Dutch TreatBy Kristopher Christensen
I’m meeting Sander Van Doorn for an interview at a swanky hotel in Costa Mesa at 11:00 p.m. He’s late but that’s OK with me. The fact that he’s scheduled at a club at midnight is a bit worrisome, though. Having just played Las Vegas for three nights in a row before tonight might have something to do with why Van Doorn is tardy. The Dutch-born, world famous DJ is blowing up in the U.S. and he’s a pretty busy guy. By the time he show up to talk to me around 11:15 he has exactly 45 minutes to be on the decks at Sutra, a club about four miles away. Calm, collected and well spoken, we chat about the rise of electronic dance music as well as Dutch and American attitudes towards cannabis.
You’ve started to become very big here in the U.S. playing huge festivals. Electronic dance music is getting bigger crowds at festivals than rock or hip-hop acts. How do you feel about that?
It’s bizarre to see how things have grown the last couple of years. I’ve been playing here in the U.S. for about eight, going on nine years now. I’ve seen the development and what’s going on these days is crazy. One of my biggest markets right now is the U.S., and it’s also the most fun market to play.
I listen to Sirius XM Radio all the time and I’ve heard your show called “Identity” a few times on the Electric Area channel. How did you get involved with that?
Well, “Identity” started as a monthly show about seven years ago and the first station to broadcast it was DIW FM Radio. The show grew and grew until it became a bi-weekly show and the last couple of years it became a weekly show. It’s now syndicated to about 35 to 40 countries worldwide. [With] Sirius XM . . . I have a lot of creative control; I personally think to have a good radio show you need to have creative input in your own house.
Being from Eindhoven (which has “coffee shops” similar to Amsterdam) in the Netherlands, I take it you’re familiar with cannabis use and laws in your part of the world. How do you feel about medical cannabis use and legalization in the United States?
To be honest, it’s funny how Dutch people thought we were really progressive with cannabis. We just had a big debate on Dutch television about how the U.S. has become much more progressive than our own Dutch government. The problem with the Dutch government is that we never actually made it legal in the Netherlands. We had this strange rule where coffee shops could sell “soft” drugs, but it actually wasn’t legal to do so. The U.S. market kind of solved that by voting on it and saying OK it’s either legal or illegal from state to state—which I think is more progressive and cutting-edge than back home.
Sander Van Doorn supports cannabis—but he just doesn’t use it personally. “Personally, I have nothing against the use of cannabis—a lot of people in my surroundings use cannabis,” he says. “It doesn’t really have the right effect on me as it just makes me really hungry and I’ll want to eat cheese then go to sleep (laughing). I really have to applause the U.S. and the stances the people are trying to make.”