Paul Van Dyk
Over 20,000 dance music fans have visited Digital Society events in Leeds – and next month features their biggest and best to date for their 8th birthday headed up by the Godfather of Trance Paul van Dyk. Exposed Magazine jumped at the chance to interview the legend himself ahead of one of the UK’s most iconic dance shindigs of the year to find out more.
Hi Paul, you’re playing Digital Society’s 8th anniversary on March 6. It’s a big ‘un! You looking forward to returning to the UK?
I’m always looking forward to coming back! We’re ever closer to the release of my new album ‘The Politics Of Dancing 3’ now. For a DJ/Producer, these are the best times. It’s the point when you can finally break loose with all the music you’ve been working on but haven’t been able to play. Digital Society crowds are going to be among the first in the world to hear a lot of the music good and live for the first time.
You’ve played to crowds all over the world. Where’s your favourite place to play?
Over the course of my professional life, I’ve never been able to settle on one place that’s the all-out favourite place to play. A lot have one factor, large or small – sound, audience, venue, lights, tech set-up, etc – that you could say make it a candidate for the best. Picking one I believe doesn’t seem just to all the others. People say to me: ‘Oh, it must be Ibiza, right?’ Having had a residency at Cream Amnesia there for 15 years, I’ve a very special connection with it. It’s an incredible and unique place, without a doubt. Even to say that was my favourite though, I could never be absolutely certain.
How did you get into DJing?
When the Wall came down, I went to all the clubs in Berlin in quick succession, and just became the biggest possible fan of electronic music. From there, I began to make mix tapes for myself and for my friends. One of my friends passed on a tape I’d done to the promoters of Tresor in Berlin (one of the very first techno-devoted clubs in Europe) and that’s how I got my first show.
Paul Van Dyk, what was it like growing up in Berlin?
Under a Communist government, it was an oppressive time. Getting hold of music, vinyl etc was almost impossible. In fact, the very first record I ever owned was smuggled to East Germany by my grandma who was allowed to travel to the West. One positive thing that did come of life behind the wall was that it gave you a very healthy, well-balanced respect and appreciation for personal freedom once it came down.
Growing up, what music did you like to listen to?
When I was a kid, I was a massive Smiths fan. I didn’t speak English, so I didn’t know what they were singing about, but I felt they were a very special band. Aside from that, a lot of Depeche Mode and other early synth-led bands.
There’s currently a lot of talented DJs on the scene, who do you like to listen to?
I think Maarten de Jong and Ben Nicky are showing a huge amount of potential. Every year, their tracks and performances get better and better. They always have these original sounds and interesting production techniques pushing them along. Their performances are really full of energy and naked enthusiasm.
You’ve been very successful on the music scene for quite a few years now, what has been your personal highlight or greatest achievement?
To me, the achievement of artistic freedom is what I’m happiest and proudest with. The independence to do what I feel in the studio and on stage without anyone – labels, managers, marketers etc – telling me ‘you should be doing this’, ‘you can’t do that’, ‘you should be working with X, Y or Z’ or whatever. There have been many other occurrences and awards that I’ve been thrilled by, of course, but consistently, over time, artistic freedom is what is the most important, what’s made me happiest and what I’m proudest of.
You shared a Grammy Award for your work on The Dark Knight soundtrack. What was that like for you?
Extraordinary! There’s no other word for it.
And what inspires your music?
Life, in general… it’s a perpetual motion.
Finally, what are your plans for 2015?
It’s all about ‘The Politics Of Dancing 3’ from this point. Over the years, many people have asked if there would ever be another ‘Politics Of Dancing’. I’d often thought about the idea, myself. About two years ago, I decided ‘hey, why not?’ If there’s a project that we’re all still so passionate and enthusiastic about, that is requested by the audience regularly, and over such a long period of time, then really, why not do it? We’ve already had the first singles out. ‘Only In A Dream’ was out in November and ‘Guardian’, which is my just-released first collaboration with Aly & Fila – but those form the tiniest tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to come!
Digital Society Leeds celebrates eight years at the forefront of the UK Trance scene with the biggest event programme in DS history on March 6. Joining Paul van Dyk will be the likes of Ferry Corsten, uplifting maestro’s Aly & Fila, and an array of superstar DJs. For the full line-up and tix head to www.digitalsociety.co.uk Visit www.paulvandyk.com and www.o2academyleeds.co.uk for tickets and more.