Law graduate, DJ, producer, mentor, label owner, radio personality, doting father – Armin van Buuren really does have the makings of a great man.
In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that he bagged the JFK “Greatest Man Award 2015”, an accolade that adds to his ever-growing list of awards and nominations. Also, how many dance music heavyweights can say that they’ve got their own action figure? We can only think of 2 – Hardwell and Armin van Buuren :)
We finally met with the busy dance music superstar at the recent IMS Asia-Pacific, held at W Hotel Singapore on 11th December (Friday), and got to sit down with him for a quick chat before his keynote interview.
Here’s what went down:
Thank you! Well, the idea behind “Embrace” was to embrace different styles and incorporate them into my sounds so..for me it’s still a trance album but you know, different sounds. And it literally meant “Embrace” by embracing different instruments so for example, the trumpets on the opening track, the Spanish guitar on “Face of Summer”, and working Dutch rock band Kensington for “Heading Up High”. So you know, it’s literally embracing different styles and genres. Just because..for me as an artiste, I always try to explore new ways of production and new ways to make my music.
Which track off the album do you especially have a soft spot for and why?
All my tracks on my album..I have a soft spot for. Every track has a personal story behind it, every track has months and months of work put into it, every track has a certain emotion. It’s like asking a father what his favourite child is (laughs). Every track is special for me.
You’ve also recently announced that an “Armin Only: Embrace” tour will follow. How will it be different from the “Intense” tour in terms of production?
I can’t tell you exactly what we’re gonna do yet. The only thing I can tell you is that none of the artistes that I brought with me on the “Intense” tour will be on the “Embrace” tour. So it’s completely different.
Gaia debuted with great fanfare last year but we haven’t heard much about them since then. What’s happening with Gaia? Is there an album in the works?
I have to ask the guys what they wanna do! I’ve just been so busy touring that I didn’t have time to discuss with the guys what they wanna do. So we’ll see ;) It’s definitely an ambition to want to do an album with Gaia we’ll have to see where it goes.
Do you think there would eventually be standalone Gaia shows?
Uhh, I don’t know, I’ll have to see. I mean, Gaia has been very successful..the shows that they’ve done. But you know, we don’t want to do too many shows with Gaia. Only like a few here and there – 10, maybe 20, I don’t know. But first! I wanna make new music and go from there.
Seeing that the year is coming to an end, looking back, what would you say were some of the highlights of your year?
It has been a fantastic year! I mean, I think one of the biggest highlights was of course releasing the “Embrace” album, triple platinum for the first single “Another You”..which is really special, receiving so many votes again for the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll was really important for me, receiving many gold and platinum records for tracks off “Embrace”..that was really great, working with Anton Corbijn on the “Embrace” album cover..that was always a dream of mine too, and playing all the biggest festivals such as Tomorrowland, TomorrowWorld, EDC, Ultra, Ultra Japan, Ultra Miami, Ultra Europe, yeah..so many great gigs you know. But the highlight of this year was definitely the release of “Embrace”. It’s something that I’ve been working on for 2 years.
What else is in the pipeline for you in 2016, that you can tell us about?
Well, just still promoting “Embrace”. A lot of time will be used to prepare for the new tour that’s gonna start really soon. I’m also shooting a lot of videos for the tracks off the album and of course, working on a lot of new music.
Will the “Embrace” tour also feature tour videos like what was done for the “Intense” tour?
No, nah, it’ll be really different this time around. I’ve chosen a new style I mean, I’m really proud of “Intense” and I’m really proud of the “Armin Only” shows..I think it’s one of the best things that I’ve done in my career, but now it’s just a new chapter. Something new I wanna do and I wanna explore.
On a fun ending note, what would you say is Armin van Buuren like on a good day?
You mean character-wise? Just happy. And talking. A lot :)
Finally, complete the following sentence: “Embrace” is an album that I’d listen to when..