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DJ Mag Top100 DJs
Armin Van Buuren
With its titular musing on that old work/life deal, Armin’s 2019 ‘Balance’ album might just have been a year ahead of its time. Before the big stay-home kicked in however Armin did manage a ‘Balance’ bus tour Stateside, squeezing 12 shows into a daunting-to-most 14 days. With scarce pause, that put him toe-to-toe with the biggest (not to mention last) trance gathering of 2020: ASOT950 at Utrecht’s Jaarbeurs arena.
Corona was but a whisper there, but within a month he was looking at considerably more out-of-the-booth time than even ‘Balance’ alluded to. By and large though it seems like the Dutch giant’s simply reinvested his tireless energies into other parts of the Armin operation. 
Unsurprisingly, foremost amongst them was the one still wide open to all: music production. Even by his usual prodigious annual standards, Armin upticked, and most noticeably on the local collab side. June saw ‘Tarzan’ with the Blasterjaxx boys swing in, while his Nicky Romero-teaming ‘I Need You To Know’ popped up a month later. With ‘The Voice’, planet trance cheered another return for his Rising Star moniker, which – after its epic 2002-2015 layoff – might just become a yearly staple again. A rising star of a different variety, he and his best-newcomer pick AVIRA followed their ‘Hollow’ & ‘Illusion’ releases with some more deeper trance ether in the form of ‘Mask’. Most recently Armin’s been in the studio with X-Factor winner (and another fellow countryman) Jake Reese for his latest outing, ‘Need You Now’.

Longform project ideas have also either been moved up the to-do list or introduced wholesale to fit the prevailing circumstance. High summer’s ‘The Lost Tapes’ saw Armin marshal a clutch of reworks of his own material onto an album. Commenting at the time, he said: “I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming lots of amazing remixes of my tracks throughout the years, many of which I’ve been playing extensively in my live sets. To make sure they won’t get lost in time, I’ve launched this album full of ‘Lost Tapes’.” Likely soothing many a frayed fan nerve, that was prefaced by May’s ‘RELAXED’ LP, which saw him handpick chillout variations of old and not-so Armin fare.

Armin made it as much business as usual for his annual compilation offerings as possible this year. ‘A State Of Trance 2020’ brought a fitting conclusion to his ASOT950 festivities. While Ibiza remained largely and depressingly under the dustsheets, ‘ASOT Ibiza’ brought a taste of what would have been for the season. 
One place that Armin continues to make flux, however, is in the formatting of his A State Of Trance radio show. In the summer he announced he was shifting emphasis (and airtime) to the future of trance, with sizeable chunks of the show being handed over to newer-comers. In another first, he also announced the first ‘ASOT residency’, with Ferry Corsten taking the reins for an hour a month. Announcing the move, Armin said: “Ferry and I have a history that’s been going on for a long, long time. He, of course, through his Flashover Recordings label, wants to promote new talent as well, so I thought, why not give him a monthly residency in A State Of Trance? And that’s what we’ve been testing these last couple of months.”
“Last but not least, I’m counting down to ASOT1000”, says Armin. While the exact form has yet to be announced, proceedings are confirmed to conclude with an Armin x Ferry back-to-back vinyl set. A Tiësto appearance, however (as some web-wags posited last April 1st) remains unconfirmed at this time!

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 
“Gaming, meditating and cooking.”
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 
“Never take anything for granted.”
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene? 
“Make people aware that it’s a serious issue.”
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive? 
“I’m an ambassador for WWF and support the fight against plastic pollution.”
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 
“L.S.G. ‘Netherworld (Jules Verne mix)’.”