Interview: Paul van Dyk, Keeping Electronic Music Real
By Scott T. Sterling
Paul van Dyk doesn’t have time for what he calls “EDM soup.”
The veteran German DJ/producer has been making dance music and spinning at massive events around the world since the mid-’90s, existing in the upper echelon of first-generation “superstar DJs” who can still command headline status in the current whirlwind of EDM in America and beyond.
He’s also a GRAMMY nominee, with his 2003 full-length, Reflections, among those that vied for the inaugural Best Dance/Electronica Album prize in 2005, which just so happened to be the first year that award was given out. Unfortunately, he went on to lose to Basement Jaxx and their album, Kish Kash. But, it’s an honor just to be nominated.
While some of his contemporaries have stayed relevant by adapting to the changing tides in dance music, van Dyk has remained true to the trance sound he helped pioneer, pushing his music forward without succumbing to traditional pop leanings or catering to radio station formats.
“My look at electronic music comes from a different point,” he explained during an interview with Radio.com. “When I started DJing, the DJ was the freak in the corner while other people had fun. It was about the music, and it developed from a small subculture into probably the biggest music culture in the world.”
According to van Dyk, what we’re seeing now is just an “influx in pop music,” a wave of danceable music that has gotten the mainstream audience’s attention. But Van Dyk knows how trends work.
“I mean, if one of the big rock bands comes up with a really cool album, then everything is rock driven again,” he explained. “I don’t want electronic music to die once the EDM hype is over. This music is there to stay forever, therefore we need to focus on artists who made music that lasts longer than three minutes on the radio.”