Sander Kleinenberg rocked the Sahara tent on day two of Coachella on Saturday afternoon with an electric performance. Kleinenberg didn’t disappoint, doing what he is best known for: DVJing. That is, he mixes visuals along with the audio for an overall sensory experience that he claims “reflects life.”
The Dutch musician/producer/DJ, who has been an icon in house and trance music for almost two decades, is in the process of a redefining project called “5K,” which is the title of the album he released at the end of 2010 after a long time coming. More than just an album, Kleinenberg has created a movement and even a persona with “5K.” The work shows the artist’s ability to step outside the box, encompassing music genres and styles of all sorts–a parallel to Coachella, itself.
Kleinenberg, renewed persona in tow, graciously took some time to talk to hornface.com about what “5K” and Coachella mean to him:
hornface.com: You arrived at Coachella today, but where did you come here from before this?
Sander Kleinenberg: I was just in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.
E: That’s amazing. Were you touring or visiting?
SK: Yes, I was touring there, and then I picked up my wife on the way here.
E: Oh! Is she here?
SK: Yes, she’s here. She’s running around.
E: That’s wonderful that you can share this experience with her.
So, let’s talk about your highly anticipated album, “5K.” You started the process for this album ten years ago! Tell us about that.
SK: I mean, it’s a bit of a joke. At the end of the day, I think anybody who writes can look back after he’s written and go like, “You know what? These ideas have been around for a while.” I really wanted to make an all-around document that would kind of represent almost like an audio biography. The sounds, the influences that influenced me are represented on this album, so it’s very, very eclectic. It tries to cover all angles. So after I’d done the album, looking back at it, I’m like, “This has been floating around.”
E: So you started ten years ago, but you’ve made a lot of other works in between. What makes this album so special to you?
SK: Because it’s very personal. Within electronic music, you can be led by the machines and they kind of dictate a certain sound or a direction. I really wanted to leave some personal notes telling about my journey, touching upon a few subjects that, growing up, has meant [something] to me: trials and tribulations; there’s some criticisms on society; I wrote a song for my mum, who sadly passed away . . . so you know, it’s always personal.
E: You’ve worked with so many amazing artists–numerous collaborations, a lot of club-bangers that are played everywhere. What are some of your biggest influences that influenced this album and your music in general?
SK: I mean, to pinpoint one specific influence . . . I can name different names forever. They change all the time because there are always new names. I have Doug Terry, Fab 5 Freddy, Harry Levin, and today, we have Skrillex . . . so I’m someone who is constantly under the influences of stuff that happens around me, and so, what I try to do is, almost like a navigator, you want to try to mold all of those influences into what’s your sound and how you want to get that across.
E: When people hear your music–your latest album or any of your albums, what would you like them to take away from your music?
SK: Well, hope would be phenomenal. It’s probably pretentious, but you want people to get inspired by your music.
E: And who would you like to check out here at Coachella?
SK: Well, the bill is ridiculous–like everything you see! But, I haven’t seen the Chemical Brothers for a while, so I’m looking quite forward to that tonight; Mumford and Sons I haven’t seen so I’ll check them out; unfortunately, I missed Skrillex, which I really wanted to see, because it was quite early.
E: You’ve worked with so many great artists up to now. Who would you be interested in working with in the future?
SK: I don’t have specific wishes. I’ve just done a great collaboration with Dev, and she’s a phenomenal, inspiring, sparkling woman on the brink of great things, so it’s good to be involved with her talent. And you know, the way she brings her messages is quite inspiring, so that was good. It’s a very, very exciting time for this music. I think if you look at the black community–black music is merging with what us, Europeans, are trying to get out. There is something very, very interesting happening with that. Unfortunately, now, the radio is quite samey-samey–as in like, everything sounds the same, but I think the next sort of level of where we’re heading is depth and a little bit more substance, and I think the world needs a little bit more substance. Call me a romantic, but I’m the kind of guy who, like–I want to try to do that three minutes and thirty seconds at a time. I read that somewhere and I think it’s a good quote.
E: That is a good quote. Actually, Lauryn Hill, who was just playing, is a great believer in that.
SK: Yes. And apart from that, I’ve recently done collaborations with Kary Perry and Daft Punk.
E: Yes! I’ve really been loving checking out all your fantastic collaborations. I can’t wait for more. Tell us what we can look forward to in the near future from Sander Kleinenberg.
SK: Well, “5K” just dropped in America, which is very exciting. America has always been . . . my first gig here was ten years ago in Boulder, Colorado in a really, really small 50-[person] capacity room/club on a Tuesday night I think it was, “Student Night.” And going from there to now . . . It’s a very exciting privilege to be entertaining the youth of America, so that is what I will continue to do.
E: Well, [America] welcome[s] you with open arms. We are just as privileged to have you, and I’ve been privileged to have the chance to talk to you here at Coachella. Thank you for taking the time out to talk about what you’re up to. We’re really looking forward to your set tomorrow.
SK: Thank you.