Local Rockstars: Tom Trago & San Proper present The Fountain of Youth

Local Rockstars: Tom Trago & San Proper present The Fountain of Youth

Aug 31, 2011 |  by  |  Event, Music
Who wrote this?
Rob is 28 (but needs his beard to actually look like it), loves music, adventures and spontaneous people. His scribblings are about these things too, so if you share his interests, stay tuned!

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an über geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.

This week I had a chat with Tom Trago and San Proper about their sound, their new night in Trouw, Amsterdam’s nightlife and what they think will be the next big thing.

San Proper about Tom Trago
“Tom Trago is one of the most exciting artists currently producing house music here in Amsterdam. He has just released an album, actually comes from hip-hop (as a DJ years ago), and is now a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. He makes great music that really is too broad to categorize. I do not want to stick too many feathers up his ass, but he is certainly one of the most inspiring people in my life, and above all he is just a very good producer. He performs a lot and makes an important contribution to Amsterdam’s scene as both a producer and a DJ.”

Tom Trago about San Proper
“For me, San Proper is a living legend. And he was already before I even met him six years ago; I already knew his name and the myth around him. I believe that few people in Amsterdam nightlife have never heard his name mentioned. When I came out of hip-hop, where I no longer felt inspired, I started exploring other kinds of dance music. This led me to San. The music he represents is very sincere and has connections with house, techno and disco, but doesn’t actually fit in any of those boxes. He also swims against the tide; when I met him all these genres were not ‘in’ like they are now. For me, he is the most inspirational DJ from Amsterdam of the past five years.”

What started out as helping each other out by listening to a few beats and giving feedback has since grown into a friendship where both would never release a track without the other checking it out first, and a two-man band called The Dirt Machine. A defining moment in the San Proper & Tom Trago story is a trip they took to Brazil. They didn’t know each other that well yet, but 17 Brazilian days later both a memory which San still emotionally recalls weekly and the first Dirt Machine track were born.

The Fountain of Youth

San Proper: “Music. It makes us move like creatures in the night do ever since the dawn of time. The dance and the mating ritual. The question is how to maintain this energy as long as possible, and the issue has been limiting us because of time, age and fatigue. Many have been searching the globe to solve this problem for years. How to stay young and fertile?”

“The answer and solution has recently presented itself with the help of San Proper & Tom Trago, during recent reconstruction in the dungeon of ‘De Verdieping’. From the depth of Amsterdam emerged the spring of eternal life! Which now gives us all the opportunity to stay young forever while it lasts. The sparkle and shine of fortune at the bottom of the well invites you to make your pick, and choose your cup of life, to drink from THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH as we celebrate this with the finest washed out house-music presented by yours truly.”

“The first public session of holy cleansing will occur at ‘De Verdieping’ on the night of the 3rd of September 2011.”

What is The Fountain of Youth?
San Proper: “A new night where we can showcase our house sound in Amsterdam. The San Proper & Tom Trago sound. We are both producing and releasing a lot and our sounds fit together well; we are both house producers with a big link with disco. The name comes from the saga of the Fountain of Youth. During the construction works in Trouw in the previous month an actual water spring was found below De Verdieping.”

Tom Trago: “For me, the name also has something to do with the effect of music on people. Music keeps people young, and the night has always been something that belongs to young people. A night like this also gives us a blank canvas to launch our sound to the public in Amsterdam again. We have both had international success in the previous years, and thanks to a few joint releases we are often known as a duo of like-minded producers in Europe. In Amsterdam this connection isn’t as strong yet because people often know us both for our individual work and gigs. Olaf and Job from Trouw, who follow what happens in Europe well, wanted to give our synergy as a duo a stage in Amsterdam.”

Tom tells me there are a bunch of international artists they might invite in the future, but only as personal friends and not to just draw in a lot of people. The point is to create something unique in de Verdieping based around their sound. Not to support another artist or a bigger party in Trouw’s big room upstairs. Visual artist Meeus van Dis will support the guys with a visual show, but the details of this are still very much a secret.

the Fountain Of Youth part1 by SAN PROPER


You have both been active in Amsterdam for a while. What do you think about it right now?
Tom Trago: “I think Amsterdam is doing very well. The many travelling has shown me that the diversity and depth on offer in Amsterdam isn’t any less than the nights in London, Berlin or Paris. The level of professionalism in Amsterdam is comparable to anything I’ve seen anywhere, except for Japan. The sound systems and programmes here are of the highest level.”

San Proper: “There’s no week that I’m free where it is possible to stay at home during the night. I have at least four things to do every weekend. A lot is happening, new clubs are coming, Roest has just opened, and etcetera.”

Tom Trago: “There is a lot of space for new initiatives in Amsterdam too. New space for the next generation is always created in a good way. Young kids always have something new to say, they think they can do it better, and that’s a good thing. In Paris, for example, this doesn’t happen at all. Also, everyone has a broad education here, no-one grew up hearing just one sound, Amsterdam is simply too small for anyone to stay stuck in just one niche.”

What are the next big things in Amsterdam?
Tom Trago: “The guys from Colors were very early with the new UK sound and they are all very enthusiastic and driven with their concept. I can see them develop it a lot more and host a lot of festival stages for example. An artist I really like is Makam. He just did really well at Lowlands in front of a lot of people. He has been doing very well in the last 6 months, with a lot of gigs abroad. With a few more good records I can see him break trough internationally.”

San Proper: “I still think of Dekmantel as important innovators here. The second edition of their festival Het Kabinet is coming up and they take things to the next level with music, art and film all coming together.”

Tom Trago:Tom Ruijg’s live set also blew me away recently. He played just before me at Welcome to the Future too and I’ve seen him make big jumps forward. Just like Makam he has his own sound and I can see him go abroad in the next few years.”

Tom Trago & San Proper

Photography by Tamar Weenen

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