interview by Kristopher Upjohn
Armin Van Buuren returns with his signature sound with the compilation
series for which he has become known: A State of Trance. And what
a lovely state it is. You might like to visit and you might even
like to stay. Whether composing his own productions (albums or singles),
lending his touch on remixes, or choosing from other DJs canon's
when he plays live or mixes CDs, he is able to concoct a seamless
flow with a progressive build. His DJ mixes are works as a whole
when he's done with them, instead of a series of individuals strung
together. That is the art of the master-mixing DJ.
A State Of Trance 2006 is the third installment in
Armin's mix CD series, and this time around, Armin choose a new
concept: Disc 1 is called "On The Beach" with 13 summery
tracks, while Disc 2 contains Armin's biggest floorfillers and is
called "In The Club". Also on Disc 2 is his upcoming single,
entitled "Sail" which you can listen to and watch the
video for by clicking on the links to the left.
It had been a while since we'd talked to Armin (since his artist
album Shivers last year) and an email interview worked out best
for everyone's crazy schedules. Here it is, unedited exactly as
Armin typed it, the answers to our questions:
1. What has been the most unexpected thing you've experienced
in your skyrocket to fame?
I never thought I could do a 9 1/2 hour set for 12.000 people. It has been a dream coming true.
2. How do you feel about finding yourself at No. 3 in the
Iím very happy so many people went online and voted for me. Itís
the biggest compliment you can get. Iíve always believed in this
sound and was already producing it long before trance was so popular.
3. Was the "State of Trance" concept yours?
4. Does the title basically mean something like "The Realm
of Trance" or "The Kingdom of Trance" or are you intending to create
the trance version of a State of the Union address?
ha ha, no, it means the current state of trance (like new records
etc) and/or the state you're in when you're listening ANY kind of
5. Was that last one a silly question?
no, but this one is.
6. You've been quoted as saying you believe that trance is
an umbrella term, stylistically, that it's no longer one specific
style within the dance realm. Describe, in your opinion, the original
style represented by the term trance when it did refer to a specific
I always find it very difficult to talk about styles as every
single person on earth seems to have a different definition of any
style. For me, real trance refers to the old Oakenfold sound, the
sound of classic productions by Oliver Lieb, Matt Darey, etc.
7. As a current umbrella, broad-in-scope term, tell me what
you see as being encompassed by the term "trance."
8. What is it about trance that turns you on?
It's basically the ultimate kind of dance floor music. It's almost like a good meal: it has a starter, main course and desert.
In my opinion you can really tell a story with trance without it becoming boring or predictable.
9. Your music seems less concerned with epic or pop hooks
(though epic flavors do come out in your tunes) and more concerned
with a sort of subtle but effective hook, something significant
but deep under the skin of the music. Agree or disagree and why?
I guess I agree. I don't think about it that much. I just do what
feels right at the moment.
10. Do you think that dance music is growing and intermingling
and becoming harder to pigeonhole?
dance music is now part of modern day music and it will never
go away. It has influenced so many other genres of music already.
11. Is there anything about the dance scene from a few years
ago compared to now that you miss?
Not really. I think back then it was all really new and people were still discovering it. Now you can experiment a little more because more people are openminded.
12. Who are some DJs and electronic artists that stand as
heros or influence you right now?
Ben Liebrand, Kraftwerk & Rhys Fulber (Conjure One)
13. You note that Jean Michel Jarre was a huge influence on
you (I like his stuff, too). Why? Where can a listener find Jarre
influences in your work?
I think if you put on my debut album '76' you can hear a pretty big hommage to Jarre in the intro.
Jarre was one of the first (not the first) to use an instrument (the synthesizer) that was considered evil in those days for a sound that was never heard before. He took it to the next level with trying to make a somesort of a classical piece with just this equipment.
14. Which is harder: Putting together a compilation CD mixed
by you or writing your own?
I guess making a compilation CD. I'm always working on idea's
etc but making a compilation can sometimes be very hard because
there's so much great music I want to put on there but the tracks
have to fit the 'story'.
15. Which do you prefer, overall? Which is more rewarding?
I think writing my own stuff. You don't have to take an audiene into account and I can think of something I want to make for myself.
16. What other electronic styles would you consider working
Don't be a prisoner of your own style :)
17. What kinds of music do you listen to besides electronica?
Anything fans might find surprising?
Loads! rock/pop/oldschool hip hop/ house/ cuban/ mexican/ anything really!
18. Speaking of fans, how does it feel to have so
Awesome. It's the biggest compliment you can get as an artist.
19. Is there anything about the current dance scene
you'd change if you could?
Get everybody to realise that it's important to download legally. some brilliant producers have quit because they couldn't afford to make music any more. That has killed a lot of potentially brilliant music already.
20. Where will Armin Van Buuren be a year from now? Still gigging and making music.
Five? Still gigging and making music hopefully :)
21. Final thoughts?
Thank you for your time and to all the readers thanks for your support!
Thank you so much Armin!