Paul Van Dyk :: The Exclusive InternetDJ Interview

InternetDJ interviews the number one DJ in the world, Paul Van Dyk! Read and listen to our exclusive right here.

Posted by Michael Bordash on Thu Nov 3, 2005

Music News
Paul Van Dyk is the most recognized name in electronic music. With years of producing #1 tracks and DJing throughout the world, it is no surpise that he was voted #1 DJ by the readers of DJ Magazine. 2005 also marks the release of his 2xCD mix album, "The Politics of Dancing 2" and an hour-long mix set on Taking a break from his consistent touring schedule, we had the chance to speak with the man himself.

Paul Van Dyk Interview
Our full, uncut, audio interview.
Listen: {MP3} (Interview by Michael Bordash)

(InternetDJ) So, you're currently on tour, any notable events to share?
(Paul Van Dyk) I'm pretty much touring all the time, that's the great thing about DJ-ing, you spend the week in the studio and produce, and on the weekends, you go out, you travel, you're in the clubs to get inspiration which finds itself back in the studio.

(InternetDJ) Do you test tracks developed during the week in front of your audiences?
(Paul Van Dyk) All of my tracks get tested in some early stages within a set. Then I go back to the studio and fine-tune a few things.

(InternetDJ) Do you do any on-line testing?
(Paul Van Dyk) Most of the testing is done in the clubs. Its more of a technical test. When I feel the track is finally produced, I give to my inner circle of friends and colleagues and see how they react and think of it.

(InternetDJ) Congratulations on your ascension to #1 on the DJMag poll! How will the honor affected you personally and professionally?
(Paul Van Dyk) To be honest I don't think it will really affect me. I'm in a very lucky position in that throughout the years people realize that everything I do is real, and I do it with all the passion I have, and I always give 100%. I really don't see a point of why that should change. On a personal level, I still give everything. I don't think it's going to change anything really. I have a different view about this than some of my colleagues. I don't see this list as a big competition, for me, it's a sign of how strong electronic music is globally. Its about DJ #100 and #1000 breaking the boundaries with their music everyday whenever and wherever they play. It makes me proud and thankful to be on top of that list, but it's a bigger picture than just a competition tool.

(InternetDJ) Your new mix CD is called "The Politics Of Dancing 2." What exactly are the politics of dancing? Are there any politics in dancing? Isn't dance music all about letting go?
(Paul Van Dyk) First of all, Electronic Music is about letting go. And it is important to take it as such. It goes back to the first Politics of Dancing album back in 2001 before 9/11. Some of you guys may remember the problems back then with the authorities closing clubs down and promoters having a hard time making events. What a lot of the authorities and journalist didn't realize, besides all the fun people have in clubs and what they hear about clubbing, was the development of a global youth culture. And this is a very positive and uniting tool. You have Israelis dancing with Palestinians, whites dancing with blacks, Iraqis with Americans. It doesn't matter what type of religion they believe, or where they come from. All that matters is that they are respectful to all different people. This is something that is political, and this is something that I wanted to point out back in 2001. Of course ever since we had 9/11 and the war in Afganistan and Iraq, the meaning I have for Politics in Dancing has shifted. It really means that Democracy for me is still the best concept we have in order to live with each other. And in order to make the countries we live in as strong and socially fair, we all have to be involved. Some people are involved in political parties, others are involved with charities and social aspects… it means that everyone needs to be involved. And that is what Politics of Dancing means to me in 2005.

(InternetDJ) Do you feel the same type of enthusiasm for dance music today as there was when you were packing Twilo back in the 90's? What are your thoughts, has there been a swing in clientele at all?
(Paul Van Dyk) Well maybe that's more of a personal feeling. I feel that people want to listen to new and interesting electronic music, at the same time very open-minded to just let loose and enjoy themselves. So whenever I play New York, I have an amazing time and I've always felt some special connection with the New York crowd. One of my first gigs I've ever had was in New York and ever since I've had quite a strong relationship with the club scene. I was part of Disco 2000 on a regular basis and part of the whole Twilo scene. Now we have the Summer Stage in Central Park and they are all very special occasions. For me each is a special gig and there are definitely a lot of people willing to listen to great electronic music when presented the right way.

(InternetDJ) You recently played at in NYC's Central Park in what has now become an annual event. After this gig, we hear that you jumped on a plane and flew down to Miami's Space for a late night set. That’s pretty amazing, how did that all work?
(Paul Van Dyk) That worked perfectly. Because of the requirements, Summer Stage had to be finished by 10. So we had to leave the area anyway. We went to an airport near Manhattan and jumped on a plane, flew down and arrived on time to do another set at Space in Miami.

(InternetDJ) It sounds like a wonderful night.
(Paul Van Dyk) It was definitely a great night. It's something that I won't forget of course.

(InternetDJ) Your name is synonymous with The Berlin Love Parade - one of the most amazing events in dance music history. However, we understand you didn't perform on a float during the San Francisco version of the parade. What's the story?
(Paul Van Dyk) There is only one story here. In order to do a public event like this, there has to be insurance in case something happens. Apparently there were some problems with the organizers of the Love Parade with getting the right insurance for the actual truck to be secure for the DJs. We are all very lucky that nothing happened, but if something bad did happen there wouldn't have been any insurance for the person that might have been hurt. This is why we pulled out. Of course, if the float didn't drive up and down the street, I wouldn't have been able to perform on the float!

