WHILE it's been more than 100 years since the height of Dutch imperialism, don't think the Netherlands has given up on its dream of global domination.
These days, however, Holland seems content to conquer the globe by winning the hearts and minds of dance music fans. Three of the top 10 DJs in the world (according to DJ magazine's 2007 reader poll) hail from Holland; and this Saturday night in Los Angeles, three different Dutch performers (Sander Van Doorn at Vanguard; Sander Kleinenberg and 16 Bit Lolitas at the Avalon) will draw crowds hungry for a decidedly Euro take on trance, techno and house music the way it's meant to be heard: loud.
So what is it about the Netherlands, exactly, that produces so many top trance DJs?
"There is a rumor that it's something to do with the water, but I'm not sure," jokes Van Doorn via e-mail from his home in Eindhoven.
Van Doorn (nee Sander Ketelaars) may not be as familiar a name to casual clubbers as some of the better-known Dutch DJs in America -- including Tiesto (coming to Vanguard for three nights in June) and Armin Van Buuren -- but he soon will be. In only four years of spinning, Van Doorn has established himself as one to watch in trance, techno and tech-house circles.
"I want to appeal to as many people as possible," he says. "I play everything in my sets -- trance, tech, house, electro and minimal."
And while Van Doorn is known throughout Europe as a DJ who rose to fame on a white label reworking of the Police's "Message in a Bottle," he is also a producer who writes his own tracks. In March, Ultra records released his U.S. debut, "Supernaturalistic," a compilation disc of some of his better-known cuts (including the menacing "Riff" and his currently hot remix of Sia's "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine").
But Van Doorn's particular brand of dance music is hardly the typical "happy" trance of artists like Tiesto. Van Doorn mines more minimal, sinister club territory on "Supernaturalistic." Tracks like "Lobby" hint at early Aphex Twin, with dark undercurrents of swirling synths. "By Any Demand" reworks a sample from an early-1990s Dutch hip-hop track by King Bee ("Back by Dope Demand") into a massive David Guetta-esque club banger that has surely put stress on some clubs' sound systems.
"I get my inspiration for all my tracks from all kinds of music," he says, "and usually it's not dance."
Van Doorn's ascension to the upper echelons of the world's top DJs comes as no surprise to veterans such as countryman Ferry Corsten, who played to more than 3,000 trance-happy teens Saturday night at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium. "Sander is very talented," says Corsten, backstage before his set Saturday, even admitting that he is a bit competitive with the 29-year-old. "Of course, we all like to one-up each other."
Don't mistake the competitive nature, however, for animosity. According to Van Doorn, "We get along fine. . . . Don't forget we all spend our time going through airport lounges, changing over at gigs, so we run into each other quite a lot."
The next time Corsten and Van Doorn run into each other, it may well be in the upper reaches of DJ magazine's annual reader poll. Or, perhaps, at the next top-secret cultural imperialism world domination meeting at The Hague.
SANDER VAN DOORN
WHERE: Vanguard, 6021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
INFO: (323) 463-3331; www.giantclub.com