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Sander Kleinenberg

DJmag.com chatted to Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg about his new project, and the future of DJing.

Sander Kleinenberg


Sander Kleinenberg


Sander Kleinenberg


Sander Kleinenberg


"I'm a bit depressed today," admits Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg. "I've spent all day listening to new tunes that people have sent me, and 90% of them are shite.

"Imagining listening to shit music all day.

"When electronic music gets bad, it gets really bad."

Clubland is a very different place since Sander Kleinenberg first appeared in DJmag almost 10 years ago.

We first wrote about Sander when he was a relative unknown, still wet behind the headphone-clad ears.

Back in 1996, the track 'WDW', that he produced under the moniker FNS, started to blow up big time.

"I remember you printed a picture of me sitting on the beach near my house with my records," says Sander with a chuckle.

"It was a huge achievement for me getting into DJmag."

This Is...Sander

Two DJmag covers, hundreds of gigs, a few hit records, and a successful DJ career later, and Sander is sitting in his studio and office in Amsterdam shifting through piles of vinyl and CDs, as well as emailed MP3s, trying to find some dancefloor gems for this weekend's gigs.

This Saturday (3rd June), Sander Kleinenberg will be playing at London's Ministry of Sound, introducing clubbers to his new concept 'This Is'.

'This Is' will combine both Sander's skills as a top house DJ, with his new love of visual DJing, or VJing, where he utilises the impressive technology behind Pioneer's groundbreaking DVJ-X1 DVD player.

It's an idea so special to Sander, that he's even had the name trademarked.

And he plans to take it all around the world.

"The 'Everybody' concept is dead, so I needed to find a new identity for my VJing and DJing.

"'This Is' will have a unique theme for every party I do, so 'This Is Ministry' will have a London theme, whereas 'This Is Pacha' will have an Ibiza theme."

VJing & DJing

Pioneer's DVD player exploded onto the market to a flurry of press attention in summer 2004, endorsed by superstar DJs like Sander and James Zabiela, but it hasn't fully caught the imagination of dance music fans.

Doing visuals, afterall, is a completely different kettle of fish to mixing music.

"I get paid enough money, so I should explore different things and push things forward," reckons Sander Kleinenberg.

"Visuals don't make much difference to a club night as the people are more important than anything else, but there's always a better atmosphere when visuals and music are in sync.

"I've been to too many clubs where the visual guy has shoved four pills down his neck and is not capable of keeping the visuals relative to the music – that's rubbish.

"So a DJ should be more aware of visuals, and if possible control them.

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sun Block

I get paid enough money, so I should explore different things and push things forward

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sander Kleinenberg
Sander Kleinenberg Interview
"The only problem is so many people still don't get it.

"I was in a DJ booth with Sasha the other day and he didn't have a clue what I was doing, until I explained to him that I was just playing a DVD.

"Basically, I only create visuals for a few key records that I know will stay in my box for eight to ten weeks.

"So I get my art guy to create a unique visual for a track, burn it onto a DVD, and then I play it out, just like a
DJ plays a CD.

"It's no different to using CDJs, except the visual guy takes the feed of the DVD and projects them."

Synergy

Sander Kleinenberg is so convinced that the future of dance music relies upon the synergy between visuals and DJing that he's working on the world's first video Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1.

The special project will be broadcast live over the web, and dance music fans will be able to watch his visuals, as well as listen to his usual DJ set.

So groundbreaking is the concept, that the video Essential Mix might even be broadcast on BBC Digital TV.

"It's super-exciting to be involved in pushing the scene forwards, but it's my job," reckons Sander.

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sun Block

I really like DJing, mixing tunes, and little DJ things like turning around with my back to the crowd, to flick through my CD wallet

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sander Kleinenberg
Sander Kleinenberg Interview
"I've made it as a DJ, so now I need to prove that I'm still relevant, and significant.

"There are too many DJs who have made it, and then they stopped experimenting or trying new things - they just go through the motions and do it for the money.

"That's bullshit. I don't have ten houses or a Porsche – all the money I've earned I have put back into my label."

Digital DJing

With digital DJing becoming the weapon of choice for many tech-savvy jocks looking to stay one step ahead of the pack, does Sander think Ableton, and Traktor are a good way to push things forwards?

"I love all that Ableton stuff, but I think a laptop takes away the point of DJing – I could never have my head in a laptop, I want my head in the crowd.

"I really like DJing, mixing tunes, and little DJ things like turning around with my back to the crowd, to flick through my CD wallet.

"When you step back from a set, to be by yourself for a few seconds, it allows you room to think, and to evaluate your options.

"Plus I like scribbling stuff down on CDs with my silly handwriting, like 'Will Go Off' or a smiley face that only means something to me.

"I really believe in artwork, and with digital downloading and latops, all that is irrelevant.

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sun Block

I wish my postman could have some sort of scanning device that could automatically detect the crap records

Sander Kleinenberg Interview
Sander Kleinenberg
Sander Kleinenberg Interview
"I don't do vinyl anymore, it's too slow – these days by the time a tune gets pressed on vinyl it's already old - but at least with CDs I can make my own labels.

"I love making my own stickers!"

Weak Records

Software availability and the ever-increasing processing power of computers has given bedroom jocks the tools they need to make their
own music.

This means there's a helluva lot more music out than there used to be, which brings us back to Sander's huge pile of rather weak records.

"You know some DJs actually hire people to go through their promos for them – I wish my postman could have some sort of scanning device that could automatically detect the crap records."

So would Sander ever consider hiring a goon to go through his record piles for him?

"No way, I'm a control freak man," says Sander Kleinenberg.

"I would be worried that I'd miss that one record that no one else understands – the dancefloor bomb that only Sander could understand."

And that's what makes a good DJ.

This is Sander Kleinenberg.

Sander Kleinenberg