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Wednesday 01st, August 2007
Sander Van Doorn interview

Dutch superstar DJ Sander van Doorn has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, in a few short years become one of the most in demand DJs on the planet. Ahead of his appearances at both legs of South West 4 in London and Cardiff this August Bank Holiday, we caught up with him for his first ever t.nu interview.

Sander van Doorn is a dance music phenomenon, shooting from seemingly nowhere to become one of the most in demand DJs on the planet. With tight tech-trance productions like ‘Dark Roast’ and ‘Punk’d’ he quickly established himself as a producer of unique talent. This year though has seen him reach new levels. At the beginning of the year he released the genre-bending ‘Grasshopper’ – an utterly individual minimal-tech-house-hybrid that brought him to a whole new audience of DJs and clubbers. He has followed that up with further club smashes ‘By Any Demand’, ‘King Of My Castle’ and ‘Riff’ and has seen him playing more gigs worldwide than seems humanly possible. His enthusiastic, club-rocking blend of tech, house and trance has won him a legion of fans and he just seems to get bigger by the day. Ahead of him playing both South West Four London and Cardiff on the August Bank Holiday, we caught up with the devastating Dutchman for his first ever trance.nu interview...

t.nu: Hi Sander, how are you and what have you been up to recently?

SvD: I’m very well, I’ve been really busy in the studio lately and besides that of course on the road a lot!

t.nu: You’re playing both the London and Cardiff legs of the South West 4 festival this year, after rocking the afterparty at Brixton Academy last year, are you looking forward to playing the main event this time round?

SvD: Absolutely! Brixton Academy was simply fantastic last year although we were supposed to do SW4 that day which we couldn’t combine with Mysteryland in Holland in the end. This year we can so I’m definitely looking forward to that one!

t.nu: You’ve had a bit of time off last month to get on with a bit of studio work, can you tell us what the results of that are – rumour has it there is a Sander van Doorn album on the horizon...

SvD: Actually that’s more fact than rumour. I was able to produce a lot of new stuff in May and starting June so one thing lead to another and I can tell you that the near future is looking very bright for releasing my very first album.

t.nu: You’ve changed your production style remarkably this year, after people had thought they had worked out the Sander van Doorn sound, you came out with ‘Grasshopper’. Why did you decide to try out these new styles?

SvD: Well…why not? For me producing is about finding a challenge and to be honest I felt challenged a lot after doing a lot of remixing and producing the Arctic Monkeys bootleg. Grasshopper for me started off as an experiment producing at a lower BPM and trying to come up with an idea that would serve both the trance DJs as well as house, electro, progressive and techno DJs. When we discovered that this was indeed possible for me that meant a lot of new doors could be opened while still sticking to my own sound.

t.nu: A lot of fans remember fondly your Purple Haze alias, you have said you will only be using the Sander van Doorn name now, but will you ever produce a track in that style again?

SvD: Absolutely! Two or three tracks that I´ve produced for the album are actually in that bracket as well as a few tracks that are more in the Sam Sharp or Sandler bracket. Releasing all tracks under one name was only decided to keep things simple. No worries hahaha!

t.nu: You seem to be all over the world these days, how difficult do you find the travelling and is it worth it in the end?

SvD: The travelling can be a real killer sometimes especially when you have multiple weekends planned in from one side of the world to the other. But the adventure you get in return definitely makes up for it and the trick is simple - keep yourself occupied during the flying.

t.nu: This is probably a question you get asked a lot but what are the best crowds you have played to?

SvD: I’ve got a lot of favourites to be honest but I think Scotland and Ireland just take partying to a whole new level.

t.nu: Whenever I’ve seen you, you’ve always had a smile on your face and had time to talk to fans. How do you keep that up, do you ever feel like just saying ‘leave me alone’?

SvD: Never, because it’s the fans that make who I am and when I see a place go right I can´t help but smile!

t.nu: You started your DJ career playing Gabber, what made you decide to move away from that sound?

SvD: That one day I turned 18 and went to Dutch club ´De Danssalon´ for the first time where Marco V was a resident back then. He played pretty groovy house back then and I was stunned with what I was hearing. So I went from Gabber to House, a pretty big change!

t.nu: Like Tiësto, have you got any secret Gabber productions hidden away?

SvD: Oh yes I put records like ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘Pitch Hicker’ in a very safe place!

t.nu: Can you give us an insight into what the infamous Sander van Doorn studio is like?

SvD: Well the first thing you see will be my coffee machine with a proper supply of Dark Roast Coffee pats. The actual studio is pretty simple, a few synths, macky speakers, a mac with logic software and extra plugins and that’s about it.

t.nu: You’re known for being 100% in control of your productions from start to finish – are you ever tempted to collaborate with anyone and if so, who would it be?

SvD: I’ve tried a few collaborations in the past but I find that I produce better music on my own. Still I wouldn’t say no to jam a little with Moby, Junkie XL or Fatboy Slim.

t.nu: John ‘00’ Fleming recently tore into the state of trance music in an interview whilst praising you saying ‘I wish more producers and DJs thought like Sander – outside of the box’. How important do you think it is to stick to your own style and is that something you’d credit your success to?

SvD: I think it’s crucial for producers and DJs to create their own style in order to become more than average in the music industry. I believe a lot of new producers are afraid of being radical with ideas which results in a lot of good tracks or ideas being put in the fridge instead of being out there. When I made the decision of quitting my job and starting producing full time I felt I could only pull it of if I would come up with an own sound. I definitely think that this way of thinking contributed to the success I’ve had so far.

t.nu: You’ve had such a rapid rise to DJ stardom, do you ever step back and think ‘is this really happening?’

SvD: A lot actually! I wouldn’t dare to dream it would go so fast when I started a few years ago. It’s a really crazy experience still when people are shouting my name or asking for my autograph or are taking pictures.

t.nu: You seem to be a natural in the studio and make DJing look effortless, how many years were you practising before you got that breakthrough?

SvD: I started playing records as hobby when I was 16 but my very first paying gig happened about three and a half years ago. The producing started at the age of 19 also as a hobby but really started to take off about four years ago I believe.

t.nu: You’ve decided to re-vamp your monthly Identity radio show, can you tell us a bit more about the changes?

SvD: We’re planning on doing a half hour live mix together with a studio mix combined into one show starting August. Also I will be presenting this show so it’s going to be completely different, a new challenge let’s say!

t.nu: So what’s next for Sander van Doorn? A record label perhaps?

SvD: Yes indeed! My new label will be launched within one or two months and I can already tell you that the first track released will be my new project called ´Riff´.

t.nu: Thank you for your time, and we look forward to seeing you at South West Four!

SvD: My pleasure and I’ll see you there then!

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