The world sat up and took notice of you back in 2007 with your anthem ‘Till The Sky Falls Down’. The funny thing is, this track could have still been sitting on a shelf gathering dust…tell DMCWORLD this funny story…
“It’s true, it was lying on the ‘studio shelf’ for a while. DJ Isaac, who has his studio next to ours listened to it and spoke the now legendary words; “Why not send this to Armin? It sounds great!” So we did and the rest is history.”
Well before we talk about your brand new single, take us back to a young kid first learning about music. Were you raised in a musical household?
“There was always a lot of music in the house, my father was a drummer in a jazz band. I think I got my sense of rhythm from him. I always listened to all kinds of music and I still do. My sister got me hooked on house music though. She worked as a go-go dancer in clubs and she gave me these DJ mix tapes that became holy to me.”
At what age did you decide you wanted a career in music, how did you approach that route?
“I never really planned it out. I just followed my heart. When I started mixing with vinyl in my bedroom it was for the love of the music. And one thing led to another.”
Can you remember the moment, maybe it was playing one of your records to a crowd, when you suddenly realised, wow, I can make a living doing this now!
“The very first time I could finally pay my rent on time, with my landlord getting off my back, that felt really good. For the rest I don’t really think too much about it. I still live in that same tiny apartment and I still ride a bike instead of a car. It is a really cool bike though, you can fold it up after you use it.” (smiles)
So April 2012 – you have had The Buzz Chart staff in the office dancing on their desks to your track ‘Go It Alone’ – talk us through this massive tune…
“Ha! That’s really cool to hear. It’s Sarah Howells man, she’s so amazing. She had send me this demo, just her with a guitar, for us to play around with in the studio. We decided to change the chord progression and the main melody to make it even more melancholic and that worked really well. The response has been overwhelming, I think we even broke another personal record on Youtube with this one. Sarah’s amazing it’s always fun working with her plus she’s a real sweetheart.”
You once described your sound as “uplifting, emotive…an epic audio painting”. How would you describe your sound in 2012?
“It always hard to describe something that is based on a feeling. My sound comes from the heart, it’s not really a conscious thing I guess.”
There is a general feeling that this year will be the year you take over as the biggest superstar of trance. How have you achieved your mission?
“I’m very flattered by that of course; it is great to get recognition, especially when you dedicate your life to something, but the whole superstar thing is not me. I’m Jeff and I play records; that’s it, champagne is not on my rider. I blend in easily with my fans, because I am one of them. My only mission was and still is to this day, to get you on your dancing feet. My success is a result of that passion, it has never been a goal in itself. You get what you give.”
How does it feel knowing you are on the way to numero uno? Starting out, this must have seemed like an impossible dream?
“I think that I am living proof that nothing is impossible in life. I tweeted about this recently. A couple of years ago I was still selling Tiesto vinyls in the DJ store that I worked at. Now I am sharing the main stage with him at Electric Zoo in New York. That is the stuff that dreams are made of. That is why I keep telling people to never stop believing, to work hard and to always keep chasing those dreams, the impossible just takes a little longer sometimes.”
You have just returned from Miami, the biggest in history. We have spoken to a lot of people, many are so surprised how quickly the commercial and underground has split so quickly in the States, especially at Ultra. What are your thoughts on EDM in the US?
“Everything in life comes in waves and we are currently riding the big one, especially in the States which is an adventure. The commercial and the underground are two sides of the same coin, people easily forget that. The commercial music forces the underground to stay relevant and to re-invent itself. It prevents it from becoming lazy. The internet also speeds things up quite drastically. It’s all good; it is an amazing time for creativity and an amazing time to be a DJ.”
What were your own highlights of Miami?
“The biggest highlight was playing at Ultra at Armin’s “A State Of Trance 550” stage, there was a huge crowd and people as far as I could look, I still get goosebumps even talking about it. Being nominated for “Best Trance Track” at the IDMA’s was also a real honour for me personally, because that is based on votes from the people. Just that whole Miami vibe, hanging out with all my friends and fellow artists in the sunny weather, all the new and exciting music, it was really magical this year.”
So we come back to yours after the club, what is the Dash Berlin Back To Mine selection you spin us to carry on the party?
“I still have the Technics turntables set up, so in my house you get the original vinyl treatment, home is where I play for friends and what I play totally depends on who’s visiting and what vibe we’re after.”
You have toured the world 10 times over. What territories do you love returning to?
“People are people. That is what I have learned from visiting all these countries in the world. We are divided sometimes by superficial truths, the real truth is that we have so much more in common than we are aware of. I love to travel, meeting new people, it doesn’t matter to me where I go next, if there is a party going on in need of a DJ, I’m on my way.”
Strangest request from a fan whilst DJing?
“Not something that I can repeat here.” (laughs)
Tell us about your studio set up?
“It has become more and more modest, I got Ableton Live and Logic running on my Macbook for on the road and when I am working together with the guys in the studio we use more outboard gear as well. Most important thing for us is the acoustic environment, everything else can come out the box these days. The software is amazing.”
What advice can you give to aspiring producers out there wanting to follow in your footsteps? The producers of today it seems, don’t need advice, just a laptop!
“That’s it, the right equipment is no longer a problem, it’s all about originality. Even the free software that’s out there sounds amazing. Kids are so smart these days, everything you need to know is basically one google click away.”
And finally, what is coming next from the mighty DB studio…
“My brand new artist album “#musicislife” will be released world-wide on 27-04-12 ! The pre-order is on iTunes as we speak!”