The German music legend continues to push forward in the dance scene.
German music producer and deejay Paul Van Dyk still has a lot to offer. He isn’t one to harp on the old days despite grabbing the No. 1 DJ of all time accolade by DJ Mag in 2013.
The 42-year-old Grammy-nominated artiste, who can track back a career to the early 1990s, prefers to focus on the present day and he avoids much of the celebrity trappings associated with contemporary deejay culture. Over a recent phone interview from his Berlin home, Van Dyk was eager to reveal his plans for this year, which includes a new album.
It’s also been more than 12 years since Van Dyk’s first appearance at the iconic former club Movement in Kuala Lumpur. With additional appearances at Emporium (also gone), numerous Zouk KL visits and one outdoor event in Sepang, he’s enough of a familiar face with the clubbing crowd here.
Back then Van Dyk even wrote a song called Movement immediately after that legendary first KL visit in 2002.
There is excitement in his voice as he contemplates another upcoming Malaysian visit as he co-headlines A State of Trance: 650: New Horizons at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur this Friday.
Van Dyk is on the bill with Dutch deejay Armin Van Buuren, American hotshot Markus Schulz and others.
“The music ... this is my passion, this is what drives me. I’m a musician at heart,” said a modest-sounding Van Dyk.
“I’m lucky enough that the music connects with my audience and that audience, on the other hand, enables me to continue to do what I love doing. I’m very grateful for everything.”
As a remixer, he has also remixed names like Depeche Mode (Martyr), Justin Timberlake (What Goes Around... Comes Around) and Britney Spears (Gimme More).
But Van Dyk isn’t just a hired hand in the studio. He wants to be remembered for an expansive recording catalogue himself.
Two years have passed since the release of Van Dyk’s sixth studio album Evolution and a year since its companion remix album, (R)Evolution: The Remixes.
On Evolution, Van Dyk stepped up his game as a producer as he stretched his music vision beyond trance music. That recent album brought to light his willingness to experiment with different dance genres and work with a wide range of collaborators (Arty, Adam Young, Plumb, Fisher, Michelle Leonard, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Fieldwork and Sarah Howells).
“Evolution was well received, especially since the record was kind of a musical statement against the over cheesy EDM hype we are seeing now. That album is actually based on what (risk-taking) electronic music is about. So a lot of people enjoyed it,” he added.
Apart from a busy touring schedule, Van Dyk has also been active in the studio. Already a new album is fast taking shape.
“The new album (The Politics Of Dancing 3) is almost ready, and when I come over (to KL), I’m probably going to play a lot of the new stuff from it.”
Last autumn it was announced that it would be a follow up to Politics Of Dancing 1 and 2, which weren’t classified as studio albums as such.
“They were DJ mix compilations that were popular enough, and people kept on asking ‘when’s the next one coming out?’” he explained.
For the upcoming Politics Of Dancing 3, Van Dyk went back to dancefloor basics.
“I looked at how things came about with the previous Politics Of Dancing volumes. They were essentially deejay mix compilations.
“I thought that instead of taking the music from others and releasing it, I went into the studio and made (original) music for Politics Of Dancing 3. It’s more like a proper artiste album with a lot of collaborations with people I respect very highly and whose music I enjoy very much,” he said about the upcoming effort.
“I’m in the last steps of finishing everything and it should be out probably around the summer.”
A virtuoso performer, Van Dyk now circles the globe 16 times each year, entertaining an average three million plus music lovers along the way.
As the label owner of Vandit Records, Van Dyk also uses the platform to break the music of like-minded contemporaries, as well as retaining the rights to his own catalogue.
A diehard radio devotee, he was one of the first deejays to fully harness the medium to widely transmit his music. He produces and presents the Vonyc Sessions weekly broadcast.
“Vonyc Sessions is available in like 32 countries and on 53 radio stations. It’s one of the most syndicated radio shows in the world,” he noted.
“I really enjoy the interaction from the radio show. It allows me to get feedback on the music. It’s also great to play (the music) as well as to present a kind of electronic music that otherwise would not be played on radio.”
If anything, you definitely have to agree that Van Dyk has his finger on the pulse of the dance nation.
> A State of Trance 650: New Horizons happens at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on March 14. It is part of the Future Music Festival Asia 2014 big weekend. For more info or to purchase tickets, log on to www.futuremusicfestival.asia or visit www.astateoftrance.com.