Let the music play, Van Dyk style

Published: Dec 28, 2012, 10:34 IST | Anjana Vaswani |

As Asia's biggest Electronic Dance Music festival hits Goa, renowned DJ and Grammy-nominated artiste Paul Van Dyk talks about his ideology and experiences that find way in his music and sounds, over the decades

Growing up in East Berlin, Mathias Paul, the legend goes, nurtured such an obsession for music from the other side of the wall that not only did he defy Communist authorities by tuning his radio to pick up those forbidden music stations, he even created mixes from radio recordings and played these at illegal basement parties on his side of the Berlin Wall.

The wall was pulled down in 1989 and as Germany went into celebration mode, Paul landed his first big gig in 1990. In the next decades, he would go on to collaborate with musical giants such as U2, Madonna and Justin Timberlake and establish himself as one of the world’s top DJs. Excerpts from the chat:

What acts are you looking forward to at this year’s festival?
I am looking forward to hearing all the artistes. Everyone has their own music, their own inspiration, and Goa is a great place to see them. Every year, there is something new and interesting; I am waiting to be taken by surprise, again.

What can we expect from you this time around?
It will be new music along with the hits and classics.

You’re no stranger to India. Which city (if any) has left the deepest impression on you and what was it about that place that touched a chord?
I come to India often because I enjoy my gigs here and people enjoy coming to them. The people are warm, receptive and free spirited. According to me, it is the most inspiring place on earth. I’ve always felt welcomed here. I have been to Goa, Delhi and Mumbai. Goa has been the best experience. The crowd at Goa was inspiring. You feel connected to the audience.

Since food, shopping and lifestyle is integral to your trips, what’s been your experience of the Goan lifestyle? Is there a local dish you love/hate?
Goa is a beautiful place, and the vibe is electric. I love Indian food. Butter Chicken and Tandoori Roti are my favourites. I also enjoy Goan Fish Curry.

Your album is titled Evolution; you make political statements frequently through your music. So, how do you hope the world will or should evolve. What is your message to the world for 2013?
Firstly, the album title Evolution, is not closely tied in with my evolution as an artiste. It is more about the bigger picture, like the evolution of EDM from a small sub-culture to what it is now. My biggest inspiration is life. Everything I see around me — even how our lives have evolved — has ended up in my music, somehow. This is why the album is called Evolution.

Van dyk on democracy
We are accountable for our societies. A democratic system is only as powerful as the people involved in it. So, when you notice wrong in your vicinity, go ahead and change it. This is what I do, within the ability that I have. It’s also why I am socially active in certain projects. My music enables me to do that, but I don’t know if my music plays a driving role in it. It is I, as a person, expressing my feelings. 

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