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Dance music is like an oil stain: DJ Armin van Buuren

Three questions with Armin van Buuren, DJ/Producer

Q. Your concerts are known for their experimentation — with dancers and live music. Why did you feel the need to change the nature of your performances?
A. What's the difference between an artiste, like a singer or a rock band, and a DJ? It's the DJ who makes his decision based on crowd reactions. An artiste has a set list prepared. So, you can either like the concert or not. I can adjust my set based on the crowd. Next, I decide where I want to go. Yes, there are a few tracks I want to play that we prepare with visuals. But I send that time code to my front-of-house, and that's why I use my laptop on stage, where I suggest my track of choice. I make my decisions based on what I feel on the night of my performance. But yes, I always look forward to giving my fans a different vibe. Music has always been a journey.Some prefer to stick to the original sound, but what I find interesting is there are people who dare to look over the border of their specific sound, and make it musically interesting. If you look at the history of music, people who have come far are always those who chose to come out of their safe havens and experiment with different styles and instruments. Trance is where my heart has been for years. But I also like to explore new production techniques. My fans should start worrying if there's no progression or experimentation. Trance is not the most popular genre in Electronic Dance Music (EDM) at the moment. If I were to change my sound drastically and play something that has nothing to do with my classic sound, it would not feel natural to me. So, I keep playing Trance as close to the current sound as I can."

Armin van Buuren 

Q. Electronic music is a part of mainstream music, and yet, it isn't taken seriously. Why?
A. Dance music is like an oil stain. It has spread through all other genres of music. There are electronic beats in most Pop albums, and now, even in Classical music, they work with Dance music influences. I like that Dance music is constantly reinventing itself. Dance music will always evolve, and so will Trance. I play the same music to cultures that are fighting but they dance to the same music. Nowadays, Dance music has crossed over to radio — some people might dislike it — but it's happened. It's a sign of the times; young people are growing up not listening to Rock, Hip-Hop or R&B but are listening to what some people call EDM. A lot of people consider EDM 'theirs' and don't want it to commercialise. I can understand that, and I feel that too. But I also think all the attention for EDM gives room for new interesting things to happen and for new talents and sounds to be born. It's a cultural movement, and only retrospectively will we be able to confirm that. Dance music is still a relatively young genre and there's still a lot to discover. When you look at the genre from a bigger perspective, there is also room for smaller acts.

Q. What should fans expect from your concert this time?
A. I'm looking forward to reconnect with my Indian fans. It's going to be an intense night of eclectic trance, state-of-the art production and stellar line-up. I'm bringing to India the world's first festival programmed around a radio show. It's closest to my heart as it's one of my most ambitious Trance tours. This was one of my biggest dreams. I'm going to be the first DJ ever to own a festival, with several arenas. A State Of Trance, my radio show, will now be turned into a full-scale festival. I'm also looking forward to the release of Armin Anthems to celebrate 20 years as a producer.

On: June 6
At: NSCI Stadium, Worli.
Log on to: www.sunburn.in

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