PVD. One of the most well-known acronyms in electronic music. And for good reason. Grammy-nominated artist, recipient of Berlin’s Medal of Honour, label owner of VANDIT Records, founder of the ‘We Are One’ festival in Berlin, philanthropist, film and game score contributor…the list goes on and on and on. He’s the man behind iconic tracks like ‘For An Angel,’ ‘Nothing But You,’ ‘I Don’t Deserve You,’ and ‘The Ocean.’ He’s also incredibly down-to-earth, devoted to the quality of his music and committed to helping others.
Paul will be rounding out 2013 with three stateside shows: San Francisco (12/27), Chicago (12/28) and NYE in Miami. Paul carved out a few minutes amidst his Christmas shopping to chat with us about his upcoming shows, career reflections and VONYC Sessions 2013.
As a Chicago native and PVD fanatic, I couldn’t be happier about Paul’s decision to finish out the year in the US. So why the decision to leave his native Germany and spend the rest of 2013 stateside?
“A lot of my shows this year have been in big venues and arenas, so I wanted to finish the year off in more intimate settings. I love playing in Chicago – it’s always been one of my favorite destinations.”
So what can fans in San Francisco, Chicago and Miami expect?
“A combination of 3 things. A lot of brand new music, some tracks from VONYC Sessions 2013 and Twitter requests from my fans for some of the classics.”
It sounds like Paul has cracked the equation for bliss. And speaking of bliss… just over a week ago Paul release the highly anticipated VONYC Sessions 2013 – a compilation of the most popular tracks from his weekly VONYC Sessions radioshow.
“I choose music from my radio shows – the tracks that received the best reactions from listeners, fan favorites – not just my favorite songs. It’s a process throughout the year. Maarten de Jong was one of my favorite artists of 2013. He’s not about what’s fashionable – he has balls and that’s something that comes across in his music.”
If you think your brain might explode if you hear ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ one more time…
Paul Van Dyk made his first DJ performance in 1991…before many of you were born. Fast forward 22 years, and he holds the record for the longest unbroken run inside the ranks of the DJ Mag Top 100. This year, he’s ranked at 32. I would argue that it should be much higher, but I’ll bite my tongue.
“2013 was one of my favorite years of my career. It was very intense – every show was special in itself. As an artist, you take a lot of inspiration from the fans and their reactions to your music.This year during the ‘We Are One’ festival in Berlin, a group of fans were standing in the front row for my show and in the middle of my set, they ripped off their shirts and they were wearing ‘We are PVD’ shirts. It was such a standout moment – it was so cool to see them standing there in the front row.”
Taking a step back from 2013 and looking back at Paul’s 20+ year career as a DJ and producer, there’s one thing you can be certain of. He couldn’t care less about the latest EDM fads. When asked if there’s an accomplishment he’s most proud of, his answer reaffirms why I’ve been a PVD fan for 10+ years.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’m still around. I’ve never stooped down to producing commercial music – I’ve always made music that I enjoy. I have to convince the audience that I’m authentic and that my music is meaningful. That’s my philosophy of being an artist. I always try to surprise my audience and give them something worth listening to – something that they want to spend their time listening to. German artists are very passionate. To them, the integrity of the music is important. The ones who grew up with EDM have a clean cut relationship with music – you can’t buy us out with cheesy pop house.”
Nowadays there seems to be an obsession with putting a label on artists and tracks – trance, dubstep, house, drum & bass, trap. And then there are all the subgenres within those genres. But does it matter? Can’t an artist straddle different genres? Shouldn’t we judge music based on what we like versus what genre it falls under? As someone who has been labeled a trance artist throughout his career, I was curious to get Paul’s take on this subject. Is he a trance artist?
“I leave that up to the people who need to describe it. If you listen to the music I was putting out in 1994, I’m not solely a trance DJ. I’ve never done a track that’s a stereotypic trance track. Never. I compilate different elements that are right for the feel of the track. My tracks are always energetic and intense. My biggest inspiration for my music is life in general – it’s not just about listening to other music. It’s about interacting with people. Every person has an element of influence – even if it’s in a negative way. But no matter what, my music has to be intense.”
And one thing his music is not?
“My music is not pop house. Those songs have all the same presets – it’s not even electronic music. It’s just made with the latest technology. It’s okay to be inspired by another track or artist you’re listening to, but you have to give it your own twist. Some of these young producers aren’t doing that.”
So what’s in store for 2014? More touring? New music?
“I have more than 50 new tracks in the works, so I could release a new track every week if I wanted to – but I won’t do that. But there will be a lot of new music, and a lot of touring as well.”
Any final words for your fans and the people of the Windy City?
“Merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to dancing off all the food with you. Happy New Year, and have the best New Year’s Eve ever!”
And on that note, I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorite tracks…and one of Paul’s favorites as well.
Paul, let this serve as my formal song request for when you come to Chicago.
For San Francisco tickets: http://www.wantickets.com/Events/143588/ELECTRONIC-ESCAPE-PRESENTS-PAUL-VAN-DYK-DJ-DAN/
For Chicago tickets: http://www.clubtix.com/themid/paul-van-dyk-at-the-mid-chicago-tickets-243267