Dance music legend Paul van Dyk feels at ease about his career and his music. He’s not at liberty to announce details of his forthcoming album, but he will describe it as “me.”
“In the past, A&R managers were always telling me to ‘Try this, try that,’” he says. “Somehow it leads to something I can live with, but that’s not 100 percent me. The stuff I have done in the last year is 100 percent me—to the point, exactly. I feel much more connected somehow.”
Van Dyk’s 2016 was traumatic, but led to this satisfied feeling. The German, Grammy Award-winning DJ nearly died in February 2016 in The Netherlands after he fell 20 feet from the stage to a concrete floor.
The injuries were so severe that he had to relearn how to eat, talk and walk. Although doctors told him the recovery period was four to five years, he released a new single in March called “Touched by Heaven.” Van Dyk has even returned to stages and is scheduled to play The Pressroom on Friday, May 5.
“The thing is, obviously, I had this accident at the beginning of last year and the during the whole process of getting better, I had a lot of support—especially from my wife, my family and the doctors,” he says.
“Music played a very important part in my recovery. My brain injury affected my speaking system, which is close to the creative part. When I realized that I was still able to make music, I decided to take that second chance.”
Van Dyk explains that the injuries didn’t inspire the music. Instead, the music “happened under the influence of the accident.”
“I know this is cliché to say, but this is my most personal album to date,” he says. “I can very truly, 1000 percent say this music is exactly that.”
It’s personal on every level. He eschews “ghost producers who are involved with so many EDM artists.” Van Dyk is fully aware of the intricacies of his career, and utilizes his team to the highest degree.
The accident is in the back van Dyk’s mind now. He’s going ahead, full throttle, into touring season. He’ll play about 10 shows in Ibiza the first week of June, and spend the rest of the summer playing “big, dance-oriented electronic music festivals.”
“After the summer, when the album is out, my focus is on presenting that,” he says.
Paul van Dyk w/Simon Patterson, Alex M.O.R.P.H. and Heatbeat, The Pressroom, 441 W. Madison Street, Phoenix, relentlessbeats.com, 9 p.m. Friday, May 5, $25-$250.