The world’s most popular DJ brings Ibiza to Calgary
Holland’s Tiësto (Tijs Michiel Verwest) is the world’s most popular DJ. Every night, the jet-setting Dutch musician takes to the podium and mounts a turntable extravaganza that soon has the masses moving to his rhythms. Not many moments can come close to the experience of spinning to a throbbing crowd of 250,000 on the beaches of Brazil, but, luckily Tiësto likes to take a little bit of Ibiza with him wherever he goes.
“I think I can turn just about any song into a dance track,” the fleet-fingered DJ teases. “People are constantly approaching me to redo their favourite cuts. But, some are just impossible to improve upon. Queen, Elvis, Michael Jackson; I won’t touch them!”
Few DJs have the touch to fill nightclubs on the strength of their name alone. Tiësto can effortlessly sell out stadiums that hold 25,000 people, two nights in a row. Maybe more, if they’d let him. Over the span of his 20-plus-year career, thousands of dance-floor initiates have lost their inhibitions and moved their bodies to his futuristic vibes, each one purchasing their magic ticket to the show in the hopes of becoming part of that communal euphoria. It’s a hope that Tiësto attributes to the universal need to bust a move.
“I always try to keep things positive,” he says. “I don’t have much to worry about these days. Every performance is a party. That goes for my new album, too — even the melancholic tracks have something special and light about them that makes people want to dance.”
Even though he’s perpetually in a state of motion, Tiësto finds time to investigate new sources of musical inspiration and discover new artists during his brief periods of downtime. Much sought-after for his skills as a remixer and producer, Tiësto has used his Midas touch to embellish the works of musicians the world over. Constantly on the lookout for fresh new sounds, Tiësto was drawn to the cloned harmonies of Calgary’s darling siblings Tegan and Sara, inviting the pair to take part in the creation of his latest album, Kaleidoscope, a release packed with appearances by musicians including Sigur Ros’s Jonsi, Nelly Furtado, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, Calvin Harris, Emily Haines of Metric and Sneaky Sound System.
“Tegan and Sara’s song [‘Feel It in My Bones’] is my favourite track on the whole album,” Tiësto says. “They have these powerful voices that, to me, just seem made for cool electronic music. I sent them an instrumental version of the song that I had worked out on the keyboard and they filled in the rest. They’re such talented hook writers. I did a remix of the song ‘Back in Your Head’ for them a while back and I really wanted to work with them again.”
“I’ve produced a lot of remixes since 2000, and I like to listen to all kinds of music,” he continues. “I’m always listening to bands like Sigur Ros when I’m on the plane, or whatever, and I wanted to bring some of those different flavours to my work. I don’t think I’ll ever be accepted by the indie rock crowd, but I do hope I’m opening doors by introducing my fans to some of these artists.”