Tomorrowland has revealed the full details for next month's Winter event in the French Alps.
Amongst those set to play at next month's festival are Charlotte de Witte, Afrojack, &ME, Solardo, Paul Kalkbrenner and Claptone. The confirmation of these names follows on from the announcement last year of a number of acts such as Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Nervo and Kölsch.
From: Leiden, Netherlands
DJ style: “Trance.”
Best known for: “A State Of Trance.”
Fave tune of 2018: “Sunset Brothers x Mark McGabe ‘I’m Feeling It (MaRLo Remix)’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Maor Levi.”
Armin's neck-and-neck steeplechase with Tiësto to become the most vote-accumulating Top 100 DJ of all time is probably still a fraction too close to call. In those stakes though, he remains the chart’s apotheosis of ‘enduring’. Consider the fact that No.4 in the poll has been Leiden’s favourite son’s lowest ranking in the last 13 years. Staying that course is anything but a cinch, something brought into pin-sharp focus when listening to Armin recount his last 12 months. Reeling off a dozen or so highpoints, with barely pause for breath, is frankly enough to take yours.
From the highlight reel, Armin’s rare XL set at Romania’s Untold Festival is noticeably close to the top of the Dutchman’s list. Getting through one hundred and (count ‘em) thirteen tracks over the course of seven hours, it culminated with a double shot of his May-released, psy-trance foray ‘Blah Blah Blah’. All the classic trappings of a love-it/ hate-it single (one online wag dubbed it “mARMINite”), risk delivered reward with DJ Mag’s readers, who polled it one of the 10 biggest of the season. Outside of that there’s also been some ‘Therapy’ (setting Armin alongside BRIT award-winning singer-songwriter James Newman), a return for his Rising Star appellation with ‘Just As You Are’, and ‘The Last Dancer’ and ‘Our Origin’ — his two collaborations with Shapov.
February saw his ASOT radio show notch up its 850th episode, the annual cheer for which went up in front of a sold-out 30,000-strong crowd at Utrecht’s vast Jaarbeurs Hall. That went hand-in-hand with Armin’s mixing of ‘A State Of Trance 2018’ — one of the two compilations he released over the last 365. (The other was spawned by his dual-weekends sets at Tomorrowland.) He also continued to spin at his Omnia, Vegas residency and — for its second year — his summer tenure at Hï Ibiza, which played host to Armin no less than 13 times throughout.
Elsewhere there were appearances at festivals including Ultra and EDC, as well as a major China tour. The latter prompted another Armin ‘first’, with the five-time World’s No.1 DJing in a garage. Elaborating some, it transpires it was the far-more-impressive sounding (and looking) “Red Bull pit box, ahead of this year’s F1 race in Shanghai”.
One thing Armin hasn’t managed to do in 2018 is release an album. Yet, anyway. Having produced tracks under his much-revered Gaia guise since 2000, his partnership with Rank 1’s Benno de Goeij has previously appeared to be gearing up for an LP run on more than one occasion. With the heaviest of heavy hints dropped via his socials over the summer, Armin confirmed to DJ Mag that the “Gaia album and tour” are on, on, on.
Words: TIM STARK
This week, five-time winner of our annual Top 100 DJs poll, Armin van Buuren, has shared the video of a vinyl-only set recorded as part of his Embrace world tour. You can watch it below.
The mix, which features a number of hands in the air moments from classic cuts including Cygnus X’s ‘The Orange Theme’, Gouryella’s ‘Anahera’ and Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’, follows the release of his latest album, ‘A State Of Trance’, which landed on Friday 6th May.
“I think it’s a really odd phenomenon,” Armin van Buuren says matter-of-factly down the phone line. We’re talking with the legendary trance producer about ghost production — an issue that Armin feels strongly about.
“For example, everyone remembers the whole Milli Vanilli scandal, how cheated people felt. I think it's wrong if someone puts a name on a track they had nothing to do with, that they weren't even in the studio for. I've never used a ghost producer, I can firmly say that,” he states.
It’ll come as no surprise to any Armin fan that the industry champ crafts his own tracks. He’s been releasing music for nigh-on two decades through his imprint Armada and radio show/label, A State Of Trance. It’s not just with his tunes that Armin has garnered fans worldwide — he’s adored for his spectacular stage shows too. His 2014 Armin Only tour took 35 people on the road, including a theatre director, trapeze artists, dancers, singers and musicians, with this year’s Intense tour going even bigger.
“It was probably the worst decision for me to do this tour financially,” he says, ruefully. “But the best choice for me personally. It was the best time of my life!”
“It's so sad when it’s over because I won't get to see my Intense family anymore, we’re a really close team,” he finishes, passionately.
Armin’s Intense tour crossed the globe from corner to corner, with the DJ visiting the Ukraine, India, Russia, the USA, South Africa and Australia — phew! As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Armin also held down his usual residency in Ibiza this year, spinning every Thursday to his loyal legion of White Isle trancers. “Ibiza is always fun, this year was really excellent. It feels like a home-coming when I play there,” he says of lush Ibiza venue Ushuaia, which he moved to following many seasons at Privilege.
So after another successful year as trance’s leading man, with his sixth studio album ‘Embrace’ set to drop on October 29th, is Armin van Buuren still in love with his day job? Absolutely!
“To be a great DJ you need to be able to read the crowd, to read the room, and track selection is obviously the most important thing! That's why it's so special to be one. I’m still really excited every time I play a set.”
CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS
As beats pounded through the systems of 16,000 people at the Sydney Olympic Park on the 7th of February, tragedy struck at A State of Trance 700 as one teen was pronounced dead, another in critical condition and four others hospitalized a result of drug abuse. Drug deaths are becoming a bigger threat to the dance music industry as yet again reckless and quite possibly idiotic attendees attempting to gain a synthetic high make headlines around the world.