This is a man driven by an unbridled and relentless passion for music. Armin van Buuren is a born perfectionist, striving to stay on top of the scene he’s helped build. The flag-bearer of the trance movement, he’s one of the most influential figures in EDM worldwide. Even though he lives an extraordinary life as one of the world’s most popular DJs, he has always remained a down-to-earth guy. Armin van Buuren is constantly on the move, either with the music he creates in his studio or en route to his next high-end club or festival show around the globe.
Armin: “It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby. It’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life.”
For more than 15 years, the Grammy-nominated Dutchman has been living to the rhythm of his own international success. His 5-time number one position in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag Top 100 poll has been the result of his loyalty to fans, his creativity in the studio, the perseverance with which he hosts his weekly radio show ‘A State of Trance’, and the energy he brings to the crowds in front of him. Despite the heavy pressure that comes along with being one of the world’s most popular DJs, Armin has always kept his focus on the music. And that’s exactly what keeps him going.
No matter how many hours Armin van Buuren has travelled to get there, as soon as he enters the DJ booth, the Dutchman puts his full focus on the music, the crowd, and how those two will combine. As soon as the beats of his first record have kicked in, the room lights up and chanting starts to fill the air. To witness a set of Armin van Buuren is to be blown away — to completely lose yourself into the music and be one with the people around you. Mixed seamlessly, he created his own sound and style, making his DJ sets a unique experience. He unites millions, not only through the gigs in his challenging schedule, but also through his ‘Armin Only’ and ‘A State of Trance’ world tours.
Armin has had the privilege of performing at some of the world’s biggest and best festivals, clubs, events, and shows. One of the highlights of his career so far was Armin’s performance for the newly crowned King and Queen of The Netherlands, Willem-Alexander and Máxima. Together with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in front of the monarchs and 15,000 fans, he performed both ‘The Bolero’ as well as an orchestral version of the title track from his ‘Intense’ album. During the ‘koningsvaart’ (a special, cultural boat-trip through the city of Amsterdam), the King and Queen surprised both the crowd as well as Armin by getting on stage and dancing along with him.
Another highlight was Armin’s DJ set at the Museumplein in Amsterdam in July 2010, during the ceremonial honoring of the Dutch soccer team. Even though the national team lost in the FIFA World Cup final, they partied like they were the absolute winners with a crowd of 200,000 strong.
After the 2013 summer season ended (along with his residency at the world’s biggest club, Privilege in Ibiza), Armin kicked off a new ‘Armin Only’ world tour based on his ‘Intense’ album, in collaboration with theatre director Jos Thie. The Dutch edition of the show, spanning two nights at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, sold out within only a few hours. More than 25 dates were set, with shows landing in cities such as Kiev, Mumbai, Saint-Petersburg, Helsinki, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Sydney, Johannesburg, and more. With the brand new ‘Armin Only’ tour, Armin brought a unique and exclusive show format, which unfolded like the many layers of his ‘Intense’ album.
In 2014, he had a weekly residency at Ushuaïa in Ibiza, playing every Thursday night from June 26th to September 11th.
His busy life as a DJ has inspired countless people. In 2009, Dutch author Coen Bom presented his on-the-road biography of Armin, called ‘Eén op één’ / ‘Armin Only’, in which he reported about the hectic life of Armin and tried to find the secret behind the grand success of the humble Dutchman. In October 2012, the official documentary ‘A Year With Armin van Buuren’ was released, in which Armin was followed during an important year in his life, offering a unique look behind the scenes and inside his personality. Again and again, his life as a superstar DJ continues to inspire others.
THE RADIO HOST
What started as an obsession for radio has turned into a weekly highlight for more than 20 million listeners. In June 2001, Armin van Buuren aired the first episode of ‘A State of Trance’. 13 years later, he still hosts the weekly 2-hour show, where he presents the biggest tunes of the moment and provides an interactive way for fans to discover new music. Regular features of the show are the ‘Tune of the Week’, ‘A State of Trance Radio Classic’, and the ‘Future Favourite’, which is based on an online voting poll.
