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Armin van Buuren Talks Performing In Saudi For First Time, MDLBeast Festival, Plans For 2021 & More!

When it comes to legends within the dance music scene, Armin van Buuren is one and it cannot be debated. A major name for a number of decades, his passion for all things electronic music has led him to become one of the most in-demand artists in the world, performing on mainstages every weekend. Just before he stood on stage for the first time at MDLBeast in Saudi Arabia, we had the pleasure of speaking with him about a number of topics, check it out below!

Hey Armin, thanks for taking the time to speak with me, how are you doing?
I’m good. Yeah, considering the situation. I mean Holland just went into a hard lockdown again so, but no I’m fine. I’m happy to be here.

This is your first time performing at MDLBeast. What are your first impressions of the whole festival?
It’s incredible. I’ve never seen such a big LED screen in my life. I’ve seen quite a few festivals in my life, you know? I’ve been around so and my team had a really big job, reconverting all my visuals for the 4100 square meters of LED. It’s quite insane.

MDLBeast is a very big festival for these local people. How important do you feel it is for you to be here?
Yeah, it’s just as important as any gig I do. But it’s important to be here because there are many many fans of mine here. I think trance music is particularly popular in this region. So I’m just happy to bring my music here.

Having never performed here before, do you prepare differently for these sets compared to others?
Really. I try to always prepare for every gig that I do, whether I play in Saudi or anywhere else. I always try to do a little bit of research. Go on social media, ask my team if they get some requests. And I know that a lot of people expect me to play a full-on trance set. So it’s good to know that. I’m not going to play a full-on trance set but I will play a lot of trance of course because that’s what I love to do. TI love to be diverse like that. And mainstage you usually don’t have so much time but there’s always room for 138 in my sets, even if it’s on the mainstage.

You said you’ve done a couple of a bit of research. Have you checked out any local artists and what do you think about the local scene?
I don’t really know the local scene if I’m really honest with you, but I do know that there’s a lot of Middle Eastern DJs and artists that are coming up right now. Even you know, Future Sound of Egypt, for example, my friends Aly & Fila, I just did a track with them. And there’s all kinds of people surrounding that group that we also release music on Armada from and it’s huge and I think particularly what those guys have done but also guys like Philippe El Sisi and Ahmed Helmy, all those guys. They’re really good for the trance music scene. So yeah, like I said before, and I want to repeat myself, but there is a passion for trance here.

You just closed out the year with your annual A State Of Trance year mix, along with many new singles throughout the year. How has this year been for you?
The year has been crazy. I mean, to be honest, it wasn’t the best of years because of COVID, but it was great in a way that I spent more time at home with my family. I worked a lot on my body. I was working out every day. And I feel really good in that sense. I was a little bit too creative in the studio, maybe because I’ve been making so much music. But yeah, it’s been a crazy year but I just can’t wait for the world to be normal again. You know, because we’re missing out on a whole generation that’s been in lockdown that didn’t hear this music before.

It really does feel like a long time but I know you said the Netherlands has gone into a lockdown and there’s a lot of countries struggling but do you have any plans for the new year?
Oh yeah. America is open, fortunately, and my goal now is Ultra Music Festival at the end of March. My solo concerts in the Netherlands. And, you know, summer touring, so that’s something really exciting and yeah, just made a decision to release a lot of new music next year.

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