Press Pack: Everything you need to know about Armin van Buuren

05 NOVEMBER 2014, SOUTH AFRICA

Armin van Buuren

A man driven by an unbridled and relentless passion for music. A born perfectionist, striving to stay on top of the scene he’s helped to grow. The flag-bearer of the trance movement, one of the biggest scenes in EDM worldwide. A down-to-earth guy, living the extraordinary life of one of the world’s most popular DJ’s. Armin van Buuren is always on the move, whether through the music he creates in his studio, or bound to the next high-end club or festival somewhere around the globe.

Armin:"It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby, it’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life.” For more than 15 years, the Dutchman has been living to the rhythm of his own, international success. A 5 times number one position in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll is the result of his loyalty to fans, his creativity in the studio, the perseverance with which he hosts his weekly radio show A State of Trance and the energy he transcends to the crowds in front of him. Despite the heavy pressure that comes along with being the world’s most popular DJ, Armin has always kept his focus on the music. And that’s exactly what keeps him going.

No matter how many hours Armin van Buuren has travelled to get there, as soon as he enters the DJ booth, the Dutchman has his full focus on the music, the crowd and how these two will combine. As soon as the beats of his first record have kicked in, the room lights up and chanting fills the air. To witness a set of Armin van Buuren is to be blown away, to completely lose yourself into the music and be one with the people around you. Mixed seamlessly, he created his own style and sound, making his DJ sets a unique experience. He unites millions, not only through the gigs in his challenging schedule, but also through his Armin Only and A State of Trance world tours. Armin has the privilege to perform at some of the world's biggest and best festivals, clubs, events and shows. One of the highlights in his career was Armin's performance for the new King and Queen of The Netherlands, Willem-Alexander and Máxima. Together with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in front of the monarchs and 15.000 fans, he performed both ‘The Bolero’ as well as an orchestral version of the title track of his ‘Intense’ album. During the ‘koningsvaart’, a special, cultural boat-trip in the city of Amsterdam, the King and Queen surprised both the crowd as well as Armin by getting on stage and dancing along. Another highlight was Armin’s DJ set at the Museumplein in Amsterdam in July 2010, during the honoring of the Dutch soccer team.

Even though the national team lost in the FIFA World Cup final, they partied like they were the absolute winners, and so did the 200.000 strong crowd. That’s exactly what Armin’s sets are all about. After the 2013 summer season has ended, with his own residency at the world’s biggest club, Privilege in Ibiza, Armin kicks off a new Armin Only world tour, based on his ‘Intense’ album. The Dutch edition of the show, with two nights at the Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, sold out within only a few hours. With the brand new Armin Only tour, Armin brings a unique and exclusive show, unfolding the many layers of his ‘Intense’ album.

The DJ. His busy life as a number one DJ has inspired many people. In 2009, Dutch author Coen Bom presented his on-the-road-biography of Armin, called ‘Eén op één’ / ‘Armin Only’, reporting about the hectic life of Armin and trying to find the secret behind to the grand success of the humble Dutchman. In October 2012, the official documentary ‘A Year With Armin van Buuren’ was released, in which Armin was followed during an important year in his life, offering a unique look behind the scenes and inside his personality. 2

Armin van Buuren

The radio host What started as an obsession for radio and the production of it, has turned into a weekly highlight for more than 20 million listeners. In June 2001, Armin van Buuren aired the first episode of A State of Trance. 12 years later into the game, he still hosts the weekly 2 hour show, in which he presents the biggest tunes of the moment, as well as providing an interactive way for fans to discover new music.

