When we talk 2019 with Armin, you’d forgive him for being a bit one-track-minded. There’s the matter of his seventh artist album impending, released mere days after DJ Mag drops him a line. As ever though, the Dutch dominator makes the handling of his procession of shows, releases, broadcasts and other goings-on appear child’s play. Maybe, with so much experience under the belt and the supremely well-oiled engine behind it, it finally is.
‘Balance’, though, is both the title of his new album and clearly a cautionary watchword for Leiden’s first son. It is the first time that “spending time with family” has been a major player in his last twelve months summary. Amongst others, that’s meant cathartic biking trips with his dad – hey, it’s The Netherlands – and Tomorrowland with his mum.
Totting up the number of new productions/remixed releases that Armin’s sent through the speakers over the last 12 months requires more fingers than DJ Mag has to hand. Seemingly though, it’s an increase on even 2018’s weighty figure. Among those has been a first-time-ever collaboration with Above & Beyond, with ‘Show Me Love’ dovetailing into the trio’s debut at Armin’s A State Of Trance in February. ‘Repeat After Me’ saw some studio co-operation with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (W&W additionally in the mix there). Also in his collab-athon was a meeting with Inner City (“a dream come true,” he says) with ‘It Could Be’, as well as a much-applauded third-time sync up with Shapov for ‘La Résistance De L’Amour’.
Armin confirmed during his 2018 Top 100 chat that the long-gestating GAIA album (his standing project with Benno de Goeij) was a wrap. ‘Moons Of Jupiter’ duly dropped in June and to the undisguised and universal delight of the #trancefamily.
Armin’s weekly glimpse-into-the-life vlog sailed through its 100th edition this year. More notably even, his radio show surpassed its 900th. That was marked in the now-established form of Armin-led trance pilgrimages to seven cities over six months that saw Madrid, Miami, Kiev, Oakland and others touched. The final stop, Mexico City had even trance’s most gig-hardened hands voicing ‘best show ever’-like mutterings. Plans are already well afoot for its final pre-ASOT1000 show — set to storm Utrecht’s Jaarbeurs again in February 2020.
Ibiza and Vegas have played every bit the vital part in Armin’s residency make-up in 2019, too. Amongst the 100-plus gigs he played throughout, it’s again Romania’s Untold where his attention comes to rest. “A seven-hour set” from the four-time world No.1 is, after all, a rare time-luxury for audience and artist alike.
Inevitably, Armin’s mind returns to the business at hand and ‘Balance’’s release, which he views as “a new chapter in my book of life” and “the result of venturing into known and unknown territories and finding the balance in-between”. With the album released late October, Armin will step into a year’s worth of ‘Balance’ touring, beginning in China, where he’s stopping in 11 cities throughout November.
Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?
What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?
“Get a manager who wants money, a wife who wants you at home and a dog that needs you at home — it’s all about balance.”
Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?
“Yes, I promote female DJs in my radio show and had an all-female line-up on a stage at A State Of Trance.”
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
“I drive an electric car, I eat less meat, I have solar panels and I pay for carbon emissions of my flights.”
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
“My Fisher Price recorder.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
“Star Wars IV-VI. And yes, Leia’s hair.”