HigherFrequency  DJ Interview



To his fans he's untouchable; a musical demigod conjuring DJ sets from up on high with the proverbial Midas touch and unparalleled crowd rapport. To his critics he's a perfidious sellout, cashing in on the duped masses with populist, saccharine trance music. To his tour promoters he's a giant cash cow mooing from the back of a Fort Knox vault.

Tiesto's career has been little short of meteoric, but just what is it that arouses such impassioned platitudes about the enigmatic Dutchman who has basked in a three-year reign at the top of DJ Mag's 100 poll? Could it be the regular capacity crowds, the unflagging pace of his live sets, or the possible world record for a live audience of billions at the opening of the Athens Olympics? Or the ground-breaking 'Delirium Featuring Sarah McLachlan - Silence', a track that spent eight weeks at the top of the UK top 10 chart? Or the massive litany of music awards that he has chalked up on his CV?

His answer, referring to the stratospheric popularity he shares with fellow DJ Mag poll-topper Paul Van Dyk:

"I think we are just both very professional DJs. We both like the music and we go for it and that's why people like us".

A hackneyed phrase it may well be, but honesty at this level is a precious commodity, and one that demonstrates that despite the hubris surrounding DJ Tiesto's status, his feet are firmly on the ground, and rooted in a passion for what he does best- sharing music. We had a chat with him before his set at ageHa last month.

*If you would like to view the video interview...Click Here!

> Interview & Introduction : Matt Cotterill (HigherFrequency)


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : It's good to have you here and thank you very much for your time.

Tiesto : You're welcome.

HRFQ : Past visits to Japan, you've been here before and you've probably received a lot of gifts from a lot of fans. Where would you say is the place with the most die hard fan contingent from all the places in the world you have been?

Tiesto : In the world? That's hard to say, to name one country. There are a lot of countries who have die hard fans. Almost every country in the world like Hungary, Holland of course, England, South America and North America. For me it is very difficult to choose just one country because there are a lot of people from all over the place.

HRFQ : So it's a general die hard contingent everywhere.

Tiesto : Yeah, well every country has a couple of hundred really really die hard fans and the rest are just good fans. But there are ones with whole bedrooms full of Tiesto sounds.

HRFQ : Obviously with an artist of your popularity you have a huge fan base but the flip side of that is the critical side. How do you cope with criticism of your sets, does it energize you or does it bring you down a little bit? How do you react to it?

Tiesto : I have only one saying, 'Criticism only hurts when it's true'. So, that's how I feel. If someone criticizes me I only take notice if it is grounded or true. I know exactly where I am as a DJ so it doesn't really affect me.

HRFQ : It is an endearing philosophy. So, you play at huge venues, this is Ageha probably the biggest club in Japan. Do you ever get the chance to play for more intimate crowds, more intimate venues?

Tiesto : Yeah, sometimes because sometimes I do two nights in a row at a club. Like in Argentina last week I played on the Friday night at the opening of a new club which was very intimate and small and then on the Saturday night it was a bigger one. I a lot like that actually. I did an Eastern Europe tour last year where the night after I played in a small club for like 500 people and the night before for 10,000.

Tiesto Interview

HRFQ : Which one do you prefer?

Tiesto : Well, it depends because it's a totally different vibe. On the big shows I can just play all the big tunes and people love it, and it's a great energy. So, I think I prefer that. On the small shows you can play whatever you want and you can experiment a bit more.

HRFQ : Last year in Ibiza you were playing every Thursday but this year you'll just be playing one gig. What influenced that decision?

Tiesto : Well I've been to Ibiza for seven years in a row playing every week. I get so many demands from people wanting me to play on all the islands in Europe. All the islands in Greece, Turkey, Spain and a lot of other islands so I thought for just one year I'd do only one gig in Ibiza and try to do all the other places as well. It is important because people have been asking for years for me to come and I just don't have time. So I want to make sure I have enough time for everyone.

HRFQ : Let's talk about Paul van Dyk, you know each other from Amnesia (Ibiza), and for the past three years running you've both been either number one or two on the DJ Mag Top 100. What's going on there, what is the magic with you guys? How are you are getting this popularity?

Tiesto : How are we getting this popularity? I don't know, we just DJ. I think we both have our own sounds, he plays a little bit harder than me. So on the nights [Amnesia] it works really well. I opened starting a little bit slower and then he starts at 145bpm. So it's a perfect to fit together on the night. I think we are just both very professional DJs. We both like the music and we go for it and that's why people like us.

