25 Things We Learned From Armin Van Buuren’s Reddit AMA

Photo by: @Bart_Heemskerk

Trance Godfather Armin Van Buuren took to Reddit’s /r/electronicmusic last night in anticipation for playing his set at EDC Vegas to answer some of his fans’ questions. Armin spent an entire hour answering nearly every single question that was posted, so prepare for a long, and in depth read. We learned about his expectations of trance in the future, his opinions on several EDM Artists, his love for Asian food, and A LOT more.

The full thread can be found here.

1.) If we can expect more of his alias Rising Star.

“Always. I love the classic trance sound and only this year I’ve done a bunch of that. But I don’t want to close my eyes to the new and current sound and always integrate that into my sound. That’s why I love making a State of Trance every week. But for me, I don’t like too play too much old stuff. I mean, a classic re-work once in a while is amazing, but I see some DJ’s playing nothing but the 100th rework of Binary Finary. If we want to have that trance sound in 20 years from now, i think it’s important we keep an open mind to the young and new sounds in trance (like Mino Safy, Denis Kenzo, MaRlo, Orjan Nilsen, Vini Vici etc etc)”

2.) His opinions about the rave scene now, as opposed to the 90s.

“It’s bigger!! I mean, there’s a festival almost every week now. Which i think is great because there’re so many new talents coming up and there’s a lot of room for new sounds to grow. It’s a fantastic time for dance music. But I will always be nostalgic about the early days of dance music….”

3.) Whether or not his collaboration with Deadmau5 will work out.

“I guess it’s still up in the air, like a ton of tracks waiting on my studio computer. I’m down to finish it!”

4.) His opinion on Artists playing different sets while in Europe, compared to their sets in the States. And his favorite set to date.

“I always play based on the crowd in front of me. I take variables into account like, my set time, the DJ before and after me, weather, atmosphere and requests I get in my asot email and on social media. I’ve never played the same set twice. Personally, I get the most satisfaction from playing longer sets, like my solo set at Ushuaia. I’m a bit old skool in way that I really like to build up a night, preferably being the first guy in the room and the last guy out :). My favorite sets have always been the ones I did in Ibiza and lasted longer than 6 hours ;)”

5.) Why he doesn’t play the “Sky Falls Down” remix in his sets anymore.

“I still do, but always soooo many tunes to choose from. I currently have 6557 WAV files on my macbook. haha. I’m a nerd ;)”

6.) His thoughts on the key to making a great trance track.

“I think the melody in combination with a great production. It’s sad how many really great melodies sometimes get lost in an awful production. I mean, the tracks are great on radio but they sound horrible on a big system. That’s sad because it’s a waste of so many great music out there. That’s one of the disadvantages of a lot of producers producing their tracks on headphones. They simply don’t hear that the low end of their bassline is too loud and pushing away the punch of the kick in their mix. On a main PA that kills the drive and that sounds like one note! So i would say: please take the time make your track sound amazing!! :)”

7.) How he sees trance changing in the coming years, and if big room here to stay.

“I think mixing and merging of styles. Within trance you have all these subgenres now that weren’t there a few years ago. Each genre seems to have their own fans. That’s just amazing! Big room will always be part of trance, but also Psy, uplifting, vocal, techtrance, etc. For me most important is that a sound keeps developing. That’s my criticism towards some of the trance tracks out there; they sound exactly like 10 years ago! (same kick drum for freakin 10 years!) Nothing bad maybe (if it works, it works) , but there are so many new sounds and I want to focus on that. It’s about the emotion though. Trance is all about emotion”

8.) If he would prefer having longer set times at festivals.

“I’m definitely down for playing longer sets at festivals, although you see the attention span of a young crowd is getting shorter. I see that as a challenge though, Give me a three hour slot and it’s my job to keep it exciting ;)”

9.) His favorite music to listen/chill to.

“Helios, Hatchback, THE ORB (!!), Future Sound of London, Carbon Based Lifeforms, OTT, Jon Hopkins (hero!) etc”

10.) If he has one song in his sets that he gets sick of playing.

“hahaha well, if I’m sick of it, I don’t play it!”

11.) His favorite aspect of touring.

“I love meeting new people and seeing different cultures. I mean, seeing the world on the news is one thing, but it’s different to actually go and talk to people and understand why there is a difference between religions, cultures etc.”

12.) What he thinks of ‘Will Atkinson – “Subconscious”.

“STUNNING tune!!”

13.) His favorite and most disliked food.

“favorite: anything asian! Worst: anything “burgers.” But hard to say “no” sometimes haha”

14.) His favorite relatively unknown artist.

“I’m completely in love with the new Helios – Yume album. They’re not unknown but I just wanted to express my love for that kind of music. I literally have that on repeat for about a month. WHAT A HERO!”


15.) What he thinks of some DJs using almost same setlist (with only 2 or 3 tracks changed) for 3~6 months.

“You want to play the best tracks you have and most people in the crowd haven’t heard the tracks live yet. It’s always a tough balance. I always play new stuff though.”

16.) If we’ll be seeing a Gaia album soon.

“I need to discuss with the guys but an album is not something to take lightly. I have an idea though ;)”

17.) Why he loves trance so much more vs other EDM subgenres, and if he uses Ableton or Logic more.

“I love the emotion in trance! Simple as that. I use both Logic and Ableton. Can’t choose! They both have pro’s and con’s”

18.) His favorite plug-ins / VSTs.

“Serum, ALL UAD stuff, all Fabfilter (saturn!), Massive, Waves, Sylenth, LFO tool, iZotope has some amazing stuff. Too many to mention.”

19.) If he’s ever thought of making an album under a different name than “Armin van Buuren” – like a Rising Star album.

“Ab-so-freakin-lutely!!! I’ll ask the guys if they’re down for me to produce more tracks for Gaia and maybe they want to tour more. But first: EDC tomorrow!!”

20.) How he feels about Bassnectar.

“cool guy!”

21.) If he could create a festival with 5 artists, who he would pick.

“Ben Liebrand, Speedy J., The Orb, Jean-Michel Jarre & Vangelis”

22.) What he thinks of Aphex Twin and Autechre.


23.) What standard file he uses for his shows.

“WAV and nothing else. Can we switch to 96kHz?”

24.) What has surprised him the most in all his years in music.

“How passionate people can be. How important music is in the world. It seems unimportant sometimes but to me, its one of the cornerstones of life. It’s what gives color to life!”

25.) His recommendations of music where psy-trance blends with uplifting Trance.

“Check ASOT 768 this week. I’m surprised how psy is slowly influencing other styles.”