This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
When German DJ Paul van Dyk one of the biggest names in electronic music and often considered the godfather of trance fell through a poorly marked part of a stage during last year's "A State of Trance" event in the Netherlands, doctors wondered whether he'd ever walk again, given the spinal injury he suffered. They also worried his internal injuries would lead to catastrophic organ failure.
Friday night, when van Dyk takes the stage at The Complex in Salt Lake City for what will be the eighth of 12 scheduled stops on his Insomniac's Dreamstate-sponsored tour, he recognizes that despite all he's been through, and even with the challenges yet ahead of him, he's in a pretty good place.
"I'm much better than I was this time last year, thanks for asking," he wrote in an email interview with The Tribune (some responses have been slightly edited slightly for style). "Although my health has improved dramatically in the last 12 months, it'll still be several years until I fully recover from the long-lasting effects from the accident. Even then, my doctors have told me that I still might not be 100 percent of what I was before the fall. But each day it gets better. Without the constant love and support from my family, I honestly would have no idea where I'd be today, so I'm tremendously grateful for them."
That gratitude is perhaps best reflected by the title of van Dyk's latest single, "Touched by Heaven."
Defined by its shimmering synth and a propulsive bass line, the track also doubles as a public declaration of PvD's intent to push forward, to conquer his remaining obstacles.
"This is a very personal record for me, as it was one of the first songs I made after the accident," he wrote. "For months, I was itching to get back into the studio, but my health did not allow me to. Once I was back making music again, I had this sense of rebirth that was so inspiring. It may sound corny, but having a near-death experience made me feel as though I had literally been touched by heaven, only to return to Earth with a rejuvenated passion for life and electronic music."
That passion, he added, will manifest itself in the form of yet more new music, to come later in 2017.
"I have an album coming out in the second half of the year," van Dyk wrote. "I can't reveal too much about it just yet, but it's definitely one of the most personal and gratifying projects that I've worked on in my entire career. I'm very excited to share it with everyone."
That last sentence may sound cliché, but van Dyk actually legitimately means it.
A man who grew up on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall in East Germany has now become the second-most-traveled musician in history at 1.44 million miles (or roughly six trips to the moon), per estimates by TravelBird because the music he plays inspires a happiness that can transcend geographic borders.
"Electronic music, specifically what's considered to be trance music, is inherently positive and uplifting music," he wrote. "I don't think of what's considered 'EDM' to be real electronic music actually, so much as it is pop music that borrows certain aspects of electronic music. Real electronic music has always been in high demand, and I think the number of people who've come out to these Dreamstate Tour shows is a reflection of that."
Speaking of which, how exactly did SLC come to merit a stop on such a limited tour, given that most of the others are in vastly more-populous cities, such as Boston, Dallas, D.C., Montreal and San Francisco?
"Believe it or not," he wrote, "some of my most devoted fans are from Utah, and I can't wait to get back to Salt Lake City to perform for them."
Apparently, van Dyk is in a very good place in more ways than one.
With Simon Patterson, Alex M.O.R.P.H., Heatbeat
When • Friday, doors at 8 p.m.
Where • The Complex (Rockwell), 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25 advance, 30 day of; Smith's Tix