Armin Van Buuren, voted world's best DJ for the fourth year in a row, is also one of the busiest. In the city last night to play a gig at Blue Frog, tickets for which were sold at a cool Rs 6,000, he's giving India's biggest house music festival, Sunburn, a miss this year. “I was the headlining act at Sunburn last year, which was my first time playing at such a large venue in India. This year, I have a prior commitment to play at the Armin Only concert in Australia around the same time. We’re expecting 30,000 people there, so I had to skip Sunburn,” he says.
Van Buuren compares Goa’s atmosphere to the world's party capital, Ibiza. “In Ibiza, I play with the best DJs and the place has seven of the biggest clubs in the world. Goa was on a smaller scale, but being right by the beach, it had a similar vibe,” he opines.
Ask him whether he prefers outdoor venues to smaller clubs and he responds, "Sometimes, when I play in clubs with only about 750 to a 1,000 people, it allows me to be closer to my fans and interact with them. But outdoor gigs are massive, and the energy is different. It's like eating steak one day and fish the next."
Van Buuren, who’s record labels include Armind and Armada records, says that being creative is the only way he's managed to turn the labels successful. “But most people these days download music off the Internet, which is sad,” he rues. Despite having worked with the biggest names in the business, like DJ Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk, Van Buuren insists that celeb appeal isn't what he aims for. “When I am in a studio, it doesn't matter whether I’m playing with an unknown DJ or with a big name. It's the creativity that matters. I don't collaborate for publicity,” he insists.
Having sampled sitar sounds for his new songs, and associating with Smirnoff and Submerge for many years, does he now plan to jam with Indian artistes? Van Buuren says optimistically, “On my most recent tour, we kicked off by having a live orchestra playing a track from my new album Mirage. Since I love the sound of the sitar, maybe next time I can have Indian musicians playing live with me.”