Artist Spotlight – Sneijder
A veteran in the scene and a family man that keeps it well balance
As you do the trance festival circuit and club circuit, you learn pretty quickly what you will get, or at least an idea of what you will get with every artist set. When it comes to Sneijder, the only thing you need to know is you will get an amazing set and you shouldn’t miss it. Consistency, discipline, raw and emotional, Sneijder is one of the best.
With 25 years of DJ experience, Sneijder is forging ahead while maintaining his old school roots. Finding a balance of embracing change, keeping a high standard, and maintaining what he holds dear tightly, it is no surprise he has been around for over two decades. It has been an honor to sit and chat with him and get a glimpse into his mindset.
Welcome back to Los Angeles, we are really excited for tonight. Tonight is a Series of live recordings you are doing, and so far you have received high praise for these shows. What was your reasoning to do these shows? And have they lived up to your expectations?
First of all the reason behind the shows, I think the whole CD compilation idea on the collectible aspect is sort of lost in music now, so I want to try to bring that back. Whereas the people that come to the night want to buy the CD. They want to be part of something and then they don’t want to miss one in the collection, you know, it’s sort of like going back to the old days. We had the Gatecrasher CDs and you know, there was like trilogies and series as and different sort of things. So I’m trying to bring that back in to the music industry. I just think that the shelf life music is so small these days. It’s just things are getting lost. You can’t bring back that sort of like connective sort of thing, that feeling.
The second question about being the success. Yeah, the first one in Buenos Aries was absolutely incredible. I mean for me it was a no-brainer to start off the series there because it was probably one of the first international gigs I had ever done; it was so well received over there. I don’t think there’s any DJ that I have ever spoke to that won’t tell you that Argentina is probably the best place.
Me: Yeah. I have never met a DJ, where Argentina’s not their number one
Sneijder: You know, that is just the pinnacle for a DJ or the clubber. So it was a no-brainer for me and it was just amazing. Unbelievable experience.
So what makes Argentina that special?
That’s just the vibe that people are so warm, they are really open-minded to the music. I mean, you know, you can drop any sort of techno, or progressive. I actually did six hours last time there. So I played some techno, progressive in the start and you know, they just dance from the first beat right to the last. No one leaves a dance floor. It’s like they are really passionate about what you are bringing to their country and it’s just amazing experience. You have to go there and order to experience it and once you experience, you will know exactly why.
These shows have an emphasis of going underground/raw/uncut. Why is it important that these shows showcase this side of your music? Is this a reflection of the direction you want your label Afterdark to go?
Well, it’s like it’s always been that case with Afterdark. It’s always sort of like looking for that music that’s not necessarily at the forefront but a wee bit more edgy. Discovering some unknown talent, bringing them through to give them a chance. I mean, it’s basically a reflection on the sound that I’ve been pushing for. I’ve been Djing for over 25 years now, so I’ve always pushed the harder edged, uplifting vibe. I started off as a hardcore DJ, I progressed into psytrance, the older psytrance sound, and then I discovered Paul Van Dyk and Ferry Corsten. So my sound now and my sound from the Afterdark sound is a mixture of all those rolled into one. It’s hard to grasp. Sometimes euphoric it has all those attributes. It’s just a reflection of me as a DJ and my personality really, so I like to thank the label and I’m very passionate about it. I think it’s a fair reflection on who I am as a DJ.
You are in the process of launching Afterdark radio and so far you look to have a monster lineup and talent that’s on it. How will you radio show differentiate for the ones that are already out there?
The radio show was supposed to launch last month, but we had some problems. Well, I had some problems, because I want to do the Facebook live. It was sort of very technical for me and I am getting used to that. So we’re going to launch at the start of next month. We have like five DJs on rotation and the whole idea behind it, is to keep it different from everyone else’s. To give all the guys that I support on the label a chance to showcase their sound. Whether it be live sets, whatever they want to do for their slot is completely up to them.
So, you know, it’s sort of like each month is going to be a very individual thing. It’s going to be completely down to the artists involved what they want to spend for their hour. Whether it be like I said, live set, exclusive material or whatever. It’s an open book really. It’s very laid back. It is a sort of format, but it’s a very laid-back format.
A couple of years ago you mentioned that your debut album “Everything Changes” was a true reflection of yourself. Has that now evolved, and how is that album different from what you are doing with the underground after dark sets and live CDs?
Well, the artist album was completely different. The live CD concept is more based on a club night. So you’re sort of like the music has to be very more dance floor orientated, so it is high tempo energetic, whereas an album is more of a creative process where you’re sort of showing music that you would listen to at home and whatever inspires you. So you get to make some other stuff, like slower trance, whatever other vocal tracks and so the terms of two completely different concepts.
Would I ever make another album again? I’m not sure. I mean for me it was really good. It was something I wanted to do, but I just feel like the shelf life and people’s attention spans these days have become very short. So the reward doesn’t really bounce up with the effort that you’re putting in. So going forward is going to be the live CDs and probably singles for me. That’s not to say that I won’t do other one, I could, but for now it’s a ‘no’.
You have always been a reserved person, but lately we have noticed an increase of interactions with fans. What has changed with you being more interactive? Some fans can be very upfront and intrusive to be nice.
Yeah, I mean over the last suppose six to eight months, I have become a lot more active online. I guess it’s basically down to the Afterdark brand,number one. And dealing with a lot of up ‘n coming guys.
This scene is very a strange thing, because at times you have to be seen to be very sociable, but you have to keep yourself very private because you have to have a life outside music. It’s very important. But in saying that, social media is very important these days. It is something that I struggle to grasp with over the years because I’m a very reserved person. I’m sort of old school, if you know what I mean. I come from the era where getting gigs was based on how good of a DJ you were, but times have changed. So I’ve tried to embrace that. It’s me stepping out of my comfort zone really, and to be honest, I’ve quite enjoyed it over the last six months because I found that interacting with people and so many personalities has reassured me that the scene is very strong and there’s a lot of passionate people out there. So that sort of transpires back to my music and help to drive me to make better music knowing that there’s still people flying that flag out there for trance which sometimes can get lost if you’re not interacting online.
Would you say there’s any off-limits subject that you just won’t get into online?
Yeah! I mean, I’ll talk about pretty much anything. But you know, I like to keep my family’s life; is sort of personal to me. I do talk with people with my family just close friends, but as far as like fans, I try to keep that sort of separate.
As mentioned you are known for being reserved and a dedicated father and husband. In fact one of your most recent tracks, “Back Home” is just about that. How do you manage the work life balance with such a busy schedule? If you could, what would you change?
It is tough traveling every week. I don’t think people really understand the true dedication that is takes because not only are you traveling all weekend, but you’re in the studio all week preparing music. So when you take that into account, you don’t get any time off because you’re working on the studio all week. And then you’re working all weekend. So you’re always preparing, you’re traveling, you’re preparing. Just trying to do the best you can do.
It’s very hard to juggle family life, because you’re dealing with a lot of international people on different time zones, you’re talking to people at night as well and it can become a vicious circle very easily. So the way that I deal with it, is I keep to strict studio hours like 9-to-5 or 8-to-4, whenever I can get into the studio. Even if I’m on the road, I turn everything off because like I have a four-year-old daughter who goes to sleep at like 7:00-7:30, so it only gives me like a two or three-hour window at night to see her.
I think I have to have that balance and that’s something I really implemented over the last year or so. It has been really beneficial to my music because I feel like the time that I’m using the studio, I’m using it really well. My production and my overall output is becoming a lot faster and better.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
I suppose it would be ‘Believe’.