A State of Trance will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary at Ultra Music Festival in 2020. To commemorate the landmark, Dancing Astronaut got in touch with van Buuren to highlight some of the most resounding notches in ASOT’s history at the festival.
The flagship trance cornerstone, ASOT, bred by genre champion Armin van Buuren, recently ran its 950th radio show episode with the release of an official A State of Trance 950 three-part album and a live event celebration in Utrecht, Netherlands.
The ASOT event series is a sweeping, global arm of the outfit, hosting its annual A State Of Trance event in Utrecht that attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world with live stream capabilities for those who can not attend. The ASOT hallmark event and its international gusto has led to shows from Sydney, Australia to Mumbai, India, to Mexico City, Mexico and a sundry of other scenic destinations around the world. This also includes the station’s very own sound stages at Ultra and Tomorrowland.
Today, van Buuren also unveils the full 2020 roster for the venerated ASOT stage, debuted through his radio show. Armin’s upcoming acumen includes the likes of Ilan Bluestone, Markus Schulz, Gareth Emery, and, of course, van Buuren himself, among others.
In celebration of the watershed 10-year anniversary for van Buuren and company at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the Armada boss has compiled a list of his favorite ASOT memories from bygone years. More information on Ultra Miami available here.
2011 – A State Of Trance makes its Miami debut with the ASOT 500 show.
AVB: “What a milestone! A State Of Trance in Miami in 2011 was the first time ASOT went overseas. I still remember how proud I was and how great it felt to see such a massive ASOT gathering in the States.“
2015 – Eric Prydz plays his first set on any ASOT stage, with a menagerie of lasers, spotlights, and HD screens in tow.
“I’m a huge fan of Eric Prydz, who I feel is a legend in his own right. Seeing him play at ASOT was amazing, and not just because of the surreal light effects. It showed to a lot of people how much crossover potential Trance music has, and we’ve continued down that path since.“
2016 – deadmau5 makes his ASOT debut with a menacing techno set
“You guys may remember the little back-and-forth Joel (Deadmau5) and I did over Twitter, which ended with me challenging him to come and play at ASOT700. Well, he took me up on the offer in the end and dropped a very cool, Techno-inspired set that ended with some heavy metal, paying tribute to Motörhead’s Lemmy. I simply had to commend him for putting his money where his mouth is.“
2018 – Above & Beyond make surprise ASOT performance for the first time since 2013
“The guys from Above & Beyond and I go way back, and so I was stoked to have them on ASOT in 2018 again after having to do without them for five years. Loved their set too, but that’s kind of a given fact these days.“
2020 Ultra remains the only North American festival to hosts an ASOT stage.
“Ultra Music Festival and ASOT go together like bread and butter. I can’t thank the guys from Ultra enough for enabling me to host an ASOT stage in Miami every year and I’m looking forward to celebrating this amazing milestone of ten years at Ultra in style.“
Keep your ear to the ground for more from Kasablanca, an anonymous production supergroup whose debut “Hold Me Close” just dropped on Armada’s Electronic Elements imprint. Already supported by Above & Beyond on Group Therapy and Armin Van Buuren on ASOT, this audio-visual effort is defined by its dark trance aesthetics and richly textured progressions. This is a no frills afterhours cut that walks a fine line between its deep underpinnings and grinding synth sections, splitting the difference between a heavy-handed industrial soundscape and measured melodies. The first of four releases on the project’s debut EP dubbed “Human Learning,” Kasablanca’s stunning first output is a sign of great things to come and with support from some of the biggest names in the business and some exciting collabs on the way, you’ll be hearing Kasablanca’s name and their productions throughout 2020.
Arty marks his return to Armada, and thus the return of his feel-good progressive sound, with newest single “Daydreams” featuring Cimo Fränkel. Fränkel, who previously co-wrote Cheat Codes and Kriss Kross Amsterdam’s “Sex,” has smooth vocals that keep the listener wanting more, ultimately making the release radio-worthy to its core.
“Daydreams” is an example of Arty’s production at its finest, with a euphoric, progressive drop mixed with a polarizing vocal. The track induces dancing from the outset, and it features an upbeat and infectious energy that captivates the listener to their core from the track’s first note. Those who listen closely to “Daydreams” will detect the acoustic core that the artists shaped the release from.
“Cimo and Rik sent me the demo of the song last year and I fell in love with it,” Arty says of the song in a press release. “We spent a lot of time going back and forth with different ideas for lyrics and melodies and finally found the sweet spot where the song feels euphoric but still keeps its organic beauty. Cimo and Rik are extremely gifted songwriters and I’m beyond grateful to be able to work with them on this song and many other songs we’re working on together right now.”
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
The journey of becoming a successful DJ and producer is different for everyone, but almost always unified by years of hard work. It’s a grind, and for many, an uphill battle to get booked, grow a fanbase, and score radio placements. Reem Taoz is as familiar with the hard work part of this story as the best of them, but the electronic music industry seemingly woke up one morning and decided that he was going to be a household name. Taoz arrived to the forefront of the electronic music scene the second he got into the studio, and this is almost certainly thanks to his infectious spin on progressive house and club music.
