DJ Talks Ambitious Return, Changes in Dance Music and Whether Dubstep Is a Fad
"I look like I've been in New York for three weeks," joked Paul van Dyk as he stood in slightly tattered military garb on the set of his new video. The world-renowned dance music artist is in the process of making a series of videos for his upcoming album, "Evolution," the first full album the former No. 1 ranked DJ has made since 2007's "In Between."
When asked about the concept behind this video series, it was apparent that the vision was born in the mind of Paul. "I was sitting at my iPad thinking like your regular music consumer and I'm staring at the same still shot of the front cover of the album I'm listening to, and I realized that we have the technology at hand, so why not bring something more on the video side, and not just the audio side?"
Anthony Burns, the director of the videos, spoke a bit more on what the setting would be in these videos. "Paul's camp approached me with the idea of doing one video per song, and asked me 'what would you do?' I suggested that we create a world that is linked for the entire album -- one that proposes a possible future for planet Earth where technology and nature collide in interesting and weird ways." The videos will all feature Paul, as well as the guest artists on "Evolution" -- a list that includes Adam Young of Owl City and Dev.
"Evolution" is an apt name for this 16-track album. "I need to evolve with the changes in music as it is my profession as a DJ," Paul stated. "However, it is up to me as an artist to decide if I think the music is something that is creatively interesting. "Evolution" is an album that demonstrates my personal evolution as an artist, rather than what is a reflection of the latest trendy sound. My advisors are saying it's the best music I've done."
Originally slated for a 2011 release, the album will now debut March 20, 2012. "After we came up with this video concept, we pushed it back because we wanted to do it right and wanted it to mean as much to the people who watched it as it does to us."
PVD's new album and video could not be coming at a better time, as the world dance music scene has exploded in an unprecedented way in the past two years and Paul has the opportunity to present himself to a whole new generation of electronic music lovers. He was able to break down the current level of interest in dance music into a few key areas. "There have been three different directions develop in recent years," Paul stated. "One is the strong core audience that is just as big as it always has been. Then there is this electro, rock-infused music like deadmau5 and Skrillex that came along. Skrillex is especially creative, but I am curious to see the longevity of his career as there was a lot of hype in Europe about dubstep around ten years ago, but it faded almost as quickly as it came. The final direction is one that a lot of people have mistaken for electronic music, and that is danceable pop music."
Paul views this wave as quite separate from the overall electronic scene. "The dance pop scene doesn't have quite as much to do with how the core electronic scene feels, thinks, breathes, and lives."
Though a Berlin native, Paul feels a special link to the New York dance community that arose through his frequent travels through the area. "My first American gig was in New York City in 1993 at Limelight. It kind of became a second hometown to me." PVD's radio show, "VONYC Sessions," even pays homage to the Big Apple in its title. The show airs weekly on 53 radio stations in 23 different countries. A second album, "VONYC Sessions 2011," will also release on PVD's own VANDIT Records on Thursday. Mixed by the man himself, it features some of the most popular songs from the past year's shows, with offerings from Moby, Carl Cox, Russian up-and-comer Arty, and Texas trance duo Tritonal. On New Year's Eve, PVD will headline Insomniac's White Wonderland event at the Anaheim Convention Center.