Paul Van Dyk: Radio was the only way to listen to music that wasn’t controlled by the state...

Thursday, 09 July 2015

The most impressive edition of Ultra Europe in Split is so close you can taste it and as the mercury in the thermometers is rising, just to take the edge off we threw a few words around with Paul Van Dyk.

Paul will be storming the stage on the last day of Ultra Europe on Jul 12th, on the Ultra Worldwide stage. But until you get a chance to listen to the legend in flesh and blood check out what he had to say about titles, forbidden radio stations on the other side of the Berlin Wall and the things that he wants and dreams of.
1. Since there was no strong club scene when you were starting, how did the radio open up a new world for you?
When I was in my early-to-mid teens, radio was the only way to listen to music that wasn’t controlled by the state in East Germany, and its ‘scarcity’ made it that much more compelling. Electronic/synth music was in its emerging stages, so I had those two forces coming together at once -- it was kinetic. For me, music -- and further to that, electronic music -- specifically became a fixation. Later on, I managed to get very occasional bits of vinyl (a relative who could travel to the West brought me back my first record), but for years it was radio and radio only.
2. What stations were you listening to?
All the music and shows I listened to came from the other side of the Berlin Wall and were broadcasted by SFB Radio. 
Listening to those stations was actively, heavily discouraged, as it was uncensored by the authorities. Nothing positive ever happened to anyone who was caught tuning transistors to those stations.

3. Can you remember a specific song that got you hooked?
With electronic music? Not one specific track, really. It was more this sudden, incredible new wave of tones, sounds, directions and the feel of everything that changed. It seemed like there was a new, amazing track or group to focus on every other day. 
Before electronic music really began to take hold, I do remember that ‘Half A Person’ by The Smiths had the biggest impact and made me a life-long fan. I didn't speak English when it came out, so I didn't understand the lyrics, but I sensed they were a very special band.
4. How did it feel to be named World’s No.1 DJ? Do such titles mean anything to you?
It was certainly tremendous and it was a great honor to top that list back then. But there are other things that have mean more, though. For example, achieving musical and artistic freedom is something I enjoy every day of my professional life.
5. If you could choose to be best in the world at something what would it be?
To be the best son, boyfriend and friend that I could possibly be.

6. What new things do you have happening at present?
I’ve just released my ‘Politics Of Dancing 3’ album. After the release of ‘EVOLUTION’, I was drawn back to the idea of doing a third 'Politics' more and more. If after so many years, there’s a project I still feel so passionately and positively about that still sparks such interest by my fans, then what’s to stand in its way? 
It took some time to get over a few hurdles while making that happen, though. Many things had changed within the music industry since 'Politics 2' in 2005, from the way we make and produce music, how we release music and, of course, how we all consume it. The third ‘Politics Of Dancing’ needed to address those changes and have a different approach to its creation. The workaround lay in musical cooperation & artistic collaboration, and hence the project moved from being a mix-compilation to an artist album.
7. What are your plans for the summer? Where can we catch a gig?
At present, I’m in the middle of the 'Politics of Dancing' summer tour. Between the start of May and the end of August, I’m playing 42 shows in 19 countries, so this season will be as busy as they come.
I’ll be playing 7 shows at my Cream, Amnesia residency, of course, and we also have my annual We Are One Festival in Berlin, which is less than a week away. 2015 hosts the third one in as many years and the fourth in its relatively-short history. This year, we’ve moved it to Rummelsburg Beach on the banks of the River Spree as we needed to expand both its capacity as well change its setting.
Aquanario at Tempelhof Airport in August will also be another interesting one. I’ll be performing entirely new versions of many of my tracks choreographed to a water, light, laser and firework show. Conversely to ‘regular’ shows like Ibiza, some of the opportunities I jump at quickest are the ones that offer me the chance to do something different; creatively, Aquanario will be just that. 

8. What have you got prepared for Ultra Europe, what can the dancers expect?
A whole lot of fresh music from ‘The Politics Of Dancing 3!
9. Are you most fond of festival or club atmosphere?
I like both.  To me, it's always about the interaction between me and the audience, and of course it differs from show to show. 
10. Wild card question: How does it feel to be you?
Very good!