As a generation-defining artist that reshapes our perception of what dance music can be, Sander van Doorn is without a doubt one of the world’s most essential, influential and popular DJ/producers in dance music today. Sander van Doorn entered the musical scene in 1995, aged just sixteen. His brother’s latest gadget at the time, a Roland Groovebox 303, caught his attention. He was astounded when he first experienced the amount of creativity that could be put into making electronic music. Time and time again, Sander would borrow his brother’s Groovebox and his nephew’s vinyl records and he played the life out of those records. Since then, Sander’s heart belonged to music and it still does today. Sander has created his own inimitable sound and style. He is a producer at heart, and started DJing to create exposure for his productions. It’s basically impossible to appoint one specific genre to him; his music gets influenced by a very broad spectrum of factors. He continues to be an immensely prolific and diverse producer, with his own monstrous solo output plus massive collabs helping him to amass millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify. Gold Skies has picked up well over 60 million plays alone, making for one of the biggest hits of his career so far. His A&R skills show no sign of faltering either with his DOORN Records imprint unleashing a steady stream of big names and hot new talents alike.
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You’ve been in the music scene for quite some time now. In what way have you seen the industry change over the years?
The main thing is just that the music itself has changed, which is always the challenge- sticking to your own sound while balancing with the new.
What’s your process like in the studio?
It’s different every time really. Sometimes I might start with a beat and work from there, and sometimes I come up with a melody and work around that.
Walk us through how Purple Haze was born.
It began in 2010 with the first track I released under the new alias. The name had to be different from Sander van Doorn as it was a different sound, so I came up with Purple Haze. To me the name means something vague and deep, so I thought it would perfectly match the new type of music I was making. But I really took it to another level in 2017, when I had a lot of tracks I wanted to release and to start touring with as well.
Where does Purple Haze draw inspiration from?
It comes from a lot of dark yet euphoric music. Some of the examples I really like are Sigur Ros, Royksopp, and London Grammar to name a few.
Do you keep all of your music that you “just weren’t feeling” and ever bring it back out only to create something magical?
Yes, I definitely keep everything and sometimes when you hear something a couple years later, you’ll get other ideas for it.
How do you balance staying relevant to what’s popular in the scene while also staying true to your own unique sound? What’s more important?
I’m always making new music, which helps. I think you need to strike a balance between staying true to your own sound and the trends of the moment.
What are your future plans for Identity?
We have some cool ideas for 2020. We want to involve the fans more and more and give them opportunities to be part of the show. We now do a weekly fan request, but we want to up it in 2020.
It would definitely be with Moby. Other artists who motivate me and who I admire are Radiohead, Oasis and Sigur Ros among others.