Dutch Techno/Trance DJ and Producer Sander van Doorn (born Sander Ketelaars) has had a storming 12 months with a position just short of the Top 10 in the annual Top 100 DJs list, a massive world tour, not to mention the fact that he hit the big 'three-0' in February. Rob Papen's Predator and Spectrasonic's Omnisphere feature among his favourite synths so we caught up with him to chat about the products and to find out more about his crazy past year.
Hi Sander! You’ve had a hugely busy few months of touring – what have been your highlights of Summer 2009?
The highlight of the summer for me was definitely playing the closing set at Mystery Land in the Netherlands. It's a big honour to close that festival, and the very next day I played at Creamfields UK which was another brilliant gig.
Your new track, Bastillon is due for release at the end of September and is described as ‘a huge riff and lightning-paced production’ – how has it gone down with crowds over the summer?
Bastillon has been a massive peak time record for me - I started playing it much earlier in the year in my sets and made a few adjustments to the production based on what I could see on the dancefloor, so by the time summer came along I was really happy with it.
Looking at your tour dates for September, one day you’re playing at Cream in Ibiza and the next you’re at Pacha in New York. How do you manage to keep the energy levels up when you’re travelling so extensively?
It is a bit of a crazy schedule, lots of vodka red bulls get me through the night usually! Really though it's just about picking up hours of sleep when you can - on planes, when you arrive at hotels, a couple of hours here and there make all the difference.
You turned 30 earlier this year, how did that feel and what did you do to celebrate?
Turning 30 was quite strange, I've been living this hectic lifestyle for a few years now I haven't felt like I've had time to age! Being on the road I didn't have a lot of time to celebrate but I did get given birthday cakes at my gigs in Poland and Brazil whilst the crowds sang happy birthday! That was very sweet.
Voting is currently underway for DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll. You came 13th last year, ahead of big household names such as Paul Oakenfold, Eddie Halliwell and Eric Prydz. Were you surprised at your high ranking?
Well the poll is a global poll, and traditionally trance DJs perform well, so although I'm not surprised by my position naturally I'm really pleased with it. In 2007 I was number 15 so to climb last year to 13 was lovely, and who knows, I'd love to do even better this year!
Who would feature among your own list of top DJs?
Bennie Rodriguez, James Zabelia and Adam Beyer would feature in my top 5 definitely.
You rate Rob Papen’s Predator as one of your favourite synths – what is it about the product that you love?
The predator has a lovely wooden sound so it's great for percussive elements. It's great to use for noises that fill a track, so although I may not use it for main riffs I'll almost always use it in my productions.
Which of your tracks has seen Predator used the most?
Pure Vida, Sushi, and Purple Haze 'bliksem' all got the Predator treatment!
Have you had a chance to try Rob’s new reverb plug-in RP-Verb?
Unfortunately, I've had no time to check it out recently, but I've heard great things about it from my producing peers, so as soon as I get a chance I'll be in the studio giving it a bash!
Like Rob Papen, you own a number of hardware synths including a Moog Voyager, Access Virus and Nord Lead 2X. Which is your favourite and why?
I use the Access Virus the most - it's a really easy platform to use.
You’re also a fan of Spectrasonics ‘Omnisphere’. How did you come to start using it?
When I started having problems with Trilogy when I switched to Intel on the mac, I started searching for a similar synth and I came across this. It does a pretty good job for me in the studio.
What type of sounds from Omnisphere do you find yourself using most frequently in your tracks?
Its good for bass sounds - I used it in 'Bastillon', and also for a few effects.
Have you ever used any other Spectrasonics instruments, for example, Stylus RMX or Trilogy?
Yes, I used Trilogy on my old mac, and I use Stylus RMX, with expander modules.
What’s been the most bizarre gig you’ve played and why?
When I played in Dublin a couple of years ago, the crowd was so crazy that the bouncers got crushed in between the crowd and the DJ booth. That was very odd!
On what must be a rare chance to get away on holiday, do you tend to head off somewhere quiet or are more parties at the top of the agenda?
Often I go for the quieter option - middle America is always good for a break. Although last year I had a weeks holiday in Ibiza when I went out clubbing every night.
Finally, what would be your top production tip for the budding Techno/Trance DJs out there?
A lot of budding producers try to mixdown their productions as loud as possible, when in fact a lot of sounds get drowned out that way. I would say that less is more when it comes to mixdown volume, you can bump it up nicely in mastering.
Thank you Time and Space!
Voting closes in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll on 23rd September. Make sure you have your say - vote for Sander and other DJs at http://www.top100djs.net, where you receive a free track courtesy of trackitdown once you cast your vote.