Trance legend Paul Van Dyk was good enough to spend some time chatting with EDM Life just minutes before his EDC Las Vegas closing set. Check out the interview below with what Paul is up to now and his take on the trance/EDM scene:
EDM Life: Paul, first question is: We saw that you just announced a sneaker line with TOMS… How did that come about? Were you directly involved with the design process of the shoes and the eyewear that are featured in the line?
Paul van Dyk: Well, yes, of course! I mean, look right here I have them with me. They contacted my office and said, “Look, we know you’re really into charity projects and things like this”, and then they explained what they were doing. Obviously, I already knew about it and I think it’s a really cool idea. Basically, with every shoe you buy and with every pair of sunglasses you buy, you either support someone’s sight, like the visual capability of someone with glasses or fund an operation if needed, or you provide shoes to people who actually don’t have any. We are actually creating something and bringing a shoe to my audience that, hopefully, they really, really enjoy and we also all do something good in doing so… it was an easy choice to do it.
EDM Life: That sounds great! Now, as we understand it, you don’t have a lot of people doing official remixes for you, but you just did one with the song “Crush” back from ten years ago that you did with Second Sun. Why did you choose that song and why ask someone to do an official remix for you?
Paul van Dyk: Well, the thing is the Las Salinas guys are artists on our label, Vandit Records. They asked if they could do the remix because they loved the track so much, then they came back with something that I really, really, really enjoyed, so we just released it. Sometimes it’s just a very easy story about handing things.
EDM Life: in 2007 you worked with David Byrne from Talking Heads (legendary music artist and producer). Even though the album was done years ago, we’d love to hear how was it working with David?
Paul van Dyk: It was great. It was like he had the same impact on his band as he had on you and me. I was always amazed by the opportunity to be able to work with somebody who has such a big legacy behind him, and I also obviously like the stuff he’s doing now. Well, I wrote the track and he came back with a vocal melody to add to it and then, basically, he wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music. We recorded it in New York and there was the track!
EDM Life: So, we have played in Las Vegas years back at Studio 54 (now Hakkasan). As you know the reputation of the Vegas club scene to be very commercial/Top 40. Recently, they’ve had Carl Cox play here who seems to be successful over at Light, and there’s been some other, less mainstream artists (Jamie Jones, Claude Von Stroke). Have you talked about, or are you looking at possibly doing a Vegas residency… or at least some club dates in the near future?
Paul van Dyk: It was a very conscious decision as to why I wasn’t here as much for the last two to three years. As you just said, what has happened here is not really what electronic music is about. Finally, with what you just mentioned about Carl… many more people that really have their heart in electronic music, rather than the Top 40 dance cheese, seem to be recognized and coming back to Vegas. We’re currently talking about a very interesting project starting towards the second half of this year and further on. What excites me about it is not so much that I’m back in Vegas, but that there’s an acknowledgement… there’s an awareness of what this music means, where it’s coming from, and also what they actually feel is behind it. It’s not about taking a microphone and screaming, “One, two, three… put your f*cking hands up.” There’s much more to this music and this is what sometimes seems to be forgotten, especially in the US and in Vegas. And with the amount of plays I had in Vegas going back like 10, 15 years it’s good to see that happening again.
EDM Life: That sounds great! Now, I’ve heard you do have Politics of Dancing 3 coming out next year, is that right?
Paul van Dyk: No, this year.
EDM Life: This year! It’s been a while, maybe seven years since the last one came out. Is it a classic remix album or more original music.
Paul van Dyk: Yeah, well the thing is the market itself has changed. So in terms of making, let’s say, a DJ mix CD… it’s like it is almost something that’s outdated at some point because nobody gives you tracks six or seven months ahead anymore. So, by the time the CD is out it would be old tracks. Basically, the concept of the next Politics of Dancing is more of a collaboration album with artists that I really, really admire for their work, what they do, and their creativity, so we’re looking at a straight forward September or October release.
EDM Life: You talked a little bit about Vegas and it seems like the scene is finally growing a little bit where fans are opening their horizons a little bit. But do you think in the general US, the way the scene’s blown up, that people are open to new music? For example, maybe they are walking by the stage and happen to hear Loco Dice, or Luciano, or somebody on their way to main stage to watch you, or Calvin Harris, or somebody. Did you notice this year or last year that people are a little more receptive to something that is a little different?
Paul van Dyk: I think in the last 12 months we’ve seen a big change, as I explained before, in awareness. People sort of realize, “We’ve been in front of the main stage for ten hours and have heard the same thing… cheesy tracks, all sounding the same. There must be something more about it.” I think people that go to the festivals, they expect more these days, and they also are aware that there is actually so much more these days. There is already a process of change going on and I see that happening and at the end of the day. It is electronic music and a lot of people enjoy this kind of music. All individual artists, we have our own unique view to it, and I think it’s important to bring that back into the scene. It’s not about just playing the Top 40… ten tracks, jump up and down, and again scream, “One, two, three… put your f*cking hands up.”
EDM Life: We hate to say it, but almost anyone can do that. It doesn’t take a lot of talent to do that.
Paul van Dyk: You don’t need to hate to say it. Almost everyone CAN do that… that’s the point. It’s about what electronic music actually was and is to me, and the scene that I feel is affiliated with creativity and actually binging something across… bringing fun across, bringing energy and a positive vibe across. This is what it’s all about. It’s not about bringing it down to the cheesy common level.
EDM Life: Exactly! Well thank you for your time and we look forward to the new album coming out later this year.
Catch Paul at Exchange LA on August 29th! presales: http://www.wantickets.com/Events/164003/Awakening-ft-Paul-Van-Dyk-EXCHANGE-LA-Los-Angeles/?affCode=1d91c4415b6e440f8a7d
Check out Paul’s 2014 EDC Las Vegas set below!