What’s On profiles Armin van Buuren ahead of the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The DJ will play the after-race concerts at du Arena, and O1Ne.

– Pharrell Williams
– The Who interview
– Beats On The Beach
– WIN Amber Lounge
– Podium Lounge

Hard graft
Malcolm Gladwell famously said its takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any task. Not including gigs this year – and there are many – van Buuren estimates he’s played some 10,000 gigs. His sets sometimes last six or seven hours.

Heart not chart
In response to critics, who said he created his biggest track This Is What It Feels Like to achieve commercial success, van Buuren said, “I just made it for fun. It was made as an album track and it turned out to be a worldwide hit. You never know when you make a track that it’s going to be a hit. I didn’t make it for commercial success. I always say, “Follow your heart, not the chart.”

No labels
The DJ is and always will be associated with trance. He’s proud of that. But he says labelling music is counterproductive. “The problem is that when you label something as progressive, people that normally look for trance may not enjoy your record.”

Number one
Van Buuren has finished first on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs fan poll a record five times. Just when it looked like his popularity was waning, he took the title again in 2012.

The Hollaphonic lads will also be taking to the decks for what is their biggest gig yet; the Dubai-based boys will be supporting Van Buuren.

Relishing the prospect, Greg and Olly are planning a spectacular stage show of their own, with guest artists, to blow the F1 crowd away. “This is a massive deal for us,” grinned Olly. “We’re really going to give it some with a specially crafted visual show. We’ll be joined by a number of guests and we’ll also be performing tracks from our new album. It’s going to be fast and furious.”

Hollaphonic recently became the first Middle Eastern electronic act to sign to a major label. Universal Music Middle East and North Africa signed them up in a deal that will see their debut album, Personal Space, available across all digital platforms when it drops early next year.

Friday November 21
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi 5pm, Dhs365. Tel: (800) 927. Taxi: Yas Marina Circuit. yasmarinacircuit.com