V Exclusive: #1 DJ Armin van Buuren Talks Hip-Hop, Claims “I’m Not Worthy”

Fresh off his crowning as #1 DJ for the second year running, Armin van Buuren and his liege swept into Manhattan last week to perform his renowned trance beats for the Big Apple. With a stop-in for a hair-raising show at the unrelentingly chic LAVO NY, the Dutch demi-King of the party, found time to chat with VIBE about dance music at its pinnacle.

VIBE: Does your set/sound change when you’re at a venue like LAVO?
Armin van Buuren: If they book Arimin van Buuren, they get Armin van Buuren. That’s kinda the way I see it. I think if people see my name on the flyer, they expect a certain sound. I wouldn’t be playing 140 bpm’s for two hours, but I was just vibing off the crowd there. I was building them up in there. At the end of the night, I did have some higher bpm’s there, so I do adjust a little bit, but within my range of sound.

Is this smaller venue fun for you compared to the massive festivals you play worldwide?
To be honest it was a venue I normally don’t play. Smaller gigs are something that I really enjoy. I don’t wanna eat steak everyday so I’m also very lucky to be playing in New York really soon at a big venue. This crowd is set at 600 so I do have to do something for my fans paying the high door price, and the fact only a few people can come. I’m gonna be back in New York really soon, and its gonna be more affordable I think and Its gonna be more of a big room show and I was really happy about that. I think that as a DJ, I just really enjoy playing smaller rooms as well.

Can you explain your sound for someone whose never heard it?
Trance, euphoric, melodic, uplifting, that sort of stuff.

What does it feel like to win #1 DJ?
I feel really blessed; there are no words to describe my gratitude towards my fans. The reason why the award means so much to me is because it’s the award that you get from the fans. Rather than some old guy sitting in an office or something or by some jury you know, it’s really the fans, the people that I play for, they vote and that is what’s most important to me.

Do you think you’re the #1 DJ?
No, I’m not worthy. It’s strange because its comparing apples to oranges in a way. I’m not better than anybody out there. There are a lot of DJ’s that I really look up to personally.

Can you imagine making a hip-hip track? Who would you work with?
I’ve always been a big hip-hop fan. I grew up listening to hip-hop, I was always a big fan of Gangstarr and A Tribe Called Quest, so probably something with Q-Tip or something like that. I was really a big fan of Gangstarr and I was so sad when I heard he passed away. I had all of his albums, there like classics to me.

Photo By Lexi Lambros