VIBE Interview: Tiësto Unfolds A Third Chapter Of His High Octane ‘Club Life’
Tiësto has no patience for timewasters. Like his hip-hop ally Kanye West, the producer has more mountains to move, a loud new album to speed up the process and to further shake up the music-sphere.
It’s easy to argue that Tiësto is the Kanye West of dance music. Albeit a decibel less provocative when it comes to public persona. After interviewing him multiple times over the past few years, there is one question I always ask the DJ superstar, born, Tijs Michiel Verwest: “What rapper is your joie de vivre?” To which, the Dutchman always answers: “Kanye West.” Contrary to the “big pimp music hero” personas, Tiësto’s new offering, Club Life Vol. 3 – Stockholm, should never be compared to Yeezus, let alone used in the same sentence. While the electronic elements of Ye’s latest masterpiece are all clear and present, that’s where we draw the line. In fact, Club Life is the aural opposite of Yeezus. While West wears a darkly cloaked veil of serious, stunner synths and lyrics, Tiësto’s comp is a cavalcade of fun, finely arranged summer (and spring and fall) anthems.
The 44-year-old’s third installment of Club Life also comes as a high-BPM encore to his sophomore fashion endeavor with GUESS. Tiësto says he “went in with ideas” and was “heavily involved” in the design process for the SWAGGY-club threads. “We had brainstorming sessions [mulling over] designs and the overall feel for the collection.” With a new tour schedule for Club Life Vol. 3 – Stockholm, a residency at glam-raver-baller haven, Hakkasan Las Vegas, it’s clear why his biggest weakness is being “very impatient,” Tijs admits. “I always need everything done, A.S.A.P.” He’s got no time to wait.
Tiësto needn’t hop on stages or interrupt award shows to make some noise. He’s a bit more calm-spirited for Yeezy-like behavior. There’s something about this dude—like his pal Kanye— the man dances to the beat of his own click. – Sarah Polonsky
VIBE: What would you say are the main changes in Club Life, from Vol. 1 to now with its third volume?
Tiësto: When the first album came out, it was on my label, Musical Freedom, [which was] in its infancy. It’s grown tremendously since the first album and I’m really proud of the music that’s come out. Of course, the “vibe” here is different. I also feel that the series has grown—where it’s more about being at a place where fans can hear my own original material and remixes more than just [compiling] a mix CD filled with [other artists’] hot tracks. I want this series to be something really special and that’s why I worked hard to fill it with so much material that you can’t find anywhere else.
There’s a lot of underlying rock n’ roll themes in this album. The first two tracks alone, “Paradise” with Dyro and “Take Me” ft. Kyler England (she’s got a rock band, after all), is rock a secret passion of yours?
I grew up as a fan of rock and was a big fan of bands like Iron Maiden. So there’s a big connection for me.
Will you be spinning the album on a specific tour? Is it necessary to tour an album when true fans may want to hear all your stuff?
The album contains a lot of new material. Many of my own original tracks, remixes and collaborations. Many of these are already fan favorites and they are certainly a part of my sets, combined with some classic tracks and favorites from other artists at the moment. I don’t think fans want to be stuck in the past. I think a balance of the old, new and a look to the future is the perfect DJ set. I’m on ‘The Club Life’ tour, so there is the obvious connection here.
Do you tailor your sets to suit the crowd and vibe? Or do you just play what you want with an ability to steer the party?
I’ve always wanted to be a DJ so I could play the music I love for other people. That feeling hasn’t changed, but my sets are always evolving. In terms of tailoring to a specific crowd, certainly I do play differently depending on the situation. It’s a different feel, for example, in a small club versus a festival.
Do you have a preference for festival settings or arenas versus more intimate venues?
I have no preference. The fans came out to party with me so I always bring it. There’s an amazing intimate feeling in a small club but an insane rush playing a stadium or festival.
To this day, what would you say your most memorable set has been?
It’s a harder question to answer than you may think. I can easily say it was my first ever gig in Breda [Netherlands town where Tiësto hails from] because that was as a rookie getting up in front of people for the first time. Then, the moments like [when I performed at] the Opening Ceremonies of the Athens Olympics or Home Depot Center in California. That was the biggest single DJ show ever in U.S. history so it was quite memorable for me. There are many others, too, I could go on forever.
It is no question you are a pioneer in dance music, if you were to tell us several up and coming artists to keep on our radar who would they be?
A bunch of guys on the compilation fit the bill: Alvaro, Quintino, Moti, DJ Punish, to name some.
With a mixed bag of emotions coming from pioneers of dance music in regards to the industry changes, where do you still find your inspiration to do what you do?
I can honestly say that the fans inspire. There’s an unexplainable rush that comes when I’m in the middle of a set and the energy from the fans hit me. I also get really inspired through collaborations. I’ve learned so much from the emerging producers I’ve worked with just as they’ve learned from me.
One thing you can’t live without?
My laptop! I can’t live a day without it!
If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing?
I always saw myself working in the record industry. Probably as an A&R guy or CEO at Beatport or iTunes.
Anything we should keep our ears and eyes on the lookout for in the upcoming months?
Yes, I’ll be on the road promoting the album and focusing on my residency at Hakkasan in Las Vegas. After that, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my new artist album that’s set for release in 2014.
Got any outrageous tour tales of stalker fan stories?
My fans are crazy, but in a good way. Very supportive and some tweet me more like a 100 times a day. As for tour tales, I have a saying, “What happens on tour stays on tour.”
Photo Credit: GUESS