We were requested to be ready for the interview, at 4.30 pm sharp, as he was arriving at the hotel, straight from the airport, and was slated to head to the venue (a sunny Turf Club with horses prancing in the background) post these interview sessions.
“I just arrived from my gig in Kuala Lumpur (March 15) and after Mumbai, will be heading to Miami,” says the towering Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, easing into the chat. “When do you sleep?” we ask, “on the plane!” is his quick, chuckle-filled reply. The current world No. 1 DJ’s concert in the city was a part of A State of Trance (ASOT) 600.
Armin’s radio show, ASOT has had a ritual of live broadcasting every milestone episode, and the 600th episode is being celebrated with 12 massive international gigs, Mumbai being one of the twelve.
Wearing a simple white ASOT heart t-shirt, the DJ divided his time between taking snapshots with his fans, doing war paint for a television interview, and yet appeared surprisingly relaxed amid it all.
All that fun and music
Armin was crowned No. 1 for four consecutive years (till 2010), and came back on the top again last year. “There’s no magic trick (laughs). The most important thing is to have fun and be passionate about what you do. I love this music, I am a fan first and foremost, I am the guy playing the records but I enjoy them as much — maybe, more than the fans. I love this music and I love making music. From the outside, it may look that I work very hard, but if you enjoy what you do, it makes it a lot easier,” he tells us.
Armin took up DJing as a teenager and has always remained a die-hard supporter of Trance music, but the past few years have seen Electronic Dance Music (EDM) emerge from niche clubs of Europe to reach a more mainstream path, with several artistes from different genres experimenting with different styles of EDM. “If you look at the history of music in general (Pop and Classical), new styles came from other styles — The Beatles listened to Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd were influenced by The Beatles and so on. It’s logical what’s happening right now; it’s interesting, creatively.
My heart though will always remain with Trance; for me it is uplifting, melodic, euphoric music. I love that a lot of Trance producers out there are keeping their music fresh,” he feels. Ask him about House music dominating the charts of late, “It’s great that it’s doing so well. It’s not close to my heart, it’s not what I would play on the dance floor; I always come back to Trance. But, I love to experiment, in my new album you will find some experimentation with House tracks, but there’s always melody, I don’t like to close my eyes to other genres, I like to evolve.”
Let the DJ play
Speaking of genres, Armin says that he has a big list of people he would like to work with, but would love to give a spin to anything by Coldplay or Snow Patrol, “But I already approached Chris Martin (Coldplay’s frontman) and I got a really kind reply from him saying I love your work but right now I am focusing on Coldplay.”
Armin also debuted a few tracks from his forthcoming album at the city gig, “I have a new single coming up called This is What it Feels Like (debuting on April 5). It’s the start of the release of my new big project called Intense (slated for May 3 release). It’s a trance album with influences of all kinds of genres from EDM.” As for experimenting with Indian music, Armin tells us that he would like to do a Gaia track (which he calls his darker side, has more eastern influence melodies) using a sitar or some Indian instrument for the melody.
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