Taoz performs under artist alias GATTÜSO, and the Israel native actually credits legendary producer Tiësto as his inspiration to become involved in the electronic music industry.
He mentions, “I have to credit Tiësto as my biggest inspiration. I heard him play first in Israel, and when I first started to really travel – it was to go to a Tiësto show, and I ended up following him to shows around the world.”
This led him to Peru, where he started working in the nightclub industry. The more time he spent around the music, the more certain he became that he needed to start creating his own. In 2017, a now New York City based Taoz stopped everything to focus on making music. Two years later he has 12 remixes and seven originals under his belt with 10 new original releases in the works. He has released music on Dim Mak, Armada, Enhanced, and he has his own record label called T&T Records. He has also done official remixes for an extensive list of tier one artists including forthcoming remixes for Galantis, Yellow Claw, and Sam Feldt among others.
The sheer volume of music Taoz has put out despite being a music producer for only two years is impressive. His output begins to make more sense after discussing the amount of time he spends in the studio and what he does outside of work to unwind. He notes, “The past month, I spent 300 hours in the studio, which hasn’t left a whole lot of time…I really try to spend every minute outside of the studio enjoying food, family, and staying healthy. I’ve said it before, but Im a HUGE fan of sushi, and working out, and I hit the gym and run at least a few miles every day. I also love tequila and champagne, although I try not to do that every day!”
For those trying to figure out what led to Taoz’s meteoric ascension, one stunt comes to the forefront. Taoz chose the artist name GATTÜSO because he was a huge Genaro Gattuso fan, who is an Italian soccer player from AC Milan.
When asked how he chose his artist name, he explains, “It’s ironic, because the name just came to me one night. I wanted something that sounded strong and forceful. I’m a huge football fan (soccer), and I knew that there was a former player for AC Milan, who was a major star, and then went on to coach the team. I figured that somewhere down the road, we might cross paths, and as it turns out a huge AC Milan fan, with a big instagram account, realized that we had the same name, created a bunch of buzz on it, and we ended up collaborating on a song called ‘Scuza Gattuso,’ which started as an inside joke and went on to be featured in tons of global press outlets, featured on top playlists, and brought me a loyal fan base of Italian listeners.”
GATTÜSO’s inside joke has certainly garnered him a strong Italian fanbase. He also touts an ever-expanding group of loyal listeners in the U.S. and throughout the world. When asked what kind of a Saturday Night his Saturday Night Session will get listeners ready for, Taoz comments, “Life with GATTÜSO is always a party. Life is meant to be enjoyed – every minute of it, especially this Saturday night! So get ready for good vibes and a playlist you’re going to play again and again.”
You kind of came out of nowhere- releasing your first original in 2018, and all of the sudden you’re doing remixes for major artists and your originals are amassing millions of streams. Tell us about your entrance into dance music and why you started producing.
I have to credit Tiësto as my biggest inspiration. I heard him play first in Israel, and when I first started to really travel – it was to go to a Tiësto show, and I ended up following him to shows around the world. Thats what led me to Peru, where I spent a few years in the nightclub business. The more time that I spent around dance music and DJ’s, I realized that it was time to turn my passion for music as a fan into finding myself as an artist. I played music as a kid and had messed around with some production software over the years, but in 2017 I stopped everything and turned to focus on producing full time. My first original releases, “Who We Are” and “Dance Stay High” were really personal songs for me, as was “I Will Play.” This writing was directly from my personal life and was very cathartic for me. Seeing these songs with millions of streams now is very satisfying because I think it shows that other people feel the way I do, and I’m happy to see my music resonating with people around the world.
How would you describe your musical style to those who haven’t heard you before?
I love progressive, with big drops, catchy melodies, and driven by memorable vocals and great songs. Thats what I try to do! I balance this out with club tracks, and Im going to be releasing more of those in the near future, since I have a lot of fun making them.
Given your first original came out in 2018 and you have since released a plethora of remixes and originals- you must spend quite a lot of time in the studio. What do you do to unwind?
As of this week, Ive actually released about or exactly 12 remixes and 7 originals. I have another 10 originals that I’m working on now, and about 5 are ready to release. The past month, I spent 300 hours in the studio, which hasn’t left a whole lot of time. That said, I love to enjoy my life, and I make sure that I carve out time to do that. I love making music and that time is very special to me, but I really try to spend every minute outside of the studio enjoying food, family, and staying healthy. I’ve said it before, but Im a HUGE fan of sushi, and working out, and I hit the gym and run at least a few miles every day. I also love tequila and champagne, although I try not to do that every day 🙂
How did you choose the artist name GATTÜSO?
