Q&A: Superstar DJ Paul van Dyk plays Miami

His name is synonymous with the electonica scene.

Superstar DJ Paul van Dyk took time out of his busy schedule from Berlin to answer questions about his career - how he played Ultra early on, how he was inspired by The Smiths and how South Florida holds a special spot in his heart.

The 41-year-old German artist played popular Miami club Mansion Friday night.

How is it to play Miami again?


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Some of the best memories I have of my career are actually based in Miami, especially the last time I played at Mansion. ... It's like very intense, straightforward, amazing sort of vibe in the room. I can't wait to come back.

Are you playing a live set instead of just a regular DJ set?

A lot brand new music that I'm going to play, plus some remixes of some classics probably. It's always kind of like an intense approach with the set-up with the complete computers, keyboard and everything. ...

Really at the end of the day it's always down to the interaction of my audience. I have a very clear idea of what I want to do, but what's going to happen, it's always down to the audience.

Where's your favorite place to eat in Miami?

I have to say that my favorite restaurant in Miami is called La Loggia. It's in downtown on Flagler. It's an Italian place. If you go there you have to try the orecchiette la loggia. It's just awesome. One of the best pastas in the world.

We have a question from a fan. Crystal from Miami would like to know, "What kind of music influenced you as a child and if you could describe what music means to you."

I was a massive fan, and still am, of a band called "The Smiths." ... Without them I probably wouldn’t be doing any sort of music. They opened my eyes and made me realize that music means so much more than just the stuff that plays in the background. ... Everything like family, friends, health, all this kind of stuff, they have to be has to be in place. Once everything is in place, I think music is the most important element in my life.

Tell me about your latest project "Politics of Dancing 3."

When the first one came out in 2000, 2001, there was a lot of hustle with the authorities in terms of closing down clubs ... I wanted to show these people that there are so many people enjoying this kind of music ... coming together in a very peaceful, friendly way. ... It's much more than taking drugs and getting hammered. It's political statement at the end of the day. ... This is what I wanted to bring across with a title “Politics of Dancing.” ... Then of course came number two, it was very well received by a lot of people ...

The new approach for me is, instead of taking the tracks from the people that I really really admire and love for what they do, I just decided, ok let's make a track together and dedicate it to "Politics of Dancing." ... It's more kind of like an artists collaboration album than an actual DJ mix CD, but it features the same sort of intense approach.

Turn back the clock to the year 2000 when you played at Ultra Beach Music festival for the first time. What did it feel like? Did you know what to expect?

Actually, I think I played even earlier ... when it was at the Holiday Inn on some little beach. I remember that Rabbit in the Moon was playing after me and ... they started to take all my stuff away from me onstage and I remember turning around and I was like "Where are my records?" It was quite funny actually.

What are some of your favorite genres to cross over to? I'm a big fan of your breakbeat break downs. I'm open to a lot of styles of music.

The thing is for me it has to be intense. It has to reach out. It has to be something that makes sense in its own way.  For example, I'm performing at a very special show on Saturday where I am going to play a lot of different interpretations of classical music ... I’m not a fan of anything like this kind of like wishy washes stuff that you hear on the radio.

I have another question from a fan, Todd Petty would like to know "Would you rather play massive events or something on a smaller level where you can be more intimate with your fans?"

I like both. I think if you see me playing at Ultra versus Mansion, it's the same enthusiasm. It's the same energy that I put on. It's just how I am. I'm more of that kind of jumping up and down sort of person. And, at the end of the day, as I said before, I know very clearly what I want to do and everything comes down to the interaction with the audience. If you have 20 thousand or 30 thousand people in front of you versus maybe 2 thousan, it still is intense and I like both. It's a different vibe, a different drive but I enjoy it.