Throughout human history, there have been two essential aspects of how we’ve influenced and recorded the past. You have those who create history, and those that document it. There is then another class formed of these two aspects, one that consists of those that do both. And within this class of pioneers, we have legendary DJ, Armin Van Buuren.
The electronic music veteran is now celebrating his silver jubilee in dance music, whilst simultaneously clocking in a milestone for having done 1000 episodes on his weekly ASOT radio show. ASOT (A State of Trance) first began in 2001, and has since made its way to 84 countries, counting over 40 million listeners. Armin Van Buuren himself has a whopping 170 singles to his name, in addition to the ASOT show, that essentially documents everything in electronic music as it happens.
A legend in the dance music scene, the Dutch DJ has not only made trance bigger than ever, he has also opened it to the masses, pivoting the initially-underground genre straight into mainstream ranks.
Armin Van Buuren’s legacy is startling, and extremely well-deserved. His career has lot of lessons for fans and budding musicians alike to draw inspiration from.
Here are the 5 things we learned from Armin Van Buuren:
1. The Art of Simplicity
Very often, the simplest things are the most difficult to pull off in electronic music. Be it his track or his set or his brand, over the years, Armin has mastered the art of keeping things simple yet highly impactful.
Back then, trance was popular with a niche audience. It was Armin (right after Ti*sto) who made it to the main stage. The energy in his tracks is a testament to the concept of less is more. His tracks ‘This Is What It Feels Like’, ‘Another You’, and the recent ‘Love Is Gone Remix’ are excellent examples.
With an extended intro and running bassline, we are introduced to a long vocal breakdown with uplifting melodies and have us throwing our hands up well before the drop. Alongside giants like Giuseppe Ottaviani, he revolutionized uplifting trance music.
For his body of work and contribution to Dutch music, Armin was awarded the Golden Harp by Buma/Stemra. In recognition of his contribution to the Dutch dance and music industry, he was named Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau. The City Mayor of Leiden has also presented him with the Key to (Freedom) of Leiden.
In other words, this shows that he believes in hard work and dedication and his motto is keep on going.
2. Adapt and Evolve
When the road is long, you can’t stick to one thing. It is precisely this path that Armin followed during his 25-year career. Clearly, he understands the need of the hour.
While his first love is trance, a genre that has gone through several transformations especially in the last decade and a half, he has also produced tracks covering electro house, pop, R&B, etc. Although many veterans have had difficulty adapting, Armin has consistently reinvented his sound and evolved with the scene.
His recent releases, as well as his ‘Balance’ album all experiment with a variety of genres and styles. We have future bass, trap, house, moomba, pop, slap house, psy trance, hardstyle, deep house, tropical house, and we’ve only named a few! Basically, everything he sees, he touches, and turns into hits.
Over time, his live acts have also changed. Besides pulling 12-hour long dance marathons, he strives to create an experience like no other for each live performance. An example can be found in his song ‘This Is A Test’, in which he engages with his fans via a stage gimmick. It is evident he knows how to perform when it counts. Take a look at the live footage below.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exaXMG2umpE]
He also recently announced that his new live act ‘THIS IS ME’ will finally take place in 2022, after being cancelled three times due to the pandemic. Not only is he evolving as an artist, but as a person as well. His constant drive to break all limits and not be a guy behind the decks keeps him at the top, and amongst the very best.
3. Building a Community
Armin is the kind of person that is always striving for growth. Along with making a career for himself, he has created an ecosystem for other artists through his label, Armada.
The label has won the ‘Best Global Record Label award for five years in a row at the International Dance Music Awards. With his help, many talented artists have started their own careers, such as Vini Vici, Lost Frequencies, Goldfish, Shapov, and Andrew Rayel.
There is no doubt that ASOT holds the largest fan base of trance music. With more than 40 millions listeners, it is one of the largest communities within dance music right now. The show has bagged awards within numerous categories – Best Radio Show, Best Electronic Music Show and Best Podcast, to name a few. ASOT first began as a radio show, but is now also a sublabel to Buuren’s Armada.
4. Picking the right time to release
For any artist, this is the most challenging task. However, Armin seems to control time as well. We mentioned that as a man who knows the need of the hour, he knows very well how to proceed with his releases. Even though he has released countless singles, remixes, compilations, edits, and even albums, he has never had a bad release because of the ‘wrong timing’. Analysis and planning are done way ahead of time, and he knows what will prove effective, and he knows when.
Psy trace, for example, played big for a while, that’s when he released ‘Great Spirit’ along with Vini Vici and Hilight Tribe. This was followed by tracks like ‘Blah Blah Blah’ and ‘Turn It Up’, which are still among his most popular tracks on YouTube today.
Armin definitely has a knack for choosing the right moment to release his music, and he ensures that the release has a far-reaching impact.
5. His Vision
Our journey with the maestro has just reached halfway, and he seems to be far from done. Armin Van Buuren continues to explore the world of music, and takes us on a new route to an unlived universe with every release.
Via a post recently shared on his facebook Armin says,
“I have found myself being more productive than ever. I’ve used the time to create a lot of new music and collaborated with both household names and new talents.”
Now, with the pandemic nearly over and the festival season underway, we can’t wait to see the god of trance return to the decks, and take us with him into another realm. We’re hype, you should be too!