WORDS: Alex Caslano
‘I remember walking into Trouw for the first time, I was amazed by the vibe it had going on; an industrial place but with warmth - a proper club vibe.’ With the infamous Amsterdam club facing closure next year, Sandrien, one of the city’s most exciting DJs and Trouw resident for the past four years, is clearly feeling somewhat sentimental. ‘The people who work at Trouw are so friendly and professional; everyone from the staff, no matter what function they have, make you feel at home. Combine that with the 24 hour license we’ve got and it makes the club really special.’
Having been playing parties around Amsterdam since 1999, Sandrien’s reputation for quality sets spanning everything from ambient to techno eventually led her to the door of Trouw in 2010, where she was asked to host her own event, Imprint. Over the past four years the experience of playing prolonged sets that journey deep in to the night (and well into the next day) have helped her to become on of the city’s finest DJs and an ambassador for the club around the world. Dabbling with production has also attracted positive attention, with her track ‘I Left My Girlfriend At The Club’ featuring on Ben Sims’ coveted Theory label. From headline slots at Berghain to a recent tour of Japan with Peter Van Hoesen, she’s firmly in the ascension.
And it’s her rocketing status that brings her to Glasgow this Saturday. Scheduled for her first Scottish appearance at Tribal Pulse, a night which certainly aims to emulate the immersive atmosphere of Trouw (in fact, it was at the Amsterdam club that Tribal Pulse resident and promoter, Boom Merchant, was cast under her spell), she is certain to deliver a standout set from a true DJ’s perspective. We may only get four hours in the club here, but with Sandrien at the helm you can expect each one to count.
Check out Sandrien’s recent podcasts for Slam and Resident Advisor below, as well as her peak-time damager ‘I Left My Girlfriend At The Club’ and an interview in which we talk marathon sets, record selection and what makes Trouw so special:
SG: We had a chat with fellow Trouw resident, Jean Pierre Enfant earlier this year and he suggested that having a 24hr license and being able to play at all times of the day and night had made him a better, more rounded DJ. Is that something you can identify with?
Sandrien: Yes, I agree. I’ve experienced that the energy in the club is different at certain times of the day and night. It’s good to know how to adjust to that.
SG: In Glasgow we rarely get a license beyond 3 or 4am which doesn’t give us much time to play with; how do you go about pacing an extensive set at Trouw? Do you organise your records for certain parts of the night?
Sandrien: When I play an all-nighter I go through my records at home and I categorize them in my head on which moment the record could be suitable for on the night. But once I’m in the club I react on the vibe and the energy of the crowd, so it's a combination of selecting on forehand and letting the moment decide which way it's going to go. Having all this time, you can play records you normally wouldn't; you can play versatile sets going from ambient to dub techno, acid tracks, Chicago, raw techno, deep, offbeat, freaky, to more banging stuff. There’s no rush to it and that feels great.
SG: You’ll be celebrating the 4th anniversary of your own party, Imprint, this month at Trouw and of course the club will sadly close next year; can you tell us a little about what made Trouw so special?
Sandrien: I remember walking into Trouw for the first time, I was amazed by the vibe it had going on; an industrial place but with warmth - a proper club vibe. While playing you’re surrounded by people so you can really connect. The people who work at Trouw are so friendly and professional; you can definitely feel this vibe in the club. Everyone from the staff, no matter what function they have, make you feel at home. The programming at Trouw is strong, every weekend you get to hear great artists. Combining that with the 24 hour license we’ve got, it makes the club really special and it will surely be missed!
SG: It must be a great place to test out your own productions, and we certainly loved last year's ‘Haters EP’; was producing something you had always aspired to or did it come after DJ’ing?
Sandrien: Producing is something that followed afterwards. I see myself foremost as a DJ, that’s what comes naturally to me and it’s a great way to express myself. Producing is a bit more personal, I need to be in the flow which can be hard sometimes; but it’s something I’m putting more time and energy into at the moment.
SG: So you’ll be joining us here in Glasgow for Tribal Pulse at Saint Judes this Saturday – an intimate club with a low ceiling and big soundsystem; any records we’re guaranteed to hear during your set?
Sandrien: Well I really love Inigo Kennedy's ‘Vaudeville’ album on Token so I’m sure I’ll play some of his tracks. I'm also really into the productions of upcoming Dutch artist Qindek, so I'll play his tracks as well.
SG: Finally, having a glance at your Facebook page, it seems like you’re having a blast touring at the moment; what are you looking forward to in the second half of the year? Do you have any plans for Imprint after Trouw’s closure?
Sandrien: Yes, I'm playing a lot at the moment, I'm really happy about that. I have some nice international bookings coming up. Playing at the Loft Razzmatazz next week, Berghain in September and of course my first ever Glasgow gig at Tribal Pulse. There are still a lot of festivals to come including the Mysteryland CLR stage, and I’m also going to do an Imprint Weekender in September; we’re starting at Saturday night at 11pm and we’ll be open until Monday morning. I’m really happy with the line up, it’s actually quite insane haha: Ben Sims, Ø [Phase], Rødhåd, Luke Slater, DVS1, Inigo Kennedy, Kr!z, A&S live. I’m playing as well and the visuals will be by Heleen Blanken.
I certainly do wish to continue Imprint after Trouw, but there are no concrete plans yet. It needs to have the right vibe and feeling, and that will be quite hard to find after all these good years at Trouw.
Sandrien plays Tribal Pulse at Saint Judes this Saturday. Support comes from Boom Merchant and tickets are £5 advance from Resident Advisor. Check out Sandrien on Soundcloud for more podcasts and mixes.