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Sander Kleinenberg interview: Don't Mention the War

Author: Clare Dickins
Thursday, February 9, 2006

You could never accuse Sander Kleinenberg of being a slave to popular opinion. The former progressive pin-up boy is pissing off the purists and embracing house, whilst his latest 'Everybody On Tour' compilation mixed with Lee Burridge features (Shock! Horror!) a track by trance demigod Armin van Buuren. Don't expect Sander to be going along with the hype of the DJ mag Top 100 poll, either. It disgusts him. The Dutchman is just happy making music and pushing the scene forward, minus the hyperbole and fanfare.

Released last year, Sander's world-conquering single electro house cut The Fruit ensured the dance music world would never see him the same again. Whilst prog fans may have wept, Kleinenberg's overall profile skyrocketed. Chatting to Sander however, all this seems irrelevant. His number one priority is evolving his sound. "I think it's creative suicide if, as an artist, you don't try and build on your skills and push it forward and make it better. I hate standing still and dwelling on the past. I'm always looking for whatever is new and fresh and think this is far more important than becoming rich, famous and successful.

"If that means some people will say 'oh he used to be great when he did that fluffy trance track', then that's fine. They can listen to fluffy trance for the rest of their life - I like moving forward in life and being inspired by new things."

His disc on 'Everybody On Tour' is unquestionably a huge departure from his days of spinning silky smooth progressive trance on Global Underground's prestigious Nubreed series. Whilst not altogether abandoning his prog roots, Everybody sees Sander direct musical proceedings towards the more driving, upbeat, techy end of the house spectrum. Perhaps surprisingly, Armin van Buuren also makes an appearance too, with the DJ Remy collaboration Bounce Back popping up in the mix. According to Sander, it was all part of the plan.

"The result is a track with a real cool, underground techy kind of vibe, which I thought was hilarious because it's Armin van Buuren! The more anarchy and the more people are saying 'what the fuck is Sander doing now', the better. I've already seen some people go 'Armin- What the fuck are you putting Armin on there for-' and I'm like 'check out the tune!' Hopefully that will put the message across that you have to listen beyond the hype and, if you do, you may just discover something completely different and discover a side of someone else that is very interesting," he says.

Sander's favourite moments on 'Everybody' are tracks that evoke a special kind of warmness and positivity. "The first track by Pony Our House - even what it says, that could be a Sunday morning at my house you know what I mean- Me and my friends get together and celebrate and it's mad and crazy," he says of Pony's hedonistic ode to the Sunday morning recovery.

"That track just oozes positivity! I really believe, at least for me, that music has to come from a positive outlook, even if it comes from a bad vibe, it still needs to do something with that and in the end, makes you deal with that," he says. "Music which represents a mood and gets something out of your system is where my heart lies and I hope that I've picked tracks that have been made with that same intensity and with the same idea.

"DJ T's remix of Mylo's Muscle Car is terrific too - I love what he's done with that. You can just feel that he's having fun. He's not creating this track to become something, he's doing it because he loves it. To me, anyone that can put across that kind of vibe in a track - that's where it's at! I love that," he enthuses.

Having recently completed his own remix of Mylo's Muscle Car, Sander's got no shortage of praise for the superstar Scotsman. I loved that track f