Armin van Buuren: Always trance

In interviews as in seemingly every other aspect of his life, Armin van Buuren is a polished professional. The young whiz who released Blue Fear on Cyber Records probably didn’t envisage everything that was to come: the radio show, the elaborate tours, the years and years of press, the devoted following. In 2011, though, he’s well and truly at ease with being a big deal.

A major cog in the well-oiled Armin machine is his radio show, A State Of Trance, which continues to champion the sound closest to the DJ’s heart. Whatever criticisms are levelled at trance (and there have been many over ASOT’s reign), Armin has an even-handed response. It’s that lack of cynicism that has earned him one of the most dedicated followings in dance music. All which leads us to Stereosonic 2011, where the name at the top of the bill is Armin van Buuren. Here he tells inthemix why he’s the man for the job.

So, congratulations on winning the Favourite International Act category again in this year’s inthemix awards. I take it your awards cabinet is pretty at-capacity?

Not really, you know. There’s one from inthemix already and there’s another space waiting.

Well, there’s obviously a lot of affection here in Australia for your tours. And this time it’s as a festival headliner…

I haven’t been in Australia for a while just playing a festival set. I came with Armin Only and A State Of Trance 500, plus two gigs on the Summadayze festival but those were only Perth and Gold Coast. I’m looking forward to doing a full-on Australian tour again.

Closing the mainstage is interesting, because your sound is a lot less brash and noisy than, say, Afrojack and The Bloody Beetroots.

I played after Afrojack at the Electric Zoo Festival and he was really rocking it. But I was so surprised that the crowd was going nuts when I came on after him with a completely different sound. So it means there’s still a strong following for trance. Of course I want to be open-minded, but I really want to stick to my sound. I think these are exciting times, for sure.

So I was looking through the archives before this chat and found an interview from 2002, where you were talking about the ‘Armin sound’, and I wanted to know what’s changed since then…

Uh-oh [laughs]…

Well, how would you describe the ‘Armin sound’ in 2011?

Well, let me start by saying that my radio show A State Of Trance started in June 2001, before that interview, and I think I can still say with my hand on heart that it still has the same format as when I started it almost 11 years ago. I’m still very loyal to my original trance sound, with Gaia – Gaia being Mother Earth; the core.

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