Interview: Sander Kleinenberg

Sander Kleinenberg

Photography by Eli Zuta

As resident of Pacha’s flagship Friday night, Pure Pacha, Sander Kleinenberg divides his time between his home, studio and work in his native Amsterdam, and his second home in Ibiza. While he hasn’t yet given in to the temptation to reside here all-year-round just yet, he admits he can see himself enjoying the ‘autumn’ of his life here – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet, Sander! We recently caught up with the superstar-DJ-meets-family-man at Ushuaia, where he was playing as a guest of his good friend Sasha, at this year’s hottest new beach party Never Say Never…

What is it that you love about the island that keeps you coming back?
Obviously the DJ culture is so amazing here, but I’ve really fallen in love with the place over the years – I’ve been coming here since 1994. I have a house here, it’s only two hours from my house in Amsterdam, so I come whenever the schedule permits, bring the family, have barbeques, the weather’s always great, the food’s amazing – it doesn’t get any better than that! Personally I like Ibiza better in the off-season because it’s a place where you can really unwind and not think about work…

You said the food’s amazing – any recommendations?

I love doing barbeques so I love the butcher next to Pacha for my meat and I love Es Torrent, it’s my favourite seafood in the world.

Speaking of Pacha, how do you compare Pure Pacha on Fridays to the other big nights in the club?
I think musically, I’m fairly adventurous. I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from playing tunes that are relevant. Some of the other nights are more like pop concerts – David’s had an amazing journey with what he does, Erick’s been there forever and he’s in that same world. Then you’ve got the Swedes on a Monday doing that popular big house sound – I steer away from that, so if it’s anything, it’s very musical.

Sander Kleinenberg

Photography by Eli Zuta

What about the Never Say Never beach parties here at Ushuaia with Sasha – does it give you a chance to showcase a different musical side?
Absolutely. I can really be myself, there’s no direction apart from playing great music and the crowds are up for it. Obviously Friday nights at Pacha are a great passion of mine, but there is a couple of thousand people you have to entertain so there’s a different level of awareness when I DJ there. So I’m just chilled out at Ushuaia and I play what I love. It’s good for the soul, that’s for sure.

Are the audiences here in Ibiza different than the rest of the world?
People let their hair down here. You land on an island, you pay 70€ to get into a club and you have three 15€ drinks – you’re gonna have a party regardless! But it’s definitely an atmosphere that caters for amazing musical journeys.

Do you get to check out any of the other club nights around the island?
If there’s a DJ that I really want to see or a friend DJing and it happens that I can swing by I do. Mostly it’s musically interesting, more leftfield than what I do, that I like to check out. Though Sunday nights at Pacha with Luciano have been quite ground breaking – I’ve had a few brilliant nights there. His sort of specific sound, which is super hot right now, just fits that club really well. It’s got that sexy, European jet set vibe about it, and I don’t mean jet set in a bad way!

The Ibiza summer season is starting to wind down… how do you feel when it comes to this point in the year?
I feel really sad. Because I’m a real summer person and I hate winter! I just spent two weeks at home in Amsterdam and it was dreadful! Well, no, not at all, but my little girl has gone back to school and that sense of freedom disappeared. And I stopped drinking! But my last DJ set in Pacha isn’t until the end of October, for a cancer charity, so it’s still all good and then there’s always next year…

This story was published on September 14, 2010

Sander Kleinenberg with Sasha at Ushuaia Ibiza

Photography by Eli Zuta