Pre-“EDM” boom, there were three "Gods of Trance" who stood out above all other DJs; Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren, and Paul Oakenfold. These artists served as the inspiration for countless artists to hone their craft and become the leading figures that are present in today's industry. Tiësto was the first DJ to play at the Olympics, and Armin van Buuren won #1 DJ in the world by DJ Mag more times than any other artist when it still was something of a representation of dance music. Legendary songs like Adagio for Strings, In and Out of Love, and Ready, Steady, Go were staples and international hits that helped bring the dance music scene into the spotlight. So what happened? Where are they now?
Tiësto is probably the most prevalent as he has solidified his position as a giant in EDM, taking numerous artists under his wing and bringing them to superstardom. He has changed his style from trance to basically whatever is mainstream at the time. Although that doesn’t say much for artistic integrity, he definitely knows how to ride a wave and keep up with the times. For this reason he will always remain one of the most popular DJs in the world as long as he wants to be.
Armin van Buuren has celebrated his A State of Trance (ASOT) radio show with over 925 episodes as well as having two kids. He remains the figurehead for trance music worldwide along with the likes of Above & Beyond. Armin dabbles in pop music with “Just One Last Time,” and “This is What it Feels Like,” which both did extremely well across the globe. He continues to make powerful trance as well as pop, and his DJ sets seem to be extremely consistent, although the influence of main stage big room house can definitely be heard.
Paul Oakenfold has largely stepped out of the spotlight compared to the scale to which Tiësto and Armin still are. He is now producing for pop artists, such as Madonna, and heading up a department of DJs and producers at the Isina music talent mentorship program.
So are our favorite trance artists still in the game today? Very much so. They will continue to reign supreme and they are adapting to the times, Tiësto has changed his style leaving the figurehead position open to Armin Van Buuren, plus Paul Oakenfold is training the next generation to take the helm!
Special Mentions: Ferry Corsten is in the header picture of this article, who was also a great pioneer in the realm of Trance. Gareth Emery was also one of the pioneers of the distinct style and remains one of the genre’s figureheads with massive hits that inspire entire crowds to belt out the lyrics such as that of "Concrete Angel.”