Armin Van Buuren
73Armin van Buuren
A man driven by an unbridled and relentless passion for music. A born perfectionist, striving to stay on top of the scene he’s helped to grow. The flag-bearer of the trance movement, one of the biggest scenes in EDM worldwide. A down-to-earth guy, living the extraordinary life of one of the world’s most popular DJ’s. Armin van Buuren is always on the move, whether through the music he creates in his studio, or bound to the next high-end club or festival somewhere around the globe.
Armin:”It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby, it’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life.”
For more than 15 years, the Grammy nominated Dutchman has been living to the rhythm of his own, international success. His 5 times number one position in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll has been the result of his loyalty to fans, his creativity in the studio, the perseverance with which he hosts his weekly radio show A State of Trance and the energy he transcends to the crowds in front of him. Despite the heavy pressure that comes along with being one of the world’s most popular DJ, Armin has always kept his focus on the music. And that’s exactly what keeps him going.
No matter how m
any hours Armin van Buuren has travelled to get there, as soon as he enters the DJ booth, the Dutchman has his full focus on the music, the crowd and how these two will combine. As soon as the beats of his first record have kicked in, the room lights up and chanting fills the air. To witness a set of Armin van Buuren is to be blown away, to completely lose yourself into the music and be one with the people around you. Mixed seamlessly, he created his own style and sound, making his DJ sets a unique experience. He unites millions, not only through the gigs in his challenging schedule, but also through his Armin Only and A State of Trance world tours.
Armin has the privilege to perform at some of the world’s biggest and best festivals, clubs, events and shows. One of the highlights in his career was Armin’s performance for the new crowned King and Queen of The Netherlands, Willem-Alexander and Máxima. Together with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in front of the monarchs and 15.000 fans, he performed both ‘The Bolero’ as well as an orchestral version of the title t
rack of his ‘Intense’ album. During the ‘koningsvaart’, a special, cultural boat-trip in the city of Amsterdam, the King and Queen surprised both the crowd as well as Armin by getting on stage and dancing along.
Another highlight was Armin’s DJ set at the Museumplein in Amsterdam in July 2010, during the honoring of the Dutch soccer team. Even though the national team lost in the FIFA World Cup final, they partied like they were the absolute winners, and so did the 200.000 strong crowd. That’s exactly what Armin’s sets are all about.
After the 2013 summer season had ended, with his own residency at the world’s biggest club, Privilege in Ibiza, Armin kicked off a new Armin Only world tour, based on his ‘Intense’ album, in collaboration with theatre director Jos Thie. The Dutch edition of the show, with two nights at the Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, sold out within only a few hours. More than 25 dates are set, with shows landing in cities such as Kiev, Mumbai, Saint-Petersburg, Helsinki, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Sydney, Johannesburg and more. With the brand new Armin Only tour, Armin brings a unique and exclusive show, unfolding the many layers of his ‘Intense’ album.
His busy life as a DJ has inspired many people. In 2009, Dutch author Coen Bom presented his on-the- road-biography of Armin, called ‘Eén op één’ / ‘Armin Only’, reporting about the hectic life of Armin and trying to find the secret behind to the grand success of the humble Dutchman. In October 2012, the official documentary ‘A Year With Armin van Buuren’ was released, in which Armin was followed during an important year in his life, offering a unique look behind the scenes and inside his personality. Again and again, his life as a superstar DJ continues to inspire others.
What started as an obsession for radio and the production of it, has turned into a weekly highlight for more than 20 million listeners. In June 2001, Armin van Buuren aired the first episode of A State of Trance. 13 years later into the game, he still hosts the weekly 2 hour show, in which he presents the biggest tunes of the moment, as well as providing an interactive way for fans to discover new music. Regular features of the show are the Tune of The Week, A State of Trance Radio Classic and the Future Favourite, of which the latter is based on an online voting poll.
Celebrating each milestone, Armin does an extensive world tour in early 2014, based around the 650th episode of the show. The ‘New Horizons’ world tour lands in the cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Almaty, Utrecht, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Miami. The 8 week tour, that takes place in January, February and March 2014, included 9 shows in countries all around the globe, with events broadcast live on the A State of Trance website.
Reflecting upon the A State of Trance world tours, Armin says: ”I’m deeply honoured by all the positive things that are happening for the show and for the sound in general. I’ve always said ASOT is not only a show for but also a show by the fans. The show wouldn’t be where it is without the fans, so it feels amazing to see so many people celebrating along. It’s crazy to see groups of fans going crazy to the same music that we’re playing on the other side of the world. People wearing banners, flags, and making their own private party. This is what I meant with ‘turning the world into a dance floor’.”
Each year, the listeners of the show are asked to vote for their favourite records of the year, with the A State of Trance Top 20 as the official outcome. Each track on this list ends up in the yearly A State of Trance Yearmix, released at the end of December. Weeks of editing and mixing come together in a 2 hour mega-mix of over 100 tracks and countless memories. More than 150,000 copies of the series have been sold, going strong for 9 years already. Another series that Armin has linked to the radio show, is the A State of Trance Classics compilation. After 7 years of providing some of the most essential classics and all-time favourites in EDM, the series continues to commemorate the early days of dance music.
