Armin van Buuren: Basically it's just giving it a label, and the trance that I call trance is the old trance sound from '95-'96, the productions of Matt Darey, Oliver Lieb, Oakenfold, you name them. For me that's the classic trance sound. I know that a lot of people think that commercial, formulaic music with a vocal. breakdown and big a riff, that's trance, but it's definitely not trance for me. I think the old classic trance sound needs some improvement but it's still working for me and for big crowds. I play for a lot of sold out venues every week, so I don't see the trance sound disappearing. As a matter of fact, I think it's really interesting that you feel that the progressive and trance are sort of growing towards each other, with the production of progressive far better than trance. So I see the future of trance as an ideal combination of the production of progressive with the upliftingness of trance records.
DJ Ron: Speaking about spinning to big crowds, when you spin live do you play on turntables? Do you work on a laptop? Do you play keyboards? How do you do a live DJ set?
Armin van Buuren: I work in key, so I try to mix a lot of records in key. Not every record of course because you have like twelve keys so it's impossible to mix all the records in key. I still use vinyl and I use the Pioneer CDJ1000 a lot. I tried to work with Final Scratch and add the tone live but the problem is, is that I find it too unstable. Because I have so many bookings and different places to play, I find it too much work to actually set up final scratch and everything. I mean, I heard that Paul Van Dyk's laptop crashed when he played in Central Park in New York.
DJ Ron: Oh Lord.
Armin van Buuren: So I don't want to let my audience wait for a few minutes when they're listening to an uplifting set. I find that the Pioneer CDJ-1000s have proven themselves, because they have never skipped so far in my career even when the rain was dripping down on them. I find that the CDJ1000, three of them combined with three Technic 1200s - Mark 2 or Mark 3, is the ideal combination for me to work with, combined with my CD case with special edits and everything. I think for me this is, for the moment, the right way of working. I'm really interested to see where the software development is going, because I really see myself working completely from digital formats in the future. But for now I think the vinyl has such a beautiful sound and I know it's limited in sense of frequency range and everything, but vinyl's got magic, and I think it's just a force of habit that I'm still using vinyl.
DJ Ron: You do a live radio program every week?
Armin van Buuren: Yes.
DJ Ron: How do you chose the songs or that versus how you'd program a night at a club or a festival?
Armin van Buuren: Well, I consider the State of Trance a little bit like my backyard. A lot of people don't know that I don't get any money for the show and it takes a lot of time to produce the show. I don't have any producer nor any engineer that helps me with selecting the show. I basically have to drive to Amsterdam to the studio of INT. I sit down with the latest records I've bought and the show exists of the latest tracks that are in my case. I don't make any secrets of any tracks that are in my show. If there's an unknown artists, I really don't know the title as there is nothing I want to keep secret or anything. It's a cross section of records that are out at the moment. I really enjoyed listening to a lot of radio shows when I was younger and I really want to give something back to the younger crowd who don't have nay money to buy vinyls, but want to be updated on what's good and what's not. So what I do, I just play a lot of tracks, some of the tracks I'm not really sure that I like.