Celebrating each milestone, Armin did an extensive world tour based around the 650th episode of ASOT in early 2014. The ‘New Horizons’ world tour landed in the cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Almaty, Utrecht, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Miami. The 8-week tour took place in January, February, and March of 2014 and included 9 shows in countries all around the globe, with events broadcast live on the A State of Trance website.
Reflecting upon the ‘A State of Trance’ world tours, Armin says: “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. The show wouldn’t be where it is without the fans, so it feels amazing to see so many people celebrating along. 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 dance floor’.”
Each year, the listeners of the show are asked to vote for their favourite records of the year, with the ‘A State of Trance Top 20’ as the official result. Each track on this list ends up in the ‘A State of Trance Year Mix’, released at the end of December. Weeks of editing and mixing come together in a 2 hour mega-mix of over 100 tracks and countless memories. More than 150,000 copies of the series have been sold, and the series has been going strong for over 9 years. Another series that Armin has linked to the radio show is the ‘A State of Trance Classics’ compilation. After 7 years of providing some of the most essential classics and all-time favourites in EDM, the series continues to commemorate the early days of dance music.
In addition to the radio show, Armin started the weekly ‘A State of Trance Podcast’ with a selection from the previous episode of the radio show, ensuring that listeners will never miss out on any highlights. Every Sunday, Armin also hosts a 24-hour radio day called ‘A State of Sundays’, broadcast on one of the biggest radio stations in the United States: Sirius XM Satellite Radio. In addition to the A State of Trance shows, A State of Sundays also introduces its listeners to the sets and radio shows of other popular DJs and talented artists.
Armin van Buuren can now look back on the success of his ‘76’ (2003), ‘Shivers’ (2005), ‘Imagine’ (2008), ‘Mirage’ (2010), and ‘Intense’ albums. May 2013 marked the release of Armin’s latest artist album, ‘Intense’, which was nominated for the Dutch Edison Pop Award for ‘Best Dance Album’. The follow-up to his ‘Mirage’ album features collaborations with Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, Australian duo NERVO, and singers by the likes of Trevor Guthrie, Emma Hewitt, Laura Jansen, Fiora, and more. ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ ft. Trevor Guthrie (the first single off the album) was nominated for the Grammy award for ‘Best Dance Recording’, and also received a nomination for a Canadian Juno Award. It became a worldwide hit, reaching A-List rotation on radio stations all across the globe and receiving silver, gold, platinum, and double platinum certifications in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia, and Italy.
Through the 16-piece musical mosaic of ‘Intense’, Armin introduced his fans to many exciting fusions, intricate soundscapes, and surprising new shades of his sound. ‘Intense’ is the biggest project he has ever worked on, uniting 3 years of studio work. In many ways, it’s also the most intuitive album he’s ever done. Armin: “These songs came to life just by being in the studio, being who I am, and following my gut. I feel closer to myself than I ever have. The album sort of happened to me, it just all came together and the story wrote itself. I didn’t try to force anything, I just did what I found interesting and tried to have as much fun in the studio as possible.”
Whenever he’s not on tour or having a daddy-day with his daughter Fenna and son Remy, Armin locks himself up in the studio. Giving meaning to his famous quote ‘Don’t be a prisoner of your own style’, he explores the boundaries of EDM through his originals and remixes. Some of his most beloved works, such as ‘Communication’, ‘Burned With Desire’, ‘Blue Fear’, ‘Shivers’, and ‘Yet Another Day’, have grown into highly revered classics, withstanding the test of time.
With remix offers flooding in, Armin has the luxury of taking on only the tracks that he really loves. His remix discography includes the Disney film ‘Frozen’, the cult TV series ‘24’, the Danish TV series ‘The Killing’, the Dutch film ‘Nova Zembla’ and tracks by the likes of Krewella, Motorcycle, The Killers, Faithless, BT, Dido, Zedd, Chicane, and Kerli.
