After months of collecting the right tracks, road-testing and finally mixing 2 CD’s live at the A State of Trance nights at Ibiza’s Privilege, ‘Universal Religion Chapter 6’ is a fact. Its creator, Armin van Buuren, once again managed to translate that unique Ibiza vibe, the summer feel and capture the essence of the genre he is most dedicated to: trance. We hooked up with Armin to ask him all about the creative process of UR6, his summer season, the ASOT600 announcement and much, much more…
Hey Armin! Congrats on the release of ‘Universal Religion Chapter 6’! Feels good to finally have it out there, right?
Armin:”Yes, I knew for months I wanted to do another ‘Universal Religion’ so started preparing already in April. It’s always an exciting time to share something with the crowd you’ve been working on for so long. Many hours went into finding those special UR tracks.”
You started the series to bring that unique live feel, to catch a piece of the Ibiza magic. Exactly how hard is it to create that ‘Universal Religion’ feeling?
Armin:”Not all tracks are suitable for the compilation. I really depend on other producers for the tracklist. Universal Religion for me is going back to the roots of trance, a little bit less focussed on vocal tracks and a lot on ‘the journey’ a mix can take you on. Each track needs to have something hypnotic. The order of the tracks is very important for me too. The mix has to have the right ‘flow’. It’s hard to explain maybe but the fans of the series know what I mean.”
You recorded the CD’s on two different nights. How does a mix like that come together, do you have a tracklist in mind or can it change last minute?
Armin:”That’s the power of this series: it’s mixed live and WITHOUT a pre-determined tracklist. Having said that, I do know my opening track usually and I depend on permission of the labels to use certain tracks. I clear the rights for each disc for let’s say 30 to 40 tracks and usually end up with 16 on one disc. That’s what makes this mix unique: I look at the crowd and THEN decide where I go with my set. Remember this is a LIVE mix in one take. For me that’s the magic of the CD. If you close your eyes and listen to this, you are virtually standing in Privilege on Ibiza. It transports you from and time and any situation to Ibiza and on the dance floor, even in 100 years from now.”
You told us there were a few last-minute additions. Which ones were they?
Armin:”The Mash up of Sunlounger and Mark Burton was done minutes before I went live. I just wanted to have that vocal on the CD! And I downloaded the WAV of Daniel Kandi’s track ‘3 Strikes UR In’ in the lobby of Ocean Drive hotel while the driver was waiting to take me to Privilege. Bloody internet in Ibiza is useless! Haha.”
Have you ever recorded a mix, to re-record it another night cause you weren’t satisfied?
Armin:”Yes, I wanted to use part of my solo on august 13th for disc 2 but the flow of the night was different with live acts and stuff. It wouldn’t fit on a disc of 80 mins…”
While the A State of Trance albums always have that proggy vibe, ‘Universal Religion Chapter 6’ mostly remains on the trancy side of music. Is that a statement you wanted to make?
Armin:”I’m not the type of guy that wants to make ‘statements’. I make this CD because I love this music and it’s just something I want to do. It usually starts with a few tracks I hear and then I’m like, ‘Hey wait a minute, that would be a perfect tune for Universal Religion!’. This time it was really tracks like ‘How Do I Know?’, ‘Perfect Match’, ‘I’ll Listen’ and ‘I Want To Believe’ that brought the idea to possibly do another UR. I read all the debating on forums, Facebook and Twitter about what is ‘real’ trance and what isn’t. My point is that the customer is always right, even if he isn’t. If you like music or not and if you consider trance to be ‘real’ or not is always a personal opinion. I just give my take on it :) “
The European summer season is coming to an end. How do you reflect on what is probably the busiest season of the year to you?
Armin:”I think you can clearly see that people are making more conscious choices which sound they want to hear so they go the event or festival that brings that sound rather than an overall festival (with a few exceptions like Tomorrowland). Trance still has a huge and growing following and I’m very excited about all the new young talents (Andrew Rayel, Omnia, Matt Davey, etc). All the festivals I’ve been to still embrace my more trancy sound which is great! I think it’s one of the best years for trance!”
The past few weeks have been all about the ASOT Invasion tour and its Ibiza night are nearly done. Which were some of the highlights to you, personally?
Armin:”Every night was different because you have new people on the island each week. The opening was a highlight because NO ONE expected it to be so busy. A lot of people were really happy with the show. For me personally, the solo on 13th of August was very special because I brought Ana and Eller, my brother. I also really loved recording the UR6 discs on August 6th and August 20th because I played mostly new music to the crowd.”
This was the first year you had your residency in Privilege. What makes Privilege so much different from the other clubs you’ve played at throughout the years?
Armin:”Well, Privilege is a very BIG club so it suits a BIGROOM sound. Trance and Privilege is a match made in heaven! We could finally put the high-res LED screen in and we had special live show elements throughout the whole summer, like dancers, fireworks, laser etc.”
There will be a live broadcast of the Closing Party on September 24th, which many fans are, of course, really looking forward to! Got anything special in stores for us that night?
Armin:”I think it will be a very emotional night for the people that loved the Invasion concept we started with ASOT 550. It will be the last of the invasion tour so we’ll be looking back on a great year of events. As for my set, there’s always some surprises of course but the focus will be mainly on Universal Religion 6.”
Sad that the tour is over, or happy that something new is coming up? Only a few months to go until ASOT 600 comes up!
Armin:”I think we’ve showed the world we can connect through music and the love for music connects people. The mission was a success. Now it’s time for a new mission…”
Fans are desperate to find out where and when it is taking place. When will you make the big ASOT 600 announcement?
Armin:”You’ll hear that during the Sept 24th broadcast!!! Something to do with ADE…”
Another big thing coming up, is your new artist album. How far along are you, and do you have a title and release date yet?
Armin:”Yes, I’m pretty sure about the title but I can’t share it just yet. My album is about 70% done. I just need to find the time to finish it…”