Sander Kleinenberg

One of the world’s biggest DJs rolls up his sleeves for 2012

Quite simply one of the biggest DJs in the world. 2011 saw Sander’s debut album ‘5K’ hit the streets. The result was a record of brooding quality with a mixture of tracks that were aimed for the high octane clubs, coupled with deeper tracks which revealed a more down-tempo and heartfelt feeling. 2012 sees a whole host of new studio projects, a jam-packed international DJ schedule in the world’s greatest clubs, another strong year of releases on his own ‘This Is’ imprint, and more events under the brand in some of the top venues around the globe. From people who know, if you are off to Miami, there is only one party worth checking…


Sander, welcome back to DMC. You are in the middle of a big world tour – currently on the way back from Pakistan of all places! Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine you would one day head to places like this?
“After I came back from Pakistan this weekend I sat down and thought about how incredible this journey has been so far, sometimes when you are caught up in the hassle of touring and getting to the next gig you forget to look around and really let it all sink in. Pakistan was incredible, the reception and enthusiasm from the locals was heartwarming and the gig very rewarding, it made it clear once again, this music is uniting people from all over the world in a celebration of love and beats.”
What has 2012 got in store for us musically from the great Sander stable?
“This year is going to be a year of choosing a new direction, I have been struggling with where our scene is going and find it hard to find a focus point. I’ve created and helped develop video DJ-ing over the last years, I have written and produced a full length album, I have mixed genres up, I have promoted parties, I have toured around the world, I have done many remixes, and I have created a record label and brand. Now it seems like I have to go back to myself a bit more, the one thing that has suffered is musical direction, and that is a pretty hard thing to do, but sometimes you have to kill some darlings.”
A huge Miami WMC coming up with you – tell us the latest news on your party and what big Florida parties are you looking forward to smash?
“As every year I’m doing a closing party in Shine on Sunday, it almost feels like a designer showing his new collection, it’s how I treat it as well, new tunes I keep in a box till that day to show the world.”

What record always reminds you of Miami WMC?
“I played ‘This Is Miami’ for the first time at Ultra Music Festival a few years back, people had never heard the record and it was a tune specially done for that week as the title suggests. It was a pretty mind blowing experience..
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
Class Act (Stephan M Remix) by Harley Parsons
Cloudburst (Ricky Ambilotti Remix by PHM
Around The World (Tocadisco Remix) by Arty
I Need (original mix) by Loops Of Fury
Whole Lotta Love(Luthier RMX) by Led Zeppelin
Attack (Nickel Remix) by I Punk
Chemically (5K remix) by Sander Kleinenberg
Aurora Snow (The Scumfrog Remix) by Larry Powers
I Wish (electronic youth rmx) Angie Stone
Starstruck by Kraver & NSFW
(in no particular order)

 When promoters first started to put on big event line ups, the DJs would be very careful who they were billed with. These days however it’s not unusual at all to see trance DJs with house DJs and then maybe a hip hop DJ. Why has it all changed?
“It’s because the scene has become more transparent, where it used to be a very much fragmented scene it now is a “everything goes” mentality, also important is that people want a big line up with different big name flavours to be motivated to go out. That sometimes gets in the way of “the flow” of a night out and forces talent to just be banging the sh*t out of it. It’s fair to say it’s not a time for being subtle, that hurts some talent out there a great deal. The shamelessly commercial sound that’s being bombarded on the scene destroys the more subtle talent. I mean what to do after someone played a mash up of “one” “hello” and the latest Guetta record? Make more noise is an answer for many but a lot gets overpowered by this mentality and that’s a shame, all in all I do love the openness of where we are, it creates new genres and ideas more quickl”y.
It seems everyone is producing music mid-flight these days, is there still a need for full blown studio’s these days?
“It’s easier to make a lotta noise with a laptop versus being a more subtle producer, often you need more headroom in subtle records to make them work and that does require a bigger audio set up.. so the irony is laptop producers create the most noisy and commercially appealing records because of the limitation that laptops bring where as producers who are looking for a fuller and subtler sound get blown away by all this noise whilst working with more exquisite and expensive audio gadgets. but in the end it’s like comparing MC Donalds with Michelan star restaurants really. Is there a need for full blown studio’s? if you want your music to be timeless with good recorded vocals and full of finesse and depth.. My set up? I create, write and prepare on my laptop, I finish and mix in a studio.”

The world is dance crazy at the moment. America, Australia, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France and the UK all producing incredible producers – of all ages! EvenSpain, Russia and Greece are now coming through. Who are you tipping for the top in 2012, new producer wise.

It’s true that the accessibility of cheap laptops and cheaper software has made producing and writing records available to everyone, very democratic I think, set a side some musical indifference’s on how to be heard nowadays (my subtlety issue from above) It is a wonderful thing that it therefore has become such a global phenomena. I like what I’m hearing from Tony Romero from France, I like Alex Kenji’s productions from Italy, The Loops Of Fury from the UK (via Brisbane), Dillon Francis from LA.

When was the last time you got recognised in a really weird place?

“Oh jeez…a pilot asking me to join him in the cockpit of a commercial airliner mid flight and during landing rambling on about how he is a bedroom dj that never really made his dream come true and is now stuck flying airplanes around the world, funny enough it happens quit a lot, (not in the US I should add).”

What do you think has been your best piece of production to date?

“Still to come.. Still to come…”

How was New Years Eve for you, where were you?

“It was really special, in Argentina where I always get the warmest reception.”

What were your thoughts on Skrillex cleaning up at the Grammy’s last weekend?

“Fantastic, a job well done, amazing management team around him and truly genuine artist. Funny how we were inspired by the Americans 25 years ago, created this industry in Europe, sold it back to the US and now they are taking it to whole other levels.”

What is the finest record you have ever played to a dancefloor?

“‘Rock With You’ by Michael Jackson.”

What is the strangest request you have ever had whilst DJing?

“Sexual acts. Country music. Do you have any pills mate? We are having a top only after party do you wanna come and play (of course I did!).”

What do you think has been your finest ever DJ set?

“I had a residency at Stereo in Montreal some years ago…bi monthly 10 hour dj sets followed by 8 hour car rides to then DJ for 6 hours at ARC in New York. Both clubs probably had the best sound systems in the world at that time and although I had a mental breakdown after doing this for a year or so because of exhaustion I can truly say it’s where I really learned how to dj and some of my fondest dj-ing memories lay there. Generally however I focus on my next gigs and treat them as the next step into delivering the best dj set I can deliver. What can I say…it’s a journey…”

What outdoor events are you looking forward to this summer?

“Numerous. I love that I’m now, because of video DJ-ing, more equipped to do something special to ‘woo’ crowds. Especially at outdoor festivals, with that in mind, I won’t mind pushing more UK festivals to book me…haha!”

What is your current guilty pleasure song running round your head?

Which fellow producer do you really click with in the studio with the most?
“I’m loving the fact I’m able to work with he legend that is Steve Dub.”

It’s your birthday – what 3 DJs do you ask around to play for you – and why?

“I would have The Weekend do a live show, the Chemical Brothers DJ and have my uncle DJ at the afterparty (he is a walking jazz encyclopedia).”

And finally, what one singer dead or alive, would you really love to get into the studio and collaborate with?
“Jamie Woon.. that’ll be nice.”