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There is no denying the incredible talents of Armin van Buuren. He is a Dutchman who has gone from humble beginnings as a music maker when he was 14 to a world famous trance DJ who has won the prestigious DJ Mag’s Number 1 DJ accolade a record five times in a row.
But there is a man who has worked closely with Armin since 2007 who has contributed to his continuing success on global EDM charts and his record-breaking victories with DJ Mag, and this man goes by the name of Benno De Goeij. It is common knowledge in EDM circles that De Goeij forms one half of van Buuren’s Gaia pseudonym, under which he has released tracks such as Stellar, Turvan, and Empire of Hearts.
There is a hidden story, though, that not many fans will be familiar with. The story begins at a music festival in Holland, and it was here that De Goeij and van Buuren first crossed paths when they met backstage at the festival. A brief chat convinced van Buuren that he’d like De Goeij to produce a live set for him because he quickly realized that De Goeij’s talents could come in useful for the continuity of his brand.
Benno De Goeij’s involvement in Armin’s success over the latter part of the 2000s was so strong that he co-produced almost every single track on Armin van Buuren’s Imagine album, which entered the Dutch album charts at number one and peaked at number 157 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
The success of Imagine was such that van Buuren wanted to continue the working relationship with De Goeij who was more than happy to continue producing tracks without the limelight that followed van Buuren everywhere he went.
The ghost production arrangement continued with the release of the fourth and fifth studio albums of Armin respectively—Mirage and Intense. Both albums performed well in the charts and received widespread acclaim amongst trance music fans and critics, further cementing van Buuren’s place as a legend and superstar DJ whose success would be difficult to beat.
During the period coinciding with van Buuren’s relentless success in DJ Mag’s Number 1 DJ charts, it could be said that Benno De Goeij was not receiving any credit for his production work on all three of van Buuren’s albums at the time. Instead, he was still carving out a name for himself in the EDM world by producing high-quality trance tracks without any limelight.
In what is a classic example of how ghost production can help aspiring DJs to climb the ladder to carving out their own careers in EDM, De Goeij now works alongside van Buuren predominantly under the Gaia alias, and the ghost production arrangement has drawn to a close as he is now credited and named on every Gaia track.
While van Buuren is no doubt the most famous DJ that De Goeij has ghost produced for, he is also the man behind trance and progressive house DJ Jochen Miller.
What Benno De Goeij’s career trajectory shows is a blatant example of how ghost production can be helpful for producers who want to climb the ladder to becoming a big name DJ. De Goeij is well known among EDM fans not because he just appeared out of the blue, but because he worked hard to produce high-quality music behind the scenes for van Buuren, and this work eventually led to him being incorporated in a van Buuren pseudonym.
Like Martin Garrix, Benno De Goeij has catapulted himself to EDM fame by consistently working hard in a ghost production arrangement. It can be said that De Goeij got where he is today solely thanks to his willingness to sacrifice live sets and recognition for hard work in the studio in a ghost production capacity.