When Dutch techno-trance DJ/producer Sander van Doorn played Code in Newport Beach last October, the usually civil Thursday house night was so rammed (as van Doorn would say), promoters Giant had to turn people away.
Throw in a little taxes-done giddiness this Thursday night, and expect Sutra Lounge to be even more busy for SvD's return to Newport Beach.
The 30-year-old Eindhoven native is on a white-hot US tour after playing last month's Winter Music Conference in Miami Beach, leaving a Facebook fan page of gushing comments and mad-for-it/hands-in-the-air photo albums in his wake. Listening to his Identity podcast series on iTunes, it's easy to hear why. SvD's sometimes noisy, infinitely likable take on Trance-with-a-capital T (as he refers to it) is full of stick-to-your-ears squelches, creamy melodies and towel-snapping beats that indulge the genre's cheesiness without sinking into its buttery cliches.
Though SvD has remixed Arctic Monkeys, Killers and Depeche Mode--as he has trance heavyweights Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren--his tracks make their way into sets by jocks ranging from techno purist Carl Cox to housier Dutchman Laidback Luke to more breaks-inclined Yanks like Dave Dresden. His eclecticism should keep Sutra rammed Thursday night.
OC Weekly: Whose torch would you consider it a compliment to say you're carrying on?
Sander Van Doorn: Obviously people like Tiesto have been a major influence in the scene, and he's someone I look up to. I wouldn't say I've modeled my career on anyone though. I love bands like U2 and Coldplay and like to take influences from outside the dance scene. I think that's what keeps music fresh. If everyone in Trance copied each other it would never evolve!
How would you describe your sets?
I'd say my style is fairly smooth. I like to make each track blend really nicely and take the listener on a journey. The builds and breakdowns really depend on what song is being played. And as for EQ manipulation... I mean, when it's required, I do it.
Trance sometimes gets a bad rep as being, well, what was once referred to as "mindless techno bollocks." Why is what the world needs most right now--or at least Orange County on a Thursday?
Because I don't just play Trance. I don't mind being classified as a "Trance DJ" but I play a variety of styles from deeper tech-y house or techno tunes up to uplifting trance so hopefully I can help re-classify what Trance is in 2010. As dance music in general develops, it's s getting much less repetitive and more creative--to the point where a lot of mainstream music is using the modern dance scene and its producers to influence and create decent popular music.
Speaking of bad rap, a lot of pop music, rap included, is employing the fluttery synths, the chugging 4:4 and soaring high-lines of trance a decade ago. Does this make your job easier?
I think it's great. It can only be good for dance music.
You do a lot of really amazing really high-profile remixes of artists that, with the exception of the Killers, are generally not all that beat-driven. Do you want to show the common thread between these artists and what you do? The overlap?
It's a pleasure to work with exceptional artists with great songwriting and vocals. When you have a quality basis for a song you can create a vibe--and then for me, the rest just writes itself.
What's changed the most for you in the past few years?
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It feels like I've really established myself on the scene as a major player, but I don't know if or how I've changed. I think if I have changed, it's probably made me more grateful about what I do for a living. I love my job.
Speaking of which, how is it this time around touring the U.S. during a crazy recession?
I've done a few gigs already this year in the U.S. around the Miami festivities and the feedback has been amazing. And last time I played Code, the place was rammed, and I had a brilliant time. So it doesn't really seem like the recession is affecting people's need to get out and party. Perhaps forgetting about all the recession hype is what is getting everyone through it.
Sander Van Doorn
Sutra Lounge, Costa Mesa
Thursday, April 15, 9 p.m.-2: a.m.
presented by Giant Thursdays