Paul van Dyk Discusses New Album From Then On in an Exclusive iEDM Interview
Paul van Dyk is stronger than death.
The legendary producer and DJ has seen it all. As a true pioneer on the trance scene, van Dyk has survived many battles, both in his career and life.
With the timely release of his eighth studio album, From Then On, the original electronic music king sat down with iEDM in an exclusive interview to talk about his new music and unique tour that is dazzling fans worldwide.
"The concept of AEON in itself was something else. How can I put it? You know when you're watching movies, the emotions you have...kind of fade away after ten minutes? When you read a book, it lasts a little bit longer. To me, the only thing that has a lasting impact is music. With AEON, we are trying to emphasize that experience," van Dyk told iEDM after his electrifying show in New York City at the Playstation Theater.
He continued, "The visuals and the production all come together to create an even more intense experience. Doing it in New York, having all of that special energy--it's just the right place for it. It was amazing. I really, really had a great time."
The everlasting German DJ is going to mix it up at future shows to keep things interesting. "We are not doing the AEON shows on every stop," said van Dyk. "There will be 'normal' Paul van Dyk shows where it's just me without the extra bits and pieces of production. There's a few more shows along the way. Europe. Then, we are headed back to the States. After that, it's Asia and Australia. It's all very exciting," he grinned.
Currently, the charismatic icon of the trance scene is living his best possible life. After coming back from a fall that almost lead to his ultimate demise, van Dyk recognized how important it was for him to make sure the message of his life's pride and joy got heard.
"I'm actually making my music by myself. How I see my music is how you guys hear my music. I always had a very clear idea as to how it should be heard. As an artist, I have progressed by being human. As I always say, life in general is the biggest experience a person can have, " van Dyk told iEDM.
He elaborated, "It ends up on my music and it always has. As you grow, you become even more mature. You get a better picture of how the world works, somehow. The music becomes more to the point somehow. It matures too, in a way."
It's no surprise that van Dyk was able to put together a modern day masterpiece in From Then On. He appreciated that he was granted the opportunity to do it. It wasn't his time to leave this planet just yet.
"After my accident, I was fighting for my life. I started to see things in a different way. I'm still inspired by life in general but I almost lost my life. Therefore, even the details of just having a walk in the park means so much more than it did before," said the sentimental DJ. He continued, "Going to a supermarket is an exciting experience whereas before it was a drag. Your perspective changes. All of that is always in my music. It's always real. There's not a marketing plan behind it. It's all about the music. One thing that I learned after my accident is how much my music means to me."
By rediscovering his passion, van Dyk would go forward living by his own rules. Nobody was going to tell him otherwise.
"I became even more strict to not make any compromises. It's all to the point. I really think this is my most relevant album ever. Every single beep and bloop on this album is my vision. For me, that's how it has to be. All I can do is offer this and hopefully it reaches people the same way it was initiated by me making it," he nodded.
Besides living each day as if it's his last, van Dyk is known to take a stand for justice and freedom these days. The DJ knows what it is like to not have a voice. Back in 1985, he and his family were living under a Communist state.
"I grew up in East Germany. It was essentially a dictatorship. We weren't allowed to say anything and we weren't allowed to do what we wanted to do. It was always restricted. When the wall went down, freedom of speech was suddenly a part of my life," van Dyk recalled. He took a quick pause to reflect. "I really appreciated it. That's not even the right word for it. I lived that. When somebody tells me to shut up, I'm going to speak even louder," he vigilantly stated.
Taking a stand against oppression, van Dyk was able to achieve a global level of success that was previously unheard of. The DJ told iEDM, "I have a bit of a social conscious. I try to point things out in order to do my part to make a difference. That's what I do on my private time. On the level of being an artist, let's take 'Stronger Together,' for example." "Stronger Together" is one of the standout tracks on From Then On. He continued, "There's a personal reason why it's called that, of course. Without all the initial support and love from my wife, my team, and everybody involved in getting me back on my feet, I wouldn't have been able to do it. On that level, it deeply connected to me."
