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Paul van Dyk's Spin on Voting: "It’s an honor."

Posted: Tues. July 30th 2012

He’s one of the first true superstar international DJs and an absolute icon of the EDM scene. Considering Paul van Dyk’s first-ever mix album was called “The Politics of Dancing” plus he and Bono were the only non-American artists to get behind Rock the Vote’s efforts in 2004 and 2008, how could PvD not get involved with our dance party for democracy?!

Growing up in communist East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell gave Paul the real-deal experience of living without choice. We’re not talking “my mom won’t let me buy that album” -- in his hood, it was “the government has banned this entire radio station.” So a young PVD would sneak off to listen to forbidden sounds from the American-run West Berlin airwaves while searching for contraband mixtapes to share with his friends.

That’s part of why PvD is so passionate about life, liberty and the pursuit of dance -- something we definitely take for granted here in the States. Plus, he’s a firm believer that the EDM community has a special power to bridge seemingly impossible cultural and political barriers. In a 2006 interview with Ibiza Voice, Paul described how EDM is more than just music; it’s a political movement of peace and respect:

"Even with all the fun that electronic music can bring, it also developed into a global youth culture, a very peaceful and huge society. Palestinians are dancing with Israelis. Lebanese people are dancing with Israelis – without war, without anything in their minds other than treating each other respectfully. That's why dance music is a political and diplomatic tool that could be used. That's why I called it the Politics of Dancing back then.”

Preach it, PvD! We had to catch up with Paul so we could ask him some more questions -- political, musical, mathematical and otherwise -- so check out what this big-hearted beatmaster has to say below. But first, here’s a special message from PvD to all his American fans (we’ve got more artist footage to share soon, stay tuned!):

P.S. Don’t forget you can catch Paul van Dyk, Porter Robinson, Hardwell and other rad EDM artists at this summer’s Identity Fest -- sign up to volunteer with Spin the Vote and get in for FREE at select dates!

SPIN THE VOTE: Tell us about your first concert experience.
PAUL VAN DYK: It was an illegal concert organized by an East German church. I was let in through the back door in order to be allowed to go the concert. It was, how can I say, very anti-government!

STV: If you couldn’t be a musician, what would you be doing instead?
PVD: Since I like good food, I may have become a chef, or perhaps the owner of a restaurant. Something that’s creative and makes other people happy anyway!

STV: If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

PVD: I would make more music with my dear friend Johnny McDaid!

STV: If you became President, what is the first action you would take?

PVD: I think the first action that I would do is to pass a law that gives me more time! The challenges that our societies face are far too big to solve in any single term.

STV: What social cause is closest to your heart?

PVD: Children do not have a lobby in our society. They are the weakest link in our society and at the same time in need of the most help. We have to make sure they have option in their life. This is why working with children and working with organizations that support children are the ones that are closest to my heart.

STV: What does the right to vote mean to you?

PVD: It’s one of the foundations of democracy. Freedom of speech and the right to vote are what makes our society fair and equal.

STV: What bands or artists did you listen to when you were in high school? And which bands or artists influenced your style the most?
PVD: My high school band was The Smiths. In terms of which one influenced me the most, it was probably Depeche Mode.

STV: What activity or group were you involved with in high school that might surprise people today?

PVD: I was very active in my school’s handball team!

STV: What's the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in high school?

PvD: For a long time I never understood the mathematical formulas - Xs, Ys and Zs, etc and algebra. I came home one day and asked my mum to explain it to me. She actually made a very interesting comment. She said don’t try to solve it, try to imagine the numbers. And after that I never had a problem with them anymore!

STV: Do you do any volunteer or community work when you're not on tour?

PVD: I founded the charity project Rückenwind in Berlin, together with the German Red Cross. I’m not just donating money, but wherever possible I spend time at the project and support them as much as I can.

STV: What change would you like to see in our society in the next year?

PVD: More respect, greater tolerance and more fairness towards each other.

STV: Why do you think voting is important?
PVD: The thing is we are at the crossroads of where this world is going. There are many different ideas as to what should happen with this planet. If you go out and vote, you can have a say in that. You can have an importance. This importance is given to you by democracy and democracy is the best way for us all to live together on this planet. This is why it’s important to vote.

STV: Do you think it’s important for the EDM community to vote?

PVD: I don’t think it’s important with regard to what music you listen to. I think it’s important to be part of a democratic society. You have the right to vote. It’s a possibility. It’s an honor. There are many countries in the world where people don’t have that right. So if you have the chance, go and do it.

STV: What issues are important to you in this year’s presidential election?
PVD: Well all over the world we all still suffer from the big financial crisis that we have been left with since 2008. We have a chance to form this planet and our society into a better one. I think this is something that is really very important. It has to be fair. Over in America you guys face a really high unemployment rate. A lot of jobs are moving to Asia. I think we need to establish policies (in a foreign policy sense) that we still support the countries that need support. At the