Jump to content

Armand van Helden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Armand van Helden
Van Helden in Trier, Germany, 2004
Van Helden in Trier, Germany, 2004
Background information
Also known as
  • Deep Creed
  • Sultans of Swing
  • Banji Boys
  • Circle Children
  • Old School Junkies
  • Jungle Juice
  • Armand & The Banana Spliffs
  • Hardhead
  • Wizzards of Wax
  • The Mole People
  • Chupacabra
  • Duck Sauce
Born (1970-02-16) February 16, 1970 (age 54)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
  • DJ
  • record producer
  • remixer
  • songwriter
Years active1990–present

Armand van Helden (born February 16, 1970) is an American DJ, record producer, remixer and songwriter from Boston. He is considered one of house music's most revered figures, with a career spanning three decades.[1][2]

Van Helden's best-known singles are "You Don't Know Me", "I Want Your Soul", "My My My" featuring Tara McDonald, and "Bonkers" featuring Dizzee Rascal, all of which became #1 on the UK Dance Chart and reached as high as #2 on the Billboard Dance Chart.[3]

In 2009, van Helden formed the DJ duo Duck Sauce with Canadian DJ A-Trak, receiving a nomination at the 54th Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording for their song "Barbra Streisand" which topped the charts in 12 countries. The duo also released the singles "Anyway" which reached No. 1 the UK Dance Chart, "Big Bad Wolf' and "NRG".

Although much of his chart success has been in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, van Helden has been closely linked to the electronic music scene of New York since the early-mid 1990s where he was considered one of the best remixers in the business and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording in 1998. Van Helden often remixes and uses samples of funk, soul, R&B and hip hop. He also uses filters and dub progressions, as in NYC beat, dancehall and reggae samples. Among his greatest remixes have been the remix of the song "Spin Spin Sugar" by Sneaker Pimps, "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)" by The Bucketheads, "Sugar Is Sweeter" by C. J. Bolland and "Professional Widow" by Tori Amos.

Van Helden is widely regarded as the pioneer of the speed garage genre[4] and has continued remixing various artists such as Katy Perry, Van Halen, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta, Sam Smith, Bloc Party, Janet Jackson, Juliet Roberts and KRS-One among others with this musical style. Recent releases include the singles "I Need a Painkiller" and "Wings" produced in 2018 and 2016 respectively.



Van Helden was born to an Indo (Dutch and Indonesian descent) father and a mother of French and Lebanese ancestry. He moved around the world as a child, spending time in the Netherlands, Latvia, Turkey, and Italy as his father was a member of the U.S. Air Force.[3] At the age of 13, he bought a drum machine and started DJing two years later.[5]

From circa 1986–1988, van Helden was in a rap group named "Define" because they considered themselves "de finest around" and accordingly "defined" rap music. His name was DJ AVH, along with fellow crew members: Sir Beat, and Lopoka. They performed across Europe and helped hone his DJ skills.[citation needed]

Van Helden returned to Boston in 1988, moonlighting as a DJ in Boston clubs. He attended college in Boston. He quit his legal-review job in 1991 to work as a remixer under the management of Neil Petricone and X-Mix. He took up a DJ residency at the Loft, a top Boston nightclub at the time. He released his first official single, a mix of Deep Creed's "Stay On My Mind" through Nervous Records.[citation needed]

Van Helden released "Move It To the Left" (credited to Sultans of Swing) in 1992 on the Strictly Rhythm label, which became a moderate club hit and led to a string of singles released under several monikers for that label. His first track to make the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart was "Witch Doktor",[3] which made the top 5 in 1994, and led to opportunities to remix acts such as New Order, Deep Forest, Jimmy Somerville, Deee-Lite, and Faithless.[citation needed]

However, it was the "Professional Widow" remix that established van Helden and became a dance hit around the world and as a number-one hit in the United Kingdom.[3] Van Helden stated of his compensation for the remix: "it was like $10,000, and that was a little below what I was making back then for a remix, but I had the time."[6] However, it led to work remixing the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Puff Daddy, Daft Punk and Sneaker Pimps, adding to his reputation as one of the world's top house-music musicians.[citation needed]

