Santpoort Interview

Santpoort Interview

Santpoort Interview

We're back with a brand new sample pack, and this time we've teamed up with Dutch producer and sound designer Santpoort. His new pack, 'For Tomorrow' (which you can buy here) was created while he was working on his album, 'Maybe Not Tomorrow.' It features a selection of unique and fascinating sounds that Santpoort collected and recorded.

We also had the opportunity to sit down with Santpoort for a chat about the pack, his new album, his influences, how he got into music, and much more.


Let's take it all the way back to the start. I'd love to hear about the beginnings of your musical journey. When did you first develop an interest in music? And what sparked your curiosity about actually producing music?

My dad gave me a guitar when I was 6, and I was a pretty neurotic, hyperactive kid. I think he wanted to give me something to do with my hands so I wouldn't constantly fiddle with all his stuff, haha. I played for about 3 years until my teacher gave up on me because I was always improvising. Then I played piano for about 4 years until that teacher gave up on me because I wasn’t learning the pieces I was assigned. About a year later, around when I was 14-15, I found software to piece together my improvisations on guitar, piano, and what I would call weird microphone sample doodling. I started to concoct my little creations, which turned out to be the start of my life's work. I realised creating made my brain slow down and scratched the itch of an ever-active brain.

Could you share some details about your studio setup? Do you primarily work 'in the box' with software, or do you also incorporate hardware? Additionally, what are some of your favorite plugins that you find indispensable in your production process?

I LOVE working in the box, even though staring at a screen can be depressing. It’s crazy what you can do inside a computer, especially these days! Since the early days, I've loved having at least one microphone to record the outside world. My setup has expanded to include a lot of outboard gear to flavour the source material that I process inside the box. Nowadays, I use a trusty Rode NT1-A for vocals, guitar, and foley, and a Sennheiser MKH40 for super detailed low-end recordings (Tiny Desk Concert uses that one too). I have a Prophet08, a real 1982 Fender Rhodes MKII, which has been used by Hiatus Kaiyote, Surprise Chef, and Jonti for their live shows or albums. I also have smaller synths like the OP1, Pocket Piano, SP404, SP303, Korg Minilogue, and a Yamaha 4-track for that cassette compression. The most important out-of-the-box gear I have are all the weird objects I've collected over the years: bird whistles, guiro frogs, donut shakers, anything that makes a unique sound.

Software-wise, I simply love Logic Pro and GarageBand. The default library and plugins are phenomenal. Other favourites include Kontakt, Synplant, SketchCassette, OTT, Valhalla, and Soothe. Sometimes I do think less is more, though, haha.

Your new album 'Maybe Not Tomorrow' has just been released. Can you share some insights into the creative process behind it and how it all came together?

Yeah! I grew up in a small town in the Netherlands called Santpoort. Moving to the big city and traveling a lot over the past three years, I've seen a lot of the world. Many places are very polluted, and it’s crazy how out of touch we've become. We forget that we’re animals and should live in a more natural environment, but we've built a concrete jungle around ourselves, full of plastic, steel, and single-use objects. I tried creating an album that sonically incorporates a lot of these objects. Many of these sounds ended up in the sample pack too!

And your sample pack ‘For Tomorrow’ came during the process of making the album, with lots of weird and wonderful sounds in there. Could you describe the process of selecting and recording sounds for the pack?

Absolutely. I love walking around the city at night or in places people tend to avoid because they're dirty and gross. There’s a lot of music in trash and garbage, and I wanted to give these things a second chance to have some musical use. I selected sounds based on the character or texture they could bring to the music. The opener track is based on the rhythm of some escalators inside a train station, and some beats are based on recordings of fences in a big industrial area.

Collaboration is often a key part of your albums. Can you talk about your experience working with other artists and producers? What do you find most rewarding and challenging about these collaborations?

It’s rewarding when you reach the limit of what you can do, and working with someone inspiring helps you go beyond that. My collaborations with Little Green, for example, have always been like this. She has a sensibility in melody and pop structures that I, as a weird beatmaker, would usually discard. It's this combination of unlikely elements that I love, and they work so well when they complement each other. I love working with people who have a similar outlook on the world, especially in multidisciplinary collaborations like with a video director. You speak the same language but use different words and still understand each other.

Who are some of your favourite beatmakers/producers/musicians in the scene right now?

It’s always changing, and there are simply too many incredible artists to count. I feel especially inspired by Kiefer at the moment. I love Scayos and Oatmello too; the way they show their progress is really something. Special shoutout to Stan Forebee, the very first Chillhop artist and one of my best buddies in the scene. We knew each other before our projects started and are both Dutch artists who moved to Australia.

How do you navigate through creative blocks and find inspiration when you feel stuck? Are there any specific things that you do to help inspire that creativity?

Walk! Read! Explore! Whatever you do, don’t go back to the space you are dreading.

Looking back at your career so far, how do you think your sound and approach to music production have evolved? Are there any pivotal moments or projects that significantly influenced your development as a producer?

Yeah. My signature has always been a super detailed textural approach to sound. In 2018, when I started Santpoort, I had a pivotal moment where I simplified my hyper-detailed sound. Between 2004 and 2018, I wrote music under my own name, releasing a cascade of crazy music. I told myself I had to limit my time on each song to just a few hours so they became these little scenes in my head instead of long-winding novels. That was the structure I loved with Santpoort. My most streamed track, "Rolling Down This Lazy Wave," was made on my first-ever YouTube live stream in 2018 and released on Chillhop.

If you had to offer a single piece of advice to someone just beginning their journey in music production, what would that be?

If you’re beginning, you’re beginning. It’s not work; it’s a way of living and self-care in terms of mental health. It might be something you want to pursue eventually, but it will beat the living crap out of you if you make it your primary motivation. I’ve ended up making music for 20 years now with the computer purely because it has helped me through hard times and balanced out my anxiety.

And finally, if you could executive produce an album for any artist, living or dead, who would you choose? And why?

Damon Albarn of Gorillaz. I think it would write itself, even though he’s probably a way better producer than I could ever be, haha. I would learn a lot from him.

A big thanks to Santpoort for giving us a glimpse into his world. His new pack ‘For Tomorrow’ is available to buy here. You can check out his new album ‘Maybe Not Tomorrow’ on Spotify, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.