While at Ultra Music Festival I had the chance to sit down with one of the DJs I admire and respect the most, Paul van Dyk. Paul is a humble yet opinionated musical genius that was the superstar DJ before superstar DJs existed. His 13 year streak of top 10 appearances in the DJ mag top 100 ended in 2011 but he is still as relevant as ever. Paul van Dyk is a musical mastermind that never ceases to amaze me with his studio and live performances. Although he may not go around the dance music world causing gossip and news he is still one of the most revered DJs of our time. It was an honor to speak with him and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Your EDM: Electronic Dance Music has been changing a lot lately, what changes are you seeing and what are your feelings on them?
Paul van Dyk: Well what I call electronic music is still the most progressive kind of music and I am very optimistic because there is so much fantastic music coming out. Other things that maybe you refer to as electronic music I don’t even consider that, it is pop music that sounds a bit danceable.
Your EDM: It also seems that Trance music is taking a turn to a housier trouse sound.
Paul van Dyk: The thing is, for me, the beauty of electronic music was always about branching out and all these different elements and creating something unique. So just because more people see it that way doesn’t necessarily mean that it is something negative. I think it’s just the fact that there’s focus from the pop industry into accessible danceable music right now. Obviously something that’s 125 BPM is more accessible for the normal radio listener than 140 BPM straightforward. So its very clear that there’s kind of like a tendency into that direction.
Your EDM: A lot of people don’t know this about you but you actually shared a Grammy Award for your work on The Dark Knight soundtrack. What was that like for you?
Paul van Dyk: Well it was great! I have to say that Hans Zimmer is the most influential film and music composers that ever existed in Hollywood. Being able to work with him was a big challenge, a massive honor and it was a great thing. Something that I am definitely— I’m not sure if it is something I should be proud of—it is something that I kind of look at and say ‘wow that was a cool thing’.
Your EDM: There is something about your style that really speaks to all types of people. Your DJing is really, well, true DJing…
Paul van Dyk: It really depends on how you define DJing. These days you look at those CD players where everything is pre-programmed and you press play and then clap your hands for one hour while moving around, I don’t know if that’s really, well, DJing. The way I play, with the keyboards and the computers it is much more active and there are a lot of things going on. That’s really my approach to what’s going on. For me, I always look at a new challenge, a new direction trying new things and incorporating the latest technology as a part of what electronic music is all about.
Your EDM: Any exciting things you have planned for this year?
Paul van Dyk: I am working on the new The Politics of Dancing, actually. It will be rather special because when I am remixing all of these songs I am basically collaborating with all the artists. This music will only be found there. This is something that I am very excited about and it’s a lot of work but it is very exciting. It is something I am really looking forward to; it is going to come out after this summer.