In addition to the weekly show, Armin started the weekly A State of Trance podcast, with a selection of the previous episode of the radio show, ensuring that listeners will never miss out on the highlights. Every Sunday, Armin also hosts a 24 hour radio day called ‘A State of Sundays’, broadcast on one of the biggest radio stations in the United States, Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Next to the A State of Trance shows, A State of Sundays also introduces its listeners to sets and radio shows of other popular DJ’s and talented artists.
Armin van Buuren looks back on the success of his ‘76’ (2003), ‘Shivers’ (2005), ‘Imagine’ (2008), ‘Mirage’ (2010) and ‘Intense’ albums. May 2013 marked the release of Armin’s latest artist album, ‘Intense’, now nominated for the Dutch Edison Pop Award on ‘Best Dance Album’. The follow-up to his ‘Mirage’ album features collaborations with Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, Australian duo NERVO and singers by the likes of Trevor Guthrie, Emma Hewitt, Laura Jansen, Fiora and more. ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ ft. Trevor Guthrie, the first single of the album, was nominated for the Grammy award on ‘Best Dance Recordings’, as well as a nomination for the Canadian Juno Awards. It became a worldwide hit, taking A-list rotation on radio stations all across the world and reaching gold, silver, double platinum and platinum in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia and Italy.
Through the 16-pieced musical mosaic of ‘Intense’, Armin introduces his fans to many intriguing fusions, intricate soundscapes and surprisingly new shades of his sound. ‘Intense’ is the biggest project he has ever worked on, uniting 3 years of studio work. And in many ways, is it the most intuitive album he’s ever done. Armin:” These songs came to life just by being in the studio, being who I am and following my gut. I feel closer to myself than I ever have. The album sort of happened to me, it just all came together and the story wrote itself. I didn’t try to force anything, I just did what I found interesting and tried to have as much fun in the studio as possible.”
Whenever he’s not on tour or having a daddy-day with his daughter Fenna and son Remy, Armin locks himself up in the studio. Giving meaning to his famous quote ‘Don’t be a prisoner of your own style’, he explores the boundaries of EDM through his originals and remixes. Some of his most beloved works, such as ‘Communication’, ‘Burned With Desire’, ‘Blue Fear’, ‘Shivers’ and ‘Yet Another Day’, have grown into all-time favourite classics, withstanding the test of time.
With remix offers flooding in, Armin has the luxury of taking on only the tracks that he really loves. His remix discography includes cult TV series 24, Danish TV series The Killing, Dutch film Nova Zembla and tracks by the likes of Krewella, Motorcycle, The Killers, Faithless, BT, Dido, Zedd, Chicane and Kerli.
In 2003, plans emerged to set up a record label: Armada Music. Together with Maykel Piron and David Lewis, Armin built the foundation to one of the most successful record labels worldwide. Armada Music, voted ‘Best Global Record Label’ for the fifth year running and hot off its 10 year anniversary, is home to more than 25 sub-labels and releases productions by some of the industry’s biggest names and rising talents. Armin’s very own Armind and A State of Trance labels have found a safe haven at Armada Music, as well as his A State of Trance and Universal Religion compilation series and artist albums.
Armin’s annual A State of Trance compilations have become an institution in the industry, having won several awards and featuring a fresh and exclusive selection of tracks. On April 4th, A State of Trance 2014 is released, and available on all download portals. As if one compilation isn’t enough yet, Armin has been live recording some of his sets on Ibiza and released them under the ‘Universal Religion’ series. The summer of 2013 saw the 7thchapter of this beloved series released, a two hour live recording of Armin’s residency at club Privilege.
Born in Leiden, The Netherlands (December 25, 1976) to a musical family, Armin indulged his passion for music from a young age. He spent all the money he earned with his paper round on records. His mum won a computer when he was 10, gaining Armin’s interest. “So as a little nerdy kid I was writing my own basic programs, and learnt about the technology from there.” He progressed from making low-profile mix tapes for friends to higher profile mixes when he discovered experimenting with different sequences on his computer through his uncle. “I was so stunned by what I saw him doing on the computer, that I got addicted to creating music right there and then!”
“I loved dance music immediately – this great rebellious sound that was so different to the ‘beautiful’ songs of the years before”. Armin cites electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre as a major influence, as well as Dutch producer Ben Liebrand, who later mentored him in his mixing and producing.
In the early days, Armin thought it was wise to have a back-up plan and so he studied for a law degree. The final year of his course was inevitably stretched as he juggled his studies with his increasingly hectic schedule; his rise to fame included lots of productions and remixes, as well as playing out to packed clubs every weekend. It took him three years to graduate, but his determination made him succeed.
Although owning a Master’s degree in Law, the main ingredient to Armin’s life will always be music. Armin: ”I see it as my responsibility to promote trance as a genre and I want to support it in every way I can. Music should connect us. As long as the music keeps evolving like it is, I will continue and I don’t see any reason to slow it down.”
Armin Van Buuren, Disc Jockey / Dj / Producer / Radio DJ / Radio Presenter / Radio Show / Remixer