Regular features of the show are the Tune of The Week, A State of Trance Radio Classic and the Future Favourite, of which the latter is based on an online voting poll. Celebrating each milestone, Armin did an extensive world tour in early 2013, based around the 600th episode of the show. ‘The Expedition’ world tour landed in cities such as Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Beirut, Kuala Lumpur, New York and Den Bosch. The 10 week tour, that took place in February, March and April 2013, included 12 shows in 11 countries all around the globe, with events broadcast live on the A State of Trance website. Reflecting upon the A State of Trance 600 tour, Armin says:”I’m deeply honoured by all the positive things that are happening for the show and for the sound in general. I’ve always said ASOT is not only a show for but also a show by the fans. The show wouldn’t be where it is without the fans, so it feels amazing to see so many people celebrating along. It’s crazy to see groups of fans going crazy to the same music that we’re playing on the other side of the world. People wearing banners, flags, and making their own private party. This is what I meant with ‘turning the world into a dancefloor’.” Each year, the listeners of the show are asked to vote for their favourite records of the year, with the A State of Trance Top 20 as the official outcome. Each track on this list ends up in the yearly A State of Trance Yearmix, released at the end of December. Weeks of editing and mixing come together in a 2 hour mega-mix of over 85 tracks and countless memories. More than 150,000 copies of the series have been sold, going strong for 8 years already. Another series that Armin has linked to the radio show, is the A State of Trance Classics compilation. After 6 years of providing some of the most essential classics and all-time favourites in EDM, the series continues to commemorate the early days of dance music. In addition to the weekly show, Armin started the weekly A State of Trance podcast, with a selection of the previous episode of the radio show, ensuring that listeners will never miss out on the highlights. Every Sunday, Armin also hosts a 24 hour radio day called 'A State of Sundays', broadcast on one of the biggest radio stations in the United States, Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Next to the A State of Trance shows, A State of Sundays also introduces its listeners to sets and radio shows of other popular DJ's and talented artists.

The producer Armin van Buuren looks back on the success of his ‘76’ (2003), ‘Shivers’ (2005), ‘Imagine’ (2008), ‘Mirage’ (2010) and ‘Intense’ albums. May 2013 marked the release of Armin’s latest artist album, ‘Intense’. The follow-up to his ‘Mirage’ album features collaborations with Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, Australian duo Nervo and singers by the likes of Trevor Guthrie, Emma Hewitt, Laura Jansen, Fiora and more. ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ ft. Trevor Guthrie, the first single of the album, is on A-list rotation on radio stations all across the world, taking high chart positions and receiving 10 million views within 3 months on its official music video. Through the 16-pieced musical mosaic of ‘Intense’, Armin introduces his fans to many intriguing fusions, intricate soundscapes and surprising new shades of his sound. ‘Intense’ is the biggest project he has has ever worked on, uniting 3 years of studio work. And in many ways, is it the most intuitive album he’s ever done. Armin:” These songs came to life just by being in the studio, being who I am and following my gut. I feel closer to myself than I ever have. The album sort of happened to me, it just all came together and the story wrote itself. I didn’t try to force anything, I just did what I found interesting and tried to have as much fun in the studio as possible.” Whenever he’s not on tour or having a daddy-day with his first-born, daughter Fenna, Armin locks himself up in the studio. 3

Armin van Buuren

Giving meaning to his famous quote ‘Don’t be a prisoner of your own style’, he explores the boundaries of EDM through his originals and remixes. Some of his most beloved works, such as ‘Communication’, ‘Burned With Desire’, ‘Blue Fear’, ‘Shivers’ and ‘Yet Another Day’, have grown into all-time favourite classics, withstanding the test of time. With remix offers flooding in, Armin has the luxury of taking on only the tracks that he really loves. His remix discography includes cult TV series 24, Danish TV series The Killing, Dutch film Nova Zembla and tracks by the likes of Motorcycle, The Killers, Faithless, BT, Dido, Zedd, Chicane and Kerli.

The label owner In 2003, plans emerged to set up a record label: Armada Music. Together with Maykel Piron and David Lewis, Armin built the foundation to one of the most successful record labels worldwide. Armada Music, voted ‘Best Global Record Label’ for the fifth year running, is home to more than 20 sub-labels and releases productions by some of the industry’s biggest names and rising talents. Armin’s very own Armind and A State of Trance labels have found a safe haven at Armada Music, as well as his A State of Trance and Universal Religion compilation series and artist albums. Armin's annual A State of Trance compilations have become an institution in the industry, having won several awards and featuring a fresh and exclusive selection of tracks. As if one compilation isn't enough yet, Armin has been live recording some of his sets on Ibiza and released them under the 'Universal Religion' series. The summer of 2013 will see the 7th chapter of this beloved series released, a two hour live recording of Armin’s residency at club Privilege.

How it all began

Born in Leiden, The Netherlands (December 25, 1976) to a musical family, Armin indulged his passion for music from a young age. He spent all the money he earned with his paper round on records. His mum won a computer when he was 10, gaining Armin’s interest. “So as a little nerdy kid I was writing my own basic programs, and learnt about the technology from there.” He progressed from making low-profile mix tapes for friends to higher profile mixes when he discovered experimenting with different sequences on his computer through his uncle. “I was so stunned by what I saw him doing on the computer, that I got addicted to creating music right there and then!”

