Sander Van Doorn is a man on a mission. As EDM continues to reach its peak, Sander remains committed to every aspect of his career. With no rest in sight, as his studio time, a grueling travel schedule (often playing 3-5 sets a week globally), his label Doorn Records, and a number of upcoming collaborations keep Sander busy enough to drive a normal person to madness. No stranger to the scene, Sander is closing in on his 10th anniversary of his first release, “Loaded.” Having also recently celebrated a special milestone, the 200th episode of his regular podcast “Identity,” life may be hectic, but life is very, very good.
He and I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview before his set at TomorrowWorld. A genuine and charismatic person, he spoke with the happy and humble confidence of a man capable of anything.
1.) The Netherlands has been a huge hub for EDM the last few years, and there’s no sign of stopping. Why do you think that is? Is there any secret to the area?
“I would say EDM got introduced in Holland quite early, about 25 years ago. It was already playing in Chicago and Detroit, with Chicago house and Detriot techno, and then traveled to Holland. It really expanded pretty rapidly, with certain radio DJs. Instead of introducing tracks, they would do mixes of those tracks. That was in the early 80’s. That was a completely new phenomenon for Holland. DJs like Ben Liebrand were the early pioneers of that, so everyone was introduced to dance music pretty early. Disco evolved into new beats, evolved into acids, evolved into more general house. All these clubs started to pop up. Everybody went out Thursday to Sunday, myself included. I would say everyone got introduced very early, developing, and then blew up from there.”
2.) You’ve had a pretty busy year, DJing club sets in Vegas, attending pretty much every major festival in the world thus far, as well as producing your own hits, how do you manage all of those things as once?
“It is a bit of a challenge actually, especially since I produce solo projects myself. Writing them myself, producing, engineering, mastering. It takes a lot of time. The only way to do it for me is to be ongoing, being on the road, laptop open, producing music setups, and having a few weekends off a year, where I go into the studio to finish the projects. These days a lot of collaborations are there as well. Besides doing a radio show and the tour schedule being quite ridiculous. It’s been a bit of a challenge really. I believe there’s a week of holiday coming up in January.”
3.) How often do you get “real” time off?
“Not that much actually. It’s funny, people at home would see studio time as time off, because all of a sudden they try to plan it in as much as possible, and then its not long before they try to get me back out of the studio and on the road again. In the end, I just get two weeks a year.”
4.) So speaking of producing, you’re actively producing your own music, as well as remixing a lot of other big hits, which do you think has more pressure and why?
“Definitely projects I do myself. Solo projects, because you start from scratch. With remixes, the building blocks are there already. Then you’re just putting your own… ‘sauce’ on it. When it comes to producing a solo project, its starting from scratch, building melodies, throwing your computer out the window for the first few days in the studio, then all of a sudden this is it. That’s the whole fun about the process, its really hit or miss. You produce all these setups, and combine these different sounds, and all of a sudden there’s your track. It takes so much more time than a remix.”
5.) Is there a different reason that compels you to do remixes vs. producing your own tracks?
“Remixing is pretty good because you can attach your sound and develop a sound to the sound of somebody else. Kind of like making a cross-section between those sounds. It’s good for inspiration, and good for yourself in the studio to come up with new angles for your own project. You can work with different artists and different points of view.”
6.) What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen on stage while DJing a set?
“(Laughs) …I’ve seen quite a few interesting things, not all is probably something I should mention. One of the funniest moments was when somebody tried to climb over a barricade, and the bouncers tried to catch him, and he was running around. Well he thought he could get back into a crowd, tried to jump, trip, and it ended pretty badly for him. I’ve seen people doing stage dives that didn’t turn out so well. I’ve also seen a few things I won’t mention, but it’s always interesting when you’re up there.”
Have a listen to Sander’s TomorrowWorld Set as he crushes mainstage Day 3 below as he premiered a number of new ID’s, and support him by grabbing his recent Beatport hit “Project T” here.