IN CONVERSATION WITH ARMIN VAN BUUREN
Armin van Buuren is a five-time #1 DJ in the world and currently holds the #3 spot. He continues to cultivate a massive worldwide following through his weekly ‘A State Of Trance’ radio show, event series and album series, reaching over 40 million listeners from 80 different countries on a weekly basis.
Those who have been following along with Armin van Buuren’s journey know that meditation and mindfulness have rapidly become positive pillars of his busy life. And that has now led to him joining forces with meditation app ‘Insight Timer’ to launch his own 10-minute routine, complete with a self-produced sound bed and a bonus version with commentary.
Armin, you have a very busy schedule with all of your ongoing projects. Why is finding the balance so important?
Because without balance you risk losing yourself in the process. For me, balance is finding the perfect amount of time between family life, being on the road and being creative in the studio. And that can be a bit of a struggle, because there are only 24 hours in a day and there’s always something I want to do, but might not be able to due to lack of time. In the past couple of years, I’ve made some decisions in my life to make sure that the most important things in my life still happen, like meditation and sports for example. And luckily I have a great team of people around me that help me retain this balance.
You’ve joined forces with the meditation app ‘Insight Timer’ to launch your own 10-minute routine. Tell us more about your decision for this collaboration and putting out your own meditation routine.
I’ve been meditating daily since the pandemic and it’s truly changed my life for the better. During the process of recording the ‘Feel Again’ album and film in partnership with HYMN, I also recorded this guided meditation on the side, as I feel like this was a big part of the ‘Feel Again’ concept. It made me very passionate about sharing the benefits of meditation with as many people as possible.
What will your routine be all about? What can the people expect from it?
The meditation is 10 minutes long, so I think it’s perfect to add to a daily routine. Whilst the meditation itself focuses on steady breathing and a moment of calmness to counter the rush of everyday life, I also recorded a version with commentary as I want to share my story and what brought me to this habit. I hope it will make people feel more relaxed and balanced when the ten minutes are up.
You are one of the world’s biggest DJs and producers in electronic music for over 20 years. What attracted you to electronic music in the first place? When did you know that’s something you want to do in life?
To be honest, I was hooked by dance music the first time I heard it. I got some mixtapes from a friend of mine and I just loved the rebellious sound of it. That passion evolved throughout the years and took me to a place where I wanted to actively take part in it. Back then, there was no DJ Mag or EDC or Tomorrowland, and dance music didn’t have such a massive following. I just wanted to share my passion with the rest of the world and I was lucky enough to somehow build a career out of that.
You are a five-time #1 DJ in the world and currently hold the #3 spot in the annual DJ Mag Top 100 DJs. Besides that, you’ve also been nominated for a Grammy for your hit ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ with Trevor Guthrie. Which of your career accomplishments would you say is the one that had the biggest impact on you?
That’s a difficult question, as there wasn’t just one moment that catapulted me to global success. I think it’s a combination of several moments, such as the early success of ‘Blue Fear’ and ‘Communication’ in the trance scene, the mainstream success and Grammy nomination of ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ later on, and the steady growth of my radio show. There are definitely more, but I believe these are key moments or developments in my career.
Your 2-hour radio show ‘ASOT’ (A State of Trance) is broadcast weekly to over 40 million listeners in more than 80 countries. What inspired you to start this very popular broadcast? Have you expected it to become so succesful when you started it?
It’s just that I was very passionate about dance music and wanted to share that with the rest of the world. Back when ‘A State Of Trance’ started, it was simply me playing some music and sharing my own personal taste with whoever wanted to hear it. Now, sixteen years later, I still find it really hard to believe that such a small show went on to become a way of life for so many people all over the world. If you would’ve told me sixteen years ago that this were to happen, I’d have you admitted in a mental institution. I’m really, really humbled by it all and hope that there are a lot more years of ‘ASOT’ ahead of us.
You are headlining many festivals around the globe, from Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas, New York), Ultra Music Festival (Miami) to Tomorrowland (Belgium) and more. Can you say that any of these festivals stands out as your favorite?
It’s really hard to pick my favorite, because I have a strong connection with all of them. Ultra is the start of the season, EDC is the biggest one in North America for electronic dance music and Tomorrowland is also in a league of its own. And let’s not forget festivals like Untold, where I’ve been lucky enough to create some amazing memories as well. Each has its charm, but I do love the fact that Tomorrowland is so close to home.
This year, two years later than originally planned due to the Corona pandemic, you played your most personal and intimate live shows yet, ‘This Is Me – Feel Again’, through four sold-out shows in the Ziggo Dome. Is there a moment or a performance from your career that holds the most special place in your heart?
My mainstage set at Tomorrowland in 2013 would top the list for sure. My son Remy had just been born and with the blessing of my amazing wife, I went directly to Tomorrowland to play my set, which I dedicated to him. All of the emotions I felt right there and then made for a crazy rollercoaster ride and I’m certain that moment will stay with me forever.
Armin, you are also a Global Oceans Ambassador. In 2019 you joined forces with ‘World Wide Fund for Nature’ (WWF) to motivate millions of people to join the movement and fight against plastic pollution. Why is this cause so important to you?
In between tours, I visited several WWF projects on Bali. And to see the effect of plastic pollution firsthand was truly an eye-opening experience for me. It made me realize that we need to do everything in our power to fix this. I am also a father and I want to give my kids the world they deserve, a world that not only they can appreciate, but one that can be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Do you have any special, exciting projects coming up, that you can share something about?
I just released the first part of the ‘Feel Again’ album trilogy in June, with the second and third installments coming up in the Fall and Winter. This project is very dear to me as the past couple of years have been very trying for everyone and I feel it’s time to not only bring my fans together on dance floors again, but also to show the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career, and in the past two years in particular. I really hope this three-part album will inspire listeners to come together and seize the moment again.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Armada Music
INTERVIEW: Jana Letonja