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The Evolution of EDM Pioneer Paul van Dyk

The superstar DJ on pissing off Hugo Chavez, laughing at Fox News, and his beef with Occupy Wall Street.

| Mon Jan. 23, 2012 6:00 AM EST

MJ: So where should they be protesting?

PvD: Well, they should protest but they should be pragmatic. They should actually make a point, rather than just "occupying." That doesn't help. You need to go and actually make sure—you know, we need those rules; we need regulations. The German government has been pushing those regulations for years now, and in Europe it's the Brits who always say, "No, we can't do that." And on the international level, it's the American government that says, "No, we can't put any regulations in." So this is why you have to demonstrate: Go to your government and tell them, "Put fucking regulations in place." Not to Wall Street. That doesn't change anything. That basically makes you look stupid, to be honest.

MJ: So where do you get your news?

"Go to your government and tell them, 'Put fucking regulations in place.' Not to Wall Street."

PvD: Well, I'm reading a lot of different sites. We have a very well set up press in Germany, from all the different angles—left wing all the way to the other corner. And this is what I'm reading a lot, and where I get a lot of different information. When I'm traveling, I'm always watching CNN. And sometimes when I'm in America I'm watching Fox News because it's like a comedy channel. [Laughs.] It's so fucking funny. You know, for a European watching that, it's just hilarious.

MJ: So as a producer and label owner, where do you see electronic music headed? You know, they're mixing electronic music—or some kind of version of it—into Top 40 songs nowadays.

PvD: "Some kind of version" is a good way of putting it. I don't even consider that electronic music. It's danceable pop music, and it doesn't have any roots in our world. I don't want to be affiliated with it and I'm not associating myself with that sort of stuff or those DJs—if you want to call them that. But you know, let them do their thing. A lot of people enjoy it, so fair enough. It's not down to me to criticize it. On the other hand, what I call the core electronic scene is so strong and so massive, we don't need pop; 2011 was a great year. There was phenomenal electronic music coming out.

"I don't want to be affiliated with [mainstream pop] or those DJs—if you want to call them that."

MJ: Who did you love?

PvD: Think of someone like Arty, who came up with his own way of putting things together. And many more: There's Tyler Michaud, and Austin Leeds is doing phenomenal stuff. It's good; it's really good.

MJ: You've been doing this for a while now. Originally, your music was considered trance, but I've read that you no longer like to identify your music that way.

PvD: Well, it's not that. When you listen to my music, it's not just stereotypical trance music. It's just not. It's as much electro as it is techno as it is drum and bass—there are just so many different elements that combine to create what people call "the PvD sound." I think an English colleague of yours, he once wrote, "To call PvD a trance DJ is just cheap journalism."

MJ: So, with half an hour left in 2011, I should ask: How did this year treat you? One of your fans on the floor told me he and his friends have been wondering where you've been since 2007.

PvD: Well, I've been traveling a lot and doing a lot of work. Now the album is finally finished and coming out, so I'm really excited.

MJ: What aspect are you most excited about? And who did you most enjoy collaborating with?

PvD: I enjoyed collaborating with all of them. A collaboration is something that I choose, and not something that a manager tells me to do for marketing purposes. So I worked with Arty; I worked with Austin Leeds; I worked with Adam [Young] from Owl City.

MJ: His music typically plays on rock stations. What made you seek him out?

PvD: He has a very distinctive sound. He's very unique, and he does what he does with his heart. So when these worlds collide in the studio, something cool is happening.

MJ: What other art forms inspire you?

PvD: Really, everything. The whole life in general.

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