Paul van Dyk

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Paul van Dyk
Van Dyk in 2021
Van Dyk in 2021
Background information
Birth nameMatthias Paul[1]
Born (1971-12-16) 16 December 1971 (age 51)
Eisenhüttenstadt, East Germany
  • DJ
  • record producer
Years active1990–present

Matthias Paul (German pronunciation: [maˈtiːas ˈpaʊ̯l]; born 16 December 1971),[2][3] known professionally as Paul van Dyk (German: [ˈpaʊ̯l fan ˈdʏk]) is a German DJ, record producer and musician. One of the first true renowned DJs, van Dyk was the first artist to receive a Grammy Award nomination in the newly added category of Best Dance/Electronic album for his 2003 release Reflections.[4][5] He was named the World's number one DJ in both 2005 and 2006, something few DJs have ever achieved.[6][7] He was the first ever DJ to be named number one by Mixmag in 2005. By 2008, he had sold over 3 million albums worldwide.[8]

A trance producer starting in the early 1990s, van Dyk quickly achieved popularity with his remix of "Love Stimulation" by Humate on the record label MFS in 1993[9] and with his hit single "For an Angel". Van Dyk is an avid trance lover to this day.[10] He indicated in an interview that he ended up giving himself the Belgian-sounding stage name Paul van Dyk, because he used to incorporate many Belgian dance records into his DJ sets in the early 1990s.[11]

Van Dyk is currently the radio host of "Vonyc Sessions with Paul" on Dash Radio.

Early life and career[edit]

Early life and musical beginning[edit]

Paul van Dyk grew up in East Berlin in a single parent household; his father left him and his mother when he was four years old. While living there, he worked as a broadcast technician[12] and began training to become a carpenter. Paul van Dyk claims his musical education came from radio.[13] Where he grew up there were no record stores at which to buy music, so 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.[14] The first album he acquired was Organisation by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), of which he said, "It was extremely influential. Early electronic, but also melodies and poppy elements, the general imprint of what later came for me in music."[15]

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.[14] In 1990, van Dyk moved back to Berlin. His first appearance as a DJ was in the club Tresor in March 1991.[16] After several more dates, he was given the chance to perform at Andre'Hoche's (1991–1993) Dubmission parties in the Turbine club, together with the young resident DJ Kid Paul.[17][18] With Cosmic Baby, he collaborated as The Visions of Shiva.[19] Their single "Perfect Day" was released by the Berlin independent label MFS (Masterminded For Success) Records, run by English expatriate 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, performing for a nationwide audience on German radio.[20] 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".

1994–2007: 45 RPM, Seven Ways, Out There and Back & Reflections[edit]

External video
video icon Paul van Dyk – My World (Official music video) (1994)

In 1994, van Dyk released The Green Valley EP, Pump This Party and Emergency 911. Meanwhile, MFS acquired many remixes for Paul.[21] MFS label owner Mark Reeder's close friendship with artists such as New Order[22] gave van Dyk the opportunity to mix the track "Spooky" from the Republic album. He recorded his debut LP 45 RPM with Johnny Klimek and VOOV.

Seven Ways established van Dyk as a trance pioneer and was van Dyk's first real success in Britain.[23] Seven Ways was voted the No. 1 album by readers of DJ Magazine.[24]

In early 1997, van Dyk began collaborating with U.S. music producer BT. Together, they produced tracks such as "Flaming June", "Forbidden Fruit" and "Namistai". 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-1990s track, "The Age of Love", in 1997.[25]

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, van Dyk released a remix of "For An Angel". Van Dyk took up a residency at Sheffield's Gatecrasher and declared himself anti-drugs,[26] which led to home-made "No E, Pure PvD" T-shirts,[27] also a sly note to journalists that his surname contained no "E". In 1998, Paul remixed Matt Laws/Binary Finary's famous "1998" single, which was a successful version that took Binary Finary to the top of the German Dance charts.[28]

In mid-1998, van Dyk left MFS Records and took a controlling share in the new label Vandit Records. In 2000, van Dyk 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 and won a Mexican Oscar for his work.[29]

Reflections (2003) inspired by van Dyk's trips to India, was a more melancholy affair,[30] and includes the single "Nothing But You", a collaboration with Hemstock & Jennings. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Electronic Album.[31] The same song was also used on the soundtrack of the game FIFA 2004. 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 26 December 2004. His original productions from Reflections have been synced into major motion pictures such as Into the Blue, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, television's Entertainment Tonight and MTV Cribs, and international ad campaigns for Motorola, HBO, Land Rover, Ski Vail and most recently for Jeep.[31]

2007–2010: In Between[edit]

Van Dyk performing at KaZantip, 2009.

