinking it wasn’t good enough and I was putting it off to properly finish it. Then there was this moment where I was in a good place and had the motivation to engage again. I wanted to have four tracks and I wanted to make it even more personal by having my dad co-create the cover artwork. He used to be a photographer and is working inside graphic design, nowadays and he had all these black and white photos from the 70’s which I really loved. I found a photo of an art installation in Lisbon which was called Trigonometry of Love. The title, as well as the photo, felt completely fitting to the story of the record which has a lot to do with my personal relationships in life. I got a lot of energy from finishing this EP, I’m also about to finish a lot more stuff and spending more and more time in the studio lately. Expect a lot more music coming out pretty soon!

There was a moment where I just got my act together and felt like it was time to finish my EP

EG: Having taken Something Happening Somewhere to the States, what and where is next for the events side of the label over the coming months?

Nuno Do Santos: On the event side we have a SoHaSo label night coming up in Beirut with Love Over Entropy and myself. Other than that we’re going to do more label nights here in Utrecht, and then there’s, of course, events like ADE. Can’t tell you a lot more about it all, but that’s basically what’s happening in the next few months.

EG: We’re now into the label’s fourth year, are there any grand release plans ahead of this summer?

Nuno Do Santos: A few months back we celebrated our third anniversary with all of the SoHaSo artists which was great! It’s very nice to see everyone together on the same night and there’s this feeling of a family, which reaches beyond just being a music label. For the coming months, we have a kind of mini-album coming up with Kiani & His Legion, a pretty elaborate new edition of the SOMEWHERE compilation series, and also an EP with Polynation.

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