Behind The Beat: Sander van Doorn
If we ran a legends series of Dutch dance music DJ/producers, Sander van Doorn would be among the cast in a whole league of there own. The newly wed, has been running strong with hit after hit since 2004 when he began is recording career.
He is also preparing to release his first album in six years in 2017 as a successor to “Eleve11”. It was a great time to go Behind the Beat with Sander van Doorn for an exclusive interview with all of the exciting things that are going on.
Only The Beat: Take us back to your first official gig. When and where was that?
Sander van Doorn: My first official gig was about 14 years ago over in Switzerland. I was producing under a different name. I had all of these different names like Sander or Sam Sharp. The promoter booked me not because he knew me as a DJ, but he knew my productions. It was a beautiful venue on Geneva Lake. I was really nervous for this show. The first track I put on the needle skipped a bit, and I got even more nervous. At the end of the day it went well and I had a great time. It was also the day that I realized that I wanted to do more than just be a producer, but to also DJ. I had played a few clubs in my hometown before, but I had never thought that it was going to be my profession before this event and it was a big step forward.
OTB: Do you have any mentors in the industry? If so, how have they helped your career?
SVD: I have relied a lot on myself, but others have had influence. I was supported by Armin van Buuren in my early days. He picked up all my records. He pushed them out really without wanting anything in return and I am always thankful for that. I appreciate a lot of the artists back in the early days, but I really didn’t have one mentor. I was more self-taught.
OTB: What makes Dutch dance music so influential throughout the world?
SVD: In Holland, the radio got on board with dance music really early on fiercely. All of the radio DJs started to make mixes, like legend Lee Grant doing Friday mixes. People in Holland can be critical, don’t like to dance easily. There are a lot of DJs/producers coming out of the area. Everyone has had to step up their game because of those factors.
SVD: You picked out the two tracks of the year that I had the most fun working on. Chocolate Puma is great, they have been going strong for 25 years. Their style has been great especially in the last few years and I enjoy playing that same style as an artist. The track produced itself. In like a half of a day we had it setup. And what a great result we had with “Raise Your Hands Up”. For HI-LO and Oliver Heldens, we did a track about two years ago and he contacted me again and we decided to do another one. We ended up in the studio. Oliver is one of the artists that is very talented and knows exactly what he wants. He is very fast with coming up with different ideas and is great to work in the studio with.
Sander van Doorn & Chocolate Puma – “Raise Your Hands Up”
SVD: I like the intimate feel being close to the crowd. I’ll get to test out some new stuff tonight. I am producing a new artist album and a venue like Soundcheck with a fantastic crowd is perfect to test this new material. It is great to be back in Washington. I have played many different venues, so I am really looking forward to seeing what happens tonight.
OTB: What is your favorite track the you produced and a track that you did not produce?
SVD: It is really hard to pick one favorite track. I have always been really proud of the “Riff” track that I produced, but more recently “Raise Your Hands Up” is something that I am really fond of. I am proud of a lot of the tracks, but “Riff” is certainly a special one. A track that I did not produce that I am a fan of is “Portland” by Watermät and Moguai.
OTB: What advice do you have for an aspiring DJ that is trying to get a shot in the industry?
SVD: Realize that you’re out there trying to do something along with a lot of other people. Create your own identity. The quickest way to do that is to listen to all the music that’s out there and put your own touch on something. I have always mixed genres and tried to create a new genre that blends things together. If you produce the tracks yourself, it is easier to create your own identity and then get recognized as a DJ.
OTB: Where do you see the dance music industry going in the next five years? New technology? Changes?
SVD: Style-wise people are getting more picky. People know their music and what they like. They are more educated. Music for me is going back to my roots and going back to that to create something new. For me personally, that is what I am going to try to do over the next few years. I am producing this new album which goes back to my roots. The industry itself is constantly evolving and I would say that it needs to move away little bit from the commerce side back into the real music.
OTB: Outside of Djing, what are your other interests or hobbies?
SVD: I just moved to Amsterdam with my wife. I love to hang out in the city and make new friends. Besides that I do not have too many hobbies. I enjoy traveling and staying a few extra days with my wife to see and experience new places. Instead of getting on a plane and playing somewhere and then off to the next city, I am trying to enjoy each place more.
OTB: What can we expect from you the rest of this year? Any new tracks or collaborations coming up?
SVD: My artist album is a highlight already for next year. The whole process has been great, creating so many new tracks. I also have some other new exciting projects in the works, so it will be a really exciting year.