Van Dyk released his fifth studio album, In Between, worldwide on 14 August 2007. The album, which he created over a three-year period, debuted at number No. 115 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Billboard's Top Electronic Albums and No. 1 on the Top Heatseekers. The album also reached No. 16 on the Mexican Albums Chart and No. 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.[32]

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, van Dyk embarked on the worldwide "In Between Tour" to promote the album.[33]

Van Dyk's work with EA Games has resulted in multiple releases featuring his music on Mirror's Edge, Need for Speed: Underground 2, and Grand Slam Tennis out in 2009.[34] The song was released on the film's soundtrack, and helped the album win a Grammy Award[35] that Paul van Dyk shares with his collaborators. He has also remixed Depeche Mode's "Martyr", Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around" and Britney Spears' "Gimme More".

In May 2008, van Dyk set up a remix competition with digital download network Beatport, inviting aspiring producers to remix his single 'Far Away' which appeared on his album In Between.

On 9 November 2009, van Dyk performed alongside Northern Ireland vocalist Johnny McDaid at the Berlin Wall 20th Anniversary Memorial. They recorded and performed a song for the event called 'We Are One'.;[36] A dance music event, called 'We Are One Festival', was organized at the O2 World Berlin, named after the song he collaborated with Johnny McDaid on for the Berlin Wall Anniversary. Some artists who performed included Armin van Buuren, Underworld and Blueman Group.[37]

In 2010, it was revealed that van Dyk's record label Vandit would be merging with Armin van Buuren's Armada Music.[38]

2012–present: Evolution, The Politics of Dancing 3 and From Then On[edit]

Paul van Dyk at Amnesia, Ibiza, 2012

Van Dyk's sixth studio album, titled Evolution was released on 3 April 2012. The track "Eternity" was made in collaboration with Owl City's Adam Young.[39][40] Evolution also features producers Arty, Austin Leeds, Giuseppe Ottaviani and Ummet Ozcan. The album features vocals from Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol, Plumb, Sarah Howells and various other artists.[41]

This release was followed by The Politics of Dancing 3, which van Dyk put out on 4 May 2015. With its release, the series, which began in 2001, moved from that of music compilation to artist album. On it, van Dyk worked with artists including Aly & Fila, Giuseppe Ottaviani and others.

On 28 February 2016 during the A State of Trance Festival in Utrecht, van Dyk fell through a concealed gap in the stage during his performance, and was transported to a local hospital. Due to a spinal injury and severe brain injury, van Dyk remained under doctors' supervision at Utrecht Medical Center for weeks. He was cleared for professional medical transfer to a facility in Berlin until mid-May 2016. Numerous performances suffered forced cancellations during this time, including the Electric Daisy Carnival Mexico.[42][43][44][45]

Van Dyk began a light touring schedule mid-June 2016, including Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Cream at Amnesia in Ibiza, and Luminosity Festival in the Netherlands.[46][47]

Van Dyk's accident forced a significant delay in the recording of his eighth studio album. Having continued to convalesce, van Dyk was able to complete the album in the early summer of 2017. From Then On was released on 20 October of the same year through his own Vandit label. Subsequently, van Dyk drew on the experiences of the preceding year, which were most clearly evidenced in the track's titles. It received positive feedback from the press, with Billboard calling it "a celebration of a beautiful life."[48] and the website EDMSauce describing it as "near flawless."[49] Musically the album continued in largely the same artistic vein as ‘The Politics Of Dancing 3’ and included cooperations with – amongst others – Alex M.O.R.P.H., M.I.K.E. Push and Jordan Suckley. The lead single “Everyone Needs Love” was released on 23 December 2016, with the final one “Breaking Dawn” arriving 14 months later on 23 February 2018.[citation needed]


Since 2001, van Dyk 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.[50] He also has called EDM "a political and diplomatic tool that could be used."[50] Having grown up with little freedom, his musical career has helped him voice his opinions about politics. He opposes the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. He describes himself as anti-war and has advertised this while performing, by wearing a shirt reading "Make peace, not war".[50]

Van Dyk has helped fight poverty by supporting social programs to help disadvantaged people in India, New York, and Berlin.[51] He also participated in Rock the Vote in 2004 and 2008; he and Bono being the only non-American artists to join the campaign encouraging young people to vote.[51]


