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Paul Van Dyk interview: Party Politics

Author: Mark Burton
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Paul Van Dyk is a DJ who needs no introduction, and last year finally overhauled Tiesto at the top of DJ Magazine's prestigious top 100 poll. For a man who has achieved so much, his modesty is refreshing.

"First of all it makes me thankful really, to all the people that voted for me, that supported me all over the years, and still continue to support what I do. And at the same time for me, it's much more important to actually create a great track or play a good gig, make people understand why I love the music so much that I play, rather than becoming this or that."

PvD fans will be pleased to hear that he's got another artist album in the pipeline. "It is" he confirms, "I'm sort of half way through. I have five - six tracks ready and you know I've already played them out sometimes and see how things go, if people enjoy them. So far the reactions have been really good and yeah we're planning on releasing it in spring 2007 so I still have a little bit of time but not too much. So whenever I'm back in the studio I work fanatically on it! It's kind of poppy, trancey, housey…it's a combination of all those electronic sounds that I love so much combined with… there's a few guitars here and there and also well right now two tracks feature a full-on orchestra but not just playing on top, actually being integrated, playing with it."

Returning to his latest release, 'The Politics of Dancing 2', allows Paul to combine his stage and studio skills in a project with a subtle political theme. "There's a technical concept behind it" he explains, "which actually combines what I do on a technology level, you know being an artist, being a DJ, being a musician, a remixer and a producer. So that combination actually is what you technically hear on there and then the meaning behind the title actually also goes back from the first one in 2001, which actually was before 9/11 and back then there was like a lot of hassle with every electronic music scene."

"People actually seem to have completely forgotten that besides all the fun and excitement surrounding it; it became a global youth culture. Something that actually is a rather uniting diplomatic tool in a way and that made it political and this is what I actually wanted to bring across with the title. Of course meanwhile we had 9/11, we had the war in Afghanistan, in Iraq, all these things that happened and you know, it shows that democracy is the best concept for all of us to live together on this planet. And in order to make strong democratic society it needs all our involvement and that starts by going to elections rather than just waiting at home to see what the outcome is. It also means if you see something is wrong in your neighbourhood go ahead and change it, and this is what 'Politics of Dancing' means to me now."

His upbringing on the other side of the Iron Curtain has reinforced his political philosophies. "I have very strong beliefs in terms of anything that's related to democracy, like freedom of speech, freedom of all the possibilities of actually getting educated, learning things, raising your voice when something is wrong, trying to change it, being able to actually change it. You know in East Germany when you said what you believed you were just put in jail, it was a dictatorship and I very strongly believe that these are all issues and things that are very vital to our lives these days and we have to make sure we don't lose them."

Van Dyk is now DJing only with two computers. "One is driven by a program called Scratch Live, and its DJ driven. Well its DJ software and it's driven by time-coded CDs. The other computer runs Ableton LIVE which is a sequencer program and I link those two programs through an interface so I'm able to interact with both systems and both computers and do the craziest shit! Electronic music was all about breaking the boundaries on the creative level as much as on the technology side and using all these new things it's just what el