The story of Grammy-nominated DJ, producer and scene-starter Paul van Dyk doesn’t begin in the ’91 techno incubator of Tresor, a ’95 Twilo-era Manhattan or the superclubs of Ibiza or London in 1997… It begins in 1985, in his mum’s kitchen. It was there in communist East Berlin that Paul van Dyk first caught the sounds of synthesised music coming over the radio waves from the west. It was among the most propitious of meetings and its effect, in shaping the course of 20+ years of electronic music history, difficult to overstate.
From the earliest ignition points of “For An Angel,” “Perfect Day” and his “Age Of Love” & “Love Stimulation” remixes, through to 2015 singles like “Guardian” and “Louder,” for The Politics of Dancing 3 album due out May 5 on Ultra Music PvD’s gone from trance music’s standard-bearer to its most abiding & respected influence. Throughout its course, his career has provoked the use of expressions like ‘musical pioneer’, designations ranging from ‘originator’ to ‘icon’ and descriptions including ‘humanitarian,’ ‘pacifist’ & ‘altruist’.
Onstage: A performer with a natural and instinctive stage touch, PvD circles the globe 16 times a year, entertaining club & festivalgoers numbered in the millions. On Barra Beach in Rio de Janeiro, during the 2008 New Years celebrations, he performed to an unprecedented, then record-setting audience totalling nearly 1.5 million people. Over the last five years he has moved away from being a conventional ‘mixing-two-tracks’ DJ towards a hybridized live-on-stage, concert-like approach to his shows.
Now in their 16th year, his shows at the Cream nights @ Amnesia in Ibiza constitute one of club history’s longest standing residencies. In 2010, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, van Dyk staged the We Are One event at the O2 World Berlin arena. It drew a capacity 17,000-strong crowd and featured Armin van Buuren, The Blueman Group and Underworld on the bill. Van Dyk has subsequently hosted We Are One one-day outdoor festivals in 2013 and 2014 at the city’s historic Zitadelle Spandau venue. The 2015 edition will take place at Berlin’s unique beach location Rummeslburg on July 4th, with a sunset-to-sunrise concept experience.
The musician: As a music producer Paul’s achieved comparable success to that of his onstage career. In 1994 he produced “For An Angel,” a track that two decades after it was recorded was hailed by MixMag as the eighth Greatest Dance Track of All Time. In 1997 he remixed “Age of Love” – a record that also regularly tops the lists of electronic music’s greatest-ever. Of late, the U.K.’s DJ Mag described his “Guardian” release as “…a surprising, listen-without-prejudice milestone,” rating it 9.5/10. “Come With Me”– the anthem for the 2014 edition of his We Are One Festival (recorded alongside Ummet Ozcan)–met with similar praise from MixMag. The electronic music bible said the track had “natural note arrangements,, featured “straight-to-the-heart-pianos” and (giving it 9/10) a “lightning strike of a riff.”