Armin van Buuren has been named number one in the prestigious DJ MAG Top 100 poll four times in a row, as the first DJ in the history of the DJ Magazine and an indication of his prolific output over the more than 14 years he’s been dj’ing and producing. Being the official World’s Most Popular DJ is just one of his many achievements, but the driving force behind his success is an overriding passion for dance music.
Awards & Accolades
Even a basic list of recent successes reads like a lifetime of work: he was awarded with the prestigious Buma Cultuur Pop Award in 2008. This was followed by being voted as the Best Trance Artist in the Beatport Music Awards judged on the musician’s artistic achievements, national and international success. Next to that, Armin was awarded for ‘Best European DJ’ at the 2009 IDMA Awards, followed by ‘Best Global DJ’ in 2010 and most popular International DJ at Australia’s Sony inthemix DJ Poll, along with 3 other big Awards. In March 2010, Armin received the ‘Gouden Harp’, the highest distinction a Dutch artist can get. On Queensday 2011, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands named Armin Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. The Royal Distinction was handed to him after his set in hometown Leiden by mayor Lenferink of Leiden. It is evident that Armin van Buuren has become one of the decade’s most influential trance acts.
But there’s more. ‘Best Album’ for artist album ‘Shivers’ at both the Dutch Release Dance Awards and the prestigious Edison Awards; ‘Best Compilation’ for ‘A State Of Trance’, in 2006, claiming the ‘Best European DJ’ award in 2007 and ‘Best Mix Radio Show’ at the Miami Winter Music Conference 5 years in a row for radio show ‘A State Of Trance’ – now broadcasting on a massive 40 FM stations as well as satellite and internet radio, with over 15 million listeners a week; over 50,000 downloads every week from podcasting high end chart-bothering positions all over the world for singles, albums and compilations, with single ‘Rush Hour’ used as the anthem to the UEFA European Youth Championship; the #1 entry in the Dutch album charts with his artist album ‘Imagine’, the #1 entry of the DVD registration of ‘Armin Only ‘ Imagine’, a golden record for ‘Mirage’ on selling more than 25.000 copies in the Netherlands – the landmarks just keep coming!
Armin’s own productions have all made a huge impact and quickly gain worldwide acclaim; his third artist album titled ‘Imagine’ entered the Dutch Album Top 100 Chart at number one; this is the first time a dance producer has ever accomplished such a feat in the history of Dutch music. The ‘Armin Only – Imagine DVD’ was also released and reached the acclaimed number one spot in its second week. The music video of ‘In & Out of Love’, the hit-single with singer Sharon den Adel, received more than 88 million views on YouTube, holding the first position on the Dutch Top 10 of most viewed videos all-time. Armin’s back catalogue includes Blue Fear, Communication, Sound of Goodbye, Shivers, Rush Hour, Burned With Desire, Exhale, Love You More, This World Is Watching Me, and Yet Another Day. While the remix offers flood in, Armin only takes on tracks that he really loves. He uses exactly the same criteria for his compilations, meaning that every release from Armin or his long-running Armind label is a bone fide stormer that’s earned its place. His output includes tracks for the cult TV series 24 and the likes of Motorcycle, The Killers, Faithless, BT and Kerli.
But, as a true artist befits, Armin keeps creating new music and has released his fourth artist album, ‘Mirage’, in September 2010. For the album, Armin collaborated with the likes of BT, Christian Burns, Ferry Corsten, Adam Young and Nadia Ali. ‘Mirage’ reached golden status in The Netherlands only 3 months after its release, selling more than 25.000 copies. After the first single, the instrumental, powerful trance track ‘Full Focus’, the second release of the album was a collaboration with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, ‘Not Giving Up On Love’. The music video for the track was shot on party island Ibiza, including shots of Club Amnesia, where Armin holds his residency. ‘This Light Between Us’, featuring Christian Burns, and ‘Drowning’ with singer Laura V, were the follow-up singles, as well as his collab with Nadia Ali, ‘Feels So Good’.
In Juni 2011, the official remix album of ‘Mirage’ was released. ‘Mirage – The Remixes’ includes remixes by Avicii, BT, Dash Berlin, Jerome Isma-Ae, 16 Bit Lolita’s, Tocadisco, Kyau & Albert, W&W and many more.Prohgress.
It was at those all-night parties that the group honed their sound and performance skills. “We felt like when we started messing more with hard electro synths, 4 to the floor drums and upbeat Daft Punk-type production it just seemed to connect better with the type of performance we do,” Prohgress said. “And once we had ‘Girls On The Dance Floor’ that was just like the bazooka ammunition that we needed.”
“Girls On The Dance Floor” became an undeniable, high-energy track that prompted women from all over to record videos of themselves dancing to the song and upload the clips online. The song exploded the latter part of 2009 in nightclubs and topped the playlists in L.A. The requests and heavy rotation earned Far East Movement a spot on a prestigious L.A. concert headlined by Jay-Z.
The follow up record “Like A G6” received an even more rabid reaction from listeners. “That one had over a million hits on YouTube before it even had one play on the radio,” Kev Nish said about the song they put together in two hours with Los Angeles producers The Cataracs.
Free Wired, the album, captures the hypnotic, electronic energy of earlier hits “Girls On The Dance Floor” and “Like A G6”, but also encompasses a slower-paced, ‘80s dance, pop and tribal sound.
