Matthias Paul, better known by his stage name Paul van Dyk (born December 16, 1971) in Eisenh?ttenstadt, Brandenburg, German Democratic Republic) is a Grammy Award?nominated artist, and one of the world's leading electronic dance music DJs and producers. He was named "World's No.1 DJ" by DJ Magazine in both 2005 and 2006, and has remained in the "Top 10" since 1998. As of 2007, he has sold over 3 million albums worldwide.
A trance producer in the early-late 1990s, Paul quickly achieved popularity with his famous remix of Love Stimulation by Humate in 1993, and his hit single, For an Angel, but in recent times he no longer likes to describe his music as trance, but rather simply as electronic dance music.
Early life and musical beginning
Paul Van Dyk grew up in East Berlin in a single parent household; his father left him and his mother when he was only four years old. While living there, he worked as broadcast technician and began training to become a carpenter. Paul van Dyk claims his musical education came from radio. Because where he grew up there were no record stores at which to buy music, he kept in touch with the world beyond the Berlin Wall by secretly listening to the popular but forbidden Western radio stations RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) and SFB and mixtapes occasionally smuggled into the country and copied among school friends.
Shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, van Dyk and his mother were given permission to leave East Germany and moved to Hamburg to live with his aunt. In 1990, van Dyk moved back to Berlin. His first appearance as a DJ was in the Tresor in March 1991. A couple more dates followed and he was soon given the chance to perform at Juergen Kramer's famous Dubmission parties in the Turbine club, together with the highly popular young resident DJ Kid Paul. The shows were called Paul vs. Paul. His mixing style drew the attention of Cosmic Baby and the two collaborated as The Visions of Shiva. Their single "Perfect Day" was released by the renowned Berlin independent label MFS (Masterminded For Success) Records, run by English ex-patriat producer Mark Reeder and manager Torsten Jurk.
In February 1993, van Dyk and Kid Paul hosted an installment of the weekly three-hour "HR3 Clubnight" radio show perform for a nationwide audience on German radio. The second and final Visions of Shiva single "How Much Can You Take?" was released, and van Dyk and Cosmic went their separate musical ways. By late summer, Paul released his first DJ-mix compilation "X-Mix-1 - the MFS Trip" and remixed Humate's trance hymn "Love Stimulation".
The growing popularity of the Dubmission parties forced venue changes, first to Cafe Moskau and then into the larger E-Werk where van Dyk began hosting regular MFS nights.
In 1994, Paul released The Green Valley EP, Pump This Party and Emergency 911. Meanwhile, MFS acquired many remixes for Paul and Reeder's close friendship with artists such as New Order gave Paul the opportunity to mix the track "Spooky" from the Republic album. Persuaded by Reeder, he finally recorded his debut LP 45 RPM with Johnny Klimek and VOOV. Reeder also compiled the album's running order and design, and chose the album's title as a reflection of the 45 rpm speed typical for dance vinyl.
Reeder compiled Seven Ways which established van Dyk as a trance pioneer and was van Dyk's first real success in Britain. Reeder had successfully convinced his old friend Rob Deacon (formerly of Volume) to license the album for the UK and his new Deviant label. Seven Ways was voted the #1 album by readers of DJ Magazine.
In early 1997, Paul van Dyk began collaborating with U.S. music producer, BT. Together, they produced tracks such as Flaming June, Forbidden Fruit and Namistai (1999). The singles "Forbidden Fruit" and "Beautiful Place" did not cause a great impact at first, but with the release of Seven Ways and "Words" appearing at the height of the British superclub phenomenon, van Dyk's own material began to attract attention. "By the time they realised I was a German, it was too late!" van Dyk said. Van Dyk also remixed a well known early-90s track, Age of Love in 1997.
In 1998, 45 RPM was re-released in the UK and in the US. To mark the event, and in homage to the defunct E-Werk, Paul released a remix of "For An Angel". Van Dyk took up a residency at Sheffield's Gatecrasher and declared himself anti-drugs, which led to home-made "No E, Pure PvD" T-shirts, also a sly note to journalists that his surname contained no "E". In 1998, Paul remixed British trance duo, Binary Finary's famous "1998" single, which was a successful version that took Binary Finary to the top of the German Dance charts.
