Together Festival brought about another impressive edition this year. With Bangkok’s events calendar more saturated than ever, this OG festival still stood out from the pack with big-name spinners, an all-out production design and a crowd-pleasing amalgam of house, techno, trance, bass and trap.

Apart from big draws like marshmello, Hardwell, Carnage, Martin Solvieg and Alan Walker, it’d be a major crime if we didn’t mention super production duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and Sander van Doorn who returned to the City of Life as his enigmatic dark trance alter ego Purple Haze.

After their 2015 collaboration “ABC”, here, the two Dutch acts reunited. In this interview, Sunnery James and Sander van Doorn share about musical aliases, a dream B2B set, advice to younger producers and more.

Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano

Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano Together Festival 2018

After crossing off the Main Stage at Ultra Music Festival earlier this year, which main stage are you looking to perform next?

Sunnery: It’s hard to choose but of course Tomorrowland is going to be one of the biggest shows for us. We are playing two weekends this year. The Tomorrowland Main Stage on weekend one and our Sexy By Nature Stage on weekend two.

Now that you’ve mentioned Sexy By Nature. Is any chance we’ll see the Sexy By Nature concept touring round the world.

Sunnery: I think that would be amazing. Currently we’ve played it at Creamfields, in New York, LA and Ibiza. The concept has been traveling a little bit but not yet in Asia. But certainly, we’ll need a beach for Sexy By Nature for the Asia trip. It would be my dream come true if we were to have a beach party at Palawan, Philippines.

What is the main difference between the audiences in the US, Europe and Asia, and how does that affect your setlist?

Sunnery: I think the people in Asia, if you bring in a lot of energy in your set, you will get plenty of love back. And they want to have fun and it is so much crazier. Meanwhile in Europe and America, it’s more about who’s playing and what they’re playing.

Over the past two years, DJs is getting more diversified with their performance. For instance we have Sander van Doorn as Purple Haze, Martin Garrix as Area 21 and Ferry Corsten presents Goureyella. Would you guys be interested in working on different projects under different aliases?

Ryan: We’re sticking with house music for now. There is a lot of variations in house music that we can mix everything up into one set or one song. But we could be interested to work on something really, really, dark reggae style.

We saw that you played a B2B set with Hardwell, Laidback dude and Afrojack at Miami Music Week. If you are given a chance to form your dream team for a Sexy By Nature B2B Set, which three other DJs will you invite to the set?

Ryan: That’s hard, really hard. I think Steve Angello, Martin Garrix and Hardwell would be a good combination and bring a lot of energy to the stage.

English is probably the most common language for the vocals of today’s dance track. Given the choice, which language(s) of Asia would you love to work on?

Sunnery: I think Japanese, because I know Japanese. Maybe Mandarin would be a good one. And we know that there are a lot of good Mandarin singers around.

 

Is it important to be both a DJ and a producer in order to be noticed today?

Sunnery: It’s different thing. You need to ask if I’m a performer first them a producer, or a producer first then a performer. We are both. We make tracks and we love to be on the stage. That’s how you make it. A lot of guys love to stay in the studio and hang out a bit. So stay true to yourself. That’s the only way you can enjoy music.

What advice can you give to young or aspiring DJs and producers?

Sunnery: First of all, you need to know what kind of person you are. Are you someone who loves to perform on stage or someone who loves to just produce music? What you see on social media – DJ parties, nice hotels, swimming pools – it’s all fake. It’s really hard work to be a DJ nowadays because you’re constantly traveling, being without your family all the time. You need to know how to handle it. You need to be an outgoing person. You’d have to love being on stage and stay positive every second. If you really want to be a DJ, you have to really really want it. You need to love it and you need to ask yourself if you can be in control, meaning not too much alcohol, staying healthy, and dealing with the fact that you may get to see your family less.

Sander van Doorn

Let’s talk about your latest track as Purple Haze called “Bergen”. What’s the story behind it?

I was working on a new track and got inspired by a place in Norway and it’s called Bergen.

How do tackle with producing new tracks and radio shows while constantly on the moves?

Sometimes it is a bit of a challenge. I’m always looking to produce new songs and I’ve been doing more than 400 radio shows and looking forward for my 500th one. But you get used to it and find time to balance it over time.

With Asia’s boom of electronic dance music showing no signs of slowing down, how do you think it would affect you guys’ touring calendar?

Yes, this market is really opening up. Usually at end of the year we will sit down and study the Asian, European, South American and American markets and which projects we would love to work on and try to work our schedules around that.

How performing in different continents affect your set?

Well, it’s certainly different. I would play slightly more underground for Europe, while for Asia I will play a bit more “hard” tunes. In the US, it varies. Sometimes a bit more underground and sometimes a bit more hard.

We asked Sunnery James & Ryan Marcino about who he’d like to do a back to back with. He chose Martin Garrix, Hardwell and Steve Angello. Who would be your B2B dream team?

I will opt for something more EDM-based for the set, so Hardwell is a good choice, Dannic, who is a good friend of friend of mine, and the third one would be Armin van Buuren.

Is it important to be both a DJ and a producer in order to be noticed today?

The things is that you need to understand that you want be a musician or performer? You really need a good balance if you want to be both.

What advice can you give to young or aspiring DJs and producers?

If there’s one thing young artists need to understand is that this life is not all about being on stage or performing in front of big crowd. It’s a lot of pressure and you have lot to cover. Everybody always pushes you to do things. It’s a lot of handwork. You need to really find yourself while understanding yourself in terms of knowing when to take a break or hang out with the people you love. You want to make sure things don’t get out of hand. That’s the biggest advice I can give. It’s not about the fame, it’s about the things you love working on.

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