Armin van Buuren Blog April 2009
So here it is, the first diary/blog in a while that you've heard from me. I'm currently touring the USA and preparing for ASOT 400. There's so much going on! I'm glad I have a whole team around me to help me with the things I easily forget sometimes.
First of all I'd like to thank everybody for the awards I got at the Miami Winter Music Conference. Every single bit of appreciation still means a lot to me.
At the moment I'm working on selecting tunes for my upcoming compilation ASOT 2009. I wasn't completely satisfied with the tracklist yet so I've postponed it for a few weeks but I'm very excited about the tracks I already have so far. It will be ready in time for summer!
Other than that, I've just finished my new studio. It took almost a year to get it done! I've invested a lot of time in sorting out the monitoring and making a comfortable room. Meanwhile the first idea's for new tracks have just started to come. There're so many great new toys nowadays!
A couple of weeks ago I had a fantastic weekend in Scandinavia and Belgium, and I just sat down to write a little about it, so you can see what a weekend in my life looks like, and answer some of the questions you had for me!
Thursday, 12 of March 2009
This weekend starts early this week, catching the Thursday morning flight Stockholm, for my third Monday bar cruise.
Throughout the years this has become a legendary party, and this year they have managed to get a cruise ship which has a capacity of around 2000 people. After a 2 hour flight from Amsterdam we arrived in a snow-covered Sweden and we headed off to the city center to the gathering point at a hotel. Since we got there around 13:30 we had enough time to check in and relax for a couple of hours. In the meanwhile several of the performing artists where arriving as well, for some of them it was a while ago since I saw them so it was cool to meet everyone again and catch up! Around five we all grabbed the taxis to the harbor where the cruise ship was waiting for us. We were there quite early so there weren't that many clubbers yet, but that changed in a couple of minutes. Crazy clubbers came out of everywhere, bringing along serious sound systems and ghetto blasters, pumping out music already. The Monday Bar cruise is a 24 hour trip from Sweden to Finland and back, and everyone that is on board has their own cabin. Within a couple of hours the whole boat was turned into a place with hundreds of cabins full of people and loud music.
Quite an amazing experience I tell you! We went to the stage where I was playing later on, to see how it was looking and to feel the atmosphere, before eating at the restaurant 'Happy Lobster' (Which was a weird name, because they didn't serve any lobster). By the time we were done it was time for Blake Jarrell to head to the stage to start his set, and I headed back to my cabin to prepare my set. The organization installed some camera's in the main room, and connected it to the TV circuit, so I could see that the dance floor was getting packed while Blake was playing for them. At half past twelve it was time for me to head over to the floor to play my three hour set for tonight. All I can say about my set is that I had an amazing time, and the Swedes really went for it. Time flew by and before I knew it, it was time already for Signum to take over from me! The cruise arrived at six in Turku in Finland, so we got off there and a bus took pretty much all DJ's to Helsinki. We were on our way to Helsinki for about 20 minutes already and suddenly we needed to turn around. The reason? Signum was supposed to take this bus to the airport too! So after the short detour, and the pickup of Pascal and Ronald of Signum we headed to Helsinki, which was a 2,5 hour drive. Within a few minutes the bus went quit and everyone was sleeping, with a big smile on our faces, because it was a night to remember with those crazy Swedes!
Friday, 13 of March 2009
After a good night sleep of 4 hours it was time for me to wake up already. Edel Records, the Finnish record label that releases my tracks, set up some interviews with Radio stations. We drove downtown to the Radio station of Radio Nova, where they received us with a great breakfast. After talking about music a little with the guys we did the interview and before we knew it we were back at the hotel already. After some more relaxing and a nice dinner it was time to head out to the party! Club Colors organized this event in a sort of warehouse, it was basically a big hall, and they putted up the DJ booth on a sort of bridge, over the crowd. This way it was like you were floating on the crowd! Blake was doing a great job already, trying out some of the tracks he made for his forthcoming album 'Concentrate', and once I got on the crowd was ready to go! There were many requests for this night, that came through email and MySpace for this gig. One of them was 'Helsinki Scorchin', of course a great track from Finland itself. Once that track got recognized, the roof came off! Before I knew it my set was done again, this was one for the books again. What a great crowd again in Finland!
Saturday, 14 of March 2009
We stayed at an hotel at the Airport in Helsinki, which resulted in a relaxed check-out time! Our flight didn't go before 02:05 local time, so we slept till around 12:45. So rested and well it was time for another big day: Sensation in Belgium! After a nice and easy flight from Helsinki to Amsterdam I had some time to relax and prepare at home in Leiden. It seemed that I was wrongly informed about my set time though, which meant that I was playing way later than I thought, which kind of sucked cause I really wanted to get home tonight! Sensation Belgium was held in the Ethias Arena in Hasselt, the same venue of Armin Only: Imagine last year. Which is about 2,5 hours driving home, so we decided to stay over in a hotel over there, instead of driving home overtired! After preparing my set it was time to find some white clothes, since the dress code for Sensation is white, and head out for Belgium! Just before midnight we arrived in at the hotel in Hasselt. We decided to have an early pick up to the venue, to see some of the other DJ's and to watch one of the highlights of the show, the Megamix!
