Published: January 10, 2014
Interview by: Jordan Calvano
Photos by: Robert Underwood & Felicia Garcia
On January 26th, legendary Dutch DJ/producer Tijs Michiel Verwest, perhaps you know him better as Tiësto, will be gracing the slopes of Aspen, CO--not as a snowboard vert competitor--but as headliner of the X Games concert with fellow seminal act Axwell. The guy just hit 16 million fans on Facebook, people.
Jordan Calvano got the chance to chat with the international superstar about his 2013 highlights, thoughts about his forthcoming album, and playing in the cold.
Welcome to The Untz, Tiësto. January is as good a time as any to reflect. What were some of your most memorable moments in 2013 inside and out of the music world?
There are so many great moments. I released a new mix album, the label has been doing great, I played at Staples Center in Los Angeles and toured the UK with Calvin Harris. It was really quite amazing to play in Holland, my home, for so many people during ADE.
Did you make any big resolutions for the New Year?
Yes, to finish my album!
Speaking of the New Year, how was facing the freezing cold weather of Lake Tahoe at SnowGlobe a couple days before NYE?
Well, I guess it could be worse because much of the country has been dealing with that “Polar Vortex.” My NYE was not nearly as cold and hey it’s really just an excuse to party harder and heat things up!
In a few weeks you will once again be taking to the snow, this time to play the X Games in Aspen, Colorado. What aspect of this experience are you most excited for?
I’m a huge sports fan so to be in that environment is amazing for me.
Do you think you’ll make it up to the slopes at any point during the weekend?
I’d love to but this time I’m going to leave it to the athletes!
Your recent single “Red Lights” features strong themes of youthfulness present within the lyrics and even the music itself. How important is this theme to dance culture, and specifically in terms of playing songs like this in front of a massive audience?
Well the fans in the crowd are pretty young for the most part so it’s important to identify them musically and lyrically.
You recently announced your new album will be dropping in 2014. What are you hoping to accomplish with your first album under the Tiësto moniker in almost five years?
I want people to know that Tiesto isn’t about one thing musically. I love so many different styles of music and I think people will be surprised by what they hear. Also, in the music world five years is a long time, so they will hear my evolution in this record.
Has your approach towards production changed since Kaleidoscope, and are you still putting the same focus on collaboration with this album?
I’ve always been a huge fan of collaboration so that’s always going to be present. I’ve grown so much in five years as an artist and that definitely applies to my production techniques, as well.
Based off the diverse range of artists you’ve remixed and worked with over the years, it’s pretty apparent you enjoy various genres of music. What non-electronic albums or specific songs were you hooked on this year?
I really liked the new Kanye, Icona Pop and Sigur Ros albums.
Tons of big releases from your Musical Freedom imprint in 2013. What has been the most rewarding facet of owning and operating your own music label thus far?
It’s a platform to release music that I truly like without any restrictions. If I like something I will definitely consider releasing it on the album regardless of dance music genre.
Do you have any big plans for the label and Club Life podcast in 2014?
Yes, but you’ll have to wait and see...
We’re definitely impressed by the Club Life By Tiësto website. What was the inspiration behind that venture?
I travel so much and get to take in a lot of culture. I wanted a place where I could share my favorite things with the world.
Let’s take things by to the early days of Tiësto. Can you describe the first gig you ever played for us?
Sure, it was a small club in my hometown of Breda in the Netherlands. There were just a few people there!
Nowadays you’re playing to huge crowds all across the world. Do you ever have to pinch yourself to make sure this is all real?
I think you need to remain humble in order to relate with your fans and to be the best you can possibly be. So yes, it’s an amazing ride that I’m grateful for every day.
Thanks for chatting with us Tiësto. Any delicious details you can share with about the new album to close things out? We’re all ears.
Well, you’ve heard “Red Lights." That’s the first single and it’s out now. I have a great set of remixes for the track coming too. Much more info about the album is coming soon!