It’s fair to say that Serge Santiago had a mighty fine musical schooling. As a resident of the seminal Brighton club night Stompaphunk he learnt how to work a dance floor as DJ. He took those skills into the studio and taught himself how to make records that always work on a dance floor from the underground to the charts, through House, Disco, Italo and Techno. Twenty years on from those heady days he’s only getting better at it.
Around 2012 another collaborative project started to make waves. Waze & Odyssey with Firas Waez went on a highly prolific run of outstanding underground records that caught the zeitgeist and ended up at the top of the charts with Bump & Grind in 2014. A string of club hits followed along with DJ dates around the world. But Serge, as always, had his eye on the next phase of his musical career and started thinking about his solo work as Serge Santiago.
By a strange twist of fate Damian Harris, founder of Brighton’s Skint Records returned to the label, as a long term friend and fan of Atto D’Amore he wanted to sign the track to help define the ethos of Skint 2.0. He was also keen for Serge to join the gang and make him some new tracks. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and sparked another wave of creativity and dance floor excellence.
Fast forward to 2020 the so-called year of doom and Serge Santiago might just be our knight in shining armour with his re-emergence as a solo artist. As such, we thought what better time to welcome him into our Introducing series.
So when we say “introducing” Serge Santiago we are lying slightly. This is a project that you ‘rested’ back in 2011. Why do you feel now is a good time to re-introduce the project?
There was always the feeling of unfinished business with Serge Santiago. I write a lot of music and it has to fit somewhere. Waze & Odyssey or Serge Santiago. It’s really good to have multiple outlets and the freedom to do so.
Back when you originally started your Serge Santiago project you were a resident at the world-famous Space Ibiza. Do you think the era of super clubs is coming to an end or do party people prefer more unique, one-off venues?
I think it’s always rotating which keeps it interesting for whoever attends. There’s a different experience in each type of involvement. From big club to small club, from festival to garden party, from bedrooms to house party. If you want to be a part of the club scene, you’ve got to have hit them all.
Serge Santiago was responsible for a lot of Italo-Disco some of which was released via your Arcobaleno label. Is the future all Italo Disco or can we expect to see a wide variety of sounds coming out of the Studios?
The idea is to make people dance with whatever sounds/tools have inspired you over time. Teach yourself to be into more types of music. Only then can you move forward in a positive way.
Coronavirus is a hot topic at the moment. How damaging an effect to you think it will have on the electronic industry? Have you been affected personally?
Yes, but thankfully no one in my family has been affected by the actual virus. We’re having to find the positives within the situation. All my gigs have been cancelled but this gives me more time with my family and more time to be in the studio. My heart goes out to whoever has had a loved one passed away by this.
Can you tell us about a story, moment, memory where you were totally in awe of another DJ or artist?
It was a local DJ actually. In my home town of Brighton. DJ Nikki. She played New NRG at the time. This was years ago. I was asked earlier in the day by my mates if I wanted to go to a rave in the old Bupa building. Of course, I agreed and as the day went on I started to get hammered, the party was on the 7th floor so we all had to queue in the stairwell to get in. when we got to the right floor and entered the moment just washed over me. I mean I’d seen DJs in clubs many times before, but this was different. Proper ravers raving and one person, DJ Nikki controlling it. It’s then I wanted to be a DJ and never changed my view. I’ve just added a load more strings to my bow. I had a load of her mixtapes and used to have them on repeat.
Finally, if Serge Santiago could play any dance floor past or present b2b with another artist who would it be and why?
Easy. Larry Levan but in the mid-80s though; just as it was turning house. Just before Paradise Garage shut. I have a set like this on my SoundCloud.