Trouw resident and all-round badass Sandrien catches up with the Meat Free girls again, after an initial ‘dancing party meeting at Berghain’!
Firstly, we have to ask, from one female to another – do you get bored of being asked about being a ‘female in music’, or is it still important to talk about?
Well to be honest I do. For me music is my biggest passion and I just do what I do. I wanted to start playing records, so I just did. All this time I’ve been playing I’ve never had the feeling I got left out because I’m a girl, or that I didn’t get the chances or opportunities a boy had.
Maybe I even got more opportunities to play at certain parties as a girl because it’s rare. Of course I would like to see more girls in the industry and I’m happy when I see new girls who start playing and I only encourage it! I hope they all get same chances I’ve had. But I think, no matter if you’re a boy or a girl, if you have a passion you just need to go for it!
Since 1999 you’ve been building your career, what’s been the highlights? Have there been any points along the way when you felt like giving up?
Well for me the biggest highlight was the residency at Trouw, I loved that place, it was such a great club for me to play at and invite artists I love. It felt like a family to me and I always felt so comfortable playing there and it gave me international exposure as well. But about wanting to give up, I think 2 years before my residency at Trouw, I had a period that I started questioning what I was doing and if I still liked DJing. At that time I couldn’t find music that inspired me and it was a difficult period.
But I started digging through my old records again, the ones I bought in the beginning, Detroit and techno records and through this I regained my inspiration and energy and then the residency at Trouw came. I’m happy I didn’t give up because the best part of my career came after it.
You’re known for holding the crowds at some of the biggest and most respected clubs in the world – where are you favourite places to play?
Well Trouw in Amsterdam was my favourite place, now in Amsterdam it’s successor The School is a place I really like, of course Berghain, Village Underground in London, in Georgia great things are happening. But I also really love playing in Japan. Besides the nightlife, it’s so special to be there, I love the gentleness and humbleness of the people there. It’s a different world.
Did your four year Trouw residency develop you as a DJ? If so, in what way?
Yes a lot! I could invite all the DJ’s I love and hear them play, I was there all night as a host and I could hear different DJ’s play with different approaches, I’ve learnt a lot from them. But I could also learn how to play different parts of the nights. In the beginning of Trouw I always did the openings, I could play and test records, freaky records, ambient records or play records that maybe didn’t work at home but worked really well at the club. Or sometimes there were records I listened at home that I would thought that would work in a club but didn’t.
Playing out lots of different music on a good sound system for people helps you develop as a DJ.
After a few years Trouw got a 24 hour permit so I could play the closings and other parts of the night or day, that required a different approach of playing. I think for a DJ the best way to learn how to play is at a residency at a club.
You’ve played as one half of a few duos, from Amsterdam Assholes to Mal Borrowed & Frei Bauwerker – is there a ‘dream duo’ you’d like to form even just for a night?
Well I’m already in my dream duo. Mal Borrowed & Frei Bauwerker is the early alias from me and my best friend Carlos Valdes. We’ve been playing together for 17 years. We met each other at a party in Amsterdam, we were still very young, just started going out and at the same time started practicing mixing and buying records together. So I genuinely know him and his music. When we play b2b together we don’t need to talk, we just look at each other at a certain way en we know what the other one means. It’s fun and it feels great!
You’ll be playing alongside Ben Sims and you’ve previously released on his label Theory, he’s definitely a big fan of yours! How important is it to make friends in the industry?
I love Ben! He’s such a sweet and nice guy and I love his music! It’s really nice to have friends in the industry, because you don’t only talk about music but you get to know each other, you understand each other’s lives, the travelling. During my time off playing, Ben came to visit me and we just talked about life. That’s what makes it all count. There’s a lot more besides the DJ life and I’m happy I found out.
Speaking of releases, where do you feel most comfortable – in the DJ booth or in the studio?
Definitely in the DJ booth, I’ve been playing and selecting music for such a long time, it all feels really natural and I like going with the flow there and see what happens. For making music I need to be in a certain creative state that doesn’t come naturally to me when I just decide to make music.
If you didn’t make and play music what would you be doing?
That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot too lately. I’m happy I can still play and I love it but of course there will come a time you’ll want or need to do something else. Before I started playing I studied communication science but I never had a job in that field. But I would love to study again. Maybe investigative journalism or maybe something closer to my music passion; I would like to guide younger artists in some way.
Finally, what can we expect from you on 31 March in Manchester?
Well, first of all I’m happy to see you girls again after our first dancing party meeting at Berghain. That was a lot of fun haha! And I’m happy to play with Ben again! I’m really looking forward to it! I’ll bring my favourite music with me and let’s see what happens 🙂
Featured photo credit: http://mixing.dj/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Sandrien.png