Armin van Buuren-Dutch DJ, producer, remixer, lawyer, and titan of trance music- recently took the stage at Creamfields Hong Kong to an enthusiastic crowd. Before entertaining his legion of fans Billboard Radio China was fortunate enough to get a comprehensive sit-down interview in which van Buuren discussed his ascension to legend status in the world of trance, his ability to curate marathon sessions, and a special message for his Chinese followers.
Van Buuren’s ascent to the upper echelon of electronic dance music and the world of trance was set in motion from an early age. By the age of fifteen van Buuren says he already had a home studio in which he began honing his production skills and has been producing ever since. As the adage goes, “practice makes perfect,” and van Buuren credits the amount of time dedicated to his craft as the reason he’s gotten to where he is in his career. “I think you can only learn how to become a producer if you invest a lot of time,” he points out.
In conjunction with a necessity to devote significant time to practice, the role that luck has played in his success is also acknowledged. “I got lucky I guess, meeting the right people, starting my label at the right time, starting my radio show [A State of Trance] at the right time, and starting producing at an early age,” the confluence of these events laying the groundwork for what was to come. It was mainstream commercial success of his 2003 track “Communication” in the UK during the golden age of trance that marks the real burgeoning of his career. Global success then followed with the release of the album in the United States and there has been no stopping him since.
Known for his marathon sets-one recent set in Romania lasted more than 7 hours- van Buuren also discussed how he is able to summon the energy to curate for such long periods of time. His rather simple answer to this question: a passion for DJing. This passion is evident in his voice as he details a love for music and the opportunity to share it with others. Comparing the curation process to building a house he says, “I use existing pieces of music to build a house. I first build the foundation which has to be solid and more underground and then start building the house.”
The crowd plays an instrumental role as well by dictating where he goes with the music. Much of his creative process is spontaneous and reading the crowd helps him decide what to do. He refers to DJing as “the art of the moment, the art of timing,” and strives to build stories with his sets starting with the aforementioned solid foundation and subsequently constructing the narrative and bringing the listener along for the ride.
Some of eager to join him on these metaphoric “rides” are his many Chinese fans for whom he expresses sincere appreciation. China has fascinated Van Buuren from an early age and he is humbled by the fact that people halfway around the world know and enjoy his music. In describing his many Chinese followers, he regards them as incredible and their support as phenomenal. “The tour that I had here in March was one of the best tours I’ve ever done in my life. The way we were treated. I played in places I didn’t even know existed. And the fact that people actually know me there, it’s awesome,” he raves. Addressing his fans directly he says, “You’re making a dream come true. I love being on stage and getting your support and traveling all over the world and sharing my music with great people. So xièxie, thank you!”
Fans can check out his latest album, A State of Trance Year Mix 2018, which features more than 100 of the biggest trance tracks of 2018 in less than a two-hour mix and don’t miss his milestone 900th episode of his radio show on February 23rd. Check out Billboard Radio China for more exclusive radio interviews.
Author: Rikki Plante