In 1996, van Helden collaborated with Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk, Van Helden and Junior Sanchez as Da Mongoloids, releasing "Spark da Meth" on the Strictly Rhythm label.[citation needed] A year later van Helden's track "Ten Minutes of Funk" was featured on the Daft Punk live album Alive 1997.[citation needed]

"Cha Cha" was another top-ten dance hit from van Helden's first album, Old School Junkies: The Album, which was released in 1996, along with "The Funk Phenomena". A greatest hits album appeared the next year, followed by a breakbeat album later in 1997. "You Don't Know Me" was a number two hit on the Billboard dance chart, a number one hit in the United Kingdom,[3] and a top 20 single on the pop charts in Australia and Canada. The song was the breakout track from his 2Future4U album, which was released stateside on Armand's own label, Armed Records.[citation needed]

Van Helden released the Killing Puritans album in 2000 (also on Armed Records), which contained the hit "Koochy". The track was based around Gary Numan's five times UK chart hit, "Cars".[7] His single "Why Can't You Free Some Time" made it to number 34 in the UK in 2001. His New York: A Mix Odyssey album released in March 2004 produced two hits: "Hear My Name", a collaboration with Spalding Rockwell that reached number 7 on the Billboard dance chart, number 34 in the UK, and the top 40 in Australia; and "My My My" featuring Tara McDonald, which reached number 4 on the world internet charts, number 5 in the Belgian and Dutch charts, number 6 in Australia, number 15 in the UK, and top 30 in the world dance charts. In April 2004, he provided a mix for BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix show.[8]

In 2005, van Helden released the album Nympho, featuring the singles "Into Your Eyes", "My My My", "Hear My Name", and "When the Lights Go Down". The album reached the top 30 in Australia, and number 48 in the UK. "When The Lights Go Down" reached No. 52[9] on the ARIA Charts in Australia, and was a dance and club hit.

Van Helden was the featured DJ in the Southern Fried tent at Get Loaded in the Park at Clapham Common on the August Bank Holiday in 2005.[citation needed]

In 2006, van Helden re-released "My My My" featuring the British singer Tara McDonald, which reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 in the UK dance charts. Remixes included the Funktuary radio edit and Stonebridge remix. In 2007, Van Helden released his new album, Ghettoblaster, from which he released the singles "NYC Beat," which reached number 22 on the UK chart, and "I Want Your Soul," which reached number 19. In 2008, Van Helden gained more commercial success by remixing "INSPIRE", a No. 1 hit by the Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki. This remix was released on the album Ayu-mi-x 6: Gold. Also in 2008, Van Helden released two albums, You Don't Know Me: The Best of Armand Van Helden and a mix album titled New York: a Mix Odyssey 2. When discussing this mix in a 2009 interview with 5mag.net, Armand said, "I just went back to hip-hop. I put my head where I used to be when I was 19. It was a blast making it. Hip-house was just so great."[10]

In May 2009, Van Helden collaborated with British rapper Dizzee Rascal on his single "Bonkers". It peaked at number one in the United Kingdom, where it stayed for two weeks and became Van Helden's third chart-topper in Britain. Later in 2009, Van Helden worked with A-Trak to create "aNYway" which was released in October under the name Duck Sauce. The duo later gained chart success with the song "Barbra Streisand", which peaked at number three in the United Kingdom and within the top ten of the charts in other European markets.[citation needed]

Van Helden teamed up with American DJ/producer Steve Aoki in 2011 to produce the song "Brrrat!", which featured on Godskitchen's eclectic album. In early 2011, van Helden stated that he had planned an album for 2014.[citation needed]