It’s ironic, because the name just came to me one night. I wanted something that sounded strong and forceful. I’m a huge football fan (soccer), and I knew that there was a former player for AC Milan, who was a major star, and then went on to coach the team. I figured that somewhere down the road, we might cross paths, and as it turns out a huge AC Milan fan, with a big instagram account, realized that we had the same name, created a bunch of buzz on it, and we ended up collaborating on a song called “Scuza Gattuso,” which started as an inside joke and went on to be featured in tons of global press outlets, featured on top playlists, and brought me a loyal fan base of Italian listeners.
Do you have any specific releases or remixes coming out soon that you are particularly excited about?
Yes! All of them. August was a huge month for me, with 4 remixes back to back. There’s a Two Friends remix coming this month, “Dollar Menu” (Dim Mak 9/6), and then Im finishing up great remixes for Icona Pop (who I have always loved), and Starley, which should be out in October. It’s been amazing to work with such great songs and artists, that I’ve been following and listening to for some time now. They have all inspired and influenced me, so its really awesome to have these kinds of opportunities. I’m in the process of finalizing some label deals on a handful of originals, and I’m going to release one this month on my own label, T&T Records, called “Love Is Not Enough.” I LOVE this record and the singer S.A.L.E.M just kills me. She’s amazing, has something very special I think, which is hard to find.
I just did a swap with Mark Sixma. He’s awesome. My song with Disco Killerz, “Million Things” was on Dance Rising with his song “Million Miles.” I loved his style, and when I released “When In Rome” on Armada in July, when it came time to get remixes done, I hit him up and we decided to trade. Really excited for that to come out September 20th.
With a fresh brand identity, a clear musical vision and a unique approach to dance music as we know it, Armada Music’s Electronic Elements label is looking to distinguish itself as a credible underground label and tastemaker. And what better way to kick off such an endeavor – and its relaunch – than by securing
It didn’t take long for other artists to play with “Fire & Gold”, the latest release from Morgan Page, VIVID, Allé & Damon Sharpe. Fellow Armada members Fatum recently remixed the progressive house track, dialing it in for more of an electro house feel. In the initial build the piano chords were softened a bit
As the return of Swedish House Mafia continues to dominate headlines, one member of the Scandinavian trio in particular is still hard at work on his own solo productions. Indeed, Axwell—real name Axel Christofer Hedfors — is back in the fold to prove he’s still firing on the release front, delivering his first cut of the year entitled, “Don’t Worry.”
This track arrives out on Axwell’s label, Axtone Records, in collaboration with Redfield, aka Neil Barrett. Being a seasoned producer with releases on Spinnin‘, Armada and Big Beat, Barrett is a welcome addition to the renowned label housing.
“Don’t Worry” continues the trend Hedfors has been following of late, regarding the sonically sophisticated sound his catalog has exuded in recent years. Rather than the sensational, tear-jerking EDM appeal of Swedish House Mafia, this track represents a talent for restraint. The bass line is tightly wound to the drums creating a comprehensive groove that supports warm synths and succinct vocals.
Armin van Buuren, Luke Bond, and Karra prove a formidable electronic trifecta on “Revolution,” an adrenaline-spiking new single destined for main stage centrality. “Revolution” highlights the synergistic firepower inherent in van Buuren and Bond’s arrangement. Thunderous percussion propels the track, as the production’s melodies mount with comparable potency. Karra’s vocal amplifies the energetic nature of “Revolution,” stimulating listeners, and adding another high-octane layer to the joint project.
“Revolution” is destined for dominance in the 2019 festival circuit, and has already evinced its momentous presence at prior large-scale dance events. Armin van Buuren notably integrated the certified crowd pleaser in his main stage set at Ultra Music Festival’s 2019 iteration. Beyond the Miami affair, van Buuren placed “Revolution” on heavy rotation, weaving the track into his A State of Trance shows, among other live performances.
Earlier this year, dance veteran ARTY spoke with Dancing Astronaut and conceded that he has “so much new music that 2019 won’t be long enough to release it all.” Since then, he’s kept true to his word, and now he’s back with his newest release, titled “Sunshine,” out now on Armada Music.
The vocals on “Sunshine” steal the show, extending ARTY’s track record preference for strong, captivating vocals that serve to compliment his kicking progressive backdrops. The producer’s most recent release, “Save Me Tonight,” followed a similar format, and could go on to be one of his most notable hits to date. DA linked up with ARTY again ahead of “Sunshine,” to dive into the record’s complexion.
“I think this is one of few times when I tried to combine so many genres in one song. And not just for the sake of doing it, but to tell the story properly, with the right sounds, and constant changing of flow throughout entire track,” says ARTY.
He manages to infuse a variety of electronic music genres into one single cut, ultimately keeping the listener guessing the entire time. ARTY has perfected a method for crafting feel-good electronic products and “Sunshine” is certainly no exception.
Before they could catch their breath after their collab with MaRLo, Feenixpawl have already dropped another hit. Their new release, titled “Play With Fire”, is yet another collaboration that’s destined to burn bright. This time around the Australian duo is teaming up with iconic electronic music pair Rico & Miella. “Play With Fire” features entrancing