The Dutch DJ reveals the risks he took to deliver the majestic spectacle at his “Embrace” World Tour in Singapore
By Cassandra Lim and Pamela Chow. Photos: Colossal Photos
They say the universe has a wicked sense of humour, and the weather reeled its mischievous head on April Fools’ Day. The rain poured outside as we met with Armin van Buuren minutes before his show.
“I’m super excited to bring the show to Singapore, although the weather is not really helping us,” the Dutch DJ remarked candidly. Mere moments before the curtains opened, the clouds decided to call it a day, leaving him a muddy concert floor at the Gardens by the Bay.
But the trance musician turned it around with a grand spectacle of stunts, theatrics and action that blew some 7,500 fans away, showing up his previous smaller sets at local clubs here.
We learned what it took for Armin to unplug his set and turn it into a dramatic five hour-long parade.
Welcome back Armin! You’re certainly no stranger to Singapore. How did you try to make “Embrace” different?
I’m super excited to bring the show to Singapore; Embrace is probably the biggest solo tour I’ve ever done. [I tried] to go out of my way a little bit, more than just playing a two-hour set or something. It’s more like a DJ show-meets-theatre kind of thing.
What challenges did you face when curating this show?
Well, one of the challenges was to have try-outs, so we had an actual try-out with a smaller crowd to assess the stuff that we ‘invented’. This was very exciting because for a DJ, that’s a very new thing.
You seem to be doing many new things in the DJ scene.
One of the things I’ve learnt is that there is a lot of unchartered territory for the DJ world. We are used to being in our comfort zones: Plug in our USBs, play the big hits, grab the microphone and say, “What’s up!”
If that’s your thing, it’s fine. It’s just that for me, I want to try and develop myself as an artist. Not every experiment is good, but I make it a point of exploring a side of trance that has never been done before.
What prompted this shift in your modus operandi?
I had a writer’s block in 2002 and 2003 when I couldn’t make any music, because all I was trying to do was to recreate the success of tunes in the past.
Even though I want to create music for my fans, I cannot recreate a track from the past. If you’ve been making music for 20 years, you’ve got to do stuff that excites you.
You’ve got to try to invent yourself, not go back to the same paths that you’ve crossed before.