Interview with Paul van Dyk

Paul van Dyk was recently in town on 22nd January 04 for his Reflections World Tour, and Trance Republic had the opportunity to catch up with one of the most influential figures of Electronic Dance Music in the world. Paul prefers to call his music Electronic Dance Music rather than “trance”, as he does not like to categorise his music.

Paul has had a most illustrious and successful career as a DJ, and has spun in clubs like Twilo in NYC, Gatecrasher in Sheffield and various clubs in Ibiza. However, as many of you will know, Paul is also an acclaimed producer, having produced many club classics like For An Angel, Tell Me Why and more recently, Time of Our Lives and Crush.

“(DJing and producing) belong together. I think the music I produce will drastically change when I stop getting the influences from the DJ. I see myself as a musician, and my way of performing to the crowd is as the DJ.”

Paul was born on December 16th, 1971 in East Germany. Growing up in communist East Berlin:

“…meant actually living under limited circumstances and possibilities, so whatever opportunities and possibilities I got and still get, I don’t take it for granted … I’m also appreciating other things that many people may not see, and that’s definitely something coming from growing up in the East”.

He crossed over to the West at age 17, just before the Berlin Wall came down. And within 4 years, in 1992, he had produced his first track “Perfect Day” in collaboration with Cosmic Baby as Visions of Shiva. More productions and remixing followed, garnering him much recognition and success, but it was with his second album “Seven Ways” in 1996 that he took the world by storm. And the rest as they say, is history.

For budding DJs out there, Paul has this piece of advice:

“First of all you have to find out what is your favourite music, what is this thing you really like most, because you have to present this to other people… And you can only present it to other people if you’re behind it 100%. That’s the main thing. And then regardless if they like it or not, it’s your music. From then on, from that knowledge, you know “This is my sound” and you go, and pay attention to the crowd. Build up an interaction with the crowd, watch their reaction, see it, feel it, and it goes on.”

His label Vandit, has discovered and signed many successful acts like Second Sun. However, it is not that easy to get Paul‘s attention, as we can see from the following quote:

“We get a lot of demos and a lot of them are ok, but they’re just ok. You don’t really see where they are going from there. With Second Sun you can really see that they have got the potential to make it big time. When Second Sun gave me their first CD it was awful. It sounded absolutely s***. (But) I listened to it and I saw the potential they have, and I sort of helped them develop further on and get things sorted; also the collaboration with them is a way of supporting them, giving them exposure in certain ways, and helping them to develop.”

However, Paul does not want his children to follow in his footsteps as a DJ. Expressing his preference to have two daughters, he would like them to be lawyers or doctors, because “at some time when I’m not DJing anymore, then obviously they have to support me financially… Just kidding!”.

His childhood ambition was to be a journalist, but there was no opportunity for him to study to be one and pursue his dreams back in East Germany. And although we have no doubts that he will make an awesome journalist, we just don’t think that he will be able to send thousands of bodies in an ecstatic, hands-in-the-air frenzy with a well written article on politics or global warming!

This is Paul van Dyk’s fourth visit to Singapore, and when asked if he noticed anything about the clubbers in Singapore, he replied:

“The crowd is always very energetic, and a lot of fun. It’s great. Some people look on Singapore in some strange way because of all the rules and all the laws you have. But at the same time, this is the biggest melting pot of cultures I know, not even New York or San Francisco is as mixed. And in order to get all these different cultures in some kind of order so the state functions, you need these rules. And once you actually understand this, it’s an amazing place!”

So there you have it people, DJ Paul van Dyk, live at the Powerhouse, on Chinese New Year itself. It will prove to be one of the most awesome trance (oops, Electronic Dance Music) event in Singapore, and hopefully mark the start to an awesome year for tra…Electronic Dance Music!

Shouts to Centro for granting Trance Republic this interview with the man!

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