The casual dance-music fan is well familiar with names such as Tiesto, Paul van Dyk and Moby. But Sander Kleinenberg? Maybe not so much – but this Dutch superstar DJ will absolutely blow your mind with his wild, playful mix of styles, from progressive house to twisted disco to low-key techno, all with touches of trance and even hip-hop. Check out his compilation mixes for uber-labels Renaissance and Global Underground, plus his “This Is Everybody” series. Sander talked to Miami.com about his experience at this year’s Winter Music Conference in late March, plus his upcoming show Saturday night at Gryphon at the Seminole Hard Rock complex.
So did you enjoy your time at WMC?
It was good – there were obviously a lot of changes this year, right? You know, with the thing being spread in two – I thought it was a shame, but I guess that’s how things go. I had a good time, though. The Ultra experience for me was quite daunting, because it was the first time I kind of just relied on my own productions and my own music instead of a normal DJ set where you play other people’s music. But I think it went down well. I’ve been at Ultra a few times, but it was my first time with the new set-up.
Where else did you play during that week?
I did a party at Shine on Sunday night, which was cool – that’s been going on for four years now, and it allows me to play a little longer and experiment. And it’s a good room to do that, because it’s not too big and you don’t lose anybody, and you can really take people on a little journey. And the other thing we did was a boat party, on a Thursday in the daytime, playing some of that summery-vibe type of music. So all in all, I had three brilliant little gigs.
Did you attend any events as a fan, just to hear the music?
Yeah, I checked out Duran Duran – I really wanted to see how that was gonna go down, with the young electronica crowd at Ultra, which was interesting. And I checked out various DJs on the beach, walking in and out of all those great daytime events happening at almost every hotel.
What would you say was your biggest highlight for the week?
Meeting up with so many friends and people from all over the world that are part of the scene. It obviously attracts promoters and DJs from all over the world, so it’s great to have them in one place. Plus, the weather this year was incredible, just gorgeous – I think the best weather I’ve had during the Miami week, ever.
What can we expect from your show Saturday at Gryphon?
Well, I’m gonna tear it apart, obviously. I’ve heard great stuff about it – it’s 24 hours, and I can play a little bit longer than normal, and that’s what I plan to do, just take people on a great little ride and give them some highs and some lows. I’ve never been, so …
Will we hear tracks from your new album?
Absolutely – at the moment, I’m spinning loads of stuff not only from the new album, but over the last two years I’ve really gotten into the groove again of producing, so I’ve done a ton of remixing and hopefully inspiring mixes and collaborations, including Katy Perry and Daft Punk. And my visuals are a really important part of what I do.
You’re known for being really eclectic, having touched upon all different kinds of styles of dance music. Where would you say your sound is now?
I’ve never been someone who could really focus on one sound and then be all about that sound. I love music – I love many different genres and types and directions and influences, and as a DJ, that’s the beautiful thing for me, the idea of marrying all these different styles together in one interesting set. And I know that’s not the easiest option – it’s obviously easier to play three hours of the same music, which, unfortunately – and I’m not bad-mouthing anybody or being a hater – but there’s a lot out there being very same-y, same-y. And I’m just trying to make it different, trying to spice it up with different elements. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it does, it really hits, really connects. And that’s what I’m all about – I like the risk of taking people to unfamiliar territory, but making them feel really good about it.