Armin van Buuren is a longtime regular at ADE and AMF as well as in the DJ Mag Top 100. But being a regular doesn't mean that he's starting to take it slow. On the contrary: his Embrace Tour is taking him all around the globe, and he has 'Something Big To Announce' on November 10th.
THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NOT YOUR FIRST ADE, NOR YOUR FIRST AMF. HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE TWO GROW OVER THE YEARS?
“In 1999, I was at ADE and closed this big deal, which was a really important moment in my career. Back then, the event was a lot smaller; you saw a lot of people from record labels carrying around bags full of vinyl.
ADE has grown a lot since then. Everything you’ll hear from DJs in the coming months is decided here. The way ADE is set up plays a huge part in that; it’s huge, but it remains small in a way. It’s not held in one big conference hall but in multiple nice locations, none of which are too far away from each other.
If you ask me, AMF is to fall what Tomorrowland is to summer: one of the absolute highlights of the year. It is something that we prepare for months in advance with the team. It’s an absolute dream to play in the ArenA in front of so many people, and with the whole world watching, too. It is a place where I really want to surprise the audience, so you can expect something new!”
TALKING ABOUT ‘SOMETHING NEW’, WE HEARD YOU HAVE SOMETHING BIG TO ANNOUNCE. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN ON NOVEMBER 10TH?
“[Laughs] Unfortunately not! You’ll just have to wait and see, but I promise it’s really, really big.”
YOUR 'EMBRACE' TOUR THEN – THAT’S BEEN RUNNING FOR QUITE SOME TIME NOW. HOW’S THAT GOING?
“We’ve really picked up the pace on the tour. Since the weekend with Jerusalem, Istanbul, and Minsk, I really feel that it has all come together. Everyone has more confidence about their part, so the show is better than ever. I think that’s only natural, since there are so many elements and artists working together.”
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH (GREAT) LIVE ARTISTS DURING A SHOW?
“I only wanted to work with live artists if they could really contribute something extra to the show. We work with a complex time coding system combined with a ‘click track’ system. The artists hear clicks in their earpieces so they know exactly when they’re up. We rented the Brabanthallen in the Netherlands and practiced for three weeks with this technique. It is the combination between talented artists and the newest technology that makes this show so special.”
YOU’VE BEEN THE NO. 1 DJ OF THE WORLD FIVE TIMES IN THE PAST. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN AGAIN?
“Every time I won, it was absolutely fantastic, but it definitely changes something. People are suddenly not coming to see Armin van Buuren anymore, but they’re coming to see the No. 1 DJ of the world. It comes with a huge pressure. Nowadays I can be myself more, do the things that I want to do more. But I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t want to win it again.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MARTIN GARRIX, THE NEW #1 OF THIS YEAR?
“He absolutely deserves it. He’s the face of a new generation of clubbers that also inspire me. Martin is a super nice guy, he works hard and I’m proud that the title is back in the Netherlands as well!”
YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A NEW GENERATION OF DJS AND CLUBBERS. IT SEEMS THAT THIS GENERATION OF DJS IS LESS ABOUT OLD-SCHOOL DJ’ING AND MORE ABOUT CREATING A SHOW. ALMOST EVERYONE PLAYS PRE-RECORDED SETS AT THE BIG EVENTS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
“I have mixed feelings about this, because I don’t really feel like I am the one to say anything about it. If the crowd loves it, they love it. If you can take the stage at the ArenA with a banjo and make the audience go crazy, who am I to judge? It is easy to criticize, but they are all awesome shows. Personally I like to tell a story through a DJ set, to take people on a journey, to feel what the crowd wants and to adapt. That disappears completely with a pre-recorded set. The upside to my approach is that I have so much variety. One week I’m playing a 7-hour set in Ushuaïa, the next I’m going on tour with 27 people, and the week after I’m on stage for a one-hour set at AMF.”
ALL RIGHT, ARMIN. DJ’ING IS ALL ABOUT CHOOSING THE BEST TRACK FOR THE MOMENT. SO TO ROUND THINGS OFF, LET’S HAVE YOU MAKE A COUPLE DIFFICULT DJ CHOICES. WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A SUNDAY MORNING WALK IN THE FOREST WITH YOUR FAMILY OR A SOLD-OUT SHOW?
“Difficult, but I’d still pick the sold-out show.”
ARE YOU TAKING CHOCOLATE SPRINKLES OR PEANUT BUTTER WITH YOU ON TOUR?
ADE OR IBIZA?
AN HOUR OF YOGA OR AN HOUR OF RUNNING?
OPENING THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF FOOTBALL OR THE OLYMPIC GAMES?
Though he hasn’t performed at an Olympic opening ceremony just yet, Armin is certainly on top of his own game right now. We’re looking forward to see what he has in store this November, and would like to congratulate him with his 4 spot in the Top 100!