An ‘annus horribilis’ is a reasonably accurate way of describing PvD’s 2016. “Fighting for my life” is the way he puts it. It’s hard to remember a DJ suffering a worse, or less fortunate one. For those living forest-side, back in February, “doing what I’ve done a thousand times before”, the twice-crowned No.1 climbed above the decks at Utrecht’s ASOT 750. This time, though, he stepped from black stage to black, gap-concealing fabric. The 20ft fall through the support scaffolding came close to ending not only his career, but also his life.
What it did do was land him in hospital for a third of the year. “After the accident, it was very uncertain if I’d ever be able to play again,” Paul tells DJ Mag. “The doctors’ outlook was that if I managed to do 50% of what I’d done before, it would be considered a huge success. When I fell, I suffered multiple serious injuries — including to the brain. I was told no case is like the other, but that it’d take many years to arrive at a point where I’ve either gotten used to the long-term injuries or that they had healed.”
What’s followed since is, by his doctor’s own words, “a miracle”. Following his first show back (EDC Las Vegas in June), Paul has since completed another front-to-end Ibiza summer. Playing seven shows at Cream Amnesia, he’s now back up to his two-shows-a-week minimum. Further putting him on recovery road has been ‘We Are’ — a collaboration with Alex M.O.R.P.H. on his VANDIT label. Experiencing an unbroken, record-busting four-week run as Beatport’s No.1, its certainly put him in line for trance tune of the year. TIM STARK
What have been the new frontiers for you this year? “Staying alive.”
Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form? “It depends on the sub-genres. Some more than others.”
What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why? “It’s never just one piece. It’s a combination of things.”
If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“I love what I do. I can’t just switch it... I’d just stop.”
As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“I had an accident at the beginning of this year, which left me with life-threatening injuries... So to see myself playing again would be priceless to me.”
What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events? “Education.”
How can we increase diversity in dance music? “It is about being real. It’s not about the latest marketing concept. It’s about the music.”