The Paul Van Dyk Interview

The Paul Van Dyk Interview

by Clubplanet
07.19.2006

-Emily Tan

Paul Van Dyk has always had a special relationship with New York. For Paul, playing to New York crowds has never been “just another gig.” This being the fourth consecutive year that PVD has played Central Park SummerStage (a Made Event) the bar has been set higher than ever before in terms of production. Van Dyk himself has a few surprises in store, and the anticipation is palpable as the August 18th and 19th dates draw near. (The second SummerStage date was added to accommodate overwhelming demand.) Both New York dates will be sold out. Click here for tickets.

An uncompromising electronic music DJ/producer of international fame, Paul Van Dyk has had a love affair with New Yorkers since his earliest days playing Disco 2000 at Limelight, but it was during his now-legendary residency at Manhattan club, Twilo, that this love affair blossomed into a legitimate bond. His affinity with New York’s savviest dance music lovers continued to grow in the ensuing years as the quality of his shows matured in sophistication. [Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for an exclusive Clubplanet behind-the-scenes “production diary” with Mike Bindra of Made Event in the coming weeks.]

Paul is thrilled with the launch of his “new baby,” the Internet radio station-slash-download site, Vonyc. With all of the projects on his plate and the constant touring--a full schedule of his fall tour, including a romp through Texas and California in September, appears at the bottom of this interview–-it’s a wonder that he finds time to create new music at all. He is, in fact, working furiously on his new artist album (his last album was Reflections, and his latest compilation is Politics of Dancing 2) which is due for release in the spring of 2007. And he'll also be touring

In this candid interview exclusively for Clubplanet with DJ Times writer Emily Tan, Paul Van Dyk discusses what’s on his mind and gives readers a glimpse of where he’s going next.

Emily Tan: Congratulations on adding the second Central Park SummerStage date! What can fans expect this year that’s different from the last three years?

Paul Van Dyk: Well, the past three years have been always different from each other because of the production and such. We had a little surprise performance of “The Other Side” last year with Wayne Jackson, for example. Since it’s a surprise, I’m not gonna reveal what’s so special for this year. [laughs] My perspective is always the musical one, so if I talk about surprises, it’s always about the musical aspect.

Vonyc.com is your baby. What’s so special about it?

PVD: Vonyc.com is our download site; it’s an online radio where you can listen to the latest electronic songs. The best in electronic, as we call it. The “Vonyc Sessions” is a weekly outtake of the best of electronic music.

Does the Vonyc.com website carry music that people would expect to hear in a Paul Van Dyk DJ set, such as tracks signed exclusively to you label, Vandit?

PVD-int-1.jpg

PVD: Not necessarily. The Vonyc side is open to all sorts of electronic music; it just has to have a high quality level. All the Vandit things are on there, but we also have deep, electro stuff, like from Armada and AnjunaBeats. The whole reason we started the Vonyc site was because there were always complaints from the music industry about illegal file-sharing, but I always said you cannot blame people for it. I said that 99% of electronic music only comes-out on vinyl, so you have to wait until someone rips it and uploads it to the Internet. Labels’ only option is to release it legally.

I thought, “What would I like to have?” I‘d like to be able to listen to music, so you can sample every single track when you go into the search function on Vonyc. It’s also about the radio function: It’s a 24/7 radio that always plays the latest electronic music, and whatever you like, you can click on a button and you can download it. We’re targeting the music that’s really demanded, the big things that are being played in the clubs, but we also have the very small, underground house labels.

We saw early-on that most likely if you download it, you’ll probably have it before the DJs have it. We get pretty much double the amount of music now; we get two CDs of everything. One for me, one for the site.

Judge Jules has his own music store, where he makes available for download most of the custom-edited tracks he plays out. Is Vonyc characterized by having the “Paul Van Dyk sound”?

PVD: Actually, I’m not even deciding what’s played. I have a very good team sitting there that’s basically very good at analyzing huge potential, like, “Here, this is a great track!” We get so many demos from young talent that don’t even have a label, so these artists get very early exposure right away. I’m not really artistically that much controlling it, at all. These are tracks that are very interesting, be it something bleepy or very happy or very heavy, all sorts of stuff. They do a really good job at compiling a great variety of sounds. It’s already a few of the tracks that started to become big in the clubs, and we had them first. I played them in my sets.

When iiO’s “Rapture” first got into your hands four or five years ago, you played that song in every set for several weeks, maybe a few months. A global DJ of your stature can surely make-or-break a new track or a new artist. Is that something you’re trying to do with Vonyc, help break new artists?

PVD: Well…there’s a track by Emjay called “Real High” that I play in my sets. It’s not even out yet, but I’ve seen people holding-up signs at shows asking me to play it. [laughs]

Holding-up signs? People bring signs to a club?

PVD: [laughs] Yeah, well…they cannot request something, so sometimes they hold signs up.

How is your Vonyc.com site different or better than other sites like iTunes, Beatport, Rhapsody, or JudgeMusic.net?

PVD: It’s difficult to say one’s better. It has to do with your own personal tastes, to some extent. If you like one radio station more than another, you’d like one download site more than another. We have the most variety, and the other thing is, some of those download sites have the feeling that they have all the B-sides that in earlier years wouldn’t even have been released on vinyl. We don’t put just the B-sides; we have also the A-sides, full-on.

PVD-int-2.jpg

We also have different formats, like a high-quality MP3 or a rough .AIFF file. We send the files directly to you. The biggest thing is, you click on the site and you can hear radio playing while reading this article, and click! You can just buy a track you hear. We have a great search function where you can search by labels, by artists, by tracks, and we have pre-listening functions, as well.

Whereas Beatport was initially targeted to DJs, are you targeting Vonyc to non-DJs, as well?

PVD: Yes, Vonyc is for everyone. As I’ve always said, I don’t have a really
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