. Armin Van Buuren | djmag.com
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#2010

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Carl Loben

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Armin Van Buuren

Style: Trance and progressive, with a slight touch of house.
Best known for: A State Of Trance radio show.
Tune of the year: Swedish House Mafia 'One'. I played it in Museum Square in Amsterdam as the Dutch football team - defeated finalists - arrived home from the World Cup. It was live on national TV, 250,000 people.
Gig of 2010: Cacao beach in Bulgaria, or the Electric Daisy Carnival in LA in July for 70,000 people.
Breakthrough DJ/Producer of 2010: EDX
Best new club visited this year: Lima, Washington DC
Favourite non-dance album of 2010: Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard 'Inception' soundtrack.
Essential three suitcase tour items: USB sticks, charger, laptop
Which actor would play you in a film of your life: Jim Carrey
Best thing about being a DJ: Everything except airports.
Best end-of-the-night tune: My track with Owl City, 'Youtopia', from my new album.

"Unbelievable, man," says Armin as we break the news to him on the phone that he's scooped the Top 100 winner's trophy for a record-breaking fourth year running. "I don't know what to say - I think you're talking to the happiest man on earth."

Nice guy Armin began releasing tracks in the late '90s, and his rise to the top of the poll was steady throughout the noughties. He debuted in 2001 at No.27 before leaping up to No.5 in 2002. He then rose to No.3 for the next three years, then was up to No.2 in 2006 behind Paul van Dyk - but since claiming the crown in 2007 he's truly been unstoppable.
Armin was, though, fairly convinced that he was going to be pipped at the post this year.
"It's pretty obvious when you've been voted top for three years that at some point you have to come down," he says, sagely. "Last year at the celebrations, I said to David Guetta that next year it is definitely going to be his. I have huge respect for Guetta and everything he does, he helped me a lot in trance with my career - he's a great guy and deserves everything he gets.
"But obviously it's a people's vote, and I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't like to win it again," Armin continues. "If you asked Steven Spielberg if he'd like to win another Oscar, I'm sure he'd say yes. But that doesn't mean I don't respect Guetta for everything he's done."

The Dutchman says he's humbled by the fact that there are so many DJs in the poll that he admires, and begins to list some of them.
"Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold… I bought tickets to go to see these DJs back in the day, and I'd never be happy for anyone to say that I'm bigger than those DJs - I'm not. They've done so much for the scene in their own way."
Armin then tells us that he's a prolific CD buyer, and probably has every CD of every DJ in the DJmag Top 20.
"I buy all the albums, you name it, from Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Gareth Emery, Paul Oakenfold… Don't I get them free? Sometimes, but I'm not really the type of person who calls up the record label to say 'Can you send me such and such?' I just have to have it, I'm a fan of this music first and foremost.
"My fans are so important to me because I'm a fan myself, I guess," he continues. "When I used to ride to school on my bicycle, taping Dutch radio shows with electronic dance music, I always promised myself that if I was ever in a position to do anything like that, then I would start my own radio show, to share the music to people who don't have the money or time to buy their own records. So that's what I did, in 2001 started a radio show just as the internet was booming, and thanks to downloads, my music got everywhere around the world."

Armin's A State Of Trance (ASOT) radio show has become big now - huge, in fact. The show has 15 million listeners weekly in 26 different countries, including his own day on Sirius XM in the US - 24 hours of ASOT. As well as the enormous gigs, this perhaps explains a lot of his career-growth and popularity, but at first he did sometimes wonder what he was doing.
"Everyone thought I was crazy at the time, only Pete Tong and Judge Jules were doing weekly radio shows," he recalls. "I remember colleagues saying, 'What are you doing?' I didn't make any money out of it and it caused me a lot of work, but it meant I was completely up-to-date with all the latest music."
As more and more stations started to license the show, Armin believes that ASOT has been crucial to his enduring popularity.
"It really helped my career, and trance fans are really loyal," he says. "In some cases David Guetta might sell more tickets than me in some countries, where house music is more popular, but in a way, the trance fans are perhaps more devoted. The intensity I feel sometimes is so enormous, people treat trance music as more like a religion maybe, even though house music has its fans, of course."
Armin then cites 'chair-ravers' as being an important part of his fan-base. "There are a lot of people 'chair-raving' behind their desks, at their computers listening to A State Of Trance, rather than actually going clubbing," he believes. "I call them 'chair-ravers'. They may be graphic designers working in an office listening to music with headphones on, or whatever."

Armin talks intelligently about the importance of the internet for the dance scene, and how technological advances have all happened really quickly. He wants to send out a huge thank you to the #trancefamily on Twitter, and talks about doing things back for the scene, such as the track he did earlier this year as DJs United with Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold - a fundraising track for victims of the Love Parade tragedy in July when 21 dance fans died in a crowd crush at Germany's annual Love Parade.
"We're trying to use our position to do something positive," Armin declares. "This was very tragic, and people keep saying bad things about the dance scene - that it's all about drugs, that we shouldn't do big events any more. This summer in Spain the Mayor of Barcelona cancelled a big event on me just because of what happened at Love Parade. Hysteria still surrounds the dance industry, hysteria which is not true."

Armin took the first part of 2010 off to complete his fourth artist album, 'Mirage'.
"It's had amazing reactions, it got to No.11 in the iTunes chart in America, people have been saying it's my best album yet," he beams. "It's my biggest-ever project - financially, in terms of hours, I built a completely new studio for it, it was ambitious working with people like Guy Chambers and Adam Young from Owl City and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, a whole classical orchestra, a whole rock band… In many aspects, it's the biggest album I've ever done. That's why I released it in September, to thank all the people who supported me for all those years. That it would be the final thing as the No.1 DJ in the world, and then I would be off."
But obviously things have turned out differently. So when Armin does his next round of Armin Only shows, it will still be as the No.1 DJ in the world.
"We're doing 15 shows around the world over the next 18 months involving theatre and live actors, choreographed dancers, full LED production, videos… more like theatre, like an opera or something," he reveals. "I'm going to be working on it the whole year. We're doing New Year's Eve in Melbourne, Australia with 60,000 people, I'm going to play for nine hours… It's going to be epic, with a big production team."

Does he have a quick final word before we let him return to his family holiday in Berlin?
"If you do what you love, and you get so much back from the crowd - there is absolutely nothing bigger than that, y'know? I love my job, and getting so much back is really unbelievable.
"I'm going to drink a huge beer now!" he chortles. "I can't believe it."