Paul Van Dyk

The story of Grammy-nominated DJ, producer and scene-starter Paul van Dyk doesn’t begin in the 1991 techno incubator of Tresor, the 1995 Twilo-era Manhattan or the 1997 superclubs in Ibiza or London… It begins in 1985 and in his mom’s kitchen. It was there in Communist East Berlin that Paul van Dyk first caught the sounds of synthesised music broadcast over the West’s radio waves. It was among the most auspicious of meetings and its effect is difficult to overstate, having shaped the course of electronic music’s history for more than twenty years.

From the earliest ignition points of ‘For An Angel’, ‘Perfect Day’ and his ‘Age Of Love’ & ‘Love Stimulation’ remixes to 2015’s singles ‘Guardian’ & ‘Louder’, PvD’s gone from trance music’s standard-bearer to its most abiding & respected influence. He’s been deemed a ‘musical pioneer’ throughout his career with designations ranging from ‘originator’ to ‘icon’ and descriptions including ‘humanitarian’, ‘pacifist’ and ‘altruist’.

Early History: van Dyk was brought up in East Germany – an experience that left a profound impression on him… “Behind the Iron Curtain, I felt that everything that I had to be strive to achieve in difficult circumstances – I value that much more now. That’s nevermore the case than it is with music. Growing up, I listened to radio stations transmitting from West Berlin. It became the only way to connect with the outside world and a freer society. As such, music had, and continues to have, the greatest possible resonance for me, and on my life.”

After a brief residence in Hamburg, van Dyk returned to Berlin at the start of 1991. He made his first behind-decks appearance in March that year during the opening month of the soon-to-be-illustrious Tresor. From there, Paul began to build an onstage and studio career which, by 1997, saw him reach dance music’s highest echelon. As the twin phenomena of superclubs and the DJ-as-a-Rock-Star arrived, he found himself not only synonymous with them, but he was elevated as a figurehead for the trance scene at large. van Dyk has since held sway over floors in every dance music-speaking country in the world. He holds the record for the longest unbroken run inside the ranks of the world’s Top 100 DJs chart; has twice reached the no.1 position and in 2013 was aggregated, vote-for-vote, year-for-year as the poll’s single most successful and enduring DJ.

Label Owner: As the owner of VANDIT Records, the last 15 years have seen Paul use his label dais to break the productions of those musically akin. In its early years, VANDIT released music by Armin van Buuren, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Agnelli & Nelson, Thrillseekers, Alex M.O.R.P.H., Nu-NRG and others. It’s lately focused on breaking newer talent, with acts like Chris Bekker, Las Salinas and Ben Nicky on its A&R roster.

PvD Radio Shows: A child of the radio generation, Paul was one of the first DJs to recognise and fully harness the medium to spread his sound. His long-running VONYC Sessions show is now broadcast on over 90 terrestrial and digital stations around the world, including iHeartRadio’s Evolution channel.

Awards: Throughout his career, van Dyk has garnered in excess of 60 international awards for a myriad of activities. Among those are the illustrious Landesverdienstorden (Berlin’s Medal of Honour, given in recognition of his work towards social justice), a string of IDMA awards and Mixmag’s Man of the Year accolade. In 2014, he received MTV’s prestigious Chiuku award, previously received by such artists as Shakira, Nelly Furtado, Eva Longoria and Morrissey. In 2015, PvD won Mexico’s Lunas del Auditorio award for Best Electronic Music Live Artist.

Political & Social Concerns: van Dyk dedicates considerable effort to several philanthropic endeavours. Among them are his Berlin-based Rückenwind (Tailwind) charity, which seeks to maintain a thirst for knowledge in underprivileged children, the Indian-based Akanksha Foundation, the FEED project and the Peace One Day movement. He is also well known for his longstanding political involvements, specifically for his dedication to anti-war movements and organizations like Rock The Vote.