My focus this year is to pretty much do as many interviews as possible. As well as listen for hot new music, network, and go to great parties. Last night’s Doorn party at Escape was a good time to do all three. It was also quite nice that I interviewed Sander Van Doorn today and got the chance to ask him about two hot tracks that he played.

earplug-dj-amelyI stumbled to the Felix Meritis, barely getting there at 11am (even though I am staying just up the block) for my first interview with DJ Amely. I will be honest and say that I wasn’t expecting much since she has the title of “Sexiest DJ in the World.” You almost automatically assume that someone who is promoted as pretty will have no substance to back it up. While her live performance video raises a few questions, chatting with her- she seemed to know enough about music, software, production, and mixing to be legitimate. No, that’s not a backhanded compliment- but the same way you shouldn’t dismiss someone for being unattractive you can’t really in good faith discount someone for being attractive (I mean – think about the hottest DJ/producer alive- Don Diablo).

ron-duane-hardenUp next was singer/songwriter Duane Harden, and we dove into his debut artist album project #ND4U. Yes, a debut artist album from the guy who did “U Don’t Know Me” with Armand van Helden back in ’99. We talked about how the Strictly Rhythm lawsuit forced him to move from singing to songwriting, and all the great records he’s wrote and cowrote over the years. The project is quite solid with tracks from Sidney Samson, Ferry Corsten, Bob Sinclar and more. You can listen to a preview here –

earplug-richard-durandFrom house, it was time for some trance and I interviewed Richard Durand, who took over the In Search of Sunrise series from Tiesto. Those are big shoes to fill and he’s kind of blown it away. He’s all atwitter about being chosen to do the ADE edition of the DJ Max mixed CD – kudos to him – and he’s such a nice guy.

ron-freemasonsBack to house with the Freemasons. Ok, honestly, this is one interview that I was dreaming about. I’d met both guys a few times over the years at different events – but never together at the same time. Yes, I’m such a fanboy – but when you listen to their catalog of work – productions and remixes – how can you not be. We spoke about so much and I loved hearing about how they’ve started making their own videos as we chatted about comping and geeky stuff like that. These guys are the real deal and with the ’90s revival in place, their classic disco house is in demand all over again.

sander-van-doorn-mariana-bellThen it was time for a succession of Dutch DJ/Prodcuers – Hardwell, Dannic, Sander van Doorn, Shermanology, Don Diablo, and Showtek. I really shouldn’t lump all these incredible artists together – but it’s 3am and I want to take a nap. Don’t worry, there are full interviews with each on the way really soon.

I was invited to dinner with Marc JB and Sall Jackson who had found a charming Italian place. Those who have been following me, know that I have sworn off pizza after two days in Milan, so I was quite infatuated with their spinach gnocchi. Conversation with new people and long-term friends (Lainie Copicotto/Club Planet) made the night even more special.

jonathan-mendelsohn-and-orjan-nilsenWe all walked down to Rembrandtplein afterwards to go to Pete Tong’s party at Air. I had interviews to do so I left quickly and got to Escape around 11pm. The place was already SLAMMED for the Armada 10 years party. Brazillian duo Heatbeat had the crowd on fire (no clich? meant), and then came Cosmic Gate who hyped the crowd with their solid music and theatrics (turning down the volume to get people to cheer). Orjan Nilsen followed, bringing the crowd to quite a large peak. About this time, I disappeared in the back to do an interview with Christian Burns, whose debut album is set to drop next week – you can listen to it here. Similar to Chris Willis, the producer list is impressive and Christian elevates each track with really strong songwriting. It’s like he possesses the spirit of Howard Jones. Crap, there I go again showing my age. Speaking of that, I left around 1am because I was gobsmacked tired. Can you tell I’ve been hanging out with Brits?