Poll 2008: Armin Van Buuren | DJMag.com Skip to main content
Armin Van Buuren
Non Mover

Questions Top100 DJs 2008 - admin - 2015-06-30 17:21

Best known for: 
My radio show, A State Of Trance
Tune of the year: 
My own bootleg of DJ Shah feat. Adrina Thorpe 'Who Will Find Me' with Majesta's 'Not The End'
Producer of 2008: 
First record you ever brought: 
Duran Duran 'The Reflex'
Weirdest thing you've seen all year: 
The Armin Only crowd in Bucharest when it was raining cats and dogs.
Top gadget of 2008: 
Logic 8
Your year in five words...: 
Airports, hotels and great crowds.
Most important thing you've learnt recently: 
That secretly a lot of house DJs play trance records.

"It's insane," beams Armin Van Buuren when we tell him that the world's dance music fans have voted him the No.1 DJ on the planet for the second year running. "I don't know what I've done to deserve it." He's got to be kidding, surely. When he won last year his crowning seemed more than worthy. But after the past 12 months the Dutchman has enjoyed, 2007 now looks like a mere warm-up. With immense solo gigs, records charting across Europe, a great Ibiza residence, awards as the most important recording artist in his homeland and a radio show listened to by - wait for it - 27 million listeners, it's enough to make the rest of the Top 100 DJs hang up their headphones as underachievers. And everyone who voted for him in 2007 should be proud of the part they played in this amazing annum - his DJmag victory in 2007 has helped massively in Armin's über-year. "It's only affected me in a positive way," he says of his win 12 months ago. "It's opened doors that weren't open before. On the one hand, I'm still doing the same thing - I was already working with the best promoters in the best clubs around the world. But the whole No.1 thing is magical for me - everyone looks at the DJmag list. It's a really, really good feeling." That good feeling started all the way back at the Top 100 DJs party last year when Armin played the winner's set to a rapturous reception and he had some very special guests watch him accept his award. Ben Liebrand - a massive influence on Armin - was there, as was his parents, who he'd flown in all the way from Australia. "It was one of the highlights of my life," he grins. "I thought, 'That's it, I can die happy now.'" But things just got better. When Armin bagged the top spot last year he was surprised that he was able to do it without finishing his artist album, 'Imagine', an opus he'd been working on for two years. There's no such worry this time around. It exploded in Holland, shooting straight to No.1 - the first time a dance album has ever achieved the feat. Since then singles like 'In And Out Of Love' have been clogging up the charts in many European countries. That track features Sharon den Adel, the lead singer of Goth outfit Within Temptation, a band who have themselves sold around 10 million albums, making them the European answer to Evanescence. Armin admits to being starstruck when the project came together. "I saw her on TV and I called her the day after with shivering knees because she's like a diva in Holland," he confesses. The very next day she was knocking on his door. "This big rock star was standing on my doorstep," Armin exclaims, as if still surprised that Sharon wanted to work with him. "I've been making dance music for 15 years but producing for an artist like that is a real challenge. When she was in the vocal booth singing I got shivers all over my body." There were plenty more shivers when Sharon and many of the other guest vocalists came together for the latest in his Armin Only concerts, flying in from all over the world. Tying in with the album launch, all the cameras brought in to film the event for the live DVD were put to good use when Holland's equivalent of the BBC decided they'd like to broadcast Armin Only: Imagine live, another first for the country. Around 250,000 people watched from their living rooms, while another 18,000 went crazy in the venue for Van Buuren's extended session behind the decks. "What I really enjoy is playing nine-hour sets because I get to show the people that I also love more progressive records," he says. "I love so many dance tunes but when I do a two or three hour set usually what I do - and what every DJ does - is play the big tracks that are out there at the moment. When I play nine hours I can play the records that I want to play but I can't when I play a festival or something." Armin stresses that the big concerts he plays are not a way of raking in the cash. "To be honest, it doesn't make me a lot more money when I play a nine-hour set," he claims. "It's not like I want to play to 15,000 people to just show off that I can play for nine hours. It's really that I save up all these records that I know I can't play normally. It gives me a lot of satisfaction. It's a lot of hard work but it's also very rewarding once I've done it." One of his most rewarding concerts came in an unlikely form this year. Romania is fairly consistent in its lack of rain so Armin thought that an open-air concert would be a pretty fine idea. But the heavens opened and the only thing heavier than the beats was the fall of water from the sky. But the crowd refused to be dampened and raved hard and happy until three hours of downpour finally eased and the stars came out. "It was incredible," he recalls. "I'm not talking about light rain - it rained cats and dogs but the crowd just stayed." Other gig highlights saw two more Armin Only gigs in Australia, a great night at Global Gathering and another eight-hour set at one of his Amnesia residency sessions, where he also played a house set with new mate Mark Knight. But if you add up every dancer at every club, concert and festival for the whole of the year it still doesn't touch the audience that listens to A State Of Trance every week. According to the figures, 27 million listeners tune in to Armin's radio show. "That's what the radio department tell me," he says sceptically. "In May we signed a deal with a big radio station in Brazil. We ask every station after a few months what their ratings are, how many people actually tune in. They told us that they were having 20 million listeners on a Saturday night when my show is broadcast. I find it hard to believe but they swear it's true." It's not bad for a show that Armin sometimes does in his underwear from hotel rooms across the globe. But as a round-up of everything that's happening in trance it's second-to-none. Armin points out that many shows don't include his own tracks or those from his Armada group of labels, but when that umbrella organisation has grown to 21 imprints those tracks are getting everywhere. No longer just a trance company, artists like Simon & Shaker, Markus Schulz and Stonebridge all contribute labels, making Armada Holland's Ministry of Sound. It's clear that Armin is doing great things not only for the Dutch economy but also for the music scene, something that was recognised at the highest level this year. The person who has had the most impact on Dutch music each year is given a BUMA Award by the national copyright organisation. "It was an incredible honour," Armin says with pride. "I thought it was a really big step towards the acceptance of dance music in Holland." It'll sit rather nicely with his recent Beatport award for Best Trance DJ, his Top 100 DJs award for 2007, and now his second confirmation as the No.1 DJ in the World, something he's characteristically modest about. "I don't see it as a contest," he says. "I don't see it that I'm better than this DJ or that DJ, it's just a really big honour to be in this position. "I'm such a big fan of a lot of the DJs that are in the Top 100. I'm still shy to talk to guys like Sasha and John Digweed and Sven Väth and Carl Cox. It makes me very humble to be in a list with these guys. I'm thrilled, you know. I don't know what to say." You don't have to say anything, Armin - the clubbers have spoken.