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Armin Van Buuren @ Festival Pier.

October 12, 2015

oct8_avb_festivalpier_chpfrenette_09Text and images by Chip Frenette.

Armin van Buuren performed last Thursday at Festival Pier and before the show, he gave up a few minutes of his time to discuss his new album. He flew in from Amsterdam and literally pulled up in a taxi cab outside his Old City hotel just before the interview. Yet, he was still gracious enough to give up his time.

Behind the facade of the superstar DJ is actually a very easy going, down-to-earth guy, definitely not what one would expect out of someone ranked by Forbes as one of the highest paid DJs in the world.

Van Buuren was recently named the “Best International Trance DJ” in this year’s DJ Awards – his 11th overall win at the awards.

“Did that make a lot of news?” he questioned modestly. “I don’t even know.”

Van Buuren was, however, very eager to talk about his new album that will be released at the end of October. Embrace will be Van Buuren’s sixth studio album. Three tracks were just recently made available for the public with the pre-order of the new album.

Embrace is a very experimental album, Van Buuren said. The cover features an old, rusty Camaro loaded down with all sorts of analog instruments. There are drums, a Spanish guitar, trombone and saxophone, amongst other instruments. Every instrument on the cover can be heard on the album.

“I hope other people will be inspired by it and try different things as well,” Van Buuren said.

There are many instruments used in the album that are not typical to EDM or trance.  He was especially enthusiastic about his collaboration with jazz artist Eric Vloeimans.

“Working with a jazz trumpet player like Eric Vloeimans is something I’ve never heard of before,” he said. “I don’t make music to be trance or non-trance. I just make it to be interesting.”

Trance is one of the pioneer sounds of EDM and Van Buuren is a trance purist. Despite all the new sounds that are coming out in the world of EDM he will always be a trance DJ. He loves the melodies in the music and how it has a very positive and uplifting emotion to it. He is not at all tempted to completely push into another genre of electronic music for the sake of appealing to an even larger audience. There are no dubstep albums or Melbourne bounce tracks on the horizon for Van Buuren.

“As proud as I am of all of my albums and tracks,” he admitted,“I just cannot repeat myself all of the time. My job, first and foremost, is to understand what moves people. So, if there is a new sound or a new track or a new album that everybody is raving about, then I have to check it out because I feel that it is my job.”

That seems to be exactly what he is doing with Embrace.

“Don’t be a prisoner of your own style, hence the title Embrace,” he said. “I want to embrace the possibilities of new sounds, new encounters, new friends. Life is short and you have to open up to all the possibilities.”

Later that evening at Festival Pier, Van Buuren played to his crowd of ever-evolving ravers. The fans showed up with LED hula hoops, glow sticks and a myriad of other toys and lights that they whizzed around to the beat of Van Buuren’s sound. Van Buuren didn’t say much but he did push out a lot of bass. The music was accompanied by a large light, video and laser show that added to the overall experience.

Kygo opened the show, ending his set with his EDM hit “Firestone.” The YouTube video of the track has more than 108 million views.

Van Buuren performed the next night in Las Vegas and then Mexico City on Saturday. He has returned to the Netherlands but he’ll be back in the U.S. for Halloween weekend, with shows in New York, Illinois and Montreal.

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