Paul van Dyk on Why He Dissed Madonna, His Quest for the Perfect Track, and the Growth of EDM in America
Despite these accomplishments, the 40-year-old isn't content to rest on his absolute wealth of laurels, however, and keeps jetting off to destinations and performances around the globe (hence the reason he's accumulated the second-biggest amount frequent flyer mileage in Lufthansa history). This weekend, he will travel to the Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion in the West Valley to headline the Phoenix stop of the Identity Festival.
We caught up with Van Dyk via telephone in Atlantic City, where he was appearing at a ginormous DJ convetion, to speak about his feelings regarding the recent explosion of electronic dance music in America, his desire to create the perfect track, and his recent dissing of Madonna in the press.
You've had a long and astounding career and have performed across the world, created countless hits, and are one of the biggest DJs around. What's left for you to conquer?
The thing is, it's not about resting on things that I may have already achieved. For me, actually, each individual gig is the next big challenge and it's the next sort of most important thing that I have to do. When I play, I also have a very clear idea about just the music that I like to play and the fans that I like to bring across and everything else comes down to the interaction with my audience. Like I said, it's always a challenge. And when I finish a show, the next show is then the most important thing. So I basically intend on continuing to tour and play for awhile longer and there's still much for me to do?
Do you have any dream projects you'd like to do?
It's always been my dream to make the perfect track. And the thing is, I'm sort of a perfectionist, and when I do something, I do it a good as I can. But probably about 10 minutes after I've mastered it, I find something that I could maybe do a tiny bit better the next time. And so, obviously, in terms of a dream project, I want to be able to really nail any track I do. In terms of people who I'd like to work with, I'm a big fan of some of the bands like Linkin Park or Placebo. I've worked with them before, but it always would be great to do something with them again.
Your music has always straddled the line between trance and house. Do you think that EDM is becoming so mixed and mashed that the idea of genres are pointless?
It's always been about taking the best elements of all these different genres and creating something that, first of all, that I need to enjoy. Because at the end of the day when I play my own music, I'm in front of people and I need to be authentic and believable. So if I compromised on something beforehand then I would not be believable on stage. And that's something that's important. The other thing is that everyone has a difference in definition [about] what all those different genres sort of are. If you listen to like what peopled call house music these days, it's kind of a slower version of the cheesy trance music from the mid-1990s. So in a way, you never really know what you get when you call it trance, house, electro, or whatever.