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Features Interviews

Tea and Biscuits with…Paul van Dyk

Dean Nunnari May 18, 2018
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Paul van Dyk is one of the first true superstar DJs. Since the early nineties, he has been setting standards for electronic music artists. Born during the communist era in a divided Germany, he was just a boy when he listened in secret to electronic music, which was then broadcast from forbidden radio stations in the West and that he views as crucial for his musical education. He was one of the loudest voices in favour of German unification after the Berlin Wall came down and his first DJ performance was in the highly respected Tresor club in 1991! He skyrocketed to popularity with his megahit “For An Angel”, undoubtedly one of the biggest electronic tracks of all time. He has eight studio albums under his belt which were sold in millions and during his career, he has worked with stars such as U2, Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Depeche Mode!

With a natural talent for the stage, he is amongst the musicians who travelled the most during his career, even more than Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Metallica and Rolling Stones! The prestigious DJ Mag made him world number one on two occasions and he is one of the first DJ’s to be nominated for a Grammy in the then-newly-established category Best Dance/Electronic Album in 2003. Three years later he received Berlin’s medal of honour given to him by the city’s Mayor. His career spans 30 years, yet he’s still as productive as he was at the beginnings. His last album “From Then On” released at the end of last year establishes him as an authority on trance music and electronic music as a whole.

We recently had the privilege of having a quick chat with Paul ahead playing at Exit Festival’s Sea Star festival which returns to Croatia over the Spring Bank Holiday from May 24th to May 27th and his summer Ibiza residency at SHINE at HEART Ibiza.

It has just been announced you will headline the trance residency at Privilege in Ibiza this summer. How excited are you for that?

Immensely. What SHINE offers, is a world of opportunities. It’s going to give us a level of freedom that musically we never had on the island before. It’s also going to be a hub to an international community and a place where we belong, no matter where we’re from. The trance family is a global collective of positive, caring and fun-loving people. This will be their sanctuary.

What does Ibiza mean to you?

A great deal, naturally, both as a place to come and DJ and as a place to stay. For the music I play, my home country was where it was born. Ibiza though seemed to be the place trance came of age, before fully bursting into the dance music consciousness. It is also the most ‘international’ place to play. There’s nowhere that draws more of an internationally-mixed crowd. It still seems incredible to me sometimes that this one little speck on the map, above all the other bigger specks, became the place that everyone is drawn to. ‘Build it and they will come’, I guess.

Honesty time, who parties harder? The crowd at EDC Vegas or the crowd in Ibiza?

Ibiza, though historically, they have had that much more time to do it in

Aside from your residency in Ibiza what other festivals or events will you be most looking forward to taking part in this summer?

I’ve got some new music incoming. It’s the first new material since the release of my ‘From Then On’ album last autumn. I’m also mixing a new compilation, which is out in June, to commemorate the first season of SHINE.

Do you still get the same buzz from playing to a full crowd at an event as you always have done, even 2 decades into doing so?

I do. That’s one of the many beautiful things about music. It’s its own power source. I would defy anyone not to feel the same buzz.

You must both love and hate when summer and festival season arrives. Sure you get to do what you love, sharing your passion with your adoring fans. But a busy schedule, country hopping must leave you feeling burnt out come the end of it all?

Each summer you do this, you get wiser, run things smarter and develop new mechanisms to deal with the pressures it presents. No doubt that it’s tiring. It’s always been tiring and no amount of those mechanisms will eliminate that entirely. It’s about getting it down to a manageable level. It also assists hugely if you’ve tried doing something – as you say – that you truly love, which for me is the case.

Many believe that EDM and trance music are on the decline, with house and techno the new “must listen to” genres. Do you feel this is the case or are such festivals as EDC and Tomorrowland keeping EDM and trance fighting on?

I see it from the perspective of, now, 30 years of dance music. Techno and house have been ‘down and out’ many times before. ‘House got too cheesy’, ‘techno got too minimal or fast or harmonic or whatever’. Trance was written off by the press for the first time, what, maybe 15 years ago? It’s like an eco-system. All the established sub-genres ebb & flow. You can count the ones that died off completely on one hand though. That says a lot.

And finally, What top 3 up and coming DJ’s would you recommend taking a listen to or to keep a listen out for in the future?
Check out James Cottle, Richard Lowe, Chris Bekker, Project 8 and Alex Ryan at SHINE this summer. They’re going to surprise a lot of people.

Sea Star Festival Accommodation and travel arrangements for Sea Star with packages combining the ticket, accommodation and transport can be found at Sea Star official website.

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