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Sander Kleinenberg - Have You Heard About The 'Berg-

Author: Cyclone
Friday, 26 October 2007
Sander Kleinenberg has long cultivated his outsider status, rebutting dance music tags like the obvious ‘progressive house’, even while pursuing a living as a superstar DJ. 3D’s Cyclone caught up with the Dutch producer before he hits Oz.

Today though, Kleinenberg consistently presents mix-CDs, he perceives them as extensions of his club sets.

In recent years he’s forged a fruitful alliance with the UK brand Renaissance – in fact, he’s touring behind the first of their This Is… series. How does he keep his comps fresh-

“The question is: how do you keep DJing fresh-” Kleinenberg, a “selector”, responds sagely. “You need to look at what you do constantly and try to reinvent who you are and re-evaluate what you are doing.

“Compilations are really good just to set that in stone and make new commitments and rediscover the value that you see in dance music and what makes you tick.

“‘Keeping it fresh’ is not so much ‘keeping it fresh’ for a compilation – the ‘keeping it fresh’ part is a constant factor of being a DJ. You constantly work at finding tunes that are fresh and that are potentially reinventing what you’re doing.

“I think it’s this journey – in search of the perfect record – which is most thrilling about DJing.”

Kleinenberg is ambitious artistically. Indeed, as Sasha pioneered Ableton Live, Kleinenberg, determined not to stagnate, is championing VJing. He reasons that the internet has forever changed the craft. Once, a DJ stood out on the basis of his selection. But, with digital downloads, everyone has access to those same tracks.

“That makes – and forces – DJs to become more creative,” he proffers, “and, to give my thing that unique trademark, video is my weapon of choice. I love video – I’ve always been a fan of video – and I like working with it.”

There is irony in Kleinenberg’s much-lauded affinity with the visual. He was born in Delft, home to the Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer.

The Dutchman – now based in Amsterdam – started spinning as a teenager. From the outset, Kleinenberg was open to a spectrum of club sounds – New Wave, electro and house. He’s attributed that fluidity to his coming from a “secluded” region of Holland. He has never identified with the wider Dutch electronic scene – especially Tiesto’s power trance.

Inevitably, Kleinenberg moved into music production. Here, again, he was anything but predictable.

In the mid-’90s Sander aired YDW (You Do Me Wrong) via the NY house label Strictly Rhythm under the name S&S Project. He then disseminated the progressive trance classic My Lexicon. Sander swayed arch Detroit techno purists with his elegant Four Seasons EPs. Recently, flashy club DJs have caned his electro-house This Is Miami.

Kleinenberg regards This Is Miami as “a gimmick record” that he primarily created to drop at the 2006 Miami Music Conference, never imagining it’d assume a life of its own. The track certainly doesn’t signal a new direction.

Along the way, he also remixed the likes of Justin Timberlake. But, just as it appeared the DJ was embracing pop, he pulled back.

“I thought pop music was very interesting a couple of years ago,” he says. “I was thrilled to be part of it – and to try to give it some edge as well. I got a bit carried away and did a lot of remixes for a while, but I’m kinda over that now.”

WHO: Sander Kleinenberg
WHAT: This Is… Sander Kleinenberg through EQ/Stomp / Plays Renaissance at Home
WHEN: Out now / Saturday 3 November