Armin van Buuren: "It’s the rush hour of life."
No rest for the perfectionists. When you’re living the life of Armin van Buuren, you know that once you’ve settled down, the next project is already knocking on your door. So despite this being the holiday season, it’s anything but quiet in mind of the Dutchman. Before facing a 2013 that bursts with new challenges, we invited Armin to reflect to the past 12 months. In the midst of family dinner, finishing the ASOT 600 album, Birthday celebrations and working on a film score, he shines a light on all major happenings of 2012, his personal goals and facing his demons. Armin:“I'm just as imperfect as everyone else, but I have this obsession with music to try and do my best to make that as perfect as possible.”
Hey Armin! How are you doing? Enjoying a little break after that monster-project, ASOT Yearmix 2012?
Armin:”Unfortunately not. It's peak season studio time. I'm still working on finishing the score for a Dutch movie called ‘Verliefd op Ibiza (In Love With Ibiza)’ in which I play a small role myself. I did 1/3 of the total music in the movie and delivered the title-song. I wanted to learn the world of film-scoring and this was a great way to learn more about it. Besides that, I just finished working on the ASOT 600 anthem-song and still working hard on that artist album.”
When we publish this interview, we’re one day away from your birthday! So happy birthday, Armin! :) Starting to feel the years, or feeling better than ever?
Armin:”Better than ever! My philosophy with growing older has always been: if you want to experience things in life, time needs to pass, so you grow older. I like this age though, although it sometimes feels like it's the rush hour of life. There's never enough time, always a next project to focus on.”
How will you be spending Christmas? Trading EDM for Christmas classics this week? ;)
Armin:”I'm actually pretty old fashioned. I love spending time with friends and family. I will be celebrating my birthday with only a few old friends who were close to me way before I started DJ-ing. Of course big Christmas dinner at mom's. Other than that, I will finally have some time to play some Halo 4 and BlackOps2, haha!”
December is a month all about reflecting. So, we’ve checked out your highlights of 2012, month by month. Want to help us recapture these highlights?
January: ‘The Invasion’ ASOT 550 world tour announced
Bigger than all the ASOT celebrations, ever before. Does going ‘bigger and better’ put a lot of weight on your future plans? In other words: are you afraid to be doing ‘the same’ instead of progressing and growing?
Armin:”I never feel I'm doing the same. With ASOT 550 we went to a lot of new countries, we had a new theme, and completely different line ups like a female stage in Den Bosch! The live broadcast is constantly evolving with tricks like the RecRoom and GooglePlus Hangouts. I don't necessarily want to be ‘bigger’ every time. The point is that I want to please crowds all over the world with this belief and love for music.”
February: ASOT 2012 compilation released
A yearly highlight to millions of listeners, as well as producers. When can we expect the 2013 compilation, and what can you reveal about it so far?
Armin:”Lots and lots of heavyweight producers are working hard to deliver some exclusive stuff for this and I can already say I'm pleased with what I have so far. I just want tunes that I like and don't bore me but are interesting in one way or the other.”
March: ASOT 550 – a 6-event tour across 5 different countries
Each event of the ASOT 550 had its own special vibe. What was the one edition that you never thought would ever happen?
Armin:”Well, when it rained like It did in San Bernadino near Los Angeles, that kinda sucked. It turned out to be one of the best stops atmosphere wise.”
April: ASOT Ibiza at Privilege announced
You said that making the move to Privilege was one of the most scariest but exciting things to do. What made it so scary?
Armin:”Privilege is a big club. It would have been more ‘safe’ to stay in Space, which I really love as a venue.”
May: The release of ‘We Are Here To Make Some Noise’
You received loads of criticism for releasing something outside your usual ‘comfort zone’, but eventually people starting liking ‘WAHTMSN’ more and more. A great test for future tracks outside your usual sound range?
Armin:”You shouldn't see it that way. It wasn't meant to test. I was just fooling around in the studio with a vocoder and out came this track. When I'm in the studio I always try to do something that I find interesting. I've learned the hard way that you can never please everyone, so I'm just doing what I love and I think the most important thing is to have fun in the studio. That's what I did. It's not meant as a change of style or anything.“
June: Ibiza Privilege kick off!
