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Armin van Buuren talks Australia’s Trance scene, new Gaia album & more

Armin van Buuren will return to Australia this weekend.

The King of Trance is just about to land in Australia, and he’s ready to take fans on a mind-blowing journey in Melbourne and Sydney this weekend.

In his musical career, which spans more than 20 years already, there’s isn’t a single style within Trance and Progressive he hasn’t touched, and has kept the spark of diversity going under countless singles and killer performances.

The music legend will headline Istorias massive event at Melbourne’s Festival Hall this Friday and return to Sydney Showground for his much-anticipated A State Of Trance show this Saturday. Ahead of the exciting tour, Armin van Buuren had a chat with Trance Project to talk all things Trance, his upcoming sets, Australia’s Trance scene, new Gaia album and more.

See the full interview below.

How excited are you to bring A State Of Trance back to Sydney?

I’m super excited because there’s such a massive following for Trance music in Australia, as you can see. There’s something in the water in Australia . . . there are a few hotspots for Trance music and Australia is definitely in the top five! Obviously Holland, Poland, Argentina, Mexico and Australia, I think are the hotspots at the moment. There’s something in the water, and you guys are based in Australia with your website, and that shows you that there’s a massive following, along with the talent, especially the new young names. MaRLo is doing really well with his label, pushing a lot of new Australian talent that are bringing really good tunes, and I think Exis is doing extremely amazing at the moment. There’s just so much stuff happening, it’s really exciting.

You will also be performing at Melbourne’s massive Istoria event. What can fans expect from your sets in both cities?

The Sydney event is an A State Of Trance event, so that will be more based around the theme, ‘Be In The Moment’, and if you watch my set on YouTube that I did at Utrecht, you’ll have a bit of a glimpse of exactly what we’re going to do with the visuals, the theme, and my set, which obviously had more Trance compared to my Ultra Miami mainstage set. Istoria is also a trance event as well, but it really depends on the mood of the crowd at that specific event, and I know a lot of people expect a lot of Trance stuff, but I’m going to start my set based on what the crowd reaction is like.

Gaia will return to Sydney for another thrilling set. How close are we to finally see an album released under your classic Gaia alias?

I’m actually working on it as we speak. We’re setting up to be more of a live act and move away a bit from the DJing which I do as Armin van Buuren, but Gaia is more of a live act. It just takes a lot of time, with producing all these singles, doing the radio show every week, touring the world, and being a father and husband as well, it’s just hard to find time. We do have about twenty to thirty songs ready to go, we just need to bundle them and we need to get our heads around what we’re going to name it and what theme is going to be. I’m not worried about the music, I’m more worried about how we’re going to interpret the new sound into a stage theme. With Gaia, I have more creative freedom in the sense that I want to go more underground, more into that Tech sound, rather than the Armin van Buuren sound which is obviously more uplifting and melodic. With Gaia, I can explore more of my darkside, if you will, haha.

Throughout your ASOT radio shows, you’ve asked many DJs whether Trance is making a comeback, and we want to hear your thoughts on the current state of Trance. Is Trance music in a good place right now?

I think it is. Our list of numbers have doubled if you see the YouTube views that we have every week on a single episode of A State Of Trance, and you can see there’s still a massive following. Almost every week we have a new artist coming up. Next week, Hazem Beltagui will release an incredible album called ‘Vivid’ on Future Sound Of Egypt, and he is just one of the few really positive signs of Trance music right now.

Moving forward as well, I think Trance music is reinventing itself with guys like MaRLo who bring a different sound to things, and guys like Orjan Nilsen, Andrew Rayel and also Exis. There’s many examples to mention, and then there’s a couple of guys who still hold onto the older Trance sound which is absolutely fine, but that caters to that more classic, maybe older Trance crowd, but there’s also a really young crowd, which is what we saw in Utrecht.

Right now, when I do a radio show, I get to only play 30 tracks every week, and I always have 60 tracks I want to play, so there’s still so much music out there. I remember when starting A State Of Trance, I had a hard time just finding 18 tracks, which was the average number of tracks I use to play in the beginning of my radio show, and it was really hard to find 18 good new tracks each week. Now there’s just so much new music, and its really an uncomfortable position sometimes, because I know when I play a track on my radio show, it automatically generates attention to that specific artist, so I really don’t want to let anybody down, especially the younger generation because I feel like they need the support, so it’s a big responsibility.

I think Trance is in at a wonderful position, because there use to just be one sound, which was Trance, and right now, if you closely look at what’s happening within Trance, there’s all these little islands forming. Hate them or love them, it is fact of the matter. You have the FSOE crew, the Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz sound, then there’s Dash Berlin who went a little more commercial and more EDM-ish, and Andrew Rayel’s sound and the whole lot. Then you have Simon Patterson and the whole VII crew by John Askew, and there’s many of those little islands, and so there’s a Trance sound for almost everybody. Even if you are just remotely interested into the genre, there is a Trance sound for you. With A State Of Trance, I want to be the home for all these sounds, and I think all artists should be part of the show. If you listen to A State Of Trance, I want to guarantee you that 70% – 80% of tracks that matter in Trance, you will hear! I mean, I’m not perfect, of course I miss out sometimes on a few tracks, but you’ll hear most of the music that matters.

Whether its EDM-ish kind of Trance, Uplifting Trance or Psy-Trance, I want to be the home for all those types of Trance, and I think that’s what makes Trance music so strong at the moment.

When we did the event in Utrecht we had sold 32,000 tickets with five rooms that played completely different music. I went to all the rooms, I saw the Psy room just packed, the Psy-Trance guys just rocked it. Then we had the Who’s Afraid Of 138?! room which was completely packed and there was a really uplifting atmosphere going on, with guys like Jorn van Deynhoven who were really rocking it with classic uplifting sounds, it was beautiful. We had the progressive room with guys like John OO Fleming and Airwave, and I was really surprised, because that was kind of a new thing that we did, and there were a lot of young people there who were really into the more Eric Prydz kind of sound, so that was really going off as well.

To make a long story short, Trance is really in a good place right now.

Do you have any final words for all you die-hard fans?

I’m super honoured and glad to see that after all these years of touring, I’m still coming back to Australia. The ticket sales are doing really well for the event in Sydney, and to see the love of Australian fans, the love of Trance music in general and the support from you guys with your website has been nothing but amazing. To have a radio show that’s been going for almost 20 years, all the support we get from Australia is wonderful, and the only thing I’m feeling right now is super thankful for all the support that we get and I really can’t wait to come back to Australia, I just hate the long flight, haha!

Trance fans can catch Armin van Buuren at Festival Hall in Melbourne for Istoria this Friday and ASOT 850 at Sydney Showground this Saturday.

Check out Armin van Buuren’s latest singles

Sex, Love & Water feat. Conrad Sewell

‘The Last Dancer’ feat. Shapov

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Written by Miguel Ramirez

My name is Miguel, and i'm a trance addict.

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Trance music is in a good place right now, according to Armin van Buuren