23-08-2013 | 10.18
Our resident DJ of the month Sandrien needs no introduction. Through her monthly clubnight Imprint, she acquired a large fan base. On the 28th of August it is exactly three years since the first Imprint at Trouw. Time to look back.
If there is a ‘flaw’ in Sandrien’s character, it is her modesty. ‘Come on!’ you might think while talking to her. ‘You are somebody, speak up!” And of course she does, but she is sparse with words. Her music speaks for her and with Imprint, she only further solidified her importance for the Dutch dance scene.
Solid, intense, intelligent and loyal to Trouw and her fans, that’s our girl! With Imprint, techno at Trouw reached a new dimension. Her guest list is impressive: Function, Marcel Fengler, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Peter van Hoesen, Jonas Kopp, Surgeon, Xhin… they all played their sets after her, because she’s the one who traditionally kicks off. Not as a classic ‘warm up’, but by building her own story with carefully chosen tracks, not influenced by hypes and trends. The lucky one that gets to play after her can count on a willing crowd, all ears and on a ‘musical high’. This is her great achievement and talent.
Those who followed Sandrien’s career are aware that in recent years, she made a lot of progress. Imprint is internationally renowned, and has become a ‘quality brand’ synonymous for techno nights at an exceptional high level. This not only due to her, but also to the efforts of another lady: VJ Heleen Blanken. She literally gave Sandrien’s music wings with the image that every Imprint-regular recognizes: the flying owl.
We are sitting with Sandrien and Heleen in Trouw’s restaurant for a trip down Memory Lane.
Sandrien: “I remember entering Trouw for the first time. ‘Cool place’, I thought. High ceilings, industrial atmosphere, the Funktion One-soundsystem. This space is just made for techno. There was a gap in the program and I asked if I could fill it. I got a monthly frequency straight from the start.”
Heleen: “I joined after the third edition. I just graduated from the Rietveld Academy and I was still establishing myself as an independent artist, as I got into contact with Sandrien through Daniel Liddiard of the BAF-parties. Sandrien and I connected very well, our ideas about music matched. My visual stories combined well with the dark, organic and mysterious qualities of techno. It just fitted.”
Sandrien: “I saw everybody looking up while I played. Heleens visuals are really an addition, sound and music reinforce each other. All the senses open up. I learned to appreciate her work more and more.”
Heleen: “That is my opinion on Sandriens work as well, the admiration is mutual. When it comes to music she has so much experience compared to me and in a way, I am really just a beginner. We got to understand each other more and more and we became friends as well. We don’t need to get together before a set to know which images we’ll show during the night. I shoot my own material, so artistic freedom is very important to me.”
Sandrien: “Working together as friends makes it so much better. Imprint is a joint venture. That’s why it feels good when Heleen is standing next to me in the booth. And when I’m finished, it’s great to listen to our guests. Whoever we invite, they love to come to Trouw. It almost feels like a family, you eat and drink together in the club and slowly slide into the night. Every edition is unique because of the interaction between us and the artists.”
Heleen: “What we created as two women is quite unique. Because of Imprint, my passion for techno has increased. Do you remember the moment Function tested his new album? That was great, a real highlight!”
Sandrien: “That’s why I wanted him to join us on the 31st of August. Incubation is such a great record. By the way, I am really pleased with the 24 hours permit. Nowadays I close off the evening, great to go full out for the last hour or so.”
Heleen: “I try to stay until the end, but sometimes I get tired. Once during an Imprint-weekend, we slept in the office next to the dancefloor. It was cool and quiet there. Perfect for a powernap on the floor.”
Time to finish the interview. Asked if Sandrien sees herself as an ‘activist’ for female DJ’s, she answers that she’d rather see herself as an example to them. Do you feel a deep love for music and are you prepared to put a lot of effort into it? Then just go for it! That’s after all how she got things going. And what happens to Imprint after Trouw closes for good in 2015? “We’d rather not think about that!”
Text: Bonita van Lier
Photography by Ramona Deckers