Pioneer electronic DJ, musician and producer Paul van Dyk has released a new album. It’s titled “From Then On”. I caught up with him before his tour.
Paul, good to meet you. “From Then On” deals with a crucial time in your life. You had an accident in early 2016. You fell through a stage while performing. How do you put this into music?
Paul van Dyk: You can’t really put it into music but life in general is my biggest inspiration and, obviously, my view on life and everything that I experience has changed, let’s say. A walk through the park now has a very different meaning than before, because I was in a wheelchair for a few weeks and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to walk again. Now taking a walk, little details in life have a more intense meaning so, therefore, a more intense influence on my music.
Host: And one of your tracks from your new album “From Then On” is “I Am Alive.
Paul van Dyk: It was the first piece of music I started to work on and finished after the accident. The pure fact that I was able again to make music was like a miracle in itself. So, it was the most appropriate title for that piece. Music is such an essential part of my life.
Music: “I Am Alive” (From Then On)
Paul van Dyk: I always considered myself as an artist and foremost I’m a musician. And my favourite music is electronic music and the most common way to present it is the DJing or, should we say, was the Djing. ‘Cause, as soon as it was possible to take studio equipment on stage, to take production elements on stage into performance, I did that. Meanwhile, to the point that I have keyboards, sequencers, computers and all that kind of stuff on stage – that enables me to be really intact, to compose a track from scratch. That’s something, that’s a great challenge from an artistic point of view with every single show, because I am not just putting in a USB stick or a CD and pressing play. There’s so much more to take care of and that’s actually very exciting to me.
Host: So, you’ve had an incredible career. What’s left of the kid who grew up in East Berlin?
Paul van Dyk: I think the essential part of me is still the kid that grew up on the other side of the river here. That’s who I am. Of course I’ve experienced so many things, and I had so much luck along the way as well as challenges. Obviously all that creates a character and a person, but I think the substance of who I am is the same kid that grew up over there.
Host: You also spent some time in Los Angeles. You know, Berlin and LA are sister cities. Can you see some parallels?
Paul van Dyk: I don’t know if I see so many parallels, to be honest. I think it’s one of the reasons why I like both places so much, because they kind of compensate each other. What’s missing in one is happening in the other.
Host: I’ve lived in LA have a few friends there and they tell me Germans can’t dance.
Paul van Dyk: Oh well, I am the best jumper on the dance floor that you can possibly imagine. If you listen to my music, it’s very energetic. It’s 138 BPM (beats per minute) and faster. It’s more about jumping than having proper moves, so for me it works.
By Monika Müller-Kroll