For those who have followed dance music well before the EDM craze in America, you have absolutely heard of Paul van Dyk. The legendary German DJ/musician/producer born Matthias Paul has won more awards than the Pittsburgh Steelers have Super Bowl championships, ranging from the coveted No. 1 spot on DJ Mag's Top 100 to various International Dance Music Awards. With six full-length albums, including his latest, Evolution; movie soundtracks such as the one for Dark Knight, for which he shares a Grammy Award; and various video-game tracks, van Dyk has been touching people with his music for well more than two decades. He is currently on his (R)evolution tour, which stops at Heat Ultra Lounge in Anaheim on Wednesday, with opening support from Matt Darey.
Growing up as a child behind the Berlin Wall, van Dyk used the radio as his escape to the outside world, and his passions for dance music grew. "There's a lot of freedom and creativity in the music, and the technology enables you to be completely free," van Dyk says. "It's about the vast opportunity as a composer, arranger and remixer that makes it so special from other styles [of music]." His arsenal onstage is impressive: two computers, keyboards and various mixing controllers that give him the opportunity to play live at most shows. "I had some drums going and started to play a hook line while test driving songs for Evolution," he says. "There were quite a few songs, but 'Symmetries,' 'Verano' and 'Rock This' had the strongest composing onstage."
When van Dyk appeared on the scene, trance, house and techno were very separate genres, but over the years, they began incorporating elements of one another. As with his 2012 album title, the 41-year-old's sound has evolved over the years to mature with the changing technology in electronic dance music. "I'm very passionate in what I do, and I do it with all my heart," he says. "As you change and grow as a person, you gain experience and have the confidence to try new things artistically." This includes a lot of collaborations with artists who inspire him and stemming away from traditional trance.
On top of his vagarious tour schedule; his record label, Vandit; and a weekly radio show, Vonyc Sessions, van Dyk recently launched PvD TV—giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at his life and the places he travels on a weekly basis. "One of the things that is very special is the connection I create with my audience, as [fans] saw at Ultra Music Festival," says van Dyk. "Knowing that Swedish House Mafia was playing their last show at the same time on the main stage is probably the hardest thing to compete with." Yet his song selections, remixes and original productions worked perfectly, and you could see the crowd had his same passion for the music. "I'm in the fortunate position that I am able to go to these places around the globe, and PvD TV lets my fans feel the music and energy from them."
These are exciting times for van Dyk, who recently restructured his production and marketing team to keep going forward in the directions of his visions. "I'm happy that I am able to maintain my old fans, who are people who have followed me for 15 to 20 years and are a part of my journey, while continuously gaining new fans who are new to EDM," says van Dyk. "I'm so passionate about being able to reach the people I am able to touch and that people still enjoy what I do." It's evident the DJ has no plans to slow down. With a summer residency at Cream Ibiza at the newly remodeled club Amnesia and his own We Are One Festival in Berlin, the electronic music pioneer is more relevant than ever. Expect a very intimate and intense show at Heat Ultra Lounge, as the massive Funktion One sound system and low DJ booth offer this true connection he so desperately yearns for.
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