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Paul van Dyk celebrates 10 years of Vandit

Reported by Agnes Klos / Submitted 21-06-10 10:15

Matthias Paul, better known by his stage name Paul van Dyk, is one of the most unique figures in 21st century dance music. The German Grammy Award–nominated artist is one of the world's leading electronic dance music musicians and record producers and the only DJ who has remained in the World's Top 10 DJ's since 1998. Paul van Dyk is a music icon, who made his return to the UK on Sunday 30th May 2010 to celebrate 10 years of his successful brand Vandit Records. For that unique show at London's O2 Brixton Academy, Agnes Klos put on her leopard raving gear in pursuit of a hot rave.

The 10 year anniversary of Paul van Dyk globally acclaimed electronic dance music imprint Vandit Records will be remember as a highlight of the clubbing calendar 2010 by many trance fans. It was a particularly exceptional night for me as it had a personal flavour attached to it. To understand why I have to take you back in time.

One of the reasons Vandit 10 felt very special is due to my never-ending love for Brixton Academy as a top venue. It is hard to deny that this is one of very few places in London which has stood the test of time and still succeeds in booking the biggest music names on Earth. Some of the best raves I have experienced took place inside those colossal walls. In the past, I bounced to the beats of Chemical Brothers, got lost in the dreamy world of Tiesto during his tour ‘In the Search of Sunrise’ and understood the mightiness of psytrance with its full force during Psychedelic Academy featuring Infected Mushroom. Without a moment of hesitation, I can say that Brixton Academy will always stay very dear to my heart.

Apart from the fact that I was excited about a huge party ahead of me at the iconic London venue, I was ecstatic that I would be able to see Paul van Dyk from up close. I had dreamt about that moment since I was 15. The first CD with trance music that I received from my high school friend was Paul van Dyk’s Reflections album. Before that day I was not aware of the existence of any other music genres other than just pop, rock and house. Absorbing an energy I had never experienced before, my eyes (and ears) opened wide that day and I never looked back.

With the Vandit 10 ticket in my hand, like a kid with the first lollipop in their life, I marched to the entrance knowing that the evening would mark another milestone in my clubbing life. With so many events and clubs disappearing from the market the choice of parties has become more and more limited over years. The celebration of Vandit 10 years definitely brought the glory of old days back.

When I walked into Brixton Academy I was thrilled to see an ocean of party-goers stomping to the beat. The party was already in the full swing at 11pm, with not a single person standing still. Arms shooting in the air, lasers embracing happy faces of clubbers and tracks filling hearts with joy. To spice up the event, Lock N Load Events and VANDIT in association with trance’s leading download store offered all aspiring DJs a once in a lifetime opportunity - one lucky winner had the chance to play the warm up set in the main room at that landmark event. Alan Banks, with whom I spoke later after his set (interview below) won the competition. He enabled UK trance fans to sample some serious aural treats, building up the atmosphere with his energetic and well-thought through live act.

Next up was Giuseppe Ottaviani who on the night supported Paul van Dyk with a live set, showcasing his talent. By adding live elements to his performances he has become a key driving force behind the success of one of dance music’s most famous labels. His set indulged the audience in the finest trance tunes, showing London fans why he is one of the most talked about trance acts on the planet.

Giuseppe is just one of many figures such as Alex M.O.R.P.H., Jon O’Bir and Filo and Peri who have been brought to the world’s attention by Vandit. Normally the opportunity to attend a Vandit event would mean an expensive pilgrimage to the label’s birthplace Berlin. Those who came to Brixton Academy probably knew how lucky they were to have Vandit’s founding father Paul van Dyk on their doorstep, or maybe they have realised it just now.

Finally, gracing us with the full set, Paul van Dyk also called ‘the mighty German mixmaster of all things vocal and euphoric’ (that's quite a mouthful - ed) took over the decks. He treated his audience to a set which they could have only dreamt of. Listening to his perfectly composed and combined tracks, I understood why he was the DJ who had taken the dance world by storm over a decade ago.

Paul van Dyk, worshipped amongst trance fans across the globe, has earned his legendary status with hard work. He grew up in East Berlin where he worked as broadcast technician and began training to become a carpenter. Paul claims his musical education came from radio since when he was growing up in the times of the Berlin Wall there were no record stores at which to buy music. Nowadays he is renowned as one of the most influential electronic artists to have ever graced the planet. He has sold over 3 million albums worldwide and twice been ranked the World’s No. 1 DJ via DJ Magazine’s Top 100 Poll, whilst his radio show VONYC Sessions entertains clubbers around the globe.

The London date kicks off Paul van Dyk's 10 Years of Vandit European tour, which began in Miami on 26th and 27th March 2010 at Space. Paul van Dyk as the revolutionary and visionary Vandit leader headlined the Vandit label's storming night, presenting high quality uplifting trance, Euro trance and techno. Among tracks which reverberated in Brixton Academy were titles such as ‘Crush’, ‘New York City’, ‘Home’ and ‘Time of our lives’. When his hit ‘For an Angel’ reached the speakers my heart melted in the middle of the dancefloor.

With a capacity of almost 5,000, an unbeatable atmosphere, the foyer was hosted by Spinning Quickly and mind-blowing visualisation, Brixton Academy proved that you do not have to travel to another country to experience a night of a lifetime. The event will stay in my memory as a historic one. The only thing which I really did not like was the fact that it finished so early at 4am. Afterwards I wanted to keep on dancing but it was hard to find a good afterparty starting before 6am. I headed off home wishing the night had continued forever.

After the event I tracked down Alan Banks to find out more about his past, present and the bright, beckoning future.

