DJ Nuno dos Santos (1976) has found a new love he can’t stop talking about. The name of his new love? Producing. Making tracks. Sometimes alone in his Utrecht-based studio, but preferably with someone else. Someone like TJ Kong from Eindhoven, with whom he made Circus Bells for german imprint Compost last year. A single so strong and deep, it caused mayhem on dance floors for months.
To think that Circus Bells started out as a prank, made up during a party in the east. “We wanted to come up with a Brazilian version of Robert Armani’s classic”, laughs Nuno dos Santos, who was born in Portugal born but raised in The Netherlands. The duo made Circus Bells in a single night. When the record dropped a few months later it was quickly picked up by Pete Tong, who made it ‘Essential New Tune’ for his radio show on BBC Radio 1.
Apart from being a dj and a producer Dos Santos makes a living as a graphic designer. With his company Kollektiv he’s responsible for the looks of countless websites, music magazines, books and flyers. Most of them catering towards the dance scene.
Being both producer and designer makes it easy to compare the Utrecht based Nuno dos Santos with Henrik Schwarz. With whom he not only shares a love for deephouse and melodic techno but also shares the combination of both talents. But Dos Santos is eager to discard that comparison. “Schwarz likes both jobs. But I have to admit I’m losing my passion for graphical design more and more. For me, producing music and dj-ing proves a much more rewarding outlet for my creativity.”
So it comes as no surprise Nuno dos Santos in the near future likes to focus on the link between music and art. With a university degree in interaction design under his belt, he already worked together with sound designer and Ableton-specialist Dennis Desantis. Currently Dos Santos is involved in the development of an interactive dancefloor laser installation, together with his close friend and dj-partner Patrice Bäumel & Jarno.
There you have it: dj. A passion that started right after Dos Santos closed his school books at the start of the nineties. His unique talent blossomed and in 2000 Dos Santos was invited for the Red Bull Music Academy in Ireland. Five years later he was voted ‘dj talent of the year’ during the 2005 edition of the prestigious Amsterdam Dance Event. Soon after, his bookings exploded.
For three years now Nuno Dos Santos is resident dj for Full Spectrum, a monthly techno club night in Utrecht with the tag ‘everything goes’. Furthermore he’s been a regular guest at all the big dance festivals in Holland, from Lowlands to Mysteryland, from Extrema Festival to Awakenings. Most important of all, Nuno and Bäumel are hosting their own monthly 360 party’s in the famous club 11 in Amsterdam. In the recent past Apparat, Modeselektor and Akufen found their way to the eleventh floor of that famous(, soon to be closed) club. “360 Says everything about the spectacular view in 11 but it also expresses our musical freedom during our club nights” Dos Santos explains. Whether it is minimal techno, old school Chicago house or an ace remix by LCD Soundystem, “we’re always looking for the boundaries of the dance spectrum.”
Same at home, where Nuno likes to listen to everything between Anthony & The Johnsons, Philip Glass or The Smiths. “I don’t want to limit myself to dance music 24 hours a day. There is so much other good music around”.
Later this year will see the birth of Dos Santos’ first album, released on Compost Records and produced together with the Eindhoven-based producer TJ Kong. Anyone who heard the preceding single ‘Merging’, knows they’re in for something special. Merging was made with the help of house legend Robert Owens, who lended his soulful voice to the warm and pulsating deephouse of the Dutch duo. “It felt so damn good when we hit the right spot with Merging”, remembers Dos Santos. “We were fiddling around in the studio and suddenly it all fell into place. Moments like that are truly special. Almost spiritual, actually.”