Top DJ Armin Van Buuren On His New Album, Upcoming Bus Tour And #BeatPlastic Campaign

Armin van Buuren has been riding an impressive musical wave for more than 20 years. Not only has he been awarded the #1 DJ in the world five times, but he also received a Grammy nomination for ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) in 2014. He posts a new YouTube vlog on Wednesdays giving fans an inside look at his personal life, hosts a weekly two-hour show “A State of Trance” every Thursday and continues to travel the world stopping by some of the most prestigious festivals.

Yesterday, the Dutch artist, who recently won the Highest Trance award at this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs 2019, was named Oceans Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund where he hopes to empower his fans to join the #BeatPlastic campaign.

We caught up recently with van Buuren to chat about his seventh studio album, collaborating with NE-YO and his upcoming first bus tour throughout North America.

Photo Credit: Bart Heemskerk

You’re one of the most influential electronic music musicians topping DJ mag a whopping five times. How does that feel?

It feels amazing knowing that so many people have supported me for the past 18 years. I am a very blessed man.

Over the summer, you celebrated the 900th episode of your radio show, “A State of Trance” in San Francisco. Did you ever think it would grow as much as it has?

No, I thought 500 would be a great moment to stop at in 2011 when we celebrated that, but I always felt there was a lot more I wanted to do. Trance has an amazing loyal following. We changed the format of the show and broadcast every week now. You can still see that progression.

Photo Credit: Bart Heemskerk

Looking back now having sold out Madison Square Garden twice and had a Las Vegas residency, was it difficult initially to define yourself as a trance musician in the US?

I guess it was. It took some time for trance music to take grasp in the US. It started with clubs and then in 2008, everything changed with the introduction of the big festivals.

What was it like working with NE-YO on the track “Unlove You?”

He is so inspirational. He has a unique way of working. He had a very specific way he wanted his vocals to sound, which made me realize how little I know about music. That’s what is the most exciting thing about my job. I still keep learning. That has always been the trick for me in life.

Photo Credit: Miller PR

Yesterday, it was announced you were named Oceans Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund joining the ranks of other ambassadors like Jared Leto and Leonardo DiCaprio. How important is this to you?

As a father, I think I am in a position now to make people aware and make a difference. I want to give something back to the planet. There are eight million kilos of plastic in the ocean that ultimately gets into our stomachs. We eat the fish that eats the plastic. There are a lot of turtles that are being killed as well. It’s a big problem because they are a massive part of our ecosystem. I am motivated about climate change as well. When I was in Bali, I got really upset at seeing the amount of plastics being dumped into the oceans. It’s also about raising awareness of our own use of plastic in our house.

Can you tell us about your seventh studio two-disc album, “Balance,” and why you decided to go with a combination of dance music for one disc and pop crossover on the other?

I guess everything has to do with the new way we consume music. I only put edits on the album. I also added 14 tracks that were previously released. As an artist, I am still loyal to my roots as a trance DJ, but I also wanted to experience a lot with this album.

Photo Credit: VRIENDEN VAN AMSTEL LIVE BY SET VEXY

Why did you decided to create a YouTube vlog giving fans an inside look into your personal life?

It took a bit of getting used to in the beginning wrapping my mind around social media. When MySpace came, I had to make a page and put songs up. Now, as an artist, you can do anything on social media. It’s a way to really reach fans in a way that hadn’t been done before. It’s important because with the YouTube vlog, people like to learn the little things about their favorite artists.

You’ll be coming to Boston next month, the first stop on your North American tour. What are you most looking forward to seeing/doing when in town?

This is the first bus tour ever. I have never done a bus tour before so it is going to be incredible. I am a big runner so when I come to Boston, I always enjoy running along the Charles River. We are focusing the tour on the “Balance” album and will be bringing a special stage, which is why we are doing the bus tour. The icing on the cake will be a live act, which will be different for each show. I am very excited about it.

Photo Credit: Bart Heemskerk

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