ONE of the UK’s most prolific and successful artists, Serge Santiago is one of the few people who has achieved enviable success over the last 15 years across multiple projects – whether that’s as one half of Waze & Odyssey, Retro/Grade or Radio Slave, or solo under his own name.
Serge certainly hasn’t slowed down though, quite the opposite – August 2019 saw the re-release of his 2005 Italo classic ‘Atto D’Amore’ to mark the return of his solo project and a new home with the iconic SKINT Records. ‘Krayzee’ followed shortly after and is his first original production in several years – it’s been getting some serious heat from the industry’s leading tastemakers so we couldn’t refuse the opportunity to catch up with Serge and find out what’s behind this new lease of life…
You’ve recently put Serge Santiago back in the mix as a solo artist – what was the decision behind that?
I never really stopped to be honest – other projects took over for a bit, but I kept writing. To me it’s a little unfinished business as I‘ve got a load of gems ready for release and I’m itching to get them out there.
Your new single, Krayzee, is getting some incredible support – how would you sum it up to someone who hasn’t heard it?
Thanks, yeah it’s had loads of love. From worldwide to local support; friends I’ve not heard from for time, to regulars patting me on the back, HA! Tong showing love, Claptone, Andrea Oliva, Richie Hawtin, Nic Fanciulli etc. It makes it all worth it. What really matters though is watching people dance to it, I mean that’s why you make music – that’s the magic. I suppose you have a ‘Phew’ moment in your head, secretly saying to yourself ‘it works!’. How to describe it though? The sound is subtly huge – a real energy rise and release.
Is that sound indicative of the kind of music we can hear from you moving forward?
Yes, but I’m not a one trick pony. I do love the containment of energy in music though, with the idea of moving it around to then release it at the perfect timing. It’s easy to add drops in your records and pound it back in, something which I’ve done many times. The real skill is holding a sound and playing with it… *wink wink*.
You kicked off this new era with the re-release of one of your classic tracks, Atto D’Amore – we first saw that one in 2005 and the industry has evolved considerably in the 14 years since, do you find it easy to embrace those changes?
The industry is an ever-moving machine, performing figure eights all the time. It’s better to be on the ride and embrace all the changes it has to offer before it’s back to the ground again. Remember, I’ve been with other acts/projects and dealing with the movement of the industry all these years, so I wasn’t worried at all. I know how it works!
You’ve achieved a huge amount in that time through your other projects – have those experiences influenced the way you’ve approached the relaunch of your Serge Santiago project?
Oh, very much so. I’ve learnt a lot within the industry. You still have to approach it in your own way though – I can’t use the same tactics we use for Waze & Odyssey for Serge Santiago. Goal posts shift for each project. I’m working with some lovely people at Skint and BMG who guide and direct gently.
You’ve spent a lot of your career as part of various duos – what are the pros and cons compared to working solo?
Being in a duo, you get to share every aspect of the job together. From writing and touring, to personal life. Solo is a journey too and something that you make every decision for, good or bad. You can’t blame anyone else. Ha!
It feels like your brand is everything these days – would you advise new DJs and producers to focus on building one identity or can they still achieve the same success releasing under different names?
My advice is to start one thing, do it well and make it grow. Don’t start loads at once. My projects were started one at a time with real focus. The reason it looks like loads is because it’s been over a 15-year period.
Do you think successful artists have a responsibility to help promote the next generation?
Oh yes. It’s amazing to see an endless list of new producers show what they can do. It’s a pleasure to hear their version of house, techno etc – it breathes fresh air into the industry. But at the same time, it’s good to have all the old guard doing their jobs too.
Returning to your own music, what are you working on to follow-up Krayzee? Anything you can share?
Nothing I can share yet. But I am very excited with this next era of music. I’m doing some edits of some classics, and I’m being remixed myself too by some great artists. We’re really pushing a brand and path for a massive future too. You’re just gonna have to wait!
And finally – anything else we need to know about Serge Santiago and your plans for the next few months?
It’s time to keep your ear to ground. I’m fully barricaded up in the studio at the moment writing. Once I’m ready to DJ this project out you’ll know about it. For now though, I’m just happy people are very much into it.
Serge Santiago – Krayzee is out now on Skint Records. For more info head to Serge’s Facebook page.