Armin van Buuren: ‘I’m focusing on the future of trance’
Armin van Buuren is possibly the world’s biggest trance DJ. He has landed the top spot in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs poll five times, hosts a weekly radio show that attracts over 20 million listeners per week and was the first Dutch dance music artist to land a No.1 album in the Dutch charts with 2008’s ‘Imagine’. Last year he got together with Philips to work on creating a pair of DJ-friendly headphones and they will soon be launching, so I spoke to him about the product and what he’s been up to lately…
I know you’ve road-tested the headphones intensively, but have you had a chance to give them to other DJs to try out?
Not yet, actually I’ll be giving them to the guys I’m playing with tonight at my party here in Miami, but I’ll make sure they don’t have the Armin Van Buuren caps on them.
I hear that you didn’t want to have your name on them?
The thing with the caps is, it’s very easy to remove them and customise the headphones. The most important thing, by far, was the sound… and then, a little further down the list, was having the ability to customise them.
Sure I guess headphones are probably one of the DJ’s most important ‘tools’.
It’s like a painter’s brush, an essential tool yeah.
So, looking to the future, what would your dream be in terms of what you want to achieve with the headphones?
The first thing on my mind is not really selling a lot of them, I’m more concerned with making a piece of equipment that people enjoy using – almost like giving a workshop to up and coming DJs, you don’t do that for money per se, you do it to pass on knowledge and try to make an improvement to the industry. All the demands I had, and there were a lot, Philips made them possible. They really put a lot of work into them. I road-tested them for four months intensively, so we managed to iron out a lot of little nuances and they’re about as perfect as they can be.
It’s the small details that make a world of difference, even if people don’t realise how much work went into creating them.
Yeah true, if everything goes well and you look after these they should last a long time. All of the components can be replaced, so rather than spend money on buying a whole new pair of headphones, you can just replace the individual parts when you need to.
And what’s happening with you musically this year?
A lot. I just released a track called ‘Ping Pong’, it just premiered on Danny Howard’s Radio 1 show. My album was just released too, called ‘Intense’. I have State Of Trance 2014 due for release soon.
Where do you see the future of trance going?
Well, they’ve been saying trance is dead since 2001. It’s still rising and I’m really focusing on the future, I don’t play too many classics. I might do once in a while, but I prefer to focus on the new guys like Andrew Rayel from Moldova, Ørjan Nilsen from the north of Norway then there’s David Gravell from Holland, another guy who’s doing extremely well. Young guys who are really pushing the music forward.
That’s what dance music is all about, it was always made with the future in mind.
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