“I guess I was on my way to become a DJ of that profile,” he whispers without a hint of modesty. “It happened a little earlier than I expected,” from the confines of his bed after injuring his leg after a long festival set. Festivals like the Summer Sound System are still fairly new to Kleinenberg, having played only a handful like Lowlands, Dance Valley and New Frontier. So don’t expect a jaded superstar who has someone to carry his all-leather record bag. It is his virgin Australian trip.
“I’ll be playing house music, with a few exclusive tracks from myself and my friends. I’ve been working on a few tunes this weekend and I’m gonna press them up myself and bring them over. I can’t say too much though,” he stops abruptly, leaving plenty to the imagination. Check his top five [that follows] for clues. Kleinenberg’s tastes have changed immensely from his sets as a cocky 15 year old where rock was the main ingredient.
Through his career, Sander has sent his records all over Europe with fruitful outcomes. In 1993 he debuted with ‘Bombay’ on Belgium’s Wonka, following with a track on Superstition from Germany. But it was when he looked to the roots of house music in New York that he began chins wagging. ‘YDW’ blew up on Strictly Rhythm in 1996. His recent ‘Four Seasons EP’ have continued the trend, with the third in the trilogy slated for release in the coming months. The idea behind the EPs being to gather four remixes for each tune.
“It sounds less polished,” he attests, speaking of the last EP in the series. “I usually end up making the backing track rougher because the vocal speaks for itself. The first EP was serene and quite trancey, the second is more funk-driven, the third is going to be a bit rougher around the edges...” he trails off, envisioning the final product. Kleinenberg is by no means prolific; but then again rarely does he have time to get in the studio with such a hectic schedule. That said, he now has guidance from manager Guy Ornadel and is a part of Sasha’s Excession Booking Agency.
Though often called the spinning Dutchman, Kleinenberg is more often flying from country to country playing to up-for-it crowds. A meticulous technician in the studio, Sander is worthy of the Frying Dutchman’ title too – he has cooked up some tasty 12 inch releases in the last few years. Notably, ‘My Lexicon’ and ‘Sacred’ were validated by the progressive prince himself, Sasha, when he used both tracks on his Global Underground Ibiza album.
Kleinenberg got his chance with Global Underground too, capitalising with his critically acclaimed ‘Nu Breed mix’. “I didn’t really listen to any other mix CDs, I didn’t want to be guided by what other people had done. I’d listened Danny Howells' and Steve Lawler’s mixes maybe once,” he admits sheepishly, “Anthony Pappa’s CD I listen to a lot now, it’s been in my CD player for quite a while. It reminded me of what Sasha does.” Furthering his reputation, Kleinenberg recently scooped the Best Essential Mix at the Muzik awards. Massive.
Perhaps it’s a geographical thing, as Kleinenberg records in Hague, south of Holland, far enough removed from England’s direct influence and sometimes-stifling scene. Hague is inhabited by underground maestros Pako & Frederick, Vincent De Moor and Remy from RR Workshop, who have watched their peer Kleinenberg ascend. He has remixed for those far from the mainstream like De Moor, through to the bigger players like Oliver Lieb and Junkie XL and even those who have their faces in every glossy magazine like Destiny’s Child.
Like acting, it is the scripts you knock back that can really make you. Kleinenberg agrees. “Almost everything I get is shit. There is a lot of people that haven’t asked me that I would want to remix. Depeche Mode is one…Madonna is one too who you don’t say no to.” He is a man with an open mind when it comes to remixes, recently tweaking a song at 125 bpms by a Norwegian band called Wall of Sound. “It sounds Balearic because I did it in the summer. They still haven’t paid me the bastards,” he says with an air of confidence that suggests his bank balance isn’t having sleepless nights over the missing moolah.
Kleinenberg comes to town at a time when Melbourne’s progressive scene is in danger of taking itself too seriously - the Dutchman will be a breath of fresh air this weekend. Calling his music ‘underground soul’, he is shying from genre-casting and poking fun at the dance press at the same time. He even managed to convince some reporter twat he was looking to hook up with the roundest tenor of the three, Pavarotti. “I was taking the piss,” he reports “I wouldn’t let that fat bastard in my studio.”
1. Rebanka ‘Out Of The Dark’ on Whoop.
2. Brother Brown ‘Untitled’ (Darren Emerson remix)
3. Funky Green Dogs ‘Burning Up’ (Flatline remix)
4. Leah ‘Faith’
5. Depeche Mode ‘Freedom’ (Deep Dish remix)