Exclusive Interview: Paul Van Dyk Talks Dreamstate And Matters Of Industry Vs. Artistry


As aftershocks from last weekend’s inaugural edition of Insomniac’s all-trance festival, Dreamstate, continue to rock the world of electronic music, speculations of a major comeback for trance seem all the more plausible. Being that Paul Van Dyk was a legendary DJ and producer of the genre since back when it towered over other dance music genres, his inclusion on the festival’s lineup was practically a necessity – and if you’re familiar with his strong convictions regarding musical integrity, then you can guess that he had quite a bit to say about the occasion.

Shortly before his spectacular performance, Paul Van Dyk sat down with us to discuss a series of topics. In his typically well-spoken manner, he delved into music’s personal meaning to him – which is rooted in the struggles that accompanied growing up in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall – and how he still considers trance to be “something for the future.”

Check it out below, and enjoy!

I’m not sure if you’ve paid a lot of attention to the social media attention surrounding Dreamstate, but people are kind of ranting and raving about this festival. How excited are you to be here?

Paul Van Dyk: Of course, I mean, I’ve kind of been involved and known about it from the very first thoughts, so it’s amazing to be here and see it actually happening and see that the turnout and response is this big. I don’t know, I just get goosebumps. It’s really, really, really cool.

If you knew about Dreamstate since its inception, does that mean that you’ve played a bigger role in the festival outside just being one of the artists booked for it?

PVD: Well the thing is that the guys who are running it – Jeff, Dave and Pasquale from Insomniac – they don’t need my expertise. They’ve all been part of what our music means from the beginning, and they all went to very different places, so I think it’s a very clear signal that some of the most creative figureheads, like, electronic producers and promoters, are doing this. It’s a clear indication that you just can’t beat our music.

I hope this isn’t too forward of me to ask, but it could be said that you’ve been more overlooked by the contemporary EDM generation than, say, an artist like Tiësto has. If you were to be really honest with yourself, would you say that you feel any resentment over that?

PVD: Define “artist” in that question. I think that’s my answer to that.

For the most recent Politics of Dancing you switched over to an all-original format instead of a compilation format. What prompted you to do so in spite of the additional workload that comes along with such a dramatic change?

PVD: Well, the music industry has changed so much. In the past I was being sent promos a lot of months in advance, and I would choose this and this and this and this and remix it and put it all together, but because everything moves so much faster nobody does that anymore – so instead of actually taking other people’s music, I went to the studio with the people and created new music. It was actually much more fun, and much more me on the album than on any of the previous ones. Everyone who was involved in this, we all knew this was something that put our music genre back on the map so we all did our best to do so.