With all the talk about the big DJ Mag poll, it seems fitting for me to post this interview that I recently did with Paul van Dyk. In June, Paul toured the US in a tourbus hitting seventeen cities in seventeen days. While the idea of a bus tour isn't unheard of for superstar international DJs (remember the infamous Sasha/Digweed bustour,) it is quite rare as most of the big guys choose to fly in, out and around the states for select dates. I caught the show in Nashville and it was absolutely mesmerizing. Paul was on stage mixing and producing tracks live. He played updated versions of his classics (tying in with his Greatest Hits CD Home,) brought in unheard new tracks and sprinkled in club favorites for a show that was unique and different every night of the tour. I can only imagine what the lucky New Yorkers got to see in Central Park in July!
DJ Ron Slomowicz: The idea for the bus tour, where did it come from?
Paul van Dyk: It came from the fact that I otherwise would have not been able to do all these other markets; we've never been to places like Albuquerque or Okalahoma City, so the only way for us to actually connect all that was by taking a bus. So after the gig we just have a quick shower, get on the bus and drive and sleep on the bus. When we get there, it’s usually midday, we just check in to the hotel, sleep a little longer, and so therefore we’re not too exhausted. Otherwise we would have actually had maybe three/four hours’ sleep and then this whole traveling shit with checking in and security control with planes, it wouldn't have worked. So we decided on doing it day by day on the bus.
RS: So you're enjoying it more than flying from city to city?
Paul van Dyk: Well let’s put it this way, it’s like I'm getting used to the fact that I'm actually going right to sleep and wake up in the next city.
RS: It’s Tuesday, it must be Nashville.
Paul van Dyk: Yes.
RS: OK. Your new CD that's out now is a Greatest Hits
compilation, what was the idea or where did that idea come from to put
Paul van Dyk: Well, it’s exactly fifteen years after the release of my very first album, so it was about time.
RS: How did you choose the tracks for it?
Paul van Dyk: Well, it’s called Best Of so I wanted to choose the ones that had the best response by our audience. So the singles of course, but also stuff like “Together We Will Conquer” that has never been released as a single, but always had a great response by my audience. So that's on there, and then the remixes, you know, U2, Britney, Justin, New Order, all that right next to Binary Finary, You Made, and all that.
RS: "For an Angel," the first single, how was that chosen? Was that your
biggest fan favorite, do you think?
Paul van Dyk: Well, it's probably one of those signature tracks and people always kept asking me, it there ever going to be like a re-release with new mixes? And we first thought, you know, releasing the new track as a single from the album, but then it probably would have like confused people. So we took one of the big ones, putting it out as a single beforehand to make people aware of the Best Of, and then the next thing we’re going to release, “Home,” is a new track.
RS: OK. Speaking about "Home" and fifteen years, it’s right now
about the twentieth anniversary of the breaking of the Berlin Wall and
you as a German DJ having the freedom to go out there and play around
the world, does that have any significance right now for you?
Paul van Dyk: Well yes, of course, and not just for me as a DJ, but as a person. I mean, the whole world has changed for the better and if we get the terrorism issue sorted out and if Iran calms down, you know, everything should be OK.
RS: As a DJ right now you also, you were really big with Rock the
Vote, what other charity stuff are you doing to help to bring that
piece of message across.
Paul van Dyk: My general approach is the fact that I grew up in a communist dictatorship, so I know what it’s like if there's no freedom of speech. And then when friends of yours suddenly disappear, their whole family just disappears… I know that, so I really appreciate democracy. But it's like while traveling around, I’ve realized that democracy is the best concept we have together to live on this planet, but it’s not perfect. And in order to make it better, it's like the whole society needs to get involved. It starts with going to vote – this is why I was involved in Rock the Vote, to encourage people to go out and actually do so – but it also goes further. It’s like in the small terms, you know, if you see something that's wrong in your neighborhood, go ahead and change it. If you see a granny struggling going over the road, help her, and if you have bigger possibilities to help, then do something bigger. And this is what I do with the charity organizations that I support.