In mid-1998, Van Dyk left MFS Records and took a controlling share in the new label Vandit Records. In 2000, Paul flexed his skills with his melodic, dancefloor-friendly Out There And Back, which included the hit single "Tell Me Why (The Riddle)", a collaboration with Saint Etienne. It also included the European hit We Are Alive, a remixed version of the Jennifer Brown song Alive. His first mix album The Politics of Dancing (2001) was followed by a world tour and a DVD release Global (2003) and the Mexican film "Zurdo", for which van Dyk composed the soundtrack.
Reflections (2003) derived from van Dyk?s trips to India, was a more melancholy affair, and includes the single "Nothing But You", a collaboration with Hemmstock & Jennings. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Electronic Album. The mix album The Politics of Dancing 2 (2005) was preceded by a single "The Other Side," featuring Wayne Jackson; a song dedicated to the victims, and their families, of the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck Thailand on December 26, 2004.
2007?present: 'In Between'
Paul van Dyk released his fifth studio album, In Between, worldwide on August 14, 2007. The album, which he created over a three-year period, debuted at number #115 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Billboard's Top Electronic Albums and Top Heatseekers. The album also reached #16 on the Mexican Albums Chart and #5 on the Mexican International Chart. The album was released accompanied by a special edition limited to two thousand copies which included a mixed version of the full album, along with an eight-track bonus CD and an eight-page photo anthology.
Paul van Dyk in El Salvador
The album was produced primarily by Paul van Dyk himself, and features a wide range of collaborators including David Byrne of Talking Heads, Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls, Ashley Tomberlin from Luminary, Alex M.O.R.P.H, Lo Fi Sugar, Rea Garvey of Reamonn, Ryan Merchant and Wayne Jackson. It also features a vocal sample from Ben Lost from Probspot's "Blows My Mind" on the song "Another Sunday". In June 2007, Paul van Dyk embarked on the worldwide "In Between Tour" to promote the album.
Paul van Dyk hosts a show on Radio Fritz every Saturday at 20:00 GMT. In his latest gigs, he blurs the line between DJ'ing and live performance engineering by utilizing two 17" MacBook Pro laptops sporting Mainstage (Logic 8 Pro) and Ableton Live software on both, two MIDI keyboards, enabling a more fully-featured club experience more akin to a concert than a standard night out at a dance club. On-the-fly remixes, mashups and compositions are just some of the capabilities of this new performance method.
In May 2008, Paul van Dyk set up a remix competition with digital download network Beatport.com, inviting aspiring producers to remix his single 'Far Away' which appeared on his 2007 album 'In Between'. Paul has recently appeared as one of the DJs at Trance Energy 2009.
He is married to Natascha van Dyk, who also appears on some of his releases (vocals on "Together We Will Conquer"). The two were married in Canc?n, Mexico.
Since 2001, Paul has taken an interest in politics. His creation of The Politics of Dancing compilation was inspired by electronic dance music's universal acclaim by different people around the world. "Palestinians are dancing with Israelis. Lebanese people are dancing with Israelis ? without war, without anything in their minds other than treating each other respectfully", said van Dyk in 2006. He also has called EDM "...a political and diplomatic tool that could be used." Having grown up with little freedom, his musical career has helped him voice his opinions about politics. He opposes the Iraq War and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. He describes himself to be anti-war, he showed his anti-war beliefs in gig in New York, Paul wore a shirt reading "Make peace, not war" which he said to have been criticized by a fan.
He took part in to fight poverty, as well as participation in social programs to help disadvantaged people in India, New York and Berlin. He also participated in Rock the Vote in 2004 and 2008, the only non-American artist to join the campaign and encouraging young people to vote. He also believes that U.S. foreign policy is an important factor that affects other nations around the world.