“I loved dance music immediately – this great rebellious sound that was so different to the ‘beautiful’ songs of the years before”. Armin cites electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre as a major influence, as well as Dutch producer Ben Liebrand, who later mentored him in his mixing and producing.

In the early days, Armin thought it was wise to have a back-up plan and so he studied for a law degree. The final year of his course was inevitably stretched as he juggled his studies with his increasingly hectic schedule; his rise to fame included lots of productions and remixes, as well as playing out to packed clubs every weekend. It took him three years to graduate, but his determination made him succeed.

Although owning a Master’s degree in Law, the main ingredient to Armin's life will always be music.

Armin:”I see it as my responsibility to promote trance as a genre and I want to support it in every way I can. Music should connect us. As long as the music keeps evolving like it is, I will continue and I don’t see any reason to slow it down.” 4

Armin van Buuren

The award-winner: facts & figures Even a basic list of recent successes reads like a lifetime of work and the landmarks just keep coming. Aside from Armin’ A State of Trance broadcasting to over 40 FM stations as well as satellite and internet radio, having more than 20 million listeners every week, his Podcast gets more than 50,000 downloads per week. His singles, albums and compilations reached high chart positions all across the globe, with single ‘Rush Hour’ being the official anthem of UEFA’s European Youth Championship and the DVD registration of his ‘Armin Only – Imagine’ show making a #1 entry in the Dutch chart. The music video for his single ‘In and Out of Love’ featuring Sharon den Adel has received more than 135 million views, making it one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.

Armin’s trophy closet is crammed with awards: DJ Mag Top 100 positions: 2001: #27.2002: #5. 2003: #3. 2004: #3. 2005: #3. 2006: #2. 2007: #1. 2008: #1. 2009: #1. 2010: #1 .2011: #2. 2012: #1.

2005: International Dance Music Awards for: Best Dance Radio Mix show DJ & Best Full Length DJ Mix CD - ‘A State of Trance.

2007: #1 in DJ Mag Top 100 International Dance Music Awards for: Best Radio Mix Show DJ & Best Cd Compilation - ‘A State Of Trance 2006’.

2008: #1 in DJ Mag Top 100 International Dance Music Awards for: Best European DJ & Best Radio Mix Show DJ Buma Cultuur Pop Award - the most important Dutch musician award since 1986 Armin draws 35,000 people to his Armin Only show in the Los Angeles Sports Arena, making him the first Dutch DJ ever to have drawn such a big crowd to an own event.

2009: #1 in DJ Mag Top 100 #1 DJ in Australia’s IntheMix.au International Acts International Dance Music Awards for: Best Progressive House/Trance Track - ‘In & Out of Love’ ft. Sharon den Adel, Best European DJ, Best Radio Mix Show DJ, Best Music Video - ‘In & Out Of Love’ & Best Global Record Label – Armada Music DJ Awards – Best International DJ.

2010: #1 in DJ Mag Top 100 International Dance Music Awards for: Best Global DJ, Best Podcast - A State of Trance Podcast & Best Global Record Label – Armada Music DJ Awards – Best Trance DJ Gouden Harp – highest distinction a Dutch artist can get.

2011: #2 in DJ Mag Top 100 #1 DJ in Australia’s IntheMix.au International Acts International Dance Music Awards for: Best Trance Track: ‘Not Giving Up On Love’ ft. Sophie Ellis Bextor, Best European DJ, Best Global DJ, Best Radio Mix Show DJ ,Best Full Length DJ Mix: ‘A State of Trance 2010’, Best Podcast & Best Global Record Label – Armada Music DJ Awards – Best International DJ & Best Trance DJ Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands – Royal distinction

2012: #1 in DJ Mag Top 100 International Dance Music Awards for: Best Trance Track: ‘Feels So Good’ ft. Nadia Ali, Best Global DJ, Best Radio Mix Show DJ, Best Podcast & Best Global Record Label – Armada Music DJ Awards – Best International DJ & Best Trance DJ FCN Business Award.

2013: International Dance Music Awards for: Best Trance Track -‘J’ai Envie De Toi’, Best Radio Mix Show DJ, Best Producer, Best Global DJ, Best Podcast - A State of Trance Podcast and Best Global Record Label - Armada Music Platinum record for 80,000 copies of ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ sold in Canada.

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