(InternetDJ) Producing has always been a big part of Paul Van Dyk and it has even brought you fans who are not typically fans of trance music. Specifically, your track "For An Angel" is one of the most beautiful and genre defining tracks of all time. Do you ever get goose bumps or at feel some sort of emotion when you play this track out live?
(Paul Van Dyk) I know it is a special track to a lot of people, but for me, every single track I've done is equally important. When I play, every single track I play is important to me, even if it isn't my own track, it becomes a tool, it becomes a part of the set. When I play something new, if I play something no one has heard of, and people go absolutely crazy, then that is the extra excitement. It shows me that I have done something right in the studio and it immediately works when I play out. Otherwise, my own songs become part of my work as a DJ when I play.

(InternetDJ) Paul, you've had a great life thanks to dance music. However, it's been well documented that you have been very generous to less fortunate people. In particular, we hear that India holds a special place in your heart. Please tell us about your crusades that you're most proud of.
(Paul Van Dyk) I wouldn't say "proud of". That's not why I do it. When I first went to India I saw devastating poverty, absolutely abnormal. While I was there I got in contact with the German consulate and they connected me with a few charity organizations. I got involved with an organization called Akanksha which sets up schools in hot-spots for the children. So they get food and education; and it doesn't stop, say with two years of English, they get educated all the way through until they have a job. When I was in India the last time, and this is one of those heart-breaking moments, I went to one of the schools in the middle of a slum in Bombay and there was this class of little kids. They just learned their numbers from one to one-hundred, and every single one of these kids was so anxious to show me how much they learned that they were screaming those numbers. This is when you know that it is necessary, and it is important and it means a lot if you help someone out. It doesn't make me proud, it just makes me feel more responsibility to do something, and to talk more to encourage others to help.

(InternetDJ) Do you see your role here on earth as merely an entertainer or does Paul Van Dyk have a higher calling?
(Paul Van Dyk) I wouldn't put it into those terms. We are pretty well set in our so-called "Western World". We tend to forget that globalization doesn't consist of just markets. There are people living in those markets and we have to make sure, in as much as I support globalization, that it is conducted in a fair and socially acceptable way. It becomes our responsibility to take care of these issues as well. Every single person has that responsibility, and maybe I feel that I have a little bit more because my music enables me to travel a lot… to see a lot. My music enables me to have some sort of popularity; people are reading or listening to an interview that I gave, and when I am able to talk about the things I saw in India or the problems we have here in Germany or the problems they have in Africa, if there is only one person that thinks "OK, let's shake out that issue, maybe try to do something." It's already a success. This is more a sense of responsibility than a "higher calling".

(InternetDJ) You've had a life unlike 99% of people on earth. Of all the experiences – dance music related or not – what ranks as your most important and memorable?
(Paul Van Dyk) Everything that is part of my life… it is difficult to pick. This is something I learned what life is as well. It's like a pyramid, if you take one stone out, everything collapses. Everything belongs together. All the mistakes in your life are part of who you are and what you do. There are of course, important moments, like when I met my wife. She is the other me. This is obviously something substantial to me.

(InternetDJ) Plug one other artist. Who should we be listening to at this moment in time?
(Paul Van Dyk) Wow. There is so much amazing electronic music out there. Even being in the position that I am in, listening to such great music, I'm still not able to listen to all of it. As an example, last Saturday, I played together with Colin Hamilton in Portrush at Lush. Pretty much every song he played, I hadn't heard of before. They were all amazing. Every song I was asking "What is it, What is it?!?" I wrote them down, and am going to get all of the tracks. This is the great thing about electronic music, there's just so much of it. A few of the things I really enjoy I featured on Politics of Dancing II.

(InternetDJ) We'll have to tell all our readers to check out all your favorite artists on the album!
(Paul Van Dyk) Again, its just a small outtake of the stuff that I like and know of.

(InternetDJ) Finally, when can we expect to hear a new PVD artist album?
(Paul Van Dyk) I'm working on it actually. I have the first few ready to be finally produced and engineered. It's taking time and I tend not to push myself for timing, I'd rather spend enough time to be satisfied with a track rather than rush it out.

(InternetDJ) You have a night at the Roxy coming up in November 11 2005, any hints as to what's going to be in your set you'd like to share or is too early to tell?
(Paul Van Dyk) I don't really have a worked out set. I have a very clear idea of what I'd like to bring across and the songs that I really like to play. Especially in New York, I always play a long set and you cannot plan that really because you never know how the night will go and what the atmosphere is like. If it's too warm you have to slow it down somehow. So I never know. I'm definitely excited, and I'm sure there will be a few New York PVD classics, and some of the stuff people always ask for from the good old Twilo shows. Its going to be a mixture of new things and things we're excited to listen to again.

Related Links
· Akanksha - Children Project in India
· Paul Van Dyk Profile
· Official Paul Van Dyk Website
· Official Mute Website
· Paul Van Dyk Exclusive :: Listen to Latest Mix Set
· Buy "The Politics of Dancing 2"

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