Few artists have been able to achieve the level of consistency that Dutch trance icon Armin van Buuren has been able to maintain in his career. Tens of thousands of fans frequently gather to see him spin, and when it comes to tastemakers the proof is in his accolades. For the past three years he has held the top spot on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list, one of the top honors in the electronic-music industry. And at the recent Ultra Music Festival in Miami, MTV News witnessed him holding court, spinning records from his recently released A State of Trance 2010 compilation album for close to 100,000 of his fans.
For one of the highest-grossing earners in the electronic-music game, it's endearing to hear that for the DJ/ producer/ record-label owner, his weekly radio show, which he began just under a decade ago and now boasts millions of listeners in 40 countries, remains his most important endeavor.
"One of the reasons I'm sitting here is because of my radio show, 'A State of Trance,' " he said. "I started it in June 2001, I remember at the time a lot of my colleagues said, 'You're crazy to do a two-hour radio show every week.' But I think that's the reason I became successful. Thanks to the Internet and thanks to the illegal downloads, my name became known all over the world."
Van Buuren recently broadcasted episode 450 of "ASOT," and over the years the show has become the perfect litmus test for his self-produced studio material. He's also completed four commercially successful albums, and songs like "Who Is Watching" (featuring Nadia Ali), "Going Wrong" (with DJ Shah, featuring Chris Jones) and mega hit "In and Out of Love" (featuring Sharon den Adel) have cemented his place as a formidable production force to be reckoned with. So it will certainly tickle fans to know that we found out Van Buuren is hard at work on his fifth studio album, so much so that he has enough material to fill two discs.
"I have about 21 songs that are serious candidates for ending up on the final product," he offered. "I have too many tracks. I just hate the fact that you can only put about 78 minutes on a CD, and I don't want to really go with, like, a double album.
"A lot of the tracks I'm really happy about, but they're not finished yet," he continued. "The opening track is something really ambitious. I recorded live strings, live drums, live guitars, everything for that track. It's a ridiculous intro."
Van Buuren remained tight-lipped about who helped out in the studio, except to tell us that for some of the work he kept things in the family.
"I can tell you that my brother will be involved again," he said. "He's a guitar player and I've used him on a lot of the tracks and he helped me with writing a lot of the melodies."
The yet-untitled album does not have a release date.
Van Buuren was scheduled to perform in Poland on Saturday at the A State of Trance 450 show, but due to a plane crash that killed 95 people, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, the event was canceled "out of respect for the casualties." The event will be rescheduled at a later date. "The A State of Trance Crew, Alda Events, MSM Events and all the artists involved would like to express their deepest sympathies to all who have lost their loved ones and the people of Poland," a statement reads. "We wish you the best and strength with the horrible loss."