Born and raised in Eastern Holland, Sander Kleinenberg began spinning records at the tender age of 15. He was the guy with headphones attached to his head at all times. Sander's first real after school club gig was in a local bar around the corner from his house. He would spin anything that would keep the patrons happy, little knowing that one day he would become one of the world's most respected DJ's and producers, keeping the patrons happy from Cleveland to Kuala Lumpur.
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Sander's musical taste has always been very eclectic. "By the time I was 14, I was listening to stuff like Mantronix," he recalls. "I was heavily influenced by American and British dance music. Remixes by Shep Pettibone, the sleeve art from Jon "Jellybean" Benitez releases, loops by Simon Harris, a video of Beat Street and Depeche Mode concerts.
It was this cocktail of influences that informed the taste of the budding Sander, and led him to making music of his own; launching a career that 15 years later sees him travelling all over the world. Last year alone, this open-minded attitude to music resulted in 250,000 air miles, DJ sets from London to Buenos Aires via New York and rabid support from fans whenever he drops a needle.
In 1996, Sander first appeared on the dance radar with the now infamous NY Club Anthem "Y.D.W. (You Do Me Wrong)". Released on Strictly Rhythm under his production moniker S&S project, it was at the time a rare European release for the label and the track was liberally hammered by Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia et al. But clearly his notoriety was ignited by the now classic track "My Lexicon" and has continued to grow with remixes for the likes of Royksopp, Sasha & Emerson and PMT's classic "Deeper Water".
After seeing his productions appear on bestselling Global Underground compilations (namely Sasha: Ibiza and Deep Dish: Moscow), as well as Danny Howells' Nubreed, he was finally chosen to mix one of his own, and 2001 saw the release of Nubreed 4 (Boxed), the first from a Continental DJ.
He recently won the prestigious Muzik Award for 'Best Radio 1 Essential Mix of 2001' and was DJ Magazine's highest climber in their latest Top 100 DJ Poll (rising 52 places from 67 to 15) further solidifying his reputation. In their influential Next 100 issue, Urb Magazine described Sander's career as "that of a slow but steady build culminating in absolute frenzy." Quite.
Now with the release of his third 'Four Seasons EP' in early summer, and the first of a series of mix compilations for Essential, Sander is about to shake up the dance world yet again. The secret of his success so far? "You have to grow and change as an artist but still retain your artistic voice; not be subject to the swing of trends. I hope you can hear this consistency in all of my work".
Looking at his trilogy work, Sander reflects, "The first EP was quite trancey and serene, the second was more funk-driven and the third and final installment is a bit rougher round the edges". The tracks almost have a gothic sound to them; big sweeping anthems that blow the roof off yet remain intimate and personal at the same time. His DJ mixes are no exception. Carefully shaped to entertain and please, he crafts his mixes in such a way that they suddenly seem to make more sense with the help of tunes that might be otherwise unnoticeable in another environment.
US clubbers are starting to realize just how talented Sander really is. The depth, honesty and universal nature of his sound appeals to every corner of club culture in both the UK and the US.
With a carefully cropped haircut and a softly spoken yet confident demeanor, Sander is the absolute antithesis of the superstar DJ. He's the guy who writes songs called 'Frog Dancing' and 'Slipper Sleaze' yet still gets away with it. You may want to meet him. Or better yet, dance with him.
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