What a grand success! 14 magical ASOT nights at Ibiza, DJ’s and fans flying in from all around the world…will you be back there in 2013?
Armin:”At this point, nothing's confirmed but on the other hand I wouldn't know why it wouldn't happen?”
July: ASOT 600 campaign Top 50 announced
The Baltic States, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, South Africa…people campaigned for ASOT 600 to come to their country from all across the globe! How hard is it to make a final selection of countries/cities you actually want ASOT 600 to happen?
Armin:”Very hard of course. With doing an event like that, all kinds of if's and but's arise. I depend on a huge team of people and we have to work with local promoters. Besides that, I do want to visit a lot of new countries with these events. The good news is that we'll broadcast 7 of these events live and for free so people can still witness everything if it's not in their country. “
August: Universal Religion Chapter 6 announced, with artwork by Joseph Klibansky
A new Chapter of the beloved Universal Religion series, with another stunning piece of artwork by Joseph Klibansky. Agree that each song is a piece of art as well? Or is music a completely different form of creativity?
Armin:”Well the mix is one. It's like a photograph of the atmosphere of that night in Ibiza. Each record compliments each other, 1+1=3. Because those two tracks are at that point in the mix, they create something extra.”
September: ASOT streamed on Spotify, each week
From September on, each episode of A State of Trance is available on Spotify on Friday. What’s your opinion when it comes to streaming music? Is it the future?
Armin:”Yes. Basically, streaming is like re-inventing the whole idea of radio again. But now you can have your music, whenever you want it and where you want it. People can check out the whole ASOT episode when it suits them!”
October: Named number 1 DJ in DJ Mag Top 100 for fifth time
In an interview, you said that your number one position is a sign that the trance sound is still very much alive. Do you feel responsible promoting the trance sound rather than being successful yourself?
Armin:”Neither. I'm not doing what I do because I feel responsible for anything nor am I only in this industry just because I want to be successful. Personal fulfilment comes from creating new music and playing music I absolutely love. I was glad to be voted no. 1 again because of course I saw a lot of people moving away from this sound but ALSO a lot of newcomers joining the sound. I think it proves a lot of people still love this genre.”
November: ‘A Year With Armin van Buuren’ documentary released
You’ve always tried to keep a healthy balance between your personal life and business in regards to media. Was it hard to let the camera’s into your personal, daily life, also registering a less polished, perfect Armin van Buuren?
Armin:”Yes it was hard because I like my privacy but on the other hand I was kind of fed up with that image of ‘perfect’. I'm just as imperfect as everyone else, but I have this obsession with music to try and do my best to make that as perfect as possible. But with that comes a heavy battle and I think that's what's shown through the documentary.”
December: A State of Trance Yearmix 2012
You’ve really outdone yourself this year, mixing more than 100 tunes into a 2 hour mix! Edits, edits and more edits. Exactly when is the moment you realize it’s perfect and done?
Armin:”Haha it's never perfect, there's always little things left to correct but at one point you have to let it go otherwise you start changing the whole mix again! I've learned a technique over the years with mixing that usually works when I try it the first time. If I try to do it again it sort of loses that magical moment. The trick is always to prepare yourself well. Get your tracklist, clear the rights to use the masters, get the best quality masters, put them in key, make an order, and try and get as many accapella's and stems as you can. Then lock your studio and only come out to eat, don't answer your phone, don't check twitter, don't answer any emails and focus. Then I usually go running with a rough version of the mix and that's when I hear the most mistakes.”
Last question! What do you have to say to your fans and supporters, who’ve been there throughout 2012?
Armin:”I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my fans and listeners around the world for their support. Winning DJ Magazine again and the IDMA's best Global DJ were of course big highlights for me. These awards mean so much to me because the idea that so many of you went online to vote is simply breath-taking. Knowing that people like what you do and show their appreciation makes all the difference and is a big motivation to move on. Also, this year I was really blown away by all the campaigning for ASOT 600 and the reactions to the ASOT 550 events. I really hope you appreciated the little insight you had in my crazy life with the documentary.
2013 will be another crazy year with ASOT 600 coming up and a whole new album! I'd like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in happiness and health for 2013!”
Get the A State of Trance Year Mix 2012 now!
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2CD available at ArmadaShop.com.