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New Paul Van Dyk Article!!!

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Guest kristopherk

Paul Van Dyk

by: Kris Krajewski

The clock approaches midnight and Paul Van Dyk enters the arena. Nearly 8,800 dancers have been moving and grooving the DC Armory at Ultraworld for about 10 hours. Fire-breathing dancers clad in wedding dresses twirl around each other as laser lights spin from all directions. Glow sticks and hands wave through the air in rhythm as DC's Scott Henry drops his final tracks. The anticipation builds with each beat and this mass of humanty is vibrating to a fervor . All eyes and energy are focused on the slim German, dressed simply in jeans and T, as he assuredly steps to the decks. The moment he puts his needle to the vinyl, the crowd erupts to his trademark sound--a mixture of high-energy electronic dance music, some call trance, filled with positive, emotional overtones. This time he came strong, going deeper and harder than his typical trance anthems, call it tech house, new school breakbeat, progressive trance but always having that powerful, soulful, and disctinct sound. Paul Van Dyk means business and without a hint of expression, it's time to go to work…

To the educated ear, there are stark differences between your average DJ and the elite jetsetting DJ's who dominate the upper eschelon of the dance music community. Although DJ production skill level, name recognition, and track selection all play roles in their success, there is a more intangible quality that differentiates these last select few. It is an indefinable ability for a DJ to communicate with a crowd, to get them to understand and take part in an audio masterpiece. It is a true connection between the DJ and the people that results in the praise, adoration and in certain cases worship of the DJ…Paul Van Dyk is one of those DJs.

As last year's title holder for DJ Magazine's "No.1 Producer in the World" and as the man who is logged in as this year's "No. 4 DJ in the World," Van Dyk keeps a busy schedule. On the heels of his latest album release "Politics of Dancing" and having just completed a trip to Washington, DC to play Ultraworld, Van Dyk took some time out to speak to DC ONE from his studio at home in Berlin. While many have regarded his DJ style as stoic and focused, Van Dyk's humble and laid-back personality bleeds through his German-British-Australian accent. He impecabbly moves across a number of subjects, never shying away from the spotlight but never revealing in the attention...

DC: Thanks Paul for taking time from your studio work to talk to us. Let's not waste any time and get right to it. DJ culture is all the rage nowadays, what is the magic behind DJing, what's your favorite part of DJ'ing? PVD: When you're playing, if you do something with the records which is really special and people absoltuely connect with this track and with you, that's pretty much magic in a way. DC: Alright so it's safe to say that you carry a reputation for being very focused while you spin. Does PVD ever let loose and jump around to his music? PVD: Of course, all the time. It's just the thing is as more light is on me, as more people are watching me, the less I'm moving. This is what I mean by I'm not so comfortable with big lights in my face and people just staring at me. For example, Twilo (NY club) and Gatecrasher (UK club) DJ booths have a very comfortable layout, not everyone is like staring at you. So you can kind of move around and dance around and feel more like one of [the dancers] and if you feel more like one of them than obviously you just sort of dance with them...I'm not the freaky puppet dancing around to something just to entertain someone. The way I sort of started DJ'ing was somewhere in a dark corner. This is where you sort of feel more comfortable with actually being yourself of course. DC: So if you feel at home DJing in these big, dark spaces and yet you are able to create such a positive, uplifting sound. PVD: I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm not some sort of expressionist person. I like to have my privacy and I like to have my personal things going on. I don't like to be in the spotlight and this is sort of the same with everybody. If I would feel comfortable on big stages I'd probably would be a big pop star or whatever, but I just don't.

DC: What role does music plays in your life? PVD: The second important part of my life. DC: The first being… PVD: My wife. DC: What I mean to say is that music affords you with a career, does it do anything else for you? PVD: I mean, of course. Actually you know the career thing and the issue that I'm able to live off of what I'm doing, it's secondary. The primary thing really is, it's difficult to actually describe it to someone who hasn't done something like this, it's the same feeling as if you painted a picture, or write a book or lyrics or something as well as making music. You're in the studio, you create something, you hear something and you suddenly start to interact with your own music with your mind and with your feelings and that's an absolutely stunning feeling. It's like when I'm really sad and I go into the studio, at the end when I get out of there I feel much better because I left a lot of ballist because I have a way to get this out.

