January 2002
By Steven M. Housman

Paul Van Dyk - One Great Recipe For Mixes

It’s been 8 years since Paul Van Dyk, one of the world’s premier Electronic Artist’s and DJ’s, released a mixed CD, but good things come to those who wait. He recently released his long-awaited follow-up Politics Of Dancing on the Ministry Of Sounds label. Ministry Of Sounds has been a label that up until this CD has released dance and club recordings exclusively in the European marketplace. Politics is also the first release on the U.S. stand-alone label.

Van Dyk recently wrapped his North American tour hitting cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Houston, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Denver just to name a few.

Wherever he goes, he has a connection to the club-goers that is rare among DJ’s.

At the 1999 Music Awards in London he received the ‘Best International DJ.’ The readers of the English magazine DJ voted Paul as the ‘Best Music Maker’; ahead of DJ legends Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold who came in second and third respectively.

The reason Van Dyk has steered clear of this type of project for so long is because he usually prefers the “audience interaction” to a private recording studio atmosphere. There’s a wide array of folks who appreciate what is labeled as “electronic” or “trance” music for their own personal use, and The Ministry Of Sound Label was thrilled to have made a deal with Van Dyk. The difference between this disc and Van Dyk’s previous outing is that the past was mostly made for the dance hall arenas. According to Van Dyk, this two-disc CD was purposely made for “the bedroom.” From the opening track ‘Digital Reason’ by Ashtrax to the amazing remix of U2’s ‘Elevation’ (which is exclusive to this collection) all the way down to Van Dyk’s own contributions, ‘Vega,’ ‘Autumn’ and ‘Out There’, this CD is positively mesmerizing.

Paul Van Dyk was born 30 years ago in Eisenhuettenstadt, East Gemany and grew up in communist East Berlin. A family of extreme modest means, Paul grew up listening to the radio where he was completely fascinated by the music of The Smiths and New Order. Paul stated that it [the music] “was very strong and emotional.”

In 1989, after the wall came down, a broad club culture sprung up throughout Berlin. Paul said “I liked the energetic sprit, but something was missing. I was looking for something else.”

Paul began to experiment his unique style of dance music in March 1991 at Berlin Club Tresor. Most electronic dance and trance can feel very sterile. Paul’s mixes actually give this medium a raw emotion that is rare. The public who is familiar with his mixes can immediately sense the difference from other artists. It’s almost like hearing a unique vocalist; you immediately identify the sound with Van Dyk’s unique blend of melody and beat.

Shortly after his start at Tresor, Paul started to create his own original compositions. His first production ‘Perfect Day’, put together with Cosmic Baby as ‘Visions of Shiva’ was released in 1992.

The release of his second album, ‘Seven Ways’, firmly established him as one of the world’s truly great electronic artists. Over the next few years, Van Dyke garnered further respect by remixing tracks of many renowned artists such as Inspiral Carpets, Sven Vath, Curve and New Order. Since that time Van Dyk has been one of the most in-demand DJ’s all over the world. Whether the audience is gay or straight, Paul is always welcomed with open arms and ears.

Today, Van Dyk has a hectic touring schedule with regular globetrotting stops at major venues in London, Tel Aviv, Mexico, New York and Singapore. Although he’s been all around the world, Berlin remains his homebase. More important than the music will always be his family. “It isn’t the success or where I appear on the sales charts that is important to me. What’s most important are the people, the family, friends and everyone, [especially] where I’ve changed something.” Paul continues to say, “I’ve never made music for being trendy. I make music for myself. My music springs from an intense feeling, and every track has its own little story…”

© 2003 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.