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Interview with Armin van Buuren

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Ranked the #5 DJ in the world by the infamous DJ Magazine poll, Armin Van Buuren is touring the US to promote his new album "76." The album is completely self-produced with guest vocals from Ray Wilson (Genesis), Justine Suissa, Victoria Horn and rock band Krezip. Armin talks proudly of his studio work, radio shows and marathon DJ sets in his efforts to bring trance music to the people.

DJ Ron: First I want to ask you, why do you use all the different names - Armin, Rising Star, Perpetuous Dreamer?
Armin van Buuren: Well, basically these were all of different projects of mine. Perpetuous Dreamer was an act I did with two other guys who were the writers of the lyrics and I did the production of the "Sound of Goodbye," so I wanted to do that under a separate project. It is an Armin van Buuren track but it's under a different name.

DJ Ron: Very cool. Were you a producer first or a DJ first?
Armin van Buuren: I was both. I've DJed ever since I was very young, you know at school parties, but never professionally. I think through my productions, people ask me to play aboard as well. Internationally, I started in 1998, "Communication" got to the sales charts in the UK, so that helped my career a lot. And the rest is history as they say.

DJ Ron: How do the two roles work together for you?
Armin van Buuren: Well, I don't think there's much of a difference. I really like being a producer, because it gives you the freedom to go in your own mind and create what you like. But I think all the top ten DJs in the world nowadays release singles and release albums as well as mixed compilations, so there's not a real big difference.

DJ Ron: For example, do you use the dance floor to test records you're working on in the studio?
Armin van Buuren: Yes, sometimes I do. I usually have one or two tracks I'm currently working on which I'm testing if the night is good, and I want to surprise people with something new. But on the 76 album there's also some downtempo stuff which I obviously didn't test on a dance floor. So there is a difference between being a producer and a DJ, because as a producer I try to create a different sound that would be interesting for me as well, just a chill out track.

DJ Ron: How do you prepare for one of your massive twelve-hour sets?
Armin van Buuren: That takes a lot of preparing actually, I do a lot of special edits for those sets, make extended versions, put acapellas on top of existing tracks and stuff like that. So it does take a lot of time, a twelve-hour set, and it's something special. I don't do that every week because it takes a lot of energy to do that and to keep a crowd interested for twelve hours. You really have to come with not only the known and the hit tracks but also create a vibe in which you can basically play everything. That's very difficult, it takes a lot of thinking and manipulating records and building a certain atmosphere which can exist for more than twelve hours.

DJ Ron: Talking about numbers, where does the title 76 come from?
Armin van Buuren: Well actually I had several titles for the album. I was thinking about calling the album "Yet Another Day" because I really like that title. But when I put all the tracks together for the album in February and it was about to go to the mastering, all the tracks together took 76 minutes. So I say hey, that's a coincidence because 76 is also my year of birth and the year Jean-Michel Jarre created his album Oxygene, which obviously influenced my album a lot. 76 was also the year the first Mac computer existed, the Apple I, which you could buy for six hundred and sixty-six dollars, I still remember that. And the Apple Mac is one of my favorite computers because I use that a lot in my productions and so forth.

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