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The best of Armin Only: 20 years and still going strong

Written by on May 12, 2017

This weekend on May 12th and 13th, Armin is celebrating his 20-year career in music with two gigs in the Amsterdam ArenA. Promising a night of Armin Only’s top quality consistency and guest spots from some of his most highly praised collaborators, the event is definitely one to look forward to.

During the last 20 years, many things have happened for Armin, the trance scene, and the world itself, so we decided to make a short narration of some important events that we think have marked the storied DJ’s career.

Since 1996

Armin van Buuren has built his trajectory over two decades not only on commercial success but a vast talent. As a multitalented musician, producer, and DJ, he’s grown more popular and explored diverse genres throughout the years.

In a way, he’s turned himself into an ambassador for trance music all over the world. Even though his latest productions span from deep house to acoustic piano songs, it is impossible to dissociate his name and Trance music. That bond will probably remain for a long time, since most of those who started alongside him didn’t enjoy the same relevance, or, worse, dropped out on producing and playing trance music entirely.

In the meantime, Armin has stayed as a referent of trance. He finished his studies and built a family with his wife Erika and their two children Fenna and Remy but instead of retiring he keeps experimenting and pushing forward. It must be because ‘he lives for this energy’, and is precisely that energy what makes him so close to the public.

Armin’s music reaches fans of trance, but also electronic music newcomers — the sensible man that listens to the radio and hears a track from an unknown artist in a new style. Because of this accessibility, he succeeds in the endeavor of bringing new people into our beloved trance scene, directly or indirectly.

Two decades of constant evolution

During these two decades, the trance scene has changed radically. Trance has evolved from a very underground and specific kind of electronic music to a massive success and is now recognizable worldwide. Many of the pioneers of trance have passed their roles on to a second or even a third generation of producers and DJs.

The nature of trance events has moved from small, clandestine venues to massive gigs and festivals where the production, lights, effects, and organization, in general, has nothing to envy from pop and rock music festivals — sometimes even exceeding them.

He’s also lent his support to the scene in times of trouble. In July 24th 2010, Love Parade came to an abrupt end when more than 500 people were injured and 21 people were killed, following an overcrowding panic at the tunnel entrance of the festival. He joined forces with Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold -as DJs United- to create a tune, “Remember Love,” from which all proceeds have been donated to charity.


he place where the tragic Loveparade incident happen. Photo: kaʁstn

For the gentry, for the nobility and even for the royalty

Armin was also an early member of several notable festivals. Back in the days when Armin’s ASOT was a new show and the artist himself was a newcomer to the scene, there was a festival called Sensation White that used to be the main stage for electronic music. This year that festival is saying goodbye for good.

He has managed to play for the King Willem-Alexander’s coronation party, along with an orchestra, to force even the royals to get up and dance. In the process, he helped to break protocol and make them more relatable to the youngsters. In the same realm, he received recognition and a medal from Queen Beatrix for being a cultural ambassador of the Netherlands abroad.


Even though the popularity of Trance has been a rollercoaster against the growing strength of Techno and Deep House, Armin has remained prolific growing from just a DJ and producer into a complete business and showman. His legacy goes way beyond trance and also beyond his own music.

But he is still a terrific DJ and has shown that his essence can never change, as all the skills that he has can be seen whenever he plays a vinyl set. People may raise criticism about decisions he has taken, but for lots of fans, his performances, whether past or present, remain mythical.

20 years behind, 20 years ahead

Even when following different creative paths -that don’t stick with the classical definition of Trance- or even experimenting with different styles -that not everyone may appreciate-, he is still relatively young and remains fully active. As such, he delivers new music periodically and new radio shows every week.

A State of Trance has remained the most-listened-to and widely spread, he keeps on delighting us with high quality productions, trance or not, releasing albums and keeping relevant. We shouldn’t forget that A State of Trance was always ‘bringing the latest of trance and progressive’, giving proof that Armin was always open to other styles, and there were only a few who didn’t understand that.

Photo: Odi Jin

It was a pleasant surprise to see how many artists from past collaborations decided to join the event that will take place at the Amsterdam ArenA next weekend. Among them are vocalists like Angel Taylor, Betsie Larkin, BullySongs, Christian Burns, Cimo Fränkel, Laura Jansen, Lauren Evans, Mr. Probz, Susana, Trevor Guthrie and Sharon den Adel to bands like Kensington and musicians like Armin’s own brother Eller van Buuren, Cees Trappenburg, Eric Vloeimans and Koen Herfst.

We, the fans, hope to see many more releases and much more trance in the future of Armin’s trajectory. Regardless if it’s pure trance, EDM or whatever style he chooses in the future, may he stay prolific for 20 years more to come!


Stay tuned, as we’ll have reviews and much more about The Best of Armin Only!

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