From: Leiden, The Netherlands
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “AVIRA.”
Armin van Buuren’s contribution to the electronic music industry can never be truly quantified. The legendary Dutch DJ and producer has rightfully cemented himself as a peerless artist over the past 20 years. This year, in particular, has allowed van Buuren to reflect on his career: 2021 has been a year of anniversaries for the 44-year-old, allowing him to take stock of his influence on the industry while looking forward to how he can continue his trajectory and immortalise himself even further.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of van Buuren’s weekly radio show, A State Of Trance, with the 1,000th episode allowing the Dutchman to curate and release a collaborative album, while Episode 1,000 itself was a Top 1,000 of the past 20 years in trance, showcasing how Armin has been a backbone of the industry by always keeping an ear to the ground.
Having been ranked as the No.1 DJ a record five times — including four years in a row — in the Top 100 DJs poll, van Buuren has also been nominated for multiple Grammy awards while also holding the record for most entries (21) on the Billboard Dance/ Electronic Albums chart. It’s no surprise to see the Dutch artist still placing near the top of this list.
After initial early career success with several EPs and a slew of singles released throughout the late ’90s, van Buuren’s ‘ASOT’ compilation series shot him into the spotlight. A mixture of progressive house and trance styles, the mix series allowed van Buuren to start his own radio show, which has enabled him to spotlight up-and-coming DJs as well as his own productions.
A discography that spans seven studio albums, dozens of EPs and singles alongside several remix and compilation albums has seen van Buuren rightfully take his place in the upper echelons of the electronic music industry. On the back of 2019’s ‘Balance’, which charted at No.11 in the Netherlands, van Buuren released ‘A State Of Trance Forever’, “an album full of collaborations to celebrate episode 1,000” — an ode to his radio show.
Alongside his full-length projects, Armin has kept a keen eye on the future. First, through shifting the formatting of his A State Of Trance radio show by focusing on the future of trance, van Buuren also created the first ‘ASOT residency’ with his good friend Ferry Corsten, the first to be given this badge of honour. His Armada Music label continues to help artists foster and grow, while Armin has also found time to collaborate with and release “big new singles with Dubvision, Alesso, Davina Michelle, Vini Vici, Steve Aoki and Timmy Trumpet”.
2021 saw Armin van Buuren continue to break records and create history. With ASOT receiving its 20th anniversary and this year marking 25 years since van Buuren’s first releases, it doesn’t look like his momentum will stop anytime soon. His energy levels coupled with his ability to stay focused on — and keep in touch with — the demands of a new generation have allowed Armin to have a successful 2021, which is sure to continue long into the future.
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
“It was in Andorra and it felt so great to see the crowd again. The rain killed the start of the set but everyone was so excited to be able to dance again that everyone stayed and danced, soaking wet, including me.”
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
“I was definitely away from home way too much for my own good. On the other hand, touring and playing is essential to be creative in the studio for me and I simply love it. It’s about finding that middle ground.”
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ set-up this year?
“Pioneer DJ V10 mixer.”
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
“Vangelis ‘Juno To Jupiter’.”