DC: You´ve been quite adamant that people not call your music ¨trance¨, that it´s better described as electronic dance music. And despite all the royal decrees, you are not the ¨King of Trance.¨ Do you still stand by all that? PVD: Yes. DC: Why not just cash in on some compilations as PVD, God of all things Trancey or has the ¨Ëuro-pop cheesy dance-trance¨ ruined it for everybody? PVD: The thing is that most people, it's pretty sad actually, don't even want to get involved in actual music. They just follow what's trendy and what's not trendy and then there are a lot of journalists that just write about this and that. Journalists which have been writing things about me being a trance DJ, me being this and that, they probably never really heard me or if they actually had been to the club they probably were hanging out by the bar the whole night. One journalist in a Mixmag interview wrote once that describing me as a trance DJ would be very poor journalism and I absolutely stick with that. One of the most outrageous things was in the year when they called me the "God of Trance Music" and "Leader of the Trance Nation" and whatever, at the same time they made one of the most horrible tunes ever the trance tune of the year. Things like this don't go together for me and this is why I'm playing much more diverse things. I'm playing things which people call "trance-y" and I'm also playing things which people call "house-y" or "breakbeat" or "techno," you know. This is electronic dance music for me and much more. DC: So where exactly is your sound going? PVD: I just really play what I enjoy at the moment and then it's down to the reaction of the crowd as well. There are a few very deep progressive house tracks not so boring and not so energetic records which I really really love right now and there are also some very banging hard techno tunes which I enjoy. When I have a long set I try to play all these types of tunes.

DC: So where does your inspiration come from, are you influenced by other art forms other than music? PVD: I'm not so much influenced by particular art forms, it's everything in life that is an inspiration somehow. You know, you sort of go somewhere and experience something, when something happens like the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, something like this obviously has an impact on me as a person. This also is reflected somehow in the music at some point. As much as music and movies influence me, I take inspiration when I talk to someone or any kind of conversation. Everything is an inspiration is what I mean, in good and bad situations.

DC: On any given weekend, at any given PVD show, you can find fans driving and flying from all over to see you spin. You yourself trot across the globe every weekend to play your music. If you could, describe a typical weekend for us? PVD: There is absolutely no typical weekend. I mean I'm flying all the time but if I would have a wish for myself, something which can be completely out of reality…I would like to have a little island where I live, an airport, a club and a few planes. Instead of me flying around, everyone just comes to the island and I just stay there and they just sort of come and see me (laughing)… DC: Paul Van Dyk Island, I like it… PVD: Yeah traveling is like really tiring and it takes a lot of energy. Sometimes I wish I would be much more awake to be aware of everything that's going on, it's a bit tricky sometimes. Take one of these Twilo weekends, I´m flying out on Friday arriving at maybe 6 or 7pm New York time, which is already 1 or 2am my time in Germany. Then I eat something, I sleep as much as I can, and I start playing at 2am going on until about 9 sometimes 10 am, go to bed for 2 hours, then usually go to the airport and the flight leaves at 2pm to go somewhere else. You arrive in the afternoon again, sleep a bit and then you play again, then you sleep a bit and fly back home… DC: Uhh, you lost me at Twilo… PVD: Ha. I know, it's very stressful. DJing still gets me so much that I'm still doing it. DC: Alright so hypothetically,with all islands aside, if you had a free weekend, what do you do? PVD: Nothing. I wouldn't plan anything, I'd spend as much time with my wife and my family and my friends as I can. It would be sort of cool to not have anything planned. DC: Excellent. So let´s get to your new album "Politics of Dancing." How is it different from your others? PVD: It's absolutely different from the last release. All the other albums have been original material, they were basically artist albums. This is more of a mixture between a DJ mix CD, a remix album and an artist album. People approach me all the time and ask why I'm doing a DJ mixed CD. I always explain to them that I actually don't like DJ mixed CDs because for me DJ'ing has to do with the crowd and the interaction and you don't have all that on a CD. So I thought of a concept that would bring some new aspects to that, which is the combination of being an artist, being a Remixer/Producer as well as a DJ and this is what "Politics of Dancing" is all about. All the tracks are remixed and reworked and ripped apart and put back together. You might have the loop of track four underneath the vocal of track eight and the played bassline by myself. It was very intense work and absolutely different from what I've done before.

