Dutch DJ/Producer Tiësto is widely viewed as the one of the best DJs/producers of all time. He’s worked with everyone from Nelly Furtado to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in his illustrious career and his cache continues to expand. His live shows are a top global draw. In an era when electronic music is experiencing unprecedented growth and enjoying a cultural explosion, Tiësto reigns atop the genre’s food chain.
Tiësto is on a collision course with the history books next month when he closes out his current Club Life College Invasion Tour on October 8 at the Home Depot CEnter in Los Angeles. With a jaw dropping capacity of 26,000, this is the largest single headline DJ show in US history. Tiësto is making electronic music history; he’s that damn good.
ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto nabbed sometime with Tiësto while on the Club Life College Invasion tour, as he was preparing for the soon-to-be-legendary LA show. Tiësto spoke about his relationship with a college-aged fanbase; his thoughts and feelings on the upcoming historic gig; his perspective on electronic music’s popularity in 2011; his views on Twitter as a promotional tool; his favorite US clubs at which to DJ; his love of Iron Maiden; and his passion for the Chicago Bears.
How does it feel to be playing the biggest North American headline gig by a DJ at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles? What is your headspace? Are you blown away? Are you looking at it like just another gig? Are you like, “Wow! Holy shit!”?
It is amazing. How can I describe it? It is a challenge for me to be a part of history. It is really cool. The show will be really spectacular. I am going to put extra stuff into the show, since it is the first gig of its kind there. I will find extra special effects that night.
The show is not until October 8, so you have some extra time to figure out what you want to do, effects wise.
I do have some time, production-wise, I know. But music-wise, it changes every week. You never know what I am going to do.
You’re focusing on colleges with this tour run. In your experience, is it college kids that are usually the biggest dance music fans? Or is the audience opening up?
They are spontaneous and they are open-minded and they give me so much energy. They go nuts and they jump up and down all the time. It is a wild party and I really like that about it.
Why is electronic music so big now in your opinion? Dubstep is huge. Deadmau5’s name pops up everywhere, as does your own?
We don’t have the media control anymore. Thanks to the Internet, people are getting so much more access to music in general. No one listens to the radio anymore or even watches television. What you find on Internet, through your Facebook friends posting something for all their friends see it, that is the best PR you can have as an artist. It is fresh and that is how people find new music to put on their iPods.
Twitter has replaced the celebrity publicist, since it gives an artist a direct connection to fans and there is no buffer layer. Do you like that? Or do you think it is essential to have a PR flack facilitating that interaction?
I think that depends on what type of artist you are. Some artists need that magical element and others need that buffer, where they are not quite so connected. I like to be very connected to my fans…It’s more about the people who follow me and sharing music. I can post a track to my fans to see if they like it. They don’t have to wait for it three days later. It’s amazing about Twitter and it’s flattering for me when fans reply directly about the music when I post it. You get so many complements.
Do your read your own press?
No! I don’t even know where to look. There is so much media out there.
How did you assemble and choose the tracks for Club Life Vol 1. Las Vegas? Do you have a specific curation policy?
I go into it wanting to make a CD that gives you the “club feeling” and fits well in the club. I like lots of vocals and a nice groove and journey. I selected the tracks to be classy, something you want to hear in a nice, beautiful club.
What is your favorite US club?
Liv in Miami. I love its layout. It’s big, and caters to 1500 people but it’s also glamorous. There is a super high deck interior, with beautiful people. The DJ booth is comfortable; you can bring friends. You can have up to 20 friends behind you. It’s like you are playing a house party, but in a club. It’s nicely set up. [Editor’s Note: “Liv” sounds like the verb “Live,” as in “to live.”
What’s the story behind ‘C’mon,’ your collaboration with Diplo?
I decided to ask him to do a track with me, since he is a different producer, from a different scene. He sent beats and I put the melody on top and it worked out well. Everyone loved it. It was quite a shocking collaboration since we are so different.
If someone was interested in checking out electronic music and wanted to check out your music, can you succinctly describe it?
It’s electro house, electro dance. With lots of melodies. Lots of vocals. It’s energetic. There is lots of energy.
You’ve mentioned being a heavy metal fan. When did you first discover metal behemoths like Iron Maiden or Metallica? Are you into Slayer?
I grew up on heavy metal, but I have not listened to it in a while. When I was 16, I got into it. I was a huge Iron Maiden fan. I had all of their albums. I am not too much into Slayer, but Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio, Whitesnake. That’s what I am into.
How did you get into Iron Maiden?
My brother took me to the Monsters of Rock concert, which they headlined. Then I was sold.
Can’t say I blame you. Maiden puts on one helluva show and Bruce Dickinson is quite the consummate frontman. Moving back to electronic music and DJing, what’s your favorite club to play in Vegas?
Well, I like Marquee and Tao. Marquee is nice and almost like a concert. But it’s intimate, so it’s very nice, intimate venue. Tao is classy club, since it’s part of the Tao restaurant, which they also have in New York. The club is classy.
Tell us what’s next for you.
I did a remix for Coldplay, the ‘Paradise’ remix and my other single, ‘Maximal Crazy,’ came out. It’s instrumental and maybe I’ll get a vocal on it later. I have a Latin American tour coming. Then a break!
Do you have any non-music hobbies?
I don’t have much time for hobbies. But I love to play tennis. And I am a crazy fan of the NFL. I love American football.
Oh really? What is your favorite NFL team?
I love the Chicago Bears.
Why the Bears? Or “Da Bears?” Since you are not American, you have no allegiance to any particular city!
I discovered them a few years ago. One of my best friends is from Chicago, so there was no other reason for allegiance. Chicago is such a beautiful city and I became a Bears fan. Then I heard Kanye West is a Bears fan, too!