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Sander Van Doorn discusses sound, success and his resemblance to Laidback Luke

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Luke, I am your doppelgänger: Sander van Doorn plays Marquee Dayclub on Sunday.
Sam Glaser @sammyglaser

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Sander Van Doorn
April 14, doors at 10 a.m., $30 men, $20 women
Marquee Dayclub, 333-9000

Sander Van Doorn is a technical prodigy even among his superstar peers. The prolific Dutchman produces massive dancefloor hits, collaborates with the biggest producers and even bested Axwell, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 for Best Breakthrough DJ five years ago at the Miami Winter Music Conference. This weekend, he takes over Marquee Dayclub for an early-season spin.

Describe your sound and how it’s progressed during your decade-long career.

Pretty much a crossover between different styles, genres of music. It’s proggy. It’s techy. I would say the main feature within my sets is that it’s pretty energetic. It has progressed a lot, actually. It was quite melodic 10 years ago. It’s still melodic these days, but I kind of lowered the tempo a little bit, added a lot more genres to it—electric house, progressive, techno. But the essence is still the same as 10 years ago.

You’ve racked up awards and DJ rankings. What’s your best measure of success?

It always starts with the music—it’s your productions, the music that you make, that’s the best promotional tool you can have. But definitely awards, the rankings, it’s all part of your whole profile, it definitely matters. … The best measure of success is actually just being comfortable with the sound of music, having fun on the road, having fun in the studio, and just play out the music you like. If you’ve got that right, it’s pretty much the secret of success.

Talk a little bit about your production process. How do you decide when to use vocals?

I get inspired by tracks I get sent, music I listen to. I listen a lot to rock bands like Sigur Rós, Radiohead, stuff like that. I get a lot of inspiration, always start with a blank screen and just work my way up from there. Some projects work better not using vocals. Other projects really need vocals. So I work together with songwriters, and if I like a certain vocal, I produce a track around it.

How are the markets for EDM different in the U.S. versus Europe?

Well, the funny thing is that actually EDM started over in the U.S., with the Chicago house and Detroit techno. It kind of flew over to Europe about 10 years ago, really started to develop over there. The funny thing is now it’s actually going back to the U.S., with bars being very professional, the whole scene pretty much been blowing up these days. … A lot of inspiration for European DJs is actually coming from the U.S., back to Europe right now.

You’ve worked with everyone from Matt Darey and Sebastian Ingrosso to Armin van Buuren. What’s the best story from a remix or collabo?

Funny story was actually the track that I did with Laidback Luke. People mix me up with Luke, and obviously the other way around … we kind of look alike. We said it would be funny to produce a track together. He was wearing a cap, and we took a picture for Twitter, asking people “Who’s wearing the cap?” and that actually became the title of the track.

Sander van Doorn’s top 5 tracks

1. Jordy Dazz—“Bitsize”

2. Nicky Romero—“Symphonica”

3. Steve Aoki ft. Kid Cudi and Travis Barker—“Cudi the Kid Remix”

4. I’ve got a new track coming up, I can’t tell the title yet, but it’s really working in my sets.

5. Also a track of mine, “Joyenergizer,” the Lazy Rich remix. That track’s absolutely phenomenal, as well.

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