That one time I met Armin Van Buuren in a bar in Portland
I’m a trance head. This could be due to a few different reasons: maybe it’s because of how I was introduced to “techno” – quick and deeply, plunged into the best of the legends, in 2004 at the vivacious age of 17, searching for my place. Maybe it’s a result of my emotional past or temperament, my tendency to throw myself wholly into movies and let songs take me on a journey. Getting lost in the background sounds, connecting directly to the feelings and lyrics. There’s just so much to be felt in Armin van Buuren’s song “Stay”. Trance is an emotionally driven and dominated genre. That’s why Armin overuses the word “uplifting” as a descriptive term in his weekly ‘A State of Trance’ broadcasts. Nonetheless, I was hooked and he has been my favorite producer and DJ ever since.
A significant trance track is felt on the soul level. It brings up and out emotions capable of inspiration, full of love and brimming with heartache, either for the hurt or the beauty that life is made of. Here are some of my favorite lyrics ever from “Stay”:
“I have to learn, have to try, I have to trust, I have to cry. Have to see, have to know, that I can be myself.”
I suppose my strong admiration for this genre is mostly due to the lyrics. Music thrives on moods and mindsets. Sometimes all I want is some heavy bass though, and this is why there is no place like a live trance show or festival. The best aspects of the musical world combined: outer space vibes, hard hitting bass that reverberates in the sternum, piano notes, a beautiful singing voice of a woman; these are a few of my favorite things.
In 2008 I travelled to Portland, Oregon to see Armin van Buuren for the fourth time, at the Roseland Theater. My friend and I made it up to the front row and I actually locked eyes multiple times with the musician I had admired for years. He smirked his adorable little smile and we all danced for two and a half hours. Bright lights, LED walls, happiness all around, I was hooked. After the show someone yelled “Armin will be at a nearby bar!” My friend and I knew this was our new mission. We walked the streets asking strangers for directions. Finally, we found the bar, grabbed a drink, and stood patiently in a corner. After about an hour I looked at my friend and said, “I don’t think he will be here” to which my friend replied, “turn around.” I looked and saw right behind me the one and only Armin van Buuren, smiling. I asked him if I could buy him a drink, to which he said he already had one, continued to tell him I loved him and thanked him for the amazing set. My friend snapped a photo of us while we chatted but I didn’t turn around, causing the proof to exist only in our words. Dreams do come true, and that night changed my life and love of EDM forever.
The music scene is a multifaceted underworld. I found my place in it deeper and suddenly last year when I stumbled onto a boat and met a multitude of like-minded, trance loving, friendly souls. Now I see them almost every Saturday night at Foundation Nightclub for our weekly indulgence of trance and progressive joy. We accept others as they are, hug, smile, and encourage one another to be happy and healthy. This is the part of the scene that I love the most and also the part I can feel emanating from strangers. While attending the vast amount of events I have over the past 10 years, I can tell you that there is no other place quite like a room full of dancing, smiling, singing, jumping, happy people. It is how we were meant to enjoy this life, singing and dancing, not worrying about what anyone thinks, connecting and loving the world around us. This is my place, and it is devoid of time and space, it exists within countless hearts and the beats of my favorite music.
By Emily Knopp
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