Armin Van Buuren talks OCD complexes, Jack Bauer and dinner plans ahead of his set at Peppermint’s fourth birthday party this weekend.
What would you being doing now if you’d followed your law degree roots?
Probably be standing in traffic every morning, on my way to work a long hard day in a law firm [shudder].
You’ve never allowed an engineer to work on your music because you don’t want them to alter it. Are you the same in other areas of your life? For example, do you never let dry cleaners touch your clothes, or hairdressers cut your hair, etc?
[Laughs] No, no, no! The main reason I don’t work with an engineer is that I can do it faster myself most of the time. It would take more time to explain what I do than to do it myself. If I tried to dry clean my own clothes it would take weeks!
You, Tiësto, Ferry Corsten... Why do you think so many trance DJs hail from Holland? Is there something in the water?
Yep, you got it! No, I think we all grew up listening to EDM [electronic dance music]. If I was born 10 years earlier I’d probably be in a band playing drums or something. But when I grew up, all my friends were into dance music. Holland was one of the first countries to be really infected by the dance virus.
You remixed the 24 theme song. Do you see yourself as the Jack Bauer of the trance world?
[laughs] No, although I wish I was. I think I’d probably be somebody like Han Solo.
At nine and a half hours, you’ve set the record for the longest DJ set ever. Apart from the music and the clubbers, what keeps you going? Red Bull? Caffeine? Pasta?
The crowd’s energy, music and water.
Have you ever fallen asleep during a set?
[Laughs] No – that would mean I was doing the wrong job.
Describe your musical style as a dinner dish.
A good trance set would have a starter of progressive and melodic trance, a slamming main course when you reach the crescendo and then a sweet dessert made up of one or two all-time classics.
You’ve been hosting Dutch radio programme ‘A State Of Trance’ for six years. How do you keep your listeners ‘entranced’?
[Laughs] The idea behind the show is still the same as when I started it in June 2001: to play the latest in trance and progressive in a two-hour mix. There’s a lot of great music out there and all I do is pass it along. Great music needs to be shared!
How did it feel to be Number one in the DJ Magazine poll last year? Has it changed your life?
It feels great because it’s an award from the clubbers, the people we do this for. But it hasn’t really changed my life. I’m very happy and thankful that I accomplished a dream.
Is Armin Van Buuren your real name? Are you ever tempted to use a pseudonym?
Yes, it’s my real name. I’ve had a few pseudonyms in the past for legal reasons, like Dark Star, Gimmick and Hyperdrive Inc. Don’t ask me where they came from.
You’ve played all over the world. Which has been your favourite set ever and why?
Every night is different and there have been many highlights. But if you made me pick one I would have to say the ‘Armin Only’ set on November 11 2006 in Ahoy Rotterdam. A nine-hour set in front of 12,500 people with all of the vocalists and artists I ever worked with. Magic.
What five things do you never travel to a gig without?
Earplugs, headphones, SD cards for the CD players, CD’s/DVD’s and my hotel room key.
You just won the Buma Cultuur Pop Award. What does that mean in English and is it better than other awards?
It’s an award given to the person or band that has meant most for Dutch music in general (not just dance music). I think it’s nice that Buma gives dance music so much recognition. I’ll keep it in a special place in my new house.
What sticks in your mind from the last time you played in Dubai?
The amazing room [The Peppermint Experience at The Dubai World Trade Centre] and the great atmosphere. I played after Faithless, so it was a great vibe.
What can fans expect from your show at Peppermint’s fourth birthday?
Lots and lots of new tracks from my new album. For the rest, I’ll leave it up to the crowd where to go with my set. It will be my fourth time playing in Dubai as well – so we have to make this a night to remember!
Armin Van Buuren plays the Peppermint Experience’s fourth birthday, Friday Feb 29, Madinat Arena, 9pm-late, Dhs180 (Regular) Dhs100 (Members) Dhs120 (Ladies) Dhs280 (VIP).