Armand van Helden didn’t hold back when offering his perspective on the current expectations within DJ culture: “It’s all a no-brainer. They don’t have to do much up there”. The statement came while the iconic DJ/producer was making press rounds for his forthcoming performance accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Australia (MSO).
While speaking to Australia’s inthemix, van Helden spoke candidly about topics ranging from his own limited abilities as a producer (“If you can get a career in music without learning how to play…it’s like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”) to his immersion within the EDM culture alongside A-Trak as Duck Sauce (“It was a brand new thing for me, because it isn’t my personality. But I get it.)”.
During the interview, van Helden offered a quick timeline from his era of 1990’s house music to its current era:
When we were doing it then, it was very stressful. There isn’t a lot of footage of that time, because most of the DJ set you were down on your knees digging through your record box. You were so concentrated on what you were doing it was almost like a trance-like state. There wasn’t any, like, participation with the crowd.
I think the thing that changed was this new sound – a mixture of dance music and rock – that appeared around 2006. Stuff like Justice, Crookers, MSTRKRFT, Switch; this new thing was coming up. New kids were coming from the rock scene and they wanted a performance. The technology changed too – with a setlist in your computer, there’s time in between songs to goof off. That exploded into EDM and that’s where we’re at now to a degree.
Van Helden did land a quick jab on the new crop of DJ talent: “They don’t have to think about much up there – as long as they don’t fall and twist an ankle while they’re jumping around.”
Following live collaborations alongside Detroit techno icons Derrick May and Jeff Mills, the MSO now preparing to perform alongside van Helden the 27th January. Tickets are on sale from 26th July.
Read the full interview here.
Pete Tong will also be performing in Australia with a full orchestra as part of his internationa 'Ibiza Classics' series.
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