Paul Van Dyk set for Edinburgh date at Colours
We take a trance lesson from from the master
Henry Northmore talks to Paul van Dyk about the appeal of trance and his passion for the dancefloor
Trance has succinctly risen to the top in terms of popularity when it comes to clubbing, the pulling power of names like Paul van Dyk, Tiësto and Armin van Buuren mean they can headline festivals across the globe. But beyond the readership of DJ magazine and hot sweaty dancefloors, the appeal can be baffling. ‘Trance when done very well is melodic, it’s high quality, it’s very energetic, it’s very banging, it really just kicks your ass in a very positive way,’ according to van Dyk, who’s as bristling with energy as his high-octane sets.
Brought up in East Berlin before The Wall fell, van Dyk listened to radio broadcasts from the West, eagerly devouring the dance music he picked up over the airwaves. ‘You could listen to West Berlin radio stations, but I could never read anything about these artists, I didn’t know what my idols looked like, and because I couldn’t speak English, what they had to say.’
Starting as a huge fan of The Smiths it was hearing early house in the 80s that turned PVD onto electronica. ‘It was the most progressive music out there, purely because of the endless possibilities. In a regular band you have bass, guitar, drummer and a vocalist and you are somewhat limited to the overall sound. With electronic, music because of the open character of that music, you have endless possibilities for just the bass.’ He’s taken this formula to become one of the world’s most successful DJs. A brief run though his highlights include five studio albums, playing to over a million clubbers on Barra Beach in Rio de Janeiro, topping DJ magazine’s Hot 100 twice (and appearing in the top 10 every year), a Grammy nomination for Reflections in 2005 and big remixes for everyone from Depeche Mode to Justin Timberlake.
However it was his association with Gatecrasher that really broke him in the UK, taking up residency at the superclub in 1998. ‘They have been very vital in the whole of clubbing culture, in the UK especially, but all over the world,’ adds van Dyke. ‘To this day I believe the Gatecrasher club in Sheffield was one of the temples of electronic music.’ He gained notoriety for his hard and fast six hour sets, hitting the decks as the club opened and playing until the doors shut. ‘I could take the crowd with me, it was a really intense ride through electronic music.’ Now, DJ and club have teamed up again for Gatecrasher Anthems: Paul Van Dyk a new mix CD that puts old classics alongside new club hits, which he’s sure to dip into when he hits Edinburgh.
No stranger to the capital, van Dyk played at nights like Sublime before his career went stratospheric. ‘It has always been very special for me, Edinburgh was a big stronghold for me the first few times I came to the UK. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back.’
But what can people expect? ‘Full on me,’ laughs van Dyk. ‘I really enjoy what I do and I’m very passionate about what I do, so people will get a very passionate, full force set.’
Colours presents Paul Van Dyk, City, Edinburgh, Sat 18 Sep.