Snoop Dogg guests on the bombastic “If I Was You” where you don’t hear a typical Snoop, but hear him singing and integrating himself into the FM sound. There’s also the mid-tempo dance floor track, for all the dance crews that love FM, called “So What” that samples a group that with a huge influence, The Beastie Boys’ and their smash “So What’cha Want”.
Lil’ Jon gets amped on the soon to be club banger “Go Ape.” While recording “Go Ape” with their resident producers, the Grammy nominated Stereotypes, Lil’ Jon was suggested for the track due to its crunk influence. Within moments, Stereotypes [due to a previous relationship with the producer] had the “Get Low” rapper and producer on iChat. Lil’ Jon expressed immediate interest. “’SEND IT OVER!’” Kev Nish recalled of Lil’ Jon’s reply. “Next thing you know, a couple days later, Lil’ Jon is on it.” It was these moments that FM call, ‘Free Wired’, that played a theme in putting this album together.
Free Wired will slow the tempo up on the album with the upcoming single ‘Rocketeer’. This radio-ready massive pop ballad features One Republic front man Ryan Tedder. “Our next single is going to surprise a lot of Far East Movement fans in a great way, “ states J-Splif. “It’s definitely outside the box for us, but we love to push our musical boundaries.” There’s also the fast tempo, pulsating, dance love song called “Don’t Look Now” also produced by the Stereotypes.
“The Far East Movement reps the diverse music fan that hits up 3 clubs playing all different music in 1 night, with a flossy and stylish fashion interest, low ridin' around LA in a fresh set of rims and a fresher pair of kicks, then hits the after-after party in the early a.m. and finally stumbles home to go on the computer and live all that online" the group says.
Far East Movement all grew up together in Los Angeles. They were influenced by the thriving downtown LA scene and a wide array of music from fellow West Coast classics like the Pharcyde and Dr Dre, to the dance music of DJ Tiesto and Daft Punk, to LA rockers like Guns N Roses, Linkin Park and Blink 182. “Our musical inspiration is as large as what we can hold on our iPods.”
After graduating from high school the group started taking music more seriously, doing shows wherever they could at Los Angeles bars, clubs and lofts. One of their earlier shows was a successful benefit show that raised money for a drug rehab center that helped a lot of their friends in the community. This came before the group even had their first song recorded. The group loved to perform and perfect their stage presence wherever they could.
“Another big part of our movement is how we stay connected to the fans ourselves,” states J-Splif. “They demanding our songs on radio and at the clubs, so we’re always listening and try to give back. We used to go to a club and watch all night just to see how the crowd would react to certain songs the DJ played and soak it in.” ”It's important that we translate to everyone what we’re about on this album,” Kev Nish added. “We want people to feel free to 'geek out' however they feel comfortable and stay wired with us whether partying or home online. Live Free and Stay Wired is where is stems from.”
Another influence came when they saw Kanye West live and the kind of performance he achieved. “I remember we saw a Kanye show,” Prohgress said. “He threw a towel into the audience and people were fighting for it. We wanted to give that type of energy.” “It’s always been about that energy and that lifestyle at our shows.”
You already might be familiar with Far East Movement’s music unknowingly as they also receive placements that are as impressive as artists who have already reached superstar status. “Girls On The Dance Floor” was featured in a major scene in the hit film Get Him To The Greek, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew season 4 finale, CBS’ CSI Miami, and FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Their music has also been heard on television hits Gossip Girl, Entourage, ABC Family’s Lincoln Heights, 2009 Miss America pageant and in the blockbuster film and video game “Fast and Furious”. They were also featured performers at both the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival in 2010.
Their tours have taken them to Asia, South America, UK, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Brazil, Netherlands and all over the US.
Far East Movement is now anxious to take advantage of all the opportunities their fast-rising career will afford them. Considering their independent, go-getter mindset, talent, and willingness to break out of the box, Far East Movement is indeed setting themselves up for the long run.
How it all began
Born in Leiden, Holland (on December 25, 1976) to a musical family, Armin indulged his passion for music from a young age. He spent all the money he earned with his paper round on records. His mum won a computer when he was 10, gaining Armin’s interest. “So as a little nerdy kid I was writing my own basic programs, and learnt about the technology from there.” He progressed from making low-profile mix tapes for friends to higher profile mixes when he discovered experimenting with different sequences on his computer through his uncle. “I was so stunned by what I saw him doing on the computer, that I got addicted to creating music right there and then!”
“I loved dance music immediately – this great rebellious sound that was so different to the ‘beautiful’ songs of the years before”. Armin cites electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre as a major influence, as well as Dutch producer Ben Liebrand, who later mentored him in his mixing and producing.
In the early days, Armin thought it was wise to have something extra in case the dj’ing didn’t work out. So he studied for a law degree. The final year of his course was inevitably stretched as he juggled his studies with his increasingly hectic schedule; his rise to fame included lots of productions and remixes, as well as playing out to packed clubs every weekend. It took him three years to graduate, but his determination made him succeed!
Armin is a dedicated trance lover, but isn’t imprisoned by a single genre, saying “What makes trance work so well is that it doesn’t stick to one style, and can incorporate electro, minimal, whatever it likes.”
The main ingredient to Armin’s life will always be music. “This is just what I really want,” says Armin. “It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby, it’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life”.