Few DJ’s names hold as much weight as Paul Van Dyk. He’s been a household name before the initials ‘EDM’ had any meaning. He was nominated for his first Grammy way back in 2004. He has back to back #1′s in the DJ Mag Top 100 in 2005 and 2006, and he’s been a stalwart of the Top 10 ever since. Oh, and he’s still going as strong as ever, releasing the highly successful ‘Evolution’ album last year, and a remix album, ‘Revolution’, last month. Currently in the midst of a giant 150 date tour, we got the chance to sit down with Paul during Ultra Music Festival, where he had the coveted responsibility of closing down the A State Of Trance Tent on Sunday night.
On being considered a ‘Godfather’ of EDM:
“I don’t really believe in that so much…it’s not about some individuals, because it needs the audience and every single person who enjoys this music to drive the genre…it needs inspiring and innovative musicians and DJs and I think that’s the great thing; electronic music always needs to be different from the normal pop culture…and like I was saying, the stuff I call electronic music, it still is that thing. It’s not about marketing driven concepts, it’s still about the music more than anything else. Anybody who still really seriously understands and enjoys electronic music is a co-creator of electronic music. If anything, we’re all co-creators.”
On how electronic music is progressing today:
“Well the stuff that I call electronic music is still very, very strong and it’s just like, very exciting. Everyday more fantastic records are coming out and it’s like, i don’t know, a very…driving musical genre”.
On dance music becoming ‘pop music’:
“There’s always all this talk about electronic music exploding in America, I really have to say 95% of the music that is meant by that, I don’t even consider really electronic music. It’s danceable pop music…and, it’s like, I don’t feel it. I don’t find any connection with it. It’s like, it’s the music that you listen to in the car when you drive to the supermarket. But it’s not my music and this is not my aim – it’s also not my audience. So therefore, in a way, again, what I call electronic music is still the coolest and best and most progressive and innovative art form I know in the music world.
On which artists today are continuing to be progressive and innovative:
“There’s so many…there’s this new guy from the UK that we just discovered, like Tim Mason, I love the stuff he’s doing. Of course, meanwhile he’s a household name, but someone like Arty as an example. We kind of like see those two different things – one way is to like really create something unique and breakthrough and find your audience, the other thing is you just do the same thing we’ve already heard a hundred times, just with a bigger marketing budget. That’s not what I’m about.”
On growing in Berlin prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall:
“I don’t think it affected my creativity or influences because I was listening to the West Berlin radio stations; I just didn’t know what any of my favorite artists looked like or what they had to say because I couldn’t buy any records, and I couldn’t buy any magazines. It’s just another reason that I could give a flying – excuse me – about pop stardom or like, whatever stuff like surrounds that. To me, it’s purely about the music. It doesn’t matter to me whether the person is well known or not known – if somebody is making a great piece of music, than this person gets all my respect. It doesn’t really matter.”
On music being used as a political tool:
“Let’s say like Ultra, there’s people from – I don’t know how many different nations, different religions, different cultural backgrounds coming together, having a great time. All coming together, glued together, by the love of this music. And it’s such a positive statement to the world, that it becomes political.”
On working with David Byrne:
“We started working separate and then we met and then we worked in the studio, and…it’s more of like an image than the actual person, he’s damn bloody fucking cool.”
Paul Van Dyk will be touring all summer and is already scheduled for several major festivals. Check out his latest remix album, ‘Revolution’, available on Beatport.