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Exclusive Interview: Sander van Doorn talks identity, Ibiza and a new album for 2017

A juggernaut of the dance music world, Dutch DJ Sander van Doorn needs no introduction. A true titan of the industry, his work over the course of the past decade or so has been nothing short of legendary, as he continues to dabble between several sub-genres including electro house, progressive, and trance.

During that time, he’s racked up almost 400 episodes of his iconic podcast, released two studio albums, and recently tied the knot. And it was here where we decided to start our discussion during an exclusive interview with the man himself:

“My year has absolutely been great, there have been so many great moments for me. Of course, getting married, and also I did some really great shows and started to work on a new album. This will be released in a couple of months and this is going to be something different than you might expect. Or maybe not! (*laughs) The album is going to get two different sides. But I can’t tell you much more about it yet. There are also a few special shows I’m going to do for the album. Two in Australia and one at Ultra Miami.”


Clearly a man with an ambitious core, Sander van Doorn has always been known to never shy away from several different sub-genres, and having recently teamed up with Oliver Heldens to form the “WTF” track under Oliver’s HI-LO alias; it was the second time the duo had worked together, following 2014 track “THIS.

“THIS actually came about because we started talking about how close our musical styles are to each other. Next thing you know we were in the studio. For “WTF” Oliver hit me up again to see if I was down for another collaboration, and we immediately decided to do another one. Working with Oliver is great, he is a really talented producer so I always like to work with him.”

With such a feast of musical backlog in his repertoire, it only seemed natural to ask Sander what had initially made him want to get into music.

“At school I studied economics, but during my school time I was more in the studio. In my final year I decided to quit my study and focus 100% on music and luckily it worked out great. I was very young when my brother gave me a “Groovebox 303”, after that I was spending more and more time on music. Through the years I kept on buying studio equipment until I made my own first track.”

Perhaps one of the key venues in Sander’s early career was Ibiza with the Dutch producer securing a slot there at Judgement Sundays. It continues to be an island with a dear place in his heart.

“The atmosphere is what makes Ibiza so special. The Ibiza vibe is something you can’t find anywhere else in the world. And of course the long history and connection between the island and dance music.”

Now a stalwart of the dance music scene, one of Sander van Doorn’s most incredible achievements is the longevity of his “Identity” podcast, which is soon to be approaching its 400th episode, a concept he is rightly proud of.

“When I started Identity, I wanted to give more of myself. Not everyone can come to my shows every week so for my fans I wanted to create another platform where they can hear me. Obviously the music changes a lot, and is still changing, so the Identity podcast will change with that.”

Not just a fantastic producer of original music, the Dutchman has also remixed a number of classics over the years. So what is the secret to a good remix?

“The secret to a good remix is keeping the brilliance of the original while giving it your own spin. The original should be the foundation, but a remix should give a completely different feel to the track and make it feel like your own.”


According to 1001 Tracklists, the most played track of last year was ‘X-Press’ by Promise Land, a release that was signed to Sander’s label, DOORN Records. So what did he see in this track and this artist that made him want to sign it?

“I think “X-Press” is one of the coolest house tracks of last year. When I first heard the track, I knew I had to sign it to DOORN Records. Promise Land are some of the most amazing guys working really hard to build their career. Seeing “X-Press” be the most played track in 2016 is well deserved for them.”

Finally, having recently mentioned a new project that is a ‘Sharper, Darker, Rougher’ Sander van Doorn, we were keen to hear about the new project and its similarities/differences to Purple Haze.

“I started this project to explore a different artistic side of myself. It started out as a successful experiment and it made me want to further explore this sound. With Purple Haze I also experimented with some darker sounds, so there are definitely some similarities.”

So there you have it, it looks like 2017 is going to be another mammoth year for this legendary Dutch DJ, with a new album on the way, and several new sounds and projects coming from the Doorn studio. And that is something we absolutely cannot wait for!

(BA Hons Journalism), 30, London. NCTJ-accredited journalist and dance music lover specialising in interviews, features, editorial work, and reviews.

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