HRFQ : You had the Olympic games, that was a huge event in Athens 2004 and obviously you've had DJ Mag's no. 1 three years running. What would you say has been your greatest achievement, the one you are happiest with?

Tiesto : Well the achievement I am happiest with is that wherever I go in the world, the club always sells out or the venue always sells out. There is such a big response from people and that is the biggest achievement for me. That is the most important thing. Like last night I played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it was like 20,000 people there. And it was amazing and I've only been to Malaysia once before. So to have that response is my biggest achievement in life.

HRFQ : Brilliant. Now, you've had a lot of different jobs in the music industry; you produce, you obviously DJ. Again your most rewarding aspect within the industry, what is the most fulfilling side of it for you?

Tiesto : The most fulfilling side in general? Well I just answered that question I think. I can share the music I'm very passioned about. The tracks I make, I play them out and they are really happy. I get letters about how it helps them in their personal lives and I'm very proud of that. This year I'm going to do a lot for good causes, to help in that way as well. For me that is very important too.

Tiesto Interview

HRFQ : You've mentioned that sharing music is one of the influences that brought you into DJing in the first place.

Tiesto : Yeah.

HRFQ : A few years back there was the whole file sharing thing, and it's still going on. Do you see that as sort of a double edged sword? On one hand you get recognition but on the other hand the industry suffers. What's your take on the whole file sharing thing?

Tiesto : Well, it helped. For me it helped a lot. In the last five years, without file sharing I wouldn't be as big as I am now. So, I can only say positive things about it. But I do understand that a lot of people, especially new young artists, are suffering from people downloading and not paying for it. So, I think everybody should pay a little bit. If they really like a song then they should pay for it. Then everyone is happy I think.

HRFQ : It's mostly the smaller labels who suffer.

Tiesto : Exactly, it's the good small labels. I mean the big rock artists make enough money anyway so if you download those guys...

HRFQ : You almost feel vindicated doing it. It's like, 'you've got too much money!'

Tiesto : Exactly, then I guess it's ok for people who can't afford it. But if you can afford it you should pay anyway I think.

HRFQ : Something about DJ styles, obviously people pigeonhole music. This is that style, that is this. The word trance has gone hand in hand with your name for a while. We can't use the word progressive anymore, it's a swearword, it's gone.

Tiesto : Oh, it's already gone?

HRFQ : You get people hating you, you get slaughtered for using it. Is trance a dirty word, Tiesto? How do you react to it?

Tiesto : Well I think in general that is the problem with our scene, with our electronic dance music scene. We don't really have the names right for everything and that is why people are so confused. I play trance but it is not only trance and some people play house. Back in the day when I first started, people just called the whole scene house music and that was the best thing to call it. Now house music is just champagne music while trance music is more like rave music. It's just been too complicated. I'd like to call it just house music but other people think what I play is trance music. For me, the best way to describe what I play is the sound of Tiesto. When I play, people know I'm playing.

HRFQ : Tiesto music!

Tiesto : Tiesto music, the sound of Tiesto.

HRFQ : The sound of Tiesto, we have created a new genre.

Tiesto : Yeah, that's a new genre.

HRFQ : Would you agree that to be successful in this climate you really have to throw all kinds of genres into the mix?

Tiesto : I think so. You really have to build your own character. I mean, you see it in rock music too like U2 and the Stones are both huge and they are both rock music right. That's the same thing with dance music too. If you compare me to say Paul van Dyk, for an outsider it is maybe the same but it is really a very different kind of music. Or me with Erick Morillo or Deep Dish it's also very different. So I think we all have our own styles and that is why we are so famous.

HRFQ : There was a remix album you released on i-Tunes, solely on the digital realm. Obviously it is a way forward, but do you think that is going to spell the death of CD, the way CD might've done with vinyl? Do you think that they are mutually exclusive or can they work together?

Tiesto : They can work together, for now. But I think in the future, maybe ten years from now, no one is going to buy CDs anymore. It's all digital, it's the future. We are just in the big turnover at the moment, so it's just a matter of time.

HRFQ : Well we are pretty much done for questions so if you have a message you'd like to say to all the people who are coming to see you tonight, you can have a quick look into the camera.

Tiesto : Like that? Hi, I'm Tiesto and I'm really happy to be here, and I hope tonight is going to be an epic night.

HRFQ : And it's been a pleasure to talk to you Tiesto, thank you very much.

Tiesto: Thanks.

End of the interview

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