By being the man of voice and reason in today's EDM scene, he doesn't back down from talking about politics. It's not a shocking revelation because van Dyk has been doing it since 2001's The Politics of Dancing. "It seems that things are more nationalized in the world. Take the environmental issues, for example. Without the USA, the rest of the world is fucked. Without Europe, the USA is fucked. We have to work together. These are global issues. Being outspoken about it...that's just who I am," van Dyk observed of today's political landscape.
He continued to tell iEDM, "It doesn't mean I will take a microphone at one of my shows and talk politics. I don't think that's the right place to do it. It's more about creating this positive vibe and energy. The unity. As I said before, music is that kind of experience that you take with you wherever you go."
The Grammy Award-winning DJ profoundly believes that a better future is possible by encouraging the power of positivity.
"If somebody has a smile on their face because they randomly think of one of my songs, I have achieved that positive vibe. I like that people can take those positive vibes and apply it to their lives. That's the third element in really pushing for change," stated van Dyk.
The popular DJ shifted gears to remember some of his favorite festival memories after getting a new lease on life. "Usually, when you play a certain place for first time, that always remains special. The very first time I played in Mexico, it was in some kind of underground cave setup. It was huge! There were about 7,000 people. I had amazing shows. We just did Dreamstate in Mexico City, with even more people," van Dyk exclaimed. "These moments are great. To me, it's not about so much one individual experience. It's really about being in front of people and putting yourself out there. I'm really passionate about my music and I love what I do," van Dyk told iEDM.
He maintained, "Being in front of my audience--I don't care if it's in front of a small crowd or a gigantic one at a festival. It's always about the interaction. It's about the feeling. I get a rush receiving all of this positive energy. Then, I give it back through the music."
It's never about the number of people in an audience for van Dyk. It's always about the love and respect for music. "All of the festivals I have done were awesome. They really were. When you know there is an audience out there that really appreciates what you do, it means something special. It means a lot to someone who is as passionate as I am," he glowed.
The forefather of trance music then wanted to share a couple of tips for people out there who currently feel lost and angry at the world. "When you have an argument with someone and you fight...We all tend to drag it on much longer than necessary. You don't talk to a person for a day or two or more. You know what? It's total bullshit. At the end of the day, the person you are fighting with means something to you," said van Dyk. He went on to say, "You want to get back together, talk and be friends anyway. So, fuck it. Put it aside, talk about the issue, hug each other, and move forward with positive energy. Don't waste time with being angry. It just doesn't make any sense." The DJ playfully shrugged, "It's about that. It's not always easy. You might be really angry with a person. But you have to remember, that is still your best friend and you have to talk about it and move on. Done."
After letting bygones be bygones, van Dyk forwardly reminded his fans to hold their ground and fight for what's right.
"I think it's very important to have principles. When you see certain things going on in U.S. politics, it's important to stand up for what you believe in. We just had a major elections in Germany as well. The outcome was seen as what people would say, a political landslide," the DJ told iEDM . "The conscious majority prevented the right-wing to come into the parliament by waking the others up. You have to stand up and be straight forward with your principles. Speak up about it. That's what 'Stronger Together' is. We can't do it alone," van Dyk stressed in all sincerity.
Before getting ready for the next stop on his tour, van Dyk wanted to share a special message to the people who never left his side throughout his long and illustrious career. "There are probably a lot of artists out there who don't really appreciate the fans. If I could, I would shake everyone's hand who comes out to see my shows to say, 'Thank you for coming.' It means so much to me. I'm really very thankful for all of the support I have received throughout my career," van Dyk said.
"The emails, cards, videos and thoughts that were sent to me after the accident. Without all of that positive energy, I wouldn't have been able to come back. It was very ambitious and hard to return to the stage," the legend said. After taking a brief pause, he concluded, "I had medical teams standing by. It was so important for me to return. I was almost crying for an entire hour. I just want to thank everyone for being there for me."
You can follow Paul van Dyk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and SoundCloud. You can purchase his new album, From Then On, by clicking HERE. To check out more of your favorite artists in exclusive iEDM interviews, click HERE.
Photos were graciously provided by Kevin Jackson Jr. You can view more of Kevin's work by clicking HERE.