Style: Trance and progressive.
Best known for: #ASOT
Tune of the year: Armin van Buuren feat Trevor Guthrie ‘This Is What It Feels Like’.
Have DJs' fees got out of hand?: “If the amounts that people usually hear are true then yes, but mostly it's incorrect. All kinds of costs that have to be deducted aren't taken into account — visuals, lights, sound, pyro, the agent, flights and sometimes hotels. If you take those into account, fees are much more reasonable. Having said this, most top 100 DJs have a very comfortable living.”
Has dance music become the new pop?: “There's a whole new generation of young people listening to EDM like my parents listened to the Beatles. Popularity has its good and bad sides. A lot of people consider EDM ‘theirs’ and don't want it to commercialise. I can understand that and I feel that too. But I also think all the attention for EDM gives room for new interesting things to happen and for new talent and sounds to be born.”
If you could be any animal, what would you be?: “A cat so I can catch up on sleep.”
Should DJs do "heart hands": "There's nothing wrong with showing love for a crowd but please, don't over do it.”
Do DJs have a duty to speak out about drugs?: “Yes, it's good to raise awareness, also warning people about damaging your ears for example. But people also have their own responsibility and we have to look after each other.”
What would be on your fantasy rider?: "A spaceship for all my fans so we could celebrate ASOT 1000 on the moon in 2020!”
With last year’s win bringing him his fifth Top 100 title, Armin van Buuren is a perennial contender for the crown, and rightfully so. This year has arguably been his biggest yet, with a landmark for his A State of Trance series and a royal encounter, but his biggest triumph was somewhat closer to home.
“Of course, the main highlight was the birth of my son Remy on 27th July,” says the Dutchman. “It was the most crazy day, probably of my whole life. I witnessed the birth and then played the closing set at Tomorrowland in Belgium a few hours later. Had he been born an hour later I would have missed one of the most important gigs of the year. It was a very emotional moment for me to share this special thing with all my fans.”
It’s been a year of extraordinary gigs for Armin though, having led the hugely successful ASOT600 tour, and selling out New York’s Madison Square Garden, he also had a unique opportunity to entertain the Dutch elite.
“I had the honour to play for the new King and Queen of the Netherlands with the Royal Dutch Symphony Orchestra on the day of the coronation,” he says. “Playing with one of the most respected orchestras in the world was a big thing for me. The idea for this special live collaboration actually came from the royal couple — that made it extra special for me. I will never forget that day!”
On a less regal but no less impressive note, 2013 also saw the release of van Buuren’s fifth artist album ‘Intense’, which spawned the huge ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ single that went platinum in various countries and also breached the US Hot 100.
Armin says that his success was originally borne out of hard graft and passion, which he retains in spades to this day.
“Starting my radio show in the beginning, I didn't get paid for a long time,” he explains. “I did it because I love radio, I love trance and I love to witness live reactions from the listeners. I used those reactions to my advantage by always listening to what my fans had to say. I really have passion for this.”
As he himself says, “A lot of my dreams have become reality this year”. And there’ll be little let-up heading into 2014 as he unveils his new Armin Only Intense show.
“It will be the biggest thing I've ever done,” he says.
It’ll have to be pretty huge to outstrip what’s gone before, but if anyone’s proved he can keep reaching new heights, it’s Armin van Buuren.