Arminvan Buuren is a happy man, and with good reason. Holding firm at Number2 in the prestigious public-voted DJ Top 100, he’s making thetransition from talented young upstart to leading light in the echelonsof trance – and beyond. 2005 has brought two new significant awards(Best Radio Show, and Best Compilation for A State of Trance 2004 atthe Miami Winter Music Conference Awards), and a stunning new artistalbum, Shivers,showcasing his debut as a songwriter.Affrontedby the cheesy tag that dogged it for a brief time real trance hascontinued to grow unabated, and the WMC awards reflect Armin’s successin producing and playing quality tunes that both excite existing fansand bring new people to the scene. “I think trance is becoming abroader term for a lot of different genres; it’s no longer a specifickind of music within the dance scene,” says Armin, widely credited withcreating the blueprint track for the genre, Blue Fear, at the tenderage of 19,. “Trance has elements of all different types of music. Iplay a lot of tracks that are labelled as progressive, tribalprogressive, techno, trance, euphoric trance, vocal trance, melodicprogressive… Born inLeiden, Holland (on December 25, 1976) to a musical family – his dadhad a serious penchant for a diverse range of genres including punk andelectronica “to get rid of the stress of everyday life”, while hisbrother is a prodigious guitar player – Armin indulged his passion formusic from a young age, blowing all the money from his paper round onrecords. His mum won a computer when he was 10, “So as a little nerdykid I was writing my own Basic programmes, and learnt about thetechnology from there.” He progressed from making the usual tapes forhis friends, put together on a cheap set of decks that he wore outlearning to mix, after discovering his uncle experimenting withdifferent sequences on his computer. “I was so amazed at what he wasdoing, since that moment I’ve been addicted to creating music!”In the early 90s, Holland’s upfront dance scenemeant that although Armin was too young to go clubbing, he knew themusic inside out from listening to the radio. “I loved dance musicimmediately – this great rebellious sound that was so different to the‘beautiful’ songs of the 80s”. Citing electronic pioneer Jean MichelJarre as a major influence (famed for his awesome visuals as well ashis groundbreaking synth sounds), as well as Dutch producer BenLiebrand, who later mentored him in his mixing and producing, Armin wassoon cracking out consistently stand-out tunes that graced compilationsacross the globe, and his DJ bookings were looking pretty healthy toboot. But despite his music career taking off at such an early age,Armin thought it was wise to have something extra in case the DJingdidn’t work out, and studied for a law degree. He actually got a joboffer with a law firm but says it’s not really his thing, though hedoes acknowledge he'd look good in a suit…The final year of his course wasinevitably stretched as he juggled his studies with his increasinglyhectic schedule; his meteoric rise to fame included a slew of acclaimedproductions and remixes, as well as playing out to packed clubs everyweekend resonating with the vibe of thousands of happy party people.
Hetook three years to graduate, but with typical determination saw it outto the end.While the remix offers now flood in, Armin onlytakes on tunes that he really loves, and that “I wish I’d made myself!”His compilations strive to follow that precedent, always comprising thecream of his current favourite tracks and mixes. It’s what keeps himone step ahead. His desire to showcase more of the wealth of good musicout there, along with the number of people sending him tracks theywanted to release, led to the obvious step of starting his own label,Armada, in 2003."Maykel Piron was head of A&R for Warner Music,and we always said we'd start a label together, though there was alwaysan element of bragging! I took him to Ibiza for a weekend, and durgthe trip we sat on the terrace and started talking. He felt like hewanted a new challenge, and so did I". They teamed up with a thirdpartner, David Lewis, who'd previously managed Armin, and the ventureflourished. "What we wanted was a company that could offer everythingfor an artist: representation, a booking agency, and a record company.Artists can choose full management, or to just release a record or playout at gigs. Armada lets the artists choose what they want withouttelling them what to do".After four years of fronting his own weekly radioshow, A State Of Trance, Armin signed a deal with The Radio Department(also home to John Digweed and Carl Cox's shows) to distribute itinternationally. Now online and on fm stations, u can check that on ( http://scintillated-slider.blogspot.com ) or his website (www.arminvanbuuren.com)details who is already broadcasting it – and the list is still growing.“There’s more new listeners because more people can access it now. Ithink trance is a universal experience; it’s one of the first musicalgenres that really showed its power through the internet, and Iwouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for downloads!”"This is just what I want," says Armin. "It’s notlove for music, it’s a passion, and it goes beyond liking, and beyond ahobby, it’s about a way of living. Music is essential for my life”.