Sander van Doorn

How Following His Heart Led Him To A New Accountant and His Latest Exciting Project, Purple Haz

By Kristine Kennedy and Michael Beas

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Sander van Doorn is in a league few can truly achieve in the dance music community. This is a league of legends who can find the perfect balance between staying true to their roots but at the same time, always evolving their sound. We highly recommend you check out Sander’s set the next time he’s in your area. We know you will love the stories he tells through his music and the journey he takes you on. It’s a true depth that cannot be fabricated or manipulated, but comes straight from the heart. We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about this man in this interview, whom we got to know as one of the most humble, down-to-Earth, and dedicated talents in the industry.   Raver Magazine: You’re one of the most successful producers in the industry. Can you speak of any challenges you have had to overcome to achieve all that you have thus far? Sander van Doorn: It really started when I made the decision to fully devote to music production, moving it from a hobby to a job. That was a big transition. I had another family job at the time, but I felt that music was something truly important to me. I had never learned to play a music instrument but I knew that I had to do something with it. So I taught myself how to producer music and then I had to decide to stop taking my college courses. I wanted to do something by myself outside of the family business. I never wanted the path of life laid out for me. I told myself that if I didn’t make the move to this industry that I would regret it for the rest of my life. Raver Magazine: So what was the next step after telling your family you had made this decision? Sander van Doorn: Well at first they were concerned because they don’t know the music industry so would not be able to help me. But I wanted to give it a try for a year and see what happened. That was one of the reasons why I really wanted to do this – because I wanted to do something on my own. They knew that by me making that decision that this was going to be something very serious. I started producing tracks with Spinnin’ Records. I sent them a lot of tracks and we worked on a lot of remixes at first. Then we moved to singles and they encouraged me to grow and move into other sounds. So we started doing some techy stuff and more progressive tracks. I started to find myself a little bit in the middle of the two genres, so I started to produce more and more in that style. The tracks got a lot of recognition and by then I had started to DJ a bit in some clubs. My first festival was Global Gathering and I played on a tiny stage. After my set I walked over to the main stage and Tiesto was playing and he actually dropped one of my bootlegs, Message In A Bottle, during his set. Everybody was just going crazy and I just thought “wow – I know for certain I have made the right decision now.” Raver Magazine: What did Dad have to say to that? Sander van Doorn: I don’t think he really followed me much the first few years because I was just busy doing my own thing producing tracks. But back in the day it was common to be paid in cash by the promoters for your work. I did all my own bookings and well, I took a lot of cash home. I was a good producer but a very bad accountant. So I had all this foreign currency and I put it in a shoebox in my closet. One day my dad came over and asked how my music career was working out. He asked how I did my accounting so I showed him the shoebox with all the currency of about three years of shows in it. He took it to the bank and it turns out they couldn’t exchange all of it at once because it was too much. So my brother stepped in and offered to do my accounting work from then on and he still does my accounting today. But when I showed my dad that shoebox he was actually really proud because he realized I was doing something that was actually going somewhere. Raver Magazine: Speaking of going somewhere, talk to us about Purple Haze. Sander van Doorn: Purple Haze is actually one of the alter-egos I started out with when I first began producing. I started out releasing tracks under Sam Sharp and then Sander Van Doorn, producing some trance tracks. But I felt I needed something deeper, more moody, but still very euphoric and driven. The name Purple Haze really just made sense with this type of music that I was producing. It was really a sound that suits me right now that I could go all out with. About a year and a half ago I finished the track Neiloj and then one after another, all of a sudden I had ten tracks under Purple Haze. After that I made the decision that I needed to do something with this because I really felt like this was opening a new door for me. I wanted to turn it into a live show unlike other I have done before. Raver Magazine: Can you describe the environment you envisioned for the Purple Haze live shows? Sander van Doorn: I wanted to take a whole team with me that was going to create the whole show. These days it’s very important to have the sound right but also create the whole show around it in a way that it really translates to the crowd. I started working with a VJ and started to throw ideas to him about my own image of the tracks and asked him to make that happen visually. We really knew what we wanted to create. The reception for the live shows was great and the energy was so good. The community sense of trance fans is absolutely amazing. They know their music and they really support the artists. They really like to go on a musical trip and for me, that is why I decided that Purple Haze is going to be all about big arena shows where it’s going to be all out with the lighting and production work. Raver Magazine: It seems like a lot of producers in the industry are branching out in their creativity these days and exploring different genres. Where do you see the industry as a whole going in the future? Sander van Doorn: Well obviously be it one year or four or five, there is still that EDM bubble that everyone is trying to define. All of a sudden the bubble will burst a little bit and I think that’s a really good thing because this industry is all about producing what everybody produces and trying to make it all a little better. It’s about going back to the roots and the dance music industry has already existed for 30 years now and it comes from a certain direction. It’s about the underground scene that actually got overlooked a bit in the last couple of years. If something gets too commercial, more people are going to look to go back to a more underground vibe. Over the next few years, I think people are really going to look for quality music because they’re going to find themselves at festivals listening to the same music over and over and they are going to search for the artist that they really like. I think that certain music streaming services are creating a problem for some producers because people want to be a part of a certain playlist on them, but then you have a record company who will tell you that they can get you there but with a shortened version of your track. But with these certain types of tracks, you need to be able to tell a story, and you can’t do that with a 4 minute version. But then you run into the problem that the longer tracks aren’t added to the playlists in the end. We as an industry needs to step away from just producing to make money on a track and look at the tracks that we produce as a part of our identity as artists. Raver Magazine: Outside of Purple Haze, do you have a past project that you’re most proud of? Sander van Doorn: Riff was something I was really proud of. And also hearing Tiesto play my bootleg of Message In A Bottle at my first festival, Global Gatherings, was a really proud moment for me. I’m also really thrilled on making the decision to make something great out of the Purple Haze thing right now. Neiloj is a track on the new album that I’m really excited about – it is actually the spelling of my wife’s name backwards. ]]>