Paul van Dyk shares 10 tracks that inspire him | Skip to main content

Paul van Dyk shares 10 tracks that inspire him

Paul van Dyk shares 10 tracks that inspire him

Paul van Dyk began consuming music by listening to forbidden Western radio stations and smuggled mixtapes. After German reunification he was perfectly placed to start DJing at the city’s clubs and raves, pioneering the trance sound which emerged from techno as the ‘90s progressed. His crucial place in trance has been well documented — from huge anthems like ‘For An Angel’ and his Gatecrasher residency, to winning the Top 100 DJs poll in 2005 and 2006, he’s always pushed forwards. Until, that was, his terrible accident a couple of years ago when he fell through a stage during a show and feared he may never walk again. Now thankfully back making music and playing shows again, his new album ‘Music Rescues Me’ pays tribute to the restorative powers of music...

The Smiths ‘Hand In Glove’ (Rough Trade)
“This is the reason I started making music. It was the first track I heard that sounded different. That ignited the love within me. Before ‘Hand In Glove’, I was listening to the radio, doing my homework, and there was just this constant musical blur going on. And then this came on, and it jumped right out. That was the point I realised there was so much more to music than I first thought. I bumped into Morrissey in a hotel lobby in LA once, and told him this. He was brilliantly moody about it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Depeche Mode ‘A Question Of Time’ (Mute)
“I was a big fan of Depeche Mode for two or three years before ‘A Question Of Time’ was released. It was the one that really resonated with me. At the beginning of the ’90s, Mute Records founder Daniel Miller phoned me up, looking to sign me to the label. I was totally over the moon. He said, ‘Why don’t you come to London? There’s a concert of Depeche Mode and we can talk about the artist contract?’ I went, and of course it was phenomenal. To top it all off though, they started the show with ‘A Question Of Time’. That meant so much to me. When I was in East Germany, I could never buy any records. I could never go to any concerts, and there I was, two years after the wall came down, at Wembley, watching them perform ‘A Question Of Time’. It felt like it had the fullest possible meaning a track could have.”

Ron Allen ‘The Transcendental EP’ (Strobe Records)
“I could never find out much about this release, but somehow that’s only added to its appeal. I think it came out about ’90 or ’91. It’s very trippy, but very well done. We would probably call it techno these days, but back then it was more like chilled or deep house. He used the percussion element throughout the whole track almost like a melody. It captured some early psychedelic trance sounds in it too.”

Cyclone 'A Place Called Bliss’ (Network Records)
“It’s more the accessibility of the production side that really inspired me with this track. The whole thing seems to be put together with samples. There are little bits of Kraftwerk, KC Flightt and Nightmares On Wax in there. That big ravey piano stab from Landlord’s ‘I Like It’. With its vocal sample, it has a bit of humour too. It stops and says, “where is this record going!?” and then carries on. It’s very creative in the way it’s put together, and turned into a piece of warm, beautiful and lush music.”

Vernon ‘The Wonderer’ (Eye Q)
“When people look into what are proper trance classics, this is one of the ones that always seems to be forgotten. This was before the big trance wave. Eye Q was a label from Frankfurt, which was more associated with techno. It was never called ‘a trance record’ as such, but to me it was. I think, even now, you can hear trance starting to be born through releases like this. There’s a swell of sounds that happen, along with a brilliantly truncated, halting riff, that has a very driving relationship with the bass/ bass drum. It makes it really intense. A real energy wave record.”

Underworld ‘Rez’ (JuniorBoysOwn)
“‘Rez’ has this weird sort of sound tumbler continuously going on as a sample. That lays the ground atmosphere for what’s musically to come, and it has that extraordinary push and drive underneath it. It never stands still. It never feels like it’s satisfied that it’s done enough. It just keeps exploring. A true one-of-a-kind record.”

Dave Clarke ‘Red 2’ (Bush)
“This to me is what the sound of techno still is — simple, straightforward energy. I love the incessancy of it. When I first heard it, musically it took me out of my comfort zone. Learning to love it is a process for a lot of people, I think. You still hear tracks influenced by ‘Red 2’ to this day."

Dr. Atomic ‘Schudelfloss’ (Guerilla Records)
“Guerilla was one of those labels from the UK that constantly released amazing stuff. Dick O’Dell and William Orbit who were A&Ring it were simply gods at finding amazing pieces of music. Carl Cox and myself did a remix of a track, and I insisted on going into the same studio and with the same engineer who engineered ‘Schudelfloss’. That’s how amazing this record sounded.”

The Thrillseekers ‘Synasesthesia’ (VANDIT Records)
“Someone gave me a white label of this at the airport, after I had checked in to fly to Ibiza for Amnesia. He said: ‘You’re going to see this track go off tonight’. I flew from London with this record — no sleeve even, just the plastic in my hand to Ibiza. I skipped through it when I arrived, thought it sounded decent enough, and played it that night. The club completely lost it. We went to sign it to VANDIT the next day.” 

Nu-NRG ‘Dreamland’ (VANDITRecords)
“‘Dreamland’ has an element to it that still defines Giuseppe Ottaviani to this day. Giuseppe has continued on with his career solo, and every time he releases a track, he brings something important to our musical world.”