Studio albums



Video games[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Paul's entry on the ASCAP database". The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  2. ^ Krech, Eva-Maria; Stock, Eberhard; Hirschfeld, Ursula; Anders, Lutz Christian (2009). Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (in German). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 731 and 810. ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6.
  3. ^ Mangold, Max (2005). Das Aussprachewörterbuch (in German) (6th ed.). Mannheim: Dudenverlag. pp. 540 and 617. ISBN 9783411040667.
  4. ^ "Paul Van Dyk's New Era Of Remixing". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  5. ^ Jewels, Merced (15 November 2003). "Paul Van Dyk: There's Much More To This World Than Just a Party". JIVE Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Poll 2018: Paul van Dyk". Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Top 100 DJs – 5. Paul van Dyl". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Paul Van Dyk, Cameo, Miami, Saturday, June 21, 2008". 22 February 2012. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  9. ^ Bom, Coen (2009). Armin Only: (engelse editie). Google Books: Overamstel Uitgevers. ISBN 978-9048804481.
  10. ^ "20 Questions with Paul van Dyk: The Trance Icon on Growing up in East Berlin & Why Social Distancing 'Is Incorrect' as a Term". Billboard. 21 April 2020.
  11. ^ Lässt die Regierung die Kultur im Stich, Paul van Dyk?, retrieved 15 November 2022
  12. ^ "". Archived from the original on 16 March 2009.
  13. ^ Beat Factor – In Between Paul van Dyk.30 November 2007 Beat Factor: Your history is pretty similar to the Romanians history, before the fall of the communist regime. Do you have any memories that marked you from that time? (He makes best party ever in 2007 in Macedonia) Paul Van Dyk: Yes, of course, there are a lot of memories that I still have; probably in respect with music. It was probably the same in Romania, we didn't have any record stores, we couldn't actually buy any magazines and read anything about our favorite artists. So my musical education came from the radio, so that's something special, I believe.
  14. ^ a b "Ministry of Sound London – Paul van Dyk". Ministryofsoundlondon. 21 January 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  15. ^ Moayeri, Lily (21 April 2020). "20 Questions With Paul van Dyk: The Trance Icon on Growing Up in East Berlin & Why Social Distancing 'Is Incorrect' as a Term". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  16. ^ "The DJ list – PVD". 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  17. ^ Denk, Felix (2014). Der Klang der Familie: Berlin, Techno and the Fall of the Wal. Google Books: BoD – Books on Demand. p. 175. ISBN 978-3738604290.
  18. ^ "DJ Paul Van Dyk". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Paul van Dyk – Biography | Billboard". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Paul van Dyk & Kid Paul – Live @ Clubnight, HR3, 27.02.1993". SoundCloud. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Paul Van Dyk / Ultra Music / Ultra Records / Ultra". Ultra Music / Ultra Records / Ultra. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  22. ^ A Beginner’s Guide To MARK REEDER Archived 8 April 2016 at the Wayback
  23. ^ "Seven Ways – Paul van Dyk | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Paul van Dyk Biography – ARTISTdirect Music". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Age of Love - The Age of Love | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Paul Van Dyk Dubbed 'Anti-drugs Activist'". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  27. ^ C, John (17 September 2014). "Pure PVD: An interview with Paul Van Dyk". EDM Chicago. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  28. ^ "BINARY FINARY". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  29. ^ "Q&A: Paul van Dyk on the Reality of Being No. 1 & Press-Play DJs". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Van Dyk Raises The Bar On 'Reflections'". Billboard. 14 November 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Paul van Dyk". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Special limited edition of Paul van Dyk's 'In Between' at Central Park performances". Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  33. ^ "Paul's next Gigs". Archived from the original on 6 February 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  34. ^ "Paul Van Dyk Video Game Credits and Biography – MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Heath Ledger, 'The Dark Knight' Score A Grammy, Nab A BAFTA Award". MTV News. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  36. ^ "Paul van Dyk ft. Johnny McDaid – We Are One LIVE". YouTube. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  37. ^ "WE-ARE-ONE-presented-by-Paul-van-Dyk - o2 World". Archived from the original on 30 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Paul van Dyk's VANDIT Records joins forces with". Armada Music. 8 July 2010. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  39. ^ "Twitter / Owl City: So stoked for the new @pau". Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  40. ^ "Exclusive: Paul van Dyk Sets New Album, Video Series for 2012". 14 September 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  41. ^ "Paul van Dyk – Evolution (CD, Album) at Discogs". 25 February 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  42. ^ "Breaking: Paul Van Dyk Suffered a Fall during ASOT Utrecht and is Now Hospitalized". 28 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  43. ^ "Paul van Dyk Hospitalized Following Fall From ASOT Festival Stage". Billboard. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  44. ^ "Paul van Dyk stabiel, hij heeft geluk gehad". RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). 28 February 2016. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  45. ^ "Berliner DJ Paul van Dyk: Notarzt! Klinik! Konzert-Abbruch!". B.Z. (in German). Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  46. ^ "Paul van Dyk Discusses Miraculous Recovery, Return to Music After Serious Fall: Exclusive". Billboard. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  47. ^ Dyk, Paul van. "Paul van Dyk". Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  48. ^ "Paul van Dyk's 'From then On' LP is a Celebration of a Beautiful Life: Listen". 20 October 2017.
  49. ^ "Paul van Dyk releases near flawless 8th studio album, 'From then On'". 20 October 2017.
  50. ^ a b c "The politics of PVD". 2006. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
  51. ^ a b "Paul van Dyk's 'Politics of Dancing 2' : Live at Central Park August 20th". 18 August 2005. Retrieved 26 March 2009.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mixmag Number 1 DJ
Succeeded by
Preceded by DJ Magazine Number 1 DJ
Succeeded by