Sander van Doorn takes on Moby’s “Natural Blues” [Q&A]
Moby, otherwise known as Richard Melville Hall, is one of the founding fathers and most influential figures in dance music. Many say he is the reason dance music found popularity in the U.S. and the U.K, thus catapulting electronic dance music to the global phenomenon it is now. The American musician recently wrote a memoir Porcelain: A Memoir, where he dedicated a chapter to his experience remixing his song “Go.” In honor of this, Moby has asked a wide range and some of the most respected music producers of today to remix four of his most seminal tracks “Go,” “Why Does my Heart,” “Natural Blues” and “Porcelain.” Over 40 artists will release their remixes of one of the four tracks in the spirit of creative spirit and collaboration. The project is called Black Lacquer.
Dutch legend Sander van Doorn is no mere novice to the game of electronica. Entering the music world at the early age of 16 through one of the fiercest scenes in the world, the artist has made a name for himself for his pioneering approach to dance music. His passions were first set into motion after discovering his brother’s Roland Groovebox 303, allowing him to discover the seemingly boundless creative opportunities within electronic production. Since then, his absurdly fast rise would become a testament to his innovative and heavily dedicated approach to his craft, eventually standing out as one of the most distinguished DJs to prevail in the early 2000s— and beyond.
Today, van Doorn is known as one of dance music’s most influential and popular producers in the world, which can be swiftly acknowledged with his consistent track record of landing in the annual DJ Mag Top 100 poll along with a renowned catalog of chart-topping singles and collaborations. He also recently launched his new alias Purple Haze, a project dedicated to accentuating the sharper, darker tonalities of trance, and further encompassing his immeasurable range of music creation.
Selected by Moby to take part in his Black Lacquer project, San van Doorn has fashioned up another first-rate remix of the American producer’s famed track, “Natural Blues.” Released via Spinnin’ Deep, the Dutch artist injects an array of upbeat rhythmic complexities, giving the track new life through growling synth pulses and percolating beats to create a gorgeous progressive house anthem.
Have you read the memoirs “Porcelain?”
No, I haven’t although it’s high on my list of books I want to read soon. Moby is such a great artist, with so many incredible songs. His repertoire is phenomenal and he has put a big stamp on music in general. I can’t wait to read about his stories and dive into the head of Moby during a very interesting time in musical history.
What does Moby mean to you?
For me as a musician and music lover, I can say I learned a lot from simply listening to his productions. The songs Moby made are simply incredible. Every song tells its own story so well and has a very strong character to it. He isn’t afraid to try out new things and create different styles of music. His love for music translates so well through the emotion he puts into the songs he makes. There are so many iconic songs he wrote and inspired me as a musician as well.
What was the first song you heard from Moby and what were your reactions to it?
I think that might be the song called: GO. The first time I heard it I was so intrigued by it. There was so much emotion in the song. The track immediately pulls you in and right when the track progresses you get sucked in while all these different elements are presented to you in such an organic way. The storytelling is incredible and while listening to the track you immediately start to feel invested in the song. That’s what I like about all the songs from Moby they all translate such a strong story each in their own way.
What was your first reaction upon hearing “Natural Blues” for the first time?
Natural Blues is a great example of the ability and emotional power that Moby possesses when it comes to telling a story through music. Right from the start as soon as you hear the vocals you’re captured by this interesting voice which you can’t stop listening to. Again, the song progresses so naturally and even though you hear the vocal sover and over until the end, they never seem to get repetitive. It is such a great and powerful track.
What led you to remix the track? What does this track mean to you / why did you choose this track?
Like I mentioned before, the original song is perfect. It captures such a strong feel and stays that way throughout the track. It takes you on this incredible journey while listening to this voice singing with so much character that each time you hear it grabs your attention and you can’t help but start to sing along. With this remix, I wanted to use that strong character and feel of the original and take the time to tell the story in such a manner that it feels as if the track starts to grow on itself. I tried to do this by introducing some more uplifting sounds in a very fluid way before bringing the track completely back to the point where it reaches the break, introducing the vocal again and from there on out start to slowly bring back the energy and set everything free.
What was the most challenging part of remixing “Natural Blues”?
When doing remixes, I always try to stay true to the feel of the original but at the same time, look into ways to tell the story through me and how it affected, impacted and inspired me as a musician. I try to pay homage to the song and mold it into something new with a sound and feel that represents me as an artist.
Did you feel any pressure remixing an artist like Moby?
Of course, who wouldn’t. This is Moby we’re talking about! The original is so powerful in its essence. So, it’s a big challenge to capture that feel and put that into your song/remix as well. I see it as an incredible opportunity and I love to challenge myself. It’s also great to be able to remix a piece of music that made such a big impact on so many lives and mine also. I feel truly honoured and what better way is there than to give back in the form of this remix I made to show my gratitude to Moby and the impact his music had made over the last couple of decades.
If Moby were to remix one of your songs, which one would you want him to remix?
To be honest, I would feel enormously honoured if Moby would remix one of my songs. I would love to have him decide which song that should be and why he chose it. No matter which song, I don’t have a doubt in my mind he could turn it into something special. I would be very interested in hearing why he picked a certain song and what led him to take the track in a certain direction.