After some interviews backstage, I really wanted to get inside and see how the atmosphere was like. We followed some of the guys of ID&T, that were taking us to one of the stages, where you could oversee the whole crowd. Once arrived there we figured out we had been lead to the wrong side of the arena, so we needed to walk back to where we came from. As soon as we wanted to walk by the security check, I was called back; my artist bracelet didn't give me authority to go backstage here. In the meanwhile several golf cars were passing the gate with party people etc. What am I supposed to do here? My set time is getting closer, and I am stuck here at some security check point with some guys that don't want to let me pass through! After standing there for a couple of minutes, some of the guys of ID&T were walking by, and they (after some serious negotiation) managed to get me backstage, so I could walk up to the other tribune. Quite a weird start of the night I'd say! With little more than an hour to go before my set, I walked up to some friends and the guys from DLP management. They were standing upstairs at the Deluxe deck, enjoying Eric Prydz's set with some champagne! It is great to see a crowd like this, all dressed in white, it's always a little extra special! Before I knew it, it was time for me to head out to the DJ Booth! Just like the years before, it was a DJ booth right in the middle of the crowd, a big round stage that rotates during the set. After walking through some of the essentials I wanted to play in this short (only 1 hour and 20 minutes) set, it was Showtime! It was time to see that Sensation crowd still enjoys trance! People reacted fantastic on several tracks that I played, especially when I dropped the first Sensation Anthem ever: 'Cygnus X - Superstring (Rank 1 Remix)'. I closed my set, and this crazy weekend, with one of the biggest tracks ever, made on Belgium Soil, 'The First Rebirth'!
Check a video report of this weekend soon on my YouTube Channel!
The tour here has been fantastic so far. Canadian and American crowds are very important to me because they are big lovers of trance music. You can really feel how the music has grown over the years. I've just finished playing at the Roseland Ballroom again in New York. Last time there it was such an amazing gig that I was a little afraid to go back. I thought it could have been a hard thing to top the Halloween atmosphere! But it was once again amazing. The New York crowd is one of the best in the world for a reason!
It was great to have one day off to go shopping and sightseeing a little bit. After reading his biography, I had to see the place where John Lennon got shot and found out his spirit is more alive than ever! They were singing songs near strawberry fields near the sign that said 'Imagine'. It kinda gave me goosebumps.
I was shocked to see Virgin Megastore being closed down on Times Square! I had some memorable instore sessions there and I loved to go in there to look for some rare cd's. I guess times are changing but I really hope the music industry can survive and support the new talent that need it.
Before New York I played in Houston, Atlanta & San Antonio. Those gigs were all on weekdays and I was so pleasantly surprised about the turnout! Atlanta is always a rocking crowd! San Antonio really surprised me with the enthusiasm for a Monday! Guess they know how to party there. The Houston crowd was fantastic with huge roar when I played the 'In and Out of Love' mash up that was requested so many times.
Only a couple of days to go and we will have the celebration of the 400th episode of A State of Trance! I am really looking forward to it! It's kinda crazy to think the show started almost eight years ago! I remember doing the first show of ASOT back in June 2001. (I actually found a video recording of it which we will add later on the youtube channel). A lot of my colleagues thought I was crazy to do a TWO HOUR radioshow EVERY WEEK! Haha.
The preparations started months ago already, and with the help of the listeners we have combined a great line up, that will travel to three different clubs in Europe. All venues are completely sold out and I really hope this will be a party for the true lovers of trance. That's why I've chosen for a more intimate setting as well, not a big arena this time around.
It's pretty impressive how many stations have decided to join the live broadcast! After the Thursday show you can check out the rest of the 72 hours exclusively on www.astateoftrance.com. During the daytime we'll broadcast a lot of exclusive guestmixes and re-run some older episodes which were also chosen by the listeners.
There will be several updates happening soon, so keep an eye out on www.astateoftrance.com , or stay updated while listening to A State of Trance!
Questions from fans!
"Given that you always seem to be on tour, what food do you most often eat when traveling around the world?" - Jonathan Chung, LA, USA
I try to be as healthy as possible, since the temptation of fries and burgers is always just around the corner! My favorite food by far is Sushi or a nice steak. But a good salad does the trick as well.
"If you had to pick one A State of Trance episode that you like best, which one would it be?" - Ryan Gaynor, Rochester, NY, USA
That one is really hard. With the preparation of ASOT400 I have been going through a lot of requests for any replays during the 72 hours broadcast. I think the big celebrations, like 250, 300 and 350 have been really special. This is why I look forward so much to ASOT400! We are going to have the live broadcasts and a lot of great artists that will do exclusive guest mixes.
"Do you remember all track (song) names, that you have played in your sets, concerts and so on?" - Olafs Berzins, Latvia
I remember most songs, but not all of them! It depends a little which kind of gig it is I guess. If you play a set like last week on Sensation in Belgium, I have went through that set a million times now in my mind, just after playing it. It is a little harder to do that if you are playing an 8 hour gig.
"What's the best advice you can give to anyone who aspires to be a DJ/producer?" - Steven Bernard
My piece of advice would be, practice, practice and practice! The more you spend time tweaking the knobs in your studio, the better you will get at it. The same counts for DJ
ing. Besides that it is important to stand out. For some it might be their way of DJing, for others it is that they make huge tracks that get them into the picture. The important thing though is to do something that no one else has done before but still attracts a dance music loving crowd.
"What do you dislike most about being a DJ?" - Ilja van Peel, Belgium
Travelling! Nowadays I spend most of my time on the airport or in a plane. I would rather be in my studio or home with friends. But on the other side it is fantastic to travel around the world, and share my music with other trance lovers. It's great to be on stage and it makes it all worth it!!
If you would like to have your question answered in the next blog, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org