Van Helden teamed up with fellow DJ/producer A-Trak in 2011 to form Duck Sauce. The duo scored hits with "Barbra Streisand" and "The Big Bad Wolf". In 2013, Duck Sauce released the song "It's You", a hit on the dancefloor throughout the world, and has been nominated for the MTV Video Awards. In October of the same year, they presented two new songs, "Stereo Radio" with Duck Sauce and "I Know A Place" (featuring Spank Rock). In 2014, Van Helden collaborated with Cheap Thrills label boss and DJ Hervé to release their recent song "Power of Bass" Duck Sauce, released their debut album, Quack, released on April 15 through Fool's Gold Records. The album features the duo's long chain of singles. The new Duck Sauce video for "NRG" is filmed as an infomercial.[citation needed]

In August 2014, Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One" featured a remix by van Helden. In September 2014, van Helden remixed for Jungle 70 and Majestic with Creeping In The Dark.[citation needed]

In April 2015, London-based Snakehips released Forever Pt. II EP, which spurred a series of well-received remixes, including a Duck Sauce remix of their song "Forever".[citation needed]

Van Helden returned in 2020 with a new song, "Give Me Your Loving" with Lorne.[citation needed]

Van Helden married Brittany Landstrom (aka Brittles) in a private ceremony in Miami Beach, Florida in May 2024.



Studio albums

Awards and nominations


International Dance Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1998 Armand van Helden Best Remixer Won[11]
2005 My My My Best House/Garage Track Nominated[12]
2011 Brrrat! w/Steve Aoki Best Underground House Track Nominated[13]
2011 Brrrat! w/Steve Aoki Best Electro Tech/House Track Nominated[12]
2011 "Barbra Streisand" Best Break-Through Artist Nominated
Best Best House/Garage Track Won
Best Underground Dance Track Won
2012 "Big Bad Wolf" Won
Best Music Video Nominated
Best Artist - Group Nominated
2015 NRG Best Dubstep/Drum & Bass Track Won[14]

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1998 Armand van Helden Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical Nominated
2012 "Barbra Streisand" Best Dance Recording Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2012 "Big Bad Wolf" Best Electronic Dance Music Video Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
2013 "It's You" Best Visual Effects Nominated

UK Music Video Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2011 "Barbra Streisand" Best Dance Video - International Won
2012 "Big Bad Wolf" Won
Best Art Direction Nominated
Best VFX Nominated

DJ Magazine Top 100 DJs

Year Peak Position Notes Ref.
1997 23 New Entry [15]
1998 96 Down 73
1999 32 Up 64
2000 79 Down 47
2001 77 Up 2
2004 84 Re Entry
2005 61 Up 23
2006 138 Exit (Down 77)
2007 86 Re Entry (Up 52)
2008 119 Exit (Down 33)
2009 103 Out (Up 16)
2010 180 Out (Down 77)


  1. ^ "Artist Biography: Armand Van Helden". Allmusic.com.
  2. ^ "Biography Armand Van Helden". djguide.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 411/2. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  4. ^ Keith, Jonathan (February 19, 2016). "The 15 Greatest Remixes of All Time". Magnetic Magazine. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  5. ^ IMO Records. “Armand Van Helden Biography", IMO Records, London, Retrieved on January 25, 2012. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Interview: Armand Van Helden". The Red Bull Music Academy Daily.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 398. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "Armand Van Helden 04/04/2004". bbc.co.uk/radio1. Retrieved April 10, 2004.
  9. ^ "ARIA Report" (PDF). webarchive.nla.gov.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2005. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Armand Van Helden 01/03/2009". 5mag.net. March 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  11. ^ "Winter Music Conference 2017 - WMC 2017". Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Winter Music Conference 2017 - WMC 2017". Archived from the original on October 15, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  13. ^ "IDMA's - 2010 IDMA Nominees and Winners FOR 2011 - Winter Music Conference 2017 - WMC 2017". Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  14. ^ "31st Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2018 - WMC 2018". Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  15. ^ "Top 100 (250) DJ MAG 1997 - 2018 | Top 100 DJ MAG DJS VK Music Музыка 2019 2020". M.vk.com. Retrieved December 15, 2019.