Very rarely do you see an evolution in a live performance career like that of Sander van Doorn's. Daily Beat's Chris Batchelder sat down with Sander on the second day of EDC New York to discuss his path to becoming one of the world's biggest DJs, spanning dozens of unforgettable sets, from Dance Valley Festival 2006 to Ultra 2014. Sander van Doorn also offered his insight to aspiring producers, reminiscing about his adventurous forays into electronic music.
Batch (Daily-Beat.com): If you were sitting across from 18-year-old Sander van Doorn right now, what insight would you give yourself?
I would say: follow your mind. Do exactly like I did—I have to say I didn’t regret anything. I made the decision when I was about 22 years old to go into this industry for fun. I remember the conversation I had with my parents, actually, they were like, “no, what are you doing?” I had a really good job at my dad and my brother’s company in the Netherlands, and they said there was nothing they could do to help me if I was going to do this. “You’re completely on your own.” But that’s what I like. Let’s do it. Best decision ever.
Batch (Daily-Beat.com): How has your technical style evolved over the last 13 years?
To me, honestly, it’s changed a lot. I never went to school for music; I had to teach everything to myself. I just started with a drum computer, I just hit a lot of buttons, got some software and tested it out then worked my way up from there. I learned to play piano myself. I never had any lessons, you know, that’s what’s fun in the process: actually using plugins the wrong way and creating new sounds. I had no background in music theory.
Batch (Daily-Beat.com): What has been your favorite set of all time?
It’s hard to say; my sets and my sound are always evolving. One of my favorite sets was at Dance Valley seven years ago because, a few years back, I was at the same festival with my friends just as a clubber. And I said to my friends, “one day I’m going to be here on stage,” and they were just like “yeah, yeah, whatever dude.” A few years later I was actually doing the set, and I really took my time to prepare for that one. It was a pretty good set. I take it by year; every year I have my favorite set. I want to say last year was Argentina, this year was Ultra in Miami—I took things in a new direction musically, like with deep house elements and some techno.
Batch (Daily-Beat.com): What changes do you expect to see in the future of electronic music?
I’m always able to look into the future—the tracks I sign today are going to be released in four or five months. The tracks I sign right now still have a lot of energy, but, for instance, in the studio we have more technically-based records with a lot of percussion.
Batch (Daily-Beat.com): Who are your biggest inspirations today?
I get inspired by this whole new young generation. Oliver Helden, amongst other young producers. I still get inspiration Thom Yorke and Radiohead.