With trance undergoing its much-hyped third renaissance if you believe it had ever died the boy Buuren, widely credited withcreating the blueprint track for the genre, Blue Fear, at the tender age of 19, is back with another storming compilation to satisfy the worldwide desire for quality dance music. His meteoric rise to fame has seen a slew of acclaimed productions and remixes, as well as playing out to packed clubs every weekend resonating with the vibe of thousands of happy party people. Add to that his current status as No. 3 in DJ Mag's Top 100 and it seemns things couldn't be looking rosier for the trance scene or its young protÃ©gÃ©e.
"Trance for me as a genre refers to the old Oakenfold sound, the warm melodic driving music, not the euphoric cheese with vocals, predictable breaks and drumrolls that you hear now in the charts. There are a lot of different definitions of the genre, but to meit's just warm electronic dance music, anything from progressive to techno. Don't be a prisoner of your own style, is what I always say; don't get caught up in the bullshit of your own creativity!â€º Armin's Blue Fear, a Sasha and Digweed staple, previewed his signature style: divine layering of sounds, lush chords and a continuous driving beat with that intangible added extra, the unique essence that sets quality tunes apart when you hear them in a set.
His compilations strive to follow that precedent, always comprising the cream of his current favourite tracks and mixes. It'swhat keeps him one step ahead. This same desire to showcase the wealth of good music out there led him to the obvious step of starting his own label, Armada."Maykel Piron was head of A&R for Warner Music, and we always said we'd start a label together, though there was always an elementof bragging!
I took him to Ibiza for a weekend, and during the trip we sat on the terrace and started talking. He felt like he wanted a new challenge, and so did I". Whilst we all make spontaneous decisions during a stint on the White Isle, Armin and co. went the distance, teaming up with a third partner, David Lewis, whoâ„¢d managed Armin and the current # 1 and # 6 of the DJ Magazine Top 100. "The market's changed so much. What we wanted was a company that could offer everything for an artist, representation, a booking agency, and a record company. Artists can choose full management; or to just release a record or play out at gigs. Armada lets the artists choose what they want without telling them what to do".
Freedom is something that Armin fully appreciates as an artist, and all the tracks on his compilations are tried and tested, be iton the radio show, at gigs, or in his own living room. "Production gives you more freedom 'cos you can experiment more, it can be less obvious than djing. Whatever - it's the best life there is! It has to do with taste. I don't often get to hear other djs' sets, but I like that I'm not particularly influenced by anyone else. Some of my sets have influences of house or breaks, but I still have a certain sound that's my ownâ€º.His three year old radio show, A State Of Trance, goes out every Thursday, 8-10pm on ID&T Radio. Armin modestly puts this obviously successful venture down to a happy accident.
"A friend of mine [Jaydee (Plastic Dreams)] was radio director and he asked me to have my own show. I was stunned! I went to the studio to talk about it and took some records to do a demo; that became my first show! It was great, itâ„¢s given me a chance to experiment with stuff, and it's all about a universal party feeling, a warm upfor your weekend, as opposed to being about meâ€ž I want people to enjoy the show without thinking it's some sort of Armin love-in..."Despite his music career taking off at such an early age, Armin thought it was wise to have something extra in case the djing didn't work out, and studied for a law degree. He actually got a job offer with a law firm but says it's not really his thing, though he does acknowledge he'd look good in a suitâ€žInstead, he's now impressing judges of a different kind and has just scored a prestigious Dancestar Award 2004 nomination (Best New Artist Album) for his debut release, 76; you can expect the second album to drop in 2005...
A recent landmark on his road to stardom is his first official global residency with Godskitchen for 2004, playing parties all over the world as well as monthly at Air in Birmingham, UK, all fitted in between his international touring, radio show, and label. Not that he's likely to get intimidated or burnt out by his initial success, mind. "This is just what I want," says Armin. "It's not love for music, it's a passion, and it goes beyond liking, beyond a hobby, it's about a way of living. Music is essential for my life