When you walk into Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles, you are immediately impressed by the attention to detail. There are a number of bouncers and staff members that make you feel safe and valued. You immediately feel the earthquake effect of strategically placed Funktion One loudspeakers. For the aspiring young producer, this is a holy night. For others, perhaps just another club gig.
At 42 years young, Sander Kleinenberg has the energy of a teenager on his first day of summer. Inked on his left forearm, you can see an airplane flying across a tiny globe-like icon. He's not what you might expect from a veteran European DJ who comes to a fancy club in Los Angeles for a Monday night set. Immediately you notice that he embraces every member of Sound's staff including the guests with bottle service. In a scruffy beard and a white sleeveless tank, he looks like he could be a relief pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers. After his set and the music goes off, he immediately expresses interest in going to In-N-Out Burger (which closed two hours earlier) and beams about the idea of going back to his hotel to watch cartoons with his 9 year-old daughter (who has recently been on tour with him throughout the Midwest).
Kleinenberg has one of the hottest tracks of the summer now with “We R Superstars” which has the nu-disco feel of a Daft Punk hit. The tune is fully supported by all of the best: Danny Howard, Pete Tong, Nicky Romero, Steve Angello, Fedde Le Grand, Laidback Luke, Chuckie, Fatboy Slim, Gareth Emery, Tritonal, MOGUAI, you name it.
We dove into the new tune which he dropped midway through his set, and some funny gossip about the making of it.
“We R Superstars.” How were rumors started that Daft Punk ghost produced it. How do you feel about that?
This track, honestly, it's the craziest thing. I started it last year in the summer in Ibiza.
Do you still live there?
No, I live in Amsterdam. I have a house in Ibiza. I started the track because I loved Daft Punk's new album but it was kind of missing a real big, pumping club track. Their album is cool and it's like an introspective… their homage to who they love in electronic music. This track happened, I didn't shy away from it. I know it sounds like them, but whatever. I missed what they did in the 90's and I wanted to emulate that, do something funky.
Everybody's like, yeah this sounds like Daft Punk. Like, okay, cool… Every other EDM record sounds like Swedish House Mafia, there's like five thousand of those. I didn't feel like there was a lot of those records around and I love that sound. I like duplicating the past and making it current. That's what I tried with this tune.
You can buy “We R Superstars” HERE.
What's going on with the music video? Can you explain what's happening there?
I was with my engineer in London, his name is Steve Dobb. He's amazing, engineers the Chemical Brothers. He was a big part of this record. Being on the road and constantly touring, you can pretend to have that ‘A-game' when it comes to producing skills but the reality is you need to hook up with someone who knows how to translate what you want to do. Steve Dobb was an incredible partner to do this with.
We got dogs “to ghost produce Sander Kleinenberg” and all that sort of thing. Behind some of the pretty boys standing behind a DJ booth fist pumping away and whatever, there are a lot of people working really hard. The whole video is trying to show the hard working dogs that are behind a lot of the things people enjoy and don't get all the recognition but are really important. I guess some of it has to do with it and then looking at dogs producing records is kind of funny (Check out the video below).
Are you going to try and do more disco type stuff in the future?
This is the first release of about 20 tracks I've produced that are in the same vein and direction. I really miss that authentic, dance floor, Saturday Night fever vibe. I really enjoy that. I don't want to badmouth anything that goes on at the moment. But a lot of the records that get recognition are made for a field with 20,000 people in it. It's not going to work in a club with 1,000 or 500 or 200 people. People have to understand that a lot of records that are being produced by these kids from around the world were made for huge crowds. Those simple things…that's where those big ass kicks, those big drops make a lot of sense. I appreciate that 100 percent but I'm all about girls in the club and sexy. Maybe a little table and a bottle. It's celebrating life and having a bit of a moment.
Club life is about make believe. It's about playing as if you were a superstar and owning it. Clubs are made for people to believe they are the center of the universe at that moment in time. It's different from being at a festival and being amongst like 20,000 people. It's not better, not worse, but different. This tune and what I'm all about is taking people on a journey and slapping them around the face, taking them from this place to that place, have fun…
Is this a very organic feeling to play here, this kind of music, in Los Angeles?
LA, for the last 15 years, has always been a really, really special place for me. The West coast just brings that organic vibe that I really enjoy. I've always had a weak spot for coming to the center of the world.
I don't know, yeah maybe. It's a place that really helps me be me. That's beautiful. I've had a few moments in my career that have been great that I've been able to hold on to for like a few years touring it and stuff. This is the third time around. “We R Superstars” is what I strongly believe in now. I may not be the guy that sort of holds on to that one moment and then milks that a hundred times over. I create a moment, I enjoy it, and then I go back to the studio and I create another moment. It may take a year, it may take 2, 4, 7. But I love this music. I love being able to reinvent who I am and change the rules and push things forward.
What can we look forward to this year?
Spinnin' is a really great label. I've got a couple releases coming out. They strongly believe in what I do. They have such a great inclusion of people involved in it, a great community. Maybe I don't identify with some of the music they put out but that doesn't mean that I don't fully respect where they're coming from. They embrace a vibrant, young generation and even though I'm fucking old and some people may say I don't belong there, I love that. I love the spirit of rejuvenation and being new and being fresh. I like saying fuck all the rules, this is me. They stand for that. Old school go, yeah it's cheap and this and that. But I love Martin Garrix, I love music that's new and fresh. I'm proud to be part of that. They stand behind me and endorse what I do.