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Sander van Doorn X Purple Haze Project at Netherlands’ Grenswerk [Interview]

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Last month, Airwalk invited us for a chance to see Dutch electronic maestro Sander van Doorn showcase his different side in an evening of 3 hours with his alter ego, Purple Haze, at club Grenswerk in The Netherlands.

The Purple Haze passion project dates back to 2005 where Sander created music for the first time that didn’t fit his Sander van Doorn style. It was not until 2014 that he revived this alter ego project. You could say Purple Haze is his “Hulk” to his “Bruce Banner” being Sander van Doorn. With Purple Haze he is able to push a sharper, darker, rougher sound. The alter ego allows him to play the currently popular tech-trance sounds he is flawlessly mixing with some great electro and indie beats.

This night was not about big flashy visuals or a spectacular show, however the primary visual was the laser setup around the booth. Lasers shining from the ceiling onto the railing were subtle throughout yet stunning at the same time. About 350 devoted fans gathered in the town of Venlo at club Grenswerk to see their idol play. Supported by Volksfreude, Jaycee and Rob Binner, this night was one pure musical journey. The small and intimate room had this kind of boilerroom feel, especially regarding the alluring stage setup. No matter where fans stood, you could always feel the innate connection with the rest of the crowd and Purple Haze himself.

When Sander took the stage, Jacyee already had played massive progressive set to set the tone for what was to come. Now it was time for the three hour performance where Sander would take us to a special trip through space and time. Alternating between old and new, fast and slow, and beats and vocals, the set was finely tweaked at every turn and twist.

Sander naturally captivated the essence of what this night was about and what people expected. The crowd felt lost in a sea of infectious melodies that commanded us all to dance the night away. Hardly ready to give up energy at the end of the night, attendees reflected upon how Sander played a brilliant set that suited the location and night’s vibe perfectly. If you ever have the change to join him for a three hour Purple Haze set, we advise you to do so.

We had the chance to chat with Sander the night of the show, read on for our full interview below.

Nocturnal Times: You are an absolute juggernaut – your career spanning over several decades now. You were there when the EDM movement started in the Netherlands. What was it that made you decide that you want to live the life of a DJ? And what would you have become if the DJ-life hadn’t worked out?

Sander van Doorn: I remember by brother had a Roland Groovebox 303 which I loved using with vinyls. I just grew from there, but that was the moment that I realised I loved DJing. And to the last question, I’ve always had an interest in becoming an architect, so if being a DJ hadn’t worked out maybe something like that.

Nocturnal Times: Another question from the past. At one point in your life you switched from turntables to CDJs. How did that happen and do you mourn the loss of turntables in general? Or do you prefer CDJs? Or do you miss hauling those huge big bags of LPs?

Sander van Doorn: Travelling wise it’s way more easy to only bring your SD cards for sure, but playing on vinyl will always be more special so every now and then I still do this.

Nocturnal Times: As a veteran DJ and mentor to a lot of younger DJs, who is one you are most proud of? How do you decide who you are going to mentor?

Sander van Doorn: I couldn’t choose one, but I love finding and promoting new talent. For my Identity Radio Show I’m always looking on Beatport or looking at promos I’ve been sent to find new songs. Artists who stand out to me are always the ones who are different but still make great music, no matter the genre.

Nocturnal Times: Many DJs are affected by mental health issues these days, needing to balance studio time, touring, and taking breaks to focus on their personal life and such. How do you remain stable over the years? Do you feel a certain responsibility towards the newer generation when you are mentoring them and do they listen to you?

Sander van Doorn: I try to focus only in positive things and positive people, and besides that I keep an eye on my diet, and (try) to eat as much as healthy food. I also see my family a lot even when I’m touring, making sure I FaceTime all the time. And with some tours it’s possible to take my daughter with us and then we def do that. Mostly with tours when I need to stay on one spot for more days, we’ll make it a family holiday combined with work.

Nocturnal Times: You’ve now finished playing a three hour set. Most sets are usually 1.5 hours and you are playing twice as long. How do you prepare for such a long set?

Sander van Doorn: Doing club shows are always more intimate compared to, say, a festival. So in a club you can spend some proper time to really build up your set, building up the energy and work towards a climax. So it’s just a case of taking longer to build up and maintain the energy, I usually don’t have to change my preparation for a set too much.

Nocturnal Times: Do you prefer music, reading or watching a movie when you are relaxing? And why?

Sander van Doorn: I love watching movies and I also watch a lot of documentaries so that’s def a way to relax for me.

Nocturnal Times: Your label Doorn Records has been around for quite a while and is still doing very well. What’s the secret for a label to have long-term success? How do you balance that with your DJ-act?

Sander van Doorn: Just making sure you choose really creative and talented producers to work with, and the rest of the running of a record label falls into place. The balance with my own DJing also is natural because I work with and remix a lot of the artists that release on Doorn Records, and visa versa, so the production and the live sets come together naturally.

Nocturnal Times: We just ended a decade. What are your plans for this decade? What goals would you like to achieve these next years?

Sander van Doorn: Make a lot of new music! I’m doing some cool collabs and have some new releases coming out that I’m really proud of. And of course I’m going to enjoy more time with my family. Our baby girl is turning one this year so that’ll be really special!

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