TF Archives

Sander Kleinenberg; Playing for All Religions (Except the Mormons)

Author: Angie Ng / Jonty Adderley
Monday, December 10, 2001
29 year old Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg began his mixing career aged 15, playing rock records at a school disco in his home town of Den Hague. Developing his career steadily via DJing and records his career finally took off in 1999, courtesy of his 4 Seasons EP and My Lexicon. Championed by the Sasha, Tongs and Seb Fontaine, the records catapulted Kleinenberg to premier league international DJ status, which he embraced with apparently effortless ease.

Over the last 2 years, he's consolidated his reputation, becoming DJ magazine's highest climber in their latest Top 100 DJ poll, rising 52 places from 67 to 15. Predominantly associated with trance, he nevertheless avoids the anthems and cheese sometimes associated with the genre, instead mixing up house and even techno into his carefully crafted sets.

Skrufff's Angie Ng caught up with him in Kuala Lumpur recently, as he passed through on a mini South East Asian tour.

Skrufff : You've only just flown in from Jakarta...

Sander Kleinenberg: "Yes and that's a bit of a long story. I was actually supposed to be playing in Jakarta last Friday, but I flew out of Holland on Thursday night and the plane I was on was delayed because of a big storm over Amsterdam. When I eventually got on, after we'd taken off, the plane was actually struck by lightning which scared the hell out of me. The captain came on the PA saying (imitating deep voiced pilot) 'Ladies and Gentlemen, as you've all noticed, the airplane has just been struck by lightning but all the systems work'. My girlfriend thought that something had fallen off the plane."

Skrufff : What was your reaction when you heard about the latest New York plane crash; did you consider canceling any trips -

Sander Kleinenberg: (without hesitation) "No! Of course, a plane crash is the worst thing you can ever imagine and it's tragic to think of all those people who died- yet again more deaths. All my blessings are with their families and people that are left alone because of those incidents. But the fact is, flying is by far the safest form of transport, and the quickest. Yeah, you do think about these things when you step on board a plane; I've done about 300 flights this year and I was in New York 2 days before the World Trade Center disaster.

I was playing a boat party, so obviously the skyline of New York was the main feature. That was the first and last time I properly saw the New York skyline since I'd never done a boat trip before because boat trips ate not, like, cool (smiling). So, it was amazing to DJ and watch the skyline. Obviously the tragedy was quite a shock. A lot of my friends have been confronted with the results; John Creamer and Stephane K couldn't be in their studio because it was two blocks away from the Trade Center while another friend of mine had to leave his home because it was in a restricted area."

Skrufff : Has it motivated you more to DJ-

Sander Kleinenberg: "No but it has made my feelings towards house music stronger; it's made it that much more rewarding and extra special. This year I've been from New York to Turkey, Turkey to Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv to Malaysia; playing for all the religions that I can think of in the world, except the Mormons. I think that truly is a blessing, I feel very privileged to see, that whether you're a Muslim or a Jew or whatever; people all clap the same hands and all enjoy the same things as anyone else, anywhere in the world."

Skrufff : How comfortable are you being lumped in with progressive DJs like Sasha and Digweed -

Sander Kleinenberg: "They're a fine bunch of people to be around. The progressive tag has been perhaps misused at times, specifically in the last year; it's become a hyped word. I think progressive in its original sense, literally means forward, ie music that's fresh, new and inspiring. There's a big difference between Sasha and Digweed too, they play very different music. As far as I can judge my own music, I also think I'm away fro