Armin van Buuren was selected as the #4 DJ from the DJMag TOP100DJs in 2015 and he's already held the top spot at #1 five times already in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, cementing his status as one of the best DJs in the world. He has displayed tremendous popularity amongst the EDM scene for years and continues to be a powerhouse to this day. Maykel Piron established the dance music label as Armada Music together with Armin van Buuren and David Lewis in 2003. Specializing in EDM, Armada Music is one of the biggest labels in the industry, and has delivered exciting shows all over the world, including their home country of the Netherlands. Armada Music has presided over a vast range of events, famous especially for "Armada Nights", which has seen the likes of Amsterdam, London, New York, Buenos Aires, Rome, Jakarta and other countries around the world, including most recently, Mexico City and Japan. No matter the location, Armada attracts EDM fans by the masses, and is not just limited to the Trance audience. Devoted EDM fans of all genres show up to witness the talent and spectacle of a show including Armin van Buuren and the Armada DJs to lose themselves in the music.
DJMag Japan got the chance to hear about the history of Armada Music from Maykel Piron, who serves as the current CEO and was the co-founder of Armada Music.
DJMag Japan × Maykel Piron Special Interview
Q1. Would you like to give us brief story of how you got started Armada Music in the beginning? And, how did you guys meet and decided to work together?
I had already been working in the industry for quite a while. I started working for a DJ promotion service at the age of 19, joined Purple Eye productions later, and began to release records from a number of big artists, which included Armin van Buuren. Eventually, Warner Music Benelux asked me to set up a dance division in 1999 and I became the A&R manager of three Warner labels for three and a half years, including Warner/Chapell. But in 2003, I wanted to grow beyond that. I relished the prospect of a new challenge and I found the right partners in Armin van Buuren and David Lewis to start a brand-new record company.
Q2. We heard interesting background story of the name of “Armada Music”. Where did the name "Armada Music" come from and whose idea was it?
It’s actually really simple. Our names – Armin van Buuren, Maykel Piron, and David Lewis – abbreviate to AR-MA-DA. It just fit like a glove and we all agreed on it; I can’t remember whether or not it was someone’s idea, as opposed to something we just came up with together.
Q3. What is the secret to maintaining world widely known producers continuously from the beginning till now?
At Armada, we believe in everyone we sign, whether they’re big, stadium-filling artists or talented, but rather new artists. We value everyone both as an artist and as a person or individual and do not force them to create music that doesn’t feel right to them. Everyone gets complete creative freedom to do what inspires him or her the most and they get our undivided attention, no exceptions. I like to think that’s the reason why we’ve been able to maintain such a strong roster.
Q4. We understand that Armada Music already achieved remarkable success, however, what would you like to accomplish more in future?
Three years ago, we started to increase our output and musical diversity and that’s the road we’re still going down today. Our roster gets more diverse every day and people begin to notice. We want to strengthen our brand and sign talented individuals over the whole spectrum of Electronic Dance Music. Every time we do so marks another achievement for us and we just hope to sign more and more great people with a positive attitude and a knack for creating top-tier tracks in the future.
Q5. Nowadays, we can't talk about dance music without scene in the Netherlands, would you like to give us your thought about it?
The Netherlands is a great country to be in and it has seen a lot of revolutionary DJs and producers make their mark on the world. Granted, it’s not the biggest scene in the world and doesn’t have as much influence as, say, the US. But it still serves as a great stepping stone for some very promising artists to kick-start a global career.
Q6. What's your impression or expectation of Japanese music scene?
I think the Japanese music scene is thriving, as is the majority of the Asian music scene. Electronic Dance Music is really starting to pick up there and I think this is only the beginning. As long as the people there continue to love Electronic Dance Music, the scene will grow as well.
Q7. What is DJ Mag to you?
I think DJ Mag does a great job at getting people involved with Electronic Music by helping them discover new stuff every day.
Q8. There are many Japanese producers who are eager to release their tracks through Armada Music. What would be your advice for them? Never stop expanding and maintaining your network, don’t be afraid to take a risk, and stick to your guns.
Maykel Piron is confident about the strategy Armada Music has developed and believes it to be a winning formula for the EDM/dance music scene. In their most recent endeavor, they have developed a new division called "Chased Management". This branch not only focuses on artist management, but also on career strategy and brand design, which helps to create an environment that facilitates growth and development of the artists they work with. Maykel Piron has strongly stated that, "Armada Music is continuously changing together when the music industry evolves." This includes utilizing the superstar power of Armin van Buuren, an internationally recognized DJ and producer, who has led the EDM scene in trance and beyond, to help develop Armada Music into an internationally recognized brand in the music industry.
Maykel Piron's final comments, "Armada Music changes along with the ever evolving music industry, as we’re always trying to improve, finding new opportunities and developing our business." leads us to believe there is a lot more coming from Armada Music and the future looks exciting.
About Armada Music
Armada Music was founded in June 2003. Throughout the years, the record company has brought countless quality releases within the wide spectrum of electronic dance music. Outstanding releases in Trance, Deep House, Progressive House, Techno, and even Pop music make Armada Music a label that stands out from the crowd.
From 2009 to 2013, the Dutch label was annually awarded the ‘Best Global Dance Label’ title from the International Dance Music Awards in Miami. Working with and managing some of the biggest names in the dance music industry, Armada is home to - amongst others – Andrew Rayel, Borgeous, Chicane, Dash Berlin, David Gravell, Erick Morillo, Gareth Emery, Jochen Miller, John Dahlbäck, Juicy M, Max Vangeli, Michael Woods, Mike Hawkins, Ørjan Nilsen, Third Party, W&W, and of course, Armin van Buuren himself.
Investing in rising talents such as Husman, Pretty Pink, ANOTR, Pelari, Disfunktion, Rodg, and wonder worker Lost Frequencies, Armada Music is able to nurture artists until they reach the top of their game. In the case of Lost Frequencies, it has – so far – led to two worldwide hit singles: ‘Are You With Me’ and ‘Reality’. In September 2014, Armada divided her efforts and ever-growing list of sub genres and labels into seven new pillars: Armada, Armada Trice, Armada Deep, Armada Captivating, Armada Chill, Subjekt Recordings, and The Bearded Man.
Armada Music Labels