He is the founder of a movement. The host of a weekly highlight. And the man responsible for 12 years of A State of Trance. Armin van Buuren looks back on 600 episodes. Years of hard work, selecting the right music and finding the latest exclusives, come together in the biggest world tour he’s ever done. In the middle of ‘The Expedition’, we hooked up with Armin himself, to find out all about his ASOT memories, the trance community and educating the listeners. Armin:“Radio is not only meant to please your ears but also to challenge people to stay open to new sounds.”
Hey Armin! Welcome back from the first two ASOT600 shows. What’s the first thing going through your mind looking back on the nights in Madrid & Mexico?
Armin:”Only one word: insane! Both venues were full within 30 minutes after we opened the door. This isn’t normal for events. People just don’t want to miss a single second of it. It’s amazing and insane! After all the campaigning by the fans for months, I was afraid maybe the hype was too big, but I hope we managed to please everyone with the level of production and sound. Also, I think the DJ’s I’ve invited did a really good job! The show in Mexico was the best ASOT show we’ve ever done, simply because of the atmosphere and crowd reaction.”
We believe congratulations are in order – so congrats on the 600th episode! :) How does that feel? Overwhelming to have so many people celebrate along?
Armin:”It does feel overwhelming. I’m deeply honoured by all the positive things that are happening for the show and for the sound in general. I’ve always said ASOT is not only a show for but also a show by the fans. That’s why I have items like the ‘Future Favorite’ & ‘ASOT Classic’. These are records chosen by the audience. The show wouldn’t be where it is without the fans, so it feels amazing to see so many people celebrating along.”
It’s nearly 13 years since A State of Trance kicked off. What are some of the best memories of that time – when you were still doing them live?
Armin:”One time they were renovating the studio in Amsterdam where I was doing the early episodes of ASOT. The studio was on a rolling platform and that started moving in the middle of a set so I had to move around the studio to keep the mix going haha. I loved it when it was in Dutch and in this small studio and a lot of producers stopped by for a coffee. I still miss doing the ‘XXL’ episodes with specials about certain artists.”
What’s the best advice you can give to anyone with his or her own radio show or plans to set one up?
Armin:”I think it’s important to ask yourself what you want to bring to the listener. Would you listen to this show if it wasn’t made by you? Would you find it interesting? What does your show add to the shows that are already out there? I think it’s important to explain to the listener why you are playing the tunes that you are playing. Why do YOU like them and why should the listener like them?”
Other radio shows have celebrated milestones, but none are like ASOT. What makes the A State of Trance celebrations so much different from the others?
Armin:”I think it has to do with the strong community. What trance does to people, I haven’t seen in other styles in music. Some people live and breathe this music. Also, I hope the people can see we’re not making the easy choices by going to the exact same locations every year. This is also what makes each event special.”
It’s your first world tour that’ll be broadcast live through video. Coming from the radio era, does that feel like a big change you have to get used to first?
Armin:”Not really to be honest. We’re still making radio, and not a TV show. But there was so much demand for it. People want to be as close as possible. The only thing is that now I need to watch what I’m wearing haha.”
Also new, are the Google+ Hangouts! What’s it like, interacting with the fans right there on the spot?
Armin:”It’s crazy to see groups of fans going crazy to the same music that we’re playing on the other side of the world. People wearing banners, flags, and making their own private party. This is what I meant with ‘turning the world into a dancefloor’. Really cool!”
Your warm-up sets are always very much appreciated by the listeners and visitors of ASOT. Is that a musical side of you we’ll be getting to know better in the near future?
Armin:”Progressive has ALWAYS been a part of the show. Listen to the earlier episodes of ASOT! A State of Trance has always been about the latest in trance and progressive. I like to have a solid build-up in the night. We start with the warm up set and we end with ‘Who’s Afraid of 138?’. Radio is not only meant to please your ears but also to challenge people to stay open to new sounds. I really love this sound, so I feel I should support it.”
So, after that smashing edition in Madrid and the massive Mexico show, do you think you’ll be able to top that for the next events?
Armin:”It’s going to be hard! But I have good hope, since we have completely different line ups. I’m curious what the other DJ’s will bring to the Expedition..”
Have you got anything special planned for your sets, a classic set at Den Bosch for example?
Armin:”I like to play a few classics in every set but I try to stay away from a 100% classics set for the moment. This may disappoint a few people but I want to focus on the future sound of trance. ASOT is all about moving forward with the sound and trying to get the younger generation involved. I want to have an open mind for new sounds. I don’t want to get stuck in playing the same 10 classics on classics parties all over the world. This would kill the sound. Having said that, I do like classics and I do like to play them so you will definitely hear a few!”
You’ve had 2 weeks off until the next ASOT600 in Sao Paulo. Worked on your artist album?
Armin:”Nope, proud to say the album is now finished and I’m working on completing the artwork now.”
Not too long until it’s being released, right!? What can we expect and are you in any way nervous to share this with the world?
Armin:”I am nervous but this is not the reason why I can’t share anything with you yet. We’re still signing contracts with a few people so we need to get that out of the way before I can reveal anything. But it will be very soon!!”
We’re also celebrating the release of A State of Trance 2013 of course! Loads of good tracks to choose from this year? Which ones were produced especially for ASOT?
Armin:”All my own tracks, except the remix for ‘The Killing’ which of course was an assignment for the label.”
What about an official A State of Trance 600 compilation? Is it in the making?
Armin:”Yes, I’m happy to say I’ve just finished my mix and it should be available in Den Bosch on April 6th!”
Last question: anything you’d like to say to the millions of people tuning into ASOT?
Armin:”I want to express my gratitude to all the fans of the show. Without you, there would be no A State of Trance. Without all the debates and enthusiasm on twitter, Google+ and Facebook I couldn’t do this. This is what keeps ASOT alive and what keeps the sound alive. Thank you!!”