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Armin van Buuren braces for an Intense tour
Armin Van Buurens 15year success as a DJ mirrors his music: fastpaced, but steady.
Van Buuren, who began collecting vinyl records with his newspaperroute money and taught himself to make music on a computer that his mom gave him when he was 10, has become one of the most recognizable names in electronic dance music.
His signature style of progressive trance has earned him the No. 1 spot on DJ Mags Top 100 DJs poll five times and 20 million listeners on his weekly radio show A State of Trance, which he started in 2001. His fame has grown from handing out mixtapes to school friends to cofounding his own record label, Armada Music. To mark its 10th anniversary, he has created a new branch, Armada North America. He shrugs off the suggestion that hes better than other EDM artists. Im very excited to have been voted No. 1, but thats not the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, says Van Buuren, 36. There are plenty that deserve that title Hardwell is doing well. On the trance side, I like Dash Berlin.
Even the Dutch royals are fans. At a performance to celebrate the April 30 coronation of King of the Netherlands WillemAlexander and Queen Maxima, Van Buuren joined forces with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to perform the title track of his fifth album Intense, out Friday. The king, queen and their three daughters hopped up onstage to dance, a pleasant surprise for Van Buuren as well as the 15,000 people in the audience and 5 million watching on TV.
Hell support the album with a short North American tour, starting Friday in Los Angeles and wrapping up May 26 in Dallas, which he describes as a warmup to a world tour that kicks off June 14 in Seoul. Ill be playing new tracks, testing them on the audience, he says. I want to start DJing for a longer period, for eight hours, and be more eclectic with what I play. My shows are becoming more intense, more like theater.
He wont be changing too much, though. For example, dubstep the genre du jour, isnt on his radar. I understand why it works there are a lot of tempo changes, it can be aggressive or sweet, he says. For me, its too much all over the place. I like progressive, 130 to 140 beats per minute. I like getting into that trance state of mind.
For the music video of first single This Is What It Feels Like, starring his close friend, singer Trevor Guthrie, Van Buuren got a little star boost from porn legend Ron Jeremy. Its a pretty dark song, about losing somebody, so I wanted the video to be something fun and cheeky. And he fit the role of motel manager perfectly. But I wont be doing any of his videos, Van Buuren jokes.
Now that hes a family man hes married and has a 2yearold daughter, Fenna, Van Buuren has tapered down his DJ gigs. Its funny. I DJ less, Im home more, I feed my daughter and bring her to bed, but Im more productive now than ever before, he says.
Not that hes ready to relinquish his top DJ spot, but he offers this bit of advice to the next generation: Dont be a prisoner of your own style.
Music becomes interesting when you leave your safe harbor. To avoid the pitfalls of doing the same thing over and over, you have to have an open mind in your own genre, he says. When The Beatles used a synthesizer for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, they incorporated that sound into their own style.
Music is best when you blend styles, not put everything in boxes. Like it or not, music is constantly changing.