Congratulations! You won the competition and got the chance to play the warm up set in the main room at the 10-year anniversary of Vandit Records at O2 Academy Brixton in London UK on Bank Holiday Sunday 30th May. Your 30-minute mix was judged based on musical style, programming and mixing ability. How much time and effort did you put in preparing the winning mix? What do you think made it stand out above the rest?

It probably took me about a day to do. The morning to go through loads of tracks and find which ones that I thought would be suitable then to find some sort of an order bearing in mind progression and also surprise a factor. I honestly don’t know what made it stand above the rest. Maybe they liked the quirky electro/trance approach that I went for rather than the normal progressive warm up sounds or banging trance mixes they probably received. Without listening to all the entry’s I’ll never know . . .

Was it your first time playing at Brixton Academy and what did you think of that landmark event? Did it exceed your expectations? What was the crowd response to your set?

No this was my second time at Brixton. The first time was at New Years a couple of years ago. I wasn’t playing the main room but the back room so the Vandit night was definitely a massive step up. The whole event for me seemed to go in a blur from when I arrived, played and through all the other sets, it just went very very quickly. It was a fantastic experience to look out to the crowd and see 3500 people all responding to the music I was playing, the crowd certainly looked like they were enjoying it – especially a large group of people down the front, you know who you are!

How did you choose tracks for your set? Was it all planned-out or more of a spontaneous affair?

For this set I had a good idea of what I wanted to play. I assumed the guys at Vandit asked me to play because they wanted the warm up like the 30min mix so I kept that firmly in my mind and tailored my set similar to the style of the winning mix. Still when I found out I had won there was still a mad rush as I went hunting for new tunes and actually found some amazing tracks that got played out on the night that I had only just bought! There were also a few tracks that I played that held some special memories for me and a load of friends and no best of Vandit night would be complete without me dropping at least one Vandit release, which of course I did! I re-recorded the set as well so you can listen to it any time you want

Were you nervous playing alongside PvD and Giuseppe Ottaviani on the same night? If yes or even if just a little bit, how did you manage to deal with the pressure?

You know what, I really wasn’t. There was lots of excitement, but I really wasn’t nervous, which is a little worrying as I thought I would/should be. I think if you have some sort of preparation before any gig then confidence kicks in and any nerves soon disappear.

I know that you had been interviewed on HF before but could you tell your story to those who are new on the scene? What was your first contact with music and what made you who you are today?

I must of been about 15 when I first really took notice of dance music. Ministry of Sound had released the Annual II which I bought and totally fell in love with. Tracks such as Hysteric Ego ‘Want Love’, Professional Widow, Born Slippy were all on this disc and totally opened my eyes to the scene. I was then lucky enough to catch Paul Oakenfold (when he was at his peak in 1997) at the V concert and he played a fantastic set and from then I was hooked.

I actually started as a mobile DJ for a while then got a few gigs around my home town in some DJ bars (which I still maintain really helps you read a crowd!), before starting some club nights (called Fundamental with Chris Cee) at a newly opened venue. I got my foot in the door in London after replying to an advert looking for new DJ talent for a new night called Boundless run by Jurrane and Paul Mayes (Custard). I sent my mixes in and got a reply asking for me to play. There I was really lucky to meet some amazing people along the way and play for some truly amazing parties because of that. I was very lucky as trance in London was still a massive and thriving scene so I got lots of gigs and my name got about quite a bit!

From there it just took off and I found myself running parties and playing for a very broad spectrum of parties (not just trance parties). I’ve been lucky enough to have DJed for Judgement Sundays, Anjunabeats, The Gallery, Party Proactive and many others but I think the icing on the cake has been the Vandit night having followed PVD and his Vandit crew for a number of years (his parties at Heaven still remain some of my best memories ever in clubbing). To be a part of that special night will stay with me forever.

Do you remember where and when you played your first set? Was it then that you decided to become a professional DJ?

My first ‘proper’ set was probably for one of those local DJ bars. It was called The Broadwalk and there really was a great vibe there. The whole place was coming down for dance music and all the DJ’s who played there would really mash it up with house, funk, electro trance, old school and drum and bass. It closed due to a change in ownership and became a Weatherspoon’s and never really looked back to its glory days as management had different ideas about music policy. Then obviously my set at Boundless opened more doors for me. That and Fundamental had moved to London as well so I was gaining more and more experience with promoting events as well as DJing. I’ve always carried myself in a professional manner with every gig and also put effort into helping out promoters where ever I can as I know how hard it can be sometimes to get people to parties. So in that sense, yes I am a professional DJ.

Where in the world would you like to DJ? Is there a particular place, country, venue? Tell us about the reasons behind your choice.

Can only be one place. Amnesia, Ibiza. I have so many great memories from the Island and the club. It has the best sound system I have heard with a truly metropolitan crowd. Oh and the ice cannon still rocks! lol

What have you got planned for the rest of 2010? Will we be seeing more of you in the UK or abroad?

I’m back on the Thames soon for Electronic Sessions and their famous boat parties and also Lost Dawn in September. There are some more gigs lined up as well but are under wraps at the moment. Production wise you’ll be seeing some releases later this year and I have just come across this great vocalist who I’m collaborating with at the moment. My radio show (The EDM Show) is now available as a podcast and going on nicely with some great guests coming up. ( Oh and then there is the EDM night itself which I’m hoping to get back and running soon (London needs some more trance I feel) . . .

Thank you for your time Alan and the best of luck for the future.

Photos courtesy of Agnes Klos. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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Other Features By Agnes Klos:
Back2Basics - 10 Years of Party Productions & Tomorrowland Stage Hosts
Atmosphere Records - The opening of IBIZA 1936
Entering the world of Waldfrieden in Germany with DJoanna
Piracy is not a crime – sail away with Feestgedruis!
Progressive flavours with DJ R'Deem ahead of Neelix party
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

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