DC: Alright Paul, so word association ¨DJs, clubs, glowsticks...politics???¨ So tell me what exactly is the "politics" of dancing? PVD: This is to make people aware of the fact that there is much more to it than just being the music for the weekend for people. This is a worldwide global youth culture. As an example, Twilo wasn't the only victim of authorities just coming in and closing them down. Many, many more clubs all over the world from Italy to Berlin all the way to Asia have experienced the same thing. I was thinking, why is this happening? I came to the conclusion that we missed out on explaining to people what all of this means. People in New York, all they knew about Twilo was that at 6 o'clock in the morning there were a lot of people running around Manhattan with big eyes. They didn't know that this was one of the temples of electronic music and this club was actually very important for the cultural standing of the city of New York. So they just closed it down. You know, if there was a drug problem, you know, why not try to solve this drug problem where it actually lies. Why are people taking drugs? That should be the first question. To escape their reality, so why not try to change their reality into something more bright so they actually don't need to take drugs to jump out of it. Closing a club down is the absolute wrong way of doing this and this is one issue of "Politics of Dancing." It gives a little bit of a kick to people to discuss this issue and bring it across to your neighbors and to your family that this is much more, this is something that unites a lot of people on a global scale.

DC: You are German but your music crosses cultural lines, how is that? PVD: Yeah, two weeks ago, I was in Asia. I don't speak Japanese or Phillipino. But I still can connect with them big time through the music. It's a big peace tool, which we probably need much more of in the world that we live in right now with terrorism and stuff like that. DC: When Twilo shut down your residency at the club was evicted as well, where is PVD's new American home? PVD: In a way we're still looking at things. One of the places that I've played regularly in the past year is Space in Miami. And we're very intensely looking at what we're doing in New York. The thing is Twilo was established on a very high level of quality and it wouldn't make much sense to go back and do something which is less. We developed concepts in Berlin, and I have my sound guy flying to New York to look at venues and stuff like this. We got very close to finalizing things and we never got the permission. It's not that easy and it's not me not wanting to play in New York. We'll get things sorted out and hopefully in the new year we'll have something definite.

DC: So the Brits and the rest of Europe think Americans are the little brother in the electronic dance music scene? If I were to ask you what are your thoughts on the American dance scene right now, cause I am, what would you say? PVD: I've been back once since the attacks, and in the tour I had I could feel that people actually appreciated that I came out. Even though there was a scare of more attacks on places and such. The parties themselves have been very, very, good. I really enjoyed myself and it seems everyone that came out did too. In regards to clubs closing, I believe that the authorities in New York didn't do themselves a big favor by closing Twilo down because of the pure fact that the most inspiring and happening and vital cultural scene right now is the electronic music scene. By closing clubs down, New York is missing out on the big impact that it can have. People in a way from Europe are looking more towards Washington, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in terms of electronic music right now than [at] New York. This should change because there's so many things going on in New York and so many things that are really, really important for this whole global movement, we have to do something about this. I mean it's all related to the politics of dancing. DC: 8800 people showed up to Ultraworld at the DC Armory, it took 6 years to book you. So what are your thoughts on the DC scene and the amount of attention give to you… PVD: First of all, if you look at what comes out of Washington on the musical scale, Deep Dish, BT, and more and more people. Obviously Washington is a very vital and important scene. Whenever I play in DC, from back when Buzz was Sting or whatever, I've always enjoyed myself. It was really, really, cool all the time--absolutely amazing.

DC: So where does Paul Van Dyk get the energy to do what you do? PVD: My family gives me a lot of energy, they always sort of keep me on the ground. I think it's not so much what characterizes me as it is being always aware of what's really important in the world. It's not important that people recognize me on the street and it's not important that I earn a lot of money at what I'm doing. It's more important that the people I love are healthy and stay healthy and that we live in a peaceful, healthy world. In this way, just for myself to know how important it is for me to make music...the music is my gift to the public, I give 100 percent to my music and that's really it. DC: Thanks Paul and we´ll see you from the dancefloor.


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