TFSF: We’re here at Dreamstate So Cal with Armin van Buuren. Welcome!
Armin: What’s up?
Welcome to the family! Amazing that we have been blessed with Gaia last night and you tonight!
Armin: Thank you. Yes, I witnessed the performance and it was amazing!
How was the crowd energy? Different from what you’ve experienced internationally?
Armin: I’ve always noticed there’s a massive following for trance in the Bay Area, LA, New York and Mexico. I think those are the most trance loving areas in the world. I’m really glad that Insomniac had the guts to start the brand Dreamstate and promote trance music. I can’t do A State of Trance event here in LA every year. I have my own Armin Only concept and you can only do so many ASOT events a year. I’m super happy Insomniac decided to have an independent brand, I think it’s very important because you see that there is a massive demand for it and how dedicated people are to it. There is a really big loyal following which I see when we broadcast A State of Trance every week. Secretly it is why the show is at 8pm Central European time, 11 AM Pacific time because that is when you can reach the trance lovers.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m on my lunch break watching the broadcast! We asked our TFSF Family to post some questions they had for you. Everyone is anxiously waiting for the Gaia album and wants to know when is it coming?
Armin: We’ve already been working on it for two years. It’s a very different thing. I don’t think you will find any of our old tracks on there at least that is the plan at the moment. As proud as I am of my past releases with Gaia, I think we are going in a different, deeper direction. No collaborations, nothing, just purely focused on the music and that is it.
OK, but really hurry up! (Just kidding)
Armin: Hey, when you have to do your mix, radio show every week, if you have family, it takes time. (Laughs)
Speaking of your family, what’s the one dance move you would use to lure your wife in?
Armin: Well let me tell you something, I am a lousy dancer. It is why I became a DJ! (Laughs) I’m very…very…very…white. White men can’t dance, sorry! All I have for a dance move is my Elvis wiggle, so they call it!
Thinking about the career that you have had what would you consider your biggest success?
Armin: Honestly, I’m just blessed. I’m blessed with so many great fans and many achievements. I don’t consider having a Golden Record even the biggest achievement. It really is the little things as well, for instance a small positive comment on YouTube. If you really want to look at the numbers as a DJ, it would be my solo concert in the Amsterdam Arena this past May. That’s the biggest thing I have ever done, or ever will do. It is 40,000 people a night! That was a dream come true. A closing of five tours, thirteen years of Armin Only, it was an exciting night!
I’m sure the path to your success has not been easy, when would you say was a moment where you struggled and how did you get past that?
Armin: I was reading too much of the criticism and I took it to heart too much. If you’re in the light, people always comment. I’m not going to lie, I read EVERYTHING. It was such a time waste and very demotivating. I’m a human being, I can’t please everybody. I feel that I have to take risks sometimes to keep it exciting and interesting for myself rather than my fans. My fans mean the world to me, they always have and they always will. At the end of the day, I’m the one sitting in the studio; I have to make those decisions.
In 2010, I really had a breakdown. Looking back on things, that was not a good year for me. It was the fourth time I was selected “Number 1 DJ” by DJ Mag. I went to a coach because it was not going well here and he got me out of this feeling by a few simple things. I know quite a few people that were saying really rude things on the internet, but when I would meet them, they would say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.” I think it is important for people to understand what you post on social media a lot of people can read. What they write is there forever, and these people they are writing about are made of flesh and blood. This is who I am. Everybody has the right to their own opinion, of course. I’m not saying you have to like everything I do. You can say things like, “I didn’t like his track, I didn’t like this episode, and I didn’t feel it”. That is fine! That is constructive. To say things like, “Your family has to die because you suck.” It wasn’t just one comment, it was a lot. I wasn’t focusing on the positive comments though; I got stuck on the negative. I just wanted to be better. I was looking at my own insecurities in those comments.
I got over that by finding my confidence in the studio again and that’s how “This is What it Feels Like” was born. When I was working on that track, I asked myself, “What am I doing?” Once the song was done, I questioned if I should release it. I remember one of the most nerve wracking moments in my life was when Pete Tong premiered the track in 2013 and I had an ASOT event in Bulgaria. I had my Twitter feed open, because that’s what everyone was doing at the time and OH MY GOD I was being slashed and hammered on there and yet it is my biggest track so far. It is ironic. Again, I think there is always a truth to any criticism that I get and again my fans mean the world to me. I have to understand that this is the price that comes with being in this position. It is also a choice. If you are putting yourself on a stage, making a radio show, making tracks, then you are automatically vulnerable. I guess I should not complain because the fans have been good to me in general, more than good to me; I receive so much, but I am too much of a perfectionist.
Yea I know how that feels! When I first started doing interviews, I thought I had to be perfect, but then I realized I just need to go with it!
Armin: Yea exactly. For instance, for tonight I went through all my emails, and if I had to play every single track people requested, I would have to play a fifteen hour set!! (TFSF: We wouldn’t mind!) I wouldn’t mind playing a fifteen hour set, but the problem you know is that I just don’t have fifteen hours. Automatically it means that you’re always going to disappoint a few people.
What are your favorite books?
Armin: Favorite books? This goes back to the 2010 thing I mentioned earlier, so the first book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, professor from New York. My interpretation of this book would be: If there were a manual for a brain, if you could buy a brain like you could buy a TV, because a TV comes with a manual that would be that book.
Another book I liked was The Winner Effect by Professor Ian Robertson from Ireland. He had a theory which I find kind of interesting; he did research on the endorphins that are released in your brain when you stand in front of a big crowd. He has proven that the shape of the brain physically changes under the influence of endorphins. That was eye opening as well. It made me understand myself better.
The last book is a Dutch book by Martijn Katan called The Myths of Food. One of our most talked about things when we meet each other is food, “Oh you should take these pills, or eat this, less carbohydrates, less fat, whatever.” He wrote a book because he is a scientist and he said this is the truth about this and this is the truth about that and what you should or should not eat. It was a revelation because a lot of the myths were unraveled.
What is your favorite food then?
Armin: I like a lot of Asian foods. I’m a massive fan, anything Asian really: Thai, Japanese, and Indonesian. It is why I love touring in Asia!!
You’re cast away on an island, what are the three things you take with you?
Armin: My wife, my phone, and my green egg.
Armin: Look it up, Kamado style cooking.
**TFSF Note: I now may have to purchase one of these for myself one day. Thank you to Armin for spending time with us and giving us an incredible flood of good vibes at Dreamstate.
For more information:
Armin van Buuren
Trance Family SF
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