Paul Van Dyk Reflects on His DJ Career and What’s to Come

The Release of a New Album and an Ongoing Global Tour

  • Press photo of Paul Van Dyk. Photo Rudger Geerling

Known for his 25 year long career in the electronic music scene, legendary producer Matthias Paul—better known as Paul Van Dyk—is playing at New City Gas this Saturday.

The German producer is one of the first superstar DJs, having won the award for best trance DJ in 2006 and voted number one in World’s Top DJ Magazine two years in a row—in 2005 and 2006. He was also nominated for a Grammy for his dance album “Reflections” in 2003 and won the Grammy for Best Soundtrack in a Motion Picture Film for his work in the film The Dark Knight. In total he has won 33 awards and was nominated for over 70.

Last year, Paul fell off a stage at the A State of Trance Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands. He fell 20 feet onto a concrete floor and suffered spinal and brain injuries.

“The initial prognosis after the injury was that I’d be lucky if I could ever walk and talk again,” said Paul. “Fortunately, I was extremely lucky to make a thorough recovery.”

He added that he’s just happy to be able to continue to make music and tour again, as that is where he’s happiest. “When I am sharing the music I love with fans who have shown me the most generous support not just in the past year but throughout my entire career.”

His career as a producer and DJ started in the early 1990’s when he broke through the trance scene with his remix of Humate’s “Love Stimulation” and his hit single “For An Angel,” which is still relevant in the dance music scene today and well known within DJ’s sets. Its complex melody, rhythm, and unique sound make it timeless.

“I’m so humbled that this song still gets the same response as it did when it was first released almost 25 years ago,” said Paul. “As a musician, you hope that your music still has an impact decades later, and I’m very grateful that “For An Angel” is still appreciated today.”

Currently, Paul hosts the segment “Vonyc Sessions with Paul” on Dash Radio and is touring around the globe. He considers touring to be one of the best parts of being a musician, and describes how meeting his fans is immensely gratifying.

“I grew up in a very oppressive society in East Berlin, so I guess I have an immense passion to experience as much of the world as I can,” Paul explained also adding how his travels have shaped his worldview and have made him a more compassionate person.

Paul’s music is a beautiful blend of melodious trance and techno, where he exhibits a mastery over the use of pulsing kick-drums and harmonious breakdowns. Though he considers it to be simply electronic music.

“Trance is still very much thriving today as it was 25 years ago when my career was just beginning,” said Paul. Trance is considered to be somewhat of a niche genre within the larger ‘EDM’ community. However, the Dreamstate festivals continue to routinely attract over 50,000 people of all ages. “I think it is an affirmation that people will always appreciate good trance music.”

In terms of political themes, Paul is not one to shy away, as he is openly anti-war and anti-drug, spreading messages of peace and love in his tracks. He considers dance music to be a tool in spreading this and has released three compilation albums under the name “The Politics of Dancing.” Paul is launching a new album later this year. He considers it to be the most personal projects he has ever made.

“I can’t reveal too much about it just yet,” said Paul. “Making this album has been a very therapeutic aspect of my recovery process and I can’t wait to share the new album with everyone.”

His live show setup will include the use of a laptop, a MIDI controller, a sequencer, and many other pieces of electronic equipment. He likes to be completely interactive and creative while he plays, not particularly favoring the idea of following a rigged setlist.

“I try to read the crowd and play the right song at the right time,” he said. “I’m very excited to return to Montreal. See you there!”

Paul Van Dyk // May 13, Saturday // New City Gas (950 rue Ottawa) // 10 p.m. // $16 for general admission

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