THE LABEL OWNER
In 2003, plans emerged to set up a record label: Armada Music. Together with Maykel Piron and David Lewis, Armin built the foundation of one of the most successful record labels worldwide. Armada Music, voted ‘Best Global Record Label’ 5 years in a row and hot off its 10 year anniversary, is home to more than 25 sub-labels and releases productions by some of the industry’s biggest names and rising talents. Armin’s very own ‘Armind’ and ‘A State of Trance’ labels have found a safe haven at Armada Music, as well as his ‘A State of Trance’ and ‘Universal Religion’ compilation series and artist albums.
Armin’s annual ‘A State of Trance’ compilations have become an institution in the industry, having won several awards. On April 4th, A State of Trance 2014 was released and made available on all download portals. As if one compilation wasn’t enough, Armin recorded some of his live sets in Ibiza and released them under the ‘Universal Religion’ moniker. The summer of 2013 saw the 7th chapter of this beloved series released, with a two-hour live recording of Armin’s residency at club Privilege. In the summer 2014, he released ‘A State of Trance at Ushuaïa, Ibiza’, commemorating his summer long residency there. He also released the third and final installment of ‘Intense’ alongside ‘Armin Anthems: Ultimate Singles Collected’, a fan-voted compilation showcasing the top 20 songs of Armin’s career to date.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Born in Leiden, The Netherlands (December 25, 1976), to a musical family, Armin indulged his passion for music from a young age. He spent all the money he earned with his paper route on records. His mom won a computer when he was 10, piquing Armin’s interest. “So as a little nerdy kid I was writing my own basic programs, and learnt about the technology from there.” He progressed from making low-profile mix tapes for friends to higher profile mixes when he discovered experimenting with different sequences on his computer through his uncle. “I was so stunned by what I saw him doing on the computer, that I got addicted to creating music right there and then!”
“I loved dance music immediately – this great rebellious sound that was so different to the ‘beautiful’ songs of the years before.” Armin cites electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre as a major influence, as well as Dutch producer Ben Liebrand, who later mentored him in his mixing and producing.
In the early days, Armin thought it was wise to have a back-up plan and so he studied for a law degree. The final year of his course was inevitably stretched as he juggled his studies with his increasingly hectic schedule; his rise to fame included lots of productions and remixes, as well as playing in front of packed clubs every weekend. It took him three years to graduate, but his determination made him succeed.
Despite having a Master’s degree in Law, the main ingredient in Armin’s life will always be music. Armin: “I see it as my responsibility to promote trance as a genre and I want to support it in every way I can. Music should connect us. As long as the music keeps evolving like it is, I will continue and I don’t see any reason to slow it down.”
THE AWARD-WINNER: FACTS & FIGURES
Even a basic list of recent successes reads like a lifetime of work, and the landmarks just keep coming. Aside from Armin’s ‘A State of Trance’ broadcasting to over 100 FM stations, satellite and internet radio and having more than 20 million listeners every week from 74 different countries, his Podcast gets more than 50,000 downloads per week as well. His singles, albums, and compilations routinely reach high chart positions all across the globe. The single ‘Save My Night’ was chosen as the official anthem for Heineken’s ‘Dance More, Drink Slow’ campaign, and ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ ended up with a Grammy Award nomination. The music video for his single ‘In and Out of Love’ featuring Sharon den Adel has received more than 140 million views, making it one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.
But that’s not all. Armin’s trophy closet is crammed with awards, and this is a selection of them:
DJ Mag Top 100 positions:
2001: #27 2002: #5 2003: #3 2004: #3 2005: #3 2006: #2 2007: #1 2008: #1 2009: #1 2010: #1 2011: #2 2012: #1 2013: #2 2014: #3