When Paul van Dyk — one of the first true “superstar DJs” — comes to Miami, he usually headlines the Ultra Music Festival or one of the Magic City’s megaclubs during the Winter Music Conference each March. But the Grammy-winning German electronic dance-music composer and producer also enjoys heading to South Florida during non-conference times.
On Saturday night at Club Space in Miami, Van Dyk will transcend the typical DJ night by performing live on keyboards and synths during his set — a rarity in the EDM world — during his many anthemic, trance-kissed hits, including For An Angel, Tell Me Why (The Riddle), Time of Our Lives, We Are Alive and Eternity. But he will also mix in quite a few tracks from his latest release, the double-disc The Politics of Dancing 3, featuring the Beatport chart-topping singles Come With Me, Only in a Dream, Guardian and Louder.
Van Dyk talked to the Miami Herald about the new album — and how dance music can help unite the world.
I imagine we’ll hear a lot from “The Politics of Dancing 3” at Space?
Of course, but it might sound somewhat different because of the equipment I use when I’m playing, with the keyboards and the computers and everything. So everything’s kind of remixed and re-produced on the fly, and it always gets a bit of a different twist.
Your live performances are different from a typical DJ set — can you elaborate?
The thing is, over all these years, I’ve developed the same passion I have for being a DJ, for being a musician and being a producer. So I’m combining basically both worlds with the set-up that I have. It enables me to deconstruct and reconstruct all music on the fly, inspired by whatever’s going on in the venue by my audience. And that obviously makes it all very direct and very intense and a special experience.
“Politics of Dancing 3” still has that signature Paul van Dyk sound — uplifting, driving, melodic. Was it easy to keep that going even with all the collaborations?
Well, I produced everything, and most of the compositions are from myself, so therefore it has a clear, signature sound. On the other hand, I also tried to accommodate the sounds, the styles and the musical approaches of every single person that I worked with.
Club Space seems to be your go-to club in Miami — what do you like about it?
Well, obviously I play a lot of other venues as well, but you’re right — Space is one of those places. The sound, the room, the DJ booth and everything — it’s almost like being in a speaker, with the music being the center of focus. And this is something that is very important to me, because it is all about the music for me. I’m not taking the microphone and screaming weird things. I communicate through the music, and you can do that very well there.
You said that “only dance music has the power to reconcile the divisions of the planet.” What did you mean by that?
I mean that this music brings people together from all different cultural backgrounds, from all different citizenships. It doesn’t matter what god you believe in — people come together to enjoy this music and take that positive energy back into their everyday life, and therefore there’s a much bigger understanding among people from different religions. I’ve experienced it myself, with people that I know from countries that met together in Ibiza, and they had a great time. And more of that interaction is obviously necessary on this planet for all of us to understand each other better. I think electronic music provides that ground, because it’s culturally so open and so appealing to so many aspects of what people enjoy in music.
Paul van Dyk performs at 11 p.m. Saturday at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; www.wantickets.com; $20-$35.