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From the first moment we met, Axel Doorman and I hit it off. Not romantically, although Axel Doorman on an esthetic and personality level actually is one of those rare proverbial 'god's gifts to women'. A real friendship evolved. In 2016 I published the story of Axel's first gig. "I was on the line-up with my heroin Monika Kruse!"
“Quite conveniently, ID&T was located in my small hometown Wormerveer. After numerous visits to the ID&T offices, they finally handed me a stack of vinyl with the clear signal: ‘Here are your tracks. Don’t come back any time soon’.”
“This was sometime in 1997. After endlessly dealing with loading and fading cd’s, SL 1200 MK2’s showed up on my radar. Finally, I was able to play all that ID&T hardcore vinyl. I was instantly infatuated.”
“Together with a few other guys, I had a radio show at the local station. Of course, this was the ideal practice spot. At one point, the tracks finally ran synchronically. Subsequently tapes and minidiscs were recorded for friends and acquaintances. I was rather fanatical at that time, so I kept on doing so beyond what was appreciated.” (laughs)
“Right before the new millennium I acquired my first residency in club Richter in Zaandam. There I was, this young guy, in control of the music all night long. This is when and where I truly fell in love with techno.”
“Inspired by DJ Dano’s sets, I also started buying techno. Of course, I went to Music Zone, which was the place to be in Zaandam for vinyl hunters. I spent hours in John Steenkist’s store to listen to music. I was seventeen at that point and extremely obstinate. Naturally, I had to work with a limited budget, so after every visit I proudly left the store with only two or three vinyls. The best part was, that club Richter was situated right next to the record store. Ergo: buy records and immediately try them out in combination with the rest of your record bag’s content! There we were, every day again, me and the other guys who played at Richter. Messing around with the Technics turntables and the mixer, which, in between you and me, was absolutely horrendous.”
“My first big gig was in Luxemburg in 2001. I used to go on vacation in Luxemburg with a friend and his parents. We always went to a small town called Echternach. Generally speaking, it wasn’t the most exciting destination, but once a year the whole region went wild at the E-Lake Festival, which was obviously situated at a lake. The festival presented us with an excellent reason to go on vacation there.”
“Ever since the first time I went to E-Lake Festival, I had set the goal for myself that someday I would be one of the artists. In 2001 this dream came true. I just had my driver’s license and together with a few friends, my girlfriend at that time, a tent and a shitload of records, we drove to Echternach.”
“On August 11th 2001, at 4 PM, I was there. With sweaty, shaking hands – every DJ has experienced this at least once – I put on the first record. To me, this will forever absolutely be one of the most beautiful days of my life, because it was my first time playing at a festival. On top of that, I was on the same line-up as my heroin Monika Kruse! Because it was still early, only my most loyal supporters (my friends) and some locals were on the dancefloor during my gig. I honestly didn’t care, because this is where I lost my virginity as a festival-DJ!”
“After a quiet period, in 2005 I landed with a record label that provided new talent with the opportunity to actually get the world’s attention for their productions. At this point, they operated in a not yet well-known manner: digital, with MP3’s.”
“This label had a stand at the music fair in London. Together with DJMag they hosted a party in honor of London Calling. The venue was the Inigo Bar, which was an intimate, small dance-café in a typical London neighborhood. Just to play a set, I was flown in with no-one less than Isis and Smashing Sebastian, better known as Don Diablo.”
“After a seamless flight to Luton, followed by a relaxed trainride to King’s Cross in London, we realized that finding your way in London wasn’t exactly easy. The London metro was quite a different thing than ours. Needless to say, we got into the wrong metro and ended up in a distant suburb. Hauling our record bags and hand luggage along we wandered through the streets, looking for someone who would point us in the right direction. When we finally found someone, we appeared to be over an hour away from our destination. Reluctantly we informed the party-organization. After having travelled half the world through London we finally reached the Inigo Bar. We even had some time to chill out and do some networking.”
In the deep end
“The night itself was amazing! Everyone who has ever been to London knows how our western neighbors can party. For me this was also the evening I first got acquainted with the then extremely innovative Pioneer CDJ1000. Although the crowd seemed to enjoy itself, it felt for me as if I went in the deep end. Especially because I had no experience with those CD-players. Yet I managed. Afterwards I totally enjoyed the playing skills of Isis and Diablo.”
“My biggest highlight until now was the Dance Parade in Rotterdam. I had been the resident at the Pure parties of BPM Productions. After a few nice events in club Organza in Maarssen, they succeeded in securing a slot in the Dance Parade. De trailer and entourage were draped in gold. That color symbolizes for me the value of the experience. Because, what we didn’t know at that point, was that this was going to be the last edition of the Dance Parade. Unfortunately, I never got around to play that day, but I had the time of my life as MC and utterly enjoyed every single second.”
“These days, I usually play good techno, tech house, progressive and deep house. On top of this, I’m still active in the hardcore scene as DJ Damian. This happens under the umbrella of my all-time favorite label: Michel Klaassen’s a.k.a. Tellurian‘s Cenobite Records. I recently had the honor to play at the legendary event Hellraiser, together with the whole Dutch Cenobite crew. Every DJ had twelve minutes to literally raise hell the old-fashioned way. Another experience that ranks high on my list of musical highlights.”
“I also love small and intimate parties, at locations where one would never expect a party. Playing in a living room at someone’s birthday party is just as much fun as in a small or big club. Often the charm of small locations is, that you’re able to have direct contact with others. Although I’m quite shy and sometimes feel a little awkward in a conversation, these are the right places to learn as a DJ. You have to take every person present’s in consideration. Most definitely if you haven’t made a name for yourself yet and you’re not exactly overflowed with weekly bookings.”
“Meanwhile it’s also part of the fun. Your hobby is your work. Contemplating 2.0. Ten steps ahead and without set or planning, directly approaching and confronting the crowd, meanwhile successfully creating a story line in your set.”
“I don’t fit into a specific house genre. I eradicated thinking in labels quite a while ago. Playing is and will be mostly a matter of sensitivity for the atmosphere and knowing how to respond. Not more of the same, but tantalizing and exciting, so everyone has a good time. In the end, that’s your job as a DJ. I love it that, when you’re able to think creative and dare to step outside the boxes, you see smiling people feeling good, leaving the club, living-room or festival.”
This interview with Axel Doorman is originally published on DJMag.nl on Thursday February 25th 2016.
Who is Axel Doorman?
It all started when Axel Doorman was still a youngster in the nineties. Music was everywhere, and he realized it could be created with any piece of equipment that crossed his path. When he got his first Casio, it turned out there was chemistry between Axel and electronic music right from the first touch. All his spare time hwas put in creating music.
Axel Doorman started working for a local radiostation (Zaanradio) near Amsterdam back in 1996. Mixing his own creations with other music and by doing that, presenting it to the right audience. At that time it was mostly hardcore at that time, which was very popular. This led to his first live performance, starting out not only as DJ, but also as MC. He turned out to be a natural.
With hardcore fading to the underground scene, a new style of music caught his attention. Techno! Because of his choice to explore this new style of music he became a resident DJ in a techno based club. All this happened between 1999 and 2002. After that Axel Doorman didn’t stick with solely techno.
More genres caught his attention, such as house, trance and progressive, making him evolve into a DJ with a wide variety of styles. Due to all off that he got bookings to perform in- and outside The Netherlands. Axel Doorman started playing in front of huge crowds at the biggest gigs.
Focussing more on producing again, he wants to let the world know of his particular skills in that area. With a full clip on inspiration for both producing and mixing, things are looking promising. Axel Doorman is always to show the best of himself, to get creativity rolling and the audience rocking!