Miami brings out some of the best of times from each year. 2019 brought some really cool moments. The winds were stronger than previous years, but the rain held off. We caught up with the legendary Sander van Doorn at W Hotel South Beach before the weekend kicked off to chat about his radio “Identity’s” fifthteenth anniversary, parenthood, and more. He recently released the 500th release on his label, DOORN Records. You can watch the official music video to “500 (PCM)” below as well as the dive into the full playlist as you read this interview.
Why did you launch your label DOORN Records?
Many years ago I started the label because I felt I needed to establish a platform to release my own stuff to extend my identity as an artist. I also was getting a lot of tracks from producers asking me how they could release them. It felt like the next step to do. You are working with talented young producers and it’s cool to help be apart of their career launch. I decided I never want to do a long term contract with the label. Everyone who releases on DOORN signs a single at a time. If they want to come back they can, but it isn’t because of a contract they are stuck in.
What would you tell a rising artist who is about to start their first headlining tour?
You need a good management team and booking agent in place that really understands your sound. It’s about planning out a strategy and branding yourself as the artist. Connecting people to your brand by delivering true to your identity and new to the scene as well. Spending a good deal of time getting the right people in the right places to deliver once the tour time comes. There is a lot of people who can damage your career if they don’t know what they are doing. With my label, I try to help the young producers find these people when I can. Although, the time in the day is limited and just trying to do the best I can.
This year marks the 15th year anniversary of your radio show “Identity.” What are some of your most proud moments since you launched?
Well, this is obviously one of the most proud moments. Being able to hit the big 500. It is a lot. My very first show was a vinyl mix. It took me about a week to get it right. I really like the process. It’s just as important at the label releases. It is an extension of your brand. People are trying to understand what type of music you associate with your brand. The best moments were in the live shows. Getting the show on SiriusXM was a big moment. 9 to 20 million active radio listeners is what the show brings in. We reach about 300 radio stations. It’s just a pretty cool feeling. There are places in South America for example where they aren’t able to afford the cost of a record, but they can stream the radio show.
We heard some incredibly exciting news about you. You’ve become a father! What are you looking forward to most about this new role?
It’s an amazing feeling! Ava is my baby girl’s name and she is home with her mom happy and healthy. I never thought babies were that cute, but she’s a cutie. I may be a little biased here haha. I’m looking forward to her first words. Her recognizing me. First baby steps. First time she draws something on the wall.
How will parenthood change production output, touring, etc?
I will just let it go with the flow. I have found this nice balance between touring and producing. It will probably stay the same moving forward. My wife is my manager so it will be a little different, but i don’t think it will affect the momentum.
In a recent interview, you talked about an increase in technology usage in everyday life. Do you have a process for “disconnecting?”
The phone is ringing and there is always something going on. I am pretty bad and communicating back. I have around 85,000 unread emails. I am more about speaking with people. It makes it easier because it is in the moment. It isn’t an ongoing thing. With social media it continues forever. I’ve spoken to a lot of people and artists and their views. They feel like they are against the burnout. It is very important to find that balance so you don’t go overboard.
What artists do we need to be listening to?
Sigur Rós. I am a big fan of their music. I am always keen to hear their new albums when they come out. Bohemian Rhapsody was a great movie and I loved how that turned out. I have been listening to more of Queen’s stuff lately. I don’t think there will be an artist like that ever again. It’s funny when my dad heard my first song he was like, “what the hell is this?”
Can we expect more releases this summer from yourself?
A lot of releases. I was kind of on daddy leave for a couple of weeks. There will be 8 new releases for Purple Haze and 6 under Sander project.
What did you leave behind in 2018 (something that impeded your growth as an artist or individual)?
I really learned that when I had a daughter, you can’t really dwell in the stress. You got to focus on the things that matter. Let all the other things fall to the side. You need to enjoy the things that make you happy.