Hot off the back of ‘Elba’ on his own Sanctuary imprint, Samer Soltan now lands at Renaissance to deliver his debut LP, ‘Solitude’. And what a journey it’s been to get to there, both creative and literally.
Originally hailing from Tunisia, it wasn’t quite two years ago, in the middle of a pandemic, Samer took the brave decision to move to Brussels. “The relocation was two-fold,” he explains, “I had secured a place to study electronic production at college here, but I also knew I had to be in mainland Europe to give my career the best chance of succeeding.”
Once settled, officially qualified and with a legion of admirers and supports that include Dixon, Âme, Denis Horvat, Joris Voorn, John Digweed, Frankey & Sandrino, plus many more, Samer finally turned his hand to that rarest of commodities in dance – an actual LP. “I know they’ve become a bit of a rarity in this digital age,” he continues, “but it’s always been an ambition, just like releasing on Renaissance, which I grew-up listening to. It seemed a very natural realisation bringing the two together.”
We caught up with Samer to talk about his upcoming LP «Solitude» on Renaissance Records, his studio setup, influences, and more.
WWD: Hey Samer, how are you, how does it feel to have your album on the way?
Hello, I am fine. Thank you.First of all thank you for having me for this interview and I feel very excited about my upcoming album release!
WWD: Why did you want to do an LP, what inspired or influenced it?
I wanted to create my LP because it’s a natural progression for any musician to showcase their abilities over a longer format. I was inspired by a wide range of music, from classic Melodic House & Techno and indie dance to modern experimental electronic music.
WWD: Was there a plan for it from the start, did you know how you wanted it to sound? What was the aim generally with it?
Honestly, I had a rough plan from the start, but I allowed the music to evolve and grow organically during the production process. The aim of the album was to showcase his unique sound and style, while also pushing the boundaries of electronic music.
WWD: Any key gear used in the making of it? Does software or hardware define your signature sound?
For Solitude LP I used a combination of software and hardware to create my signature sound like all my productions, Some key pieces of gear included a Roland TR-8 drum machine, Roland sh-4d, and the daw is of course Ableton Live.
WWD: Is the LP a continuation of your usual style or have you switched it up, if so how and why?
The LP is a continuation of my usual style, but I also experimented with different sounds and textures to keep things fresh and interesting for listeners, I am not a prisoner of my own style.
WWD: How did you find the process? Was it fun, torture, eye opening, challenging?
The process of making the album was challenging, but also fun and eye-opening. I enjoyed the creative process of composing and arranging the tracks, as well as the technical process of mixing and mastering the final tracks.
WWD: How much influence does your Tunisian heritage have on your music? Is it important to represent those roots?
My Tunisian heritage has a significant influence on my music, and I try to incorporate traditional Tunisian rhythms and melodies into my electronic compositions with a modern touch. I Believe that’s very important to me to represent my roots in my music so listeners can feel my identity.
WWD: And what impact did moving to Brussels have on your sound and outlook and influences?
Moving to Brussels was a big challenge for me especially because I did it during the pandemic and honestly I feel lucky now because the city exposed me to a new and diverse music scene, which helped to broaden my musical horizons and influence my sound.
WWD: How did you hook up with Renaissance Records for this and what’s it like working with them?
I’ve been a fan of renaissance since my childhood, for me it’s an iconic label, The contact was via Marcus, The label owner, we had a talk to work for an EP via Renaissance Records and the result is 12 tracks compiled into an album, haha. I am very happy to release my first album in my career with Renaissance, it’s a dream come True.
WWD: What else are you working on now the album is done?
Now that the album is done, I am working on new music for my label Sanctuary: The upcoming releases and the plan of some label showcases between Brussels and Jordanie.