The Dutch producer who made a name for himself by way of his major collaboration “Epic” with Quintino back in 2011 took some time to sit down with the MMIBTY crew a few months back to talk producing, being a young producer, standing out in a sea of Dutch producers and making friends with home-turf heroes Tiesto and Laidback Luke. Sandro Silva is certainly a DJ on the rise and has been gaining followers as he traveled the globe this summer playing festivals like Tomorrowland and hitting several stops on the Mixmash North American tour, where we got to catch up with him. In recent news, his single “Payback” was just released on Beatport earlier this week on Hardwell‘s Revealed Recordings – marking a major leap for the producer. Check it out below and click through to read our full interview.
MMIBTY: A lot of people think your name is actually Sandro Silva… How did you come up with the name?
Sandro Silva: I know. Well, Sandro’s my first name and my last name is something really, really different from Silva – it’s really Dutch – so I thought, like, Silva. It just popped up and I was like, “OK, let’s do that.” It’s short and simple, I think.
MMBITY: It’s no secret there’s a lot of Dutch producers out there. How do you set yourself apart and what do you find yourself doing to separate yourself from the crowd?
SS: You know, it’s really hard because there are so many Dutch producers that you really have to be unique. I think I found a way to do that by kind of creating a new genre basically. Everyone is doing a really hard kind of sound and [creating that] was my goal.
MMBITY: So you think [your collaboration with Quintino] “Epic” is the reason for this huge surge in that kind of sound?
SS: Yeah, for the harder genre, yeah. There are so many tracks that are sounding the same [as “Epic”] these days. Kaskade even posted a mix of all the copycats of “Epic” – it’s crazy.
MMBITY: Well, they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Do you feel flattered to hear your sound imitated and copied?
SS: These songs are being released by quite big labels so it’s surprising. I think it mostly comes down to a lack of creativity.
MMBITY: As far as producing that track and the sound, what was the process like working with Quintino? Was it very collaborative?
SS: Well, we came up with the idea to do the record in Miami at WMC two years ago. Then when I was home [in the Netherlands], I was in the studio and I basically made like 90% of the track already and Quintino’s people came with the melody – the break melody – and I put it down in the track and it worked perfectly. I sent it to Tiesto first and he signed it.
MMBITY: Did you have a prior relationship with Tiesto prior to sending him the track?
SS: Yeah, I met him about four years ago. He’s such a good guy. He’s really supportive; he really helps the your Dutch guys, the young producers.
MMIBTY: So is the Dutch scene like a brotherhood in that sense?
SS: Yes and no. There are, like, camps between Dutch DJ’s. You have the Afrojack camp, you have the Laidback Luke camp, all these different camps. But it’s not always a bad thing. It keeps the scene moving and competitive.
MMBITY: How did you and Oliver Twizt end up in the same camp, so to speak? I know he comes from more of a hip-hop background and you come from more of a club background, so how did that relationship form?
SS: Well we have the same management, for one. I met him like five years and he’s such a good guy and we were on the same line. Since then, we’ve always kept in contact and stayed friends – he’s a really good friend too.
MMIBTY: You grew up with a musical background as a piano player. How did it come about when Laidback Luke took you under his wing?
SS: Basically, I sent him my first tracks and he signed one of them to his label Mixmash and I kept on always sending him tracks [after that].
MMIBTY: So he’s kind of like a mentor? Gives you advice?
SS: Yeah, exactly. He always gives me feedback. If I ever need help with DJ’ing or whatever, he’s always there. Really, really humble guy. He’s very successful and he wants to share it with all the young guys.
MMBITY: You played Tomorrowland and are scheduled to play at Tommorowworld next week. Is there any talk amongst the DJ’s about what could be different or what to expect stateside versus in Europe.
SS: I’m really excited to see how the states, especially Atlanta, is going to be. I’ve never played Atlanta. It’s very new for me; obviously, Tomorrowland has been there for years and this is the first time in the US so it’s really exciting. The place is really far for a lot of people, I think, but I hope it’s gonna be good. I hope the vibe is going to be the same as Tomorrowland. It’s definitely going to be different because at Tomorrowland, it’s people from all over Europe in Belgium and at Tommorowworld, it’s going to be mostly Americans. That’s going to be crazy though because Americans know how to party.
MMBITY: What’s been a standout moment for you so far in your career? You’re young, obviously, but any highlights between touring, producing, anything else?
SS: Yeah, I think the platinum record we got in Holland and Belgium [for “Epic”], that was a big dream for me. We sold like 40,000 copies in Holland and 50,000 in Belgium and I was 20. I was like “Whoa, is this happening?” Touring wise, I have done so many amazing gigs, so many amazing shows. Like, I did EDC last year in Vegas and it was amazing. I’m a producer so tracking on the charts, getting record sales excites me the most, because it takes so much effort.
MMIBTY: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t producing music?
SS: Wow, that’s a hard question. I think I would be starting some kind of business from home. I’ve never really thought about it: I was producing at 16 and starting my career at 18 so I was really young and [producing] was always there. When I finished high school, I didn’t want to do anything more – just pursue the music. My parents gave me that chance. My parents are really, really supportive.
MMIBTY: Besides “Epic,” what are some other releases you’re really proud of?
SS: Well, we have a really amazing release coming up, “Puma,” this week on Spinnin’. And “Payback” – that, I think, is gonna be a huge record. It’s gonna be out on Hardwell’s label and after that we’re gonna have a track on Calvin Harris’ label.
MMBITY: Your sound is agreed to be quite hard. Do you ever think of producing or doing a set of something different, like deep house or tech house?
SS: People expect a certain thing from me in my sets, so I have to give them what they want to hear. But as I progress my sound, I have considered doing something completely different – maybe a like a deep house sound with the harder drops. Maybe some tech house, I love tech house. But you have to play what people want. You have a lot of stories, like the one with Calvin Harris, where the girl up front is yelling at him to play ‘real music’ and even though he is playing good stuff, it isn’t always what the crowd wants to hear.
MMIBTY: Lastly, do you think there’s any ceiling for dance music? A limit to how big it can get or how far it can go?
SS: I don’t really think so. The US had hip-hop before, and now it’s EDM, but I think it’s gonna last for a really long time. It’s still growing.