In Search of Sunrise
Tiësto from Holland, here in Puerto Vallarta at the Mar Aqua beach at Boca de Tomates, near the Vallarta Marina, March 26.
AFTER PARTY: 6am, March 27 at Bar Shelona, 712 Juarez, Centro Vallarta. cover
Tiësto’s career is punctuated by landmark achievements – the first DJ in the world to sell out a solo stadium event for over 25,000 people 2 nights in a row, he scored a number one hit with his single Traffic, the first instrumental track to reach the top spot in his homeland of Holland in 23 years. His remix of Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan’s Silence was the first house track ever broadcast on daytime radio in North America, (it became an international dancefloor anthem and also spent eight weeks in the UK top 10 chart). He played live in front of billions of people during the Parade of the Athletes at the official opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens. But despite his meteoric success, Tiësto remains grounded about his achievements and clearly loves making and playing music above the accolades it brings.
Born in Holland, Tiësto became a DJ because he ‘liked to share music with other people. When I was younger, I’d listen to a radio show called the Soul Show, and to Ben Liebrand’s mix radio program, where he would remix and cut up different tracks, and I just thought – I want to do this!’ The productions came later, in 1995. ‘I really wanted to produce music that I could play in my sets, because it brings much more fulfilment to the process. I bought some samplers, some computer programs, and just started working on it.’ He makes it sound easy – indeed; he makes it look easy as 10 years down the line his productions consistently bother the charts and frequently reach number one around Europe.
In 1997 Tiësto, along with Arny Bink, formed Black Hole Recordings, the label that launched the hugely acclaimed Magik, In Search Of Sunrise, and Nyana mix compilations. The label grew to such proportions that in 2001 Tiësto started a sub-label, Magik Muzik. ‘It’s the home of records of mine, or of people whose work I really believe in,’ he enthuses. ‘Everything on Magik Muzik is what you’ll find in my sets, which makes it more of my own little project.’ Some of the gems from Magik Muzik include 2001 anthem Flight 643 and his artist albums In My Memory, Just Be and Elements of Life.
Though known primarily for his pioneering contributions to the trance scene, Tiësto’s style is now a mix of everything: ‘trance, house, techno – it’s the best of all that the dance world has to offer. In 1998, I was really a trance DJ, but now I’ve travelled round the world so much, different influences have seeped in and I play a bit of everything. I think the only way forward for DJs now is to play a diverse mix of sounds.’ Indeed, his brand of trance was always pushing at the constraints of the genre anyway, featuring soaring vocals from the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Jes, spine-tingling breakdowns, and euphoric melodies at every end of the spectrum.
The many high profile gigs and shows have now taken Tiësto away from exclusively playing clubs, and propelled him to become a mainstream artist. ‘Often at my shows now, half of the people are die-hard clubbers, but the other half are people who know me from the radio, or from more mainstream gigs,’ he says. ‘It’s more like they’re going to a concert, so now I get a great mix of both worlds.’
Describing the last few years as ‘a journey of defining moments,’ (as well as the usual club successes, his shelves are groaning under the weight of numerous awards – TMF-Awards, MTV, Dutch DJ – and gold discs…) his favourites include the second night of the Tiësto In Concert show in Holland in 2004: ‘I was really aware of what was going on, the music was just right – a mix of all my big tunes and new track, everything just felt perfect that night. I played for nine hours straight, and it was my favourite gig ever.’ And, of course, he was chosen by the readers as the number one DJ in the world. ‘The first time it happened it was so amazing, I was overjoyed. The second and the third time were also fantastic, but the first time you’re on the cover of that magazine that is so respected by other DJs – it’s like winning an Oscar!’
In May 2006 Tiësto decided to become the worldwide ambassador for Dance4Life, and to invest considerate amounts of his time and efforts to the one charity in which he could really find himself. Immediately the production of a Dance4Life anthem was discussed, which resulted in an a song with Faithless’ Maxi Jazz.
Continuing to explore fresh avenues, knowing that the year 2007 is now in full swing, Tiësto is currently experimenting with new sounds in the studio, and writing more vocals himself. The most recent result of this new approach of course is his latest album ‘Elements of Life’, which sky rocketed to the highest positions in today’s charts. The album features the vocals of BT, who’s been working with Tiësto on previous occasions and hit the charts with ‘Break my Fall’; and Julie Thompson. ‘I’m not looking for any big collaboration right now, I’m more interested in a burgeoning talent – someone whose voice is good, and that really touches you. A voice should sound like an instrument to me. A good example is Christian Burns who is the singer on the hit single ‘In the Dark’; also a track from ‘Elements of Life’. I met him through MySpace; the actual proof that the internet is the medium of choice when it comes to musical developments and careers.’
The concept behind his latest album also forms the basis for his current ‘Elements of Life World Tour’ which takes the DJ all over the globe. At the same time, the tour is of a size not before known in the dance scene. Since the four elements earth, water, air and fire are the unmistakeable necessities to build and maintain life on Earth, they had to be presented in all their greatness, which results in a stunning production that features state of the art special effects, moving water systems in sync with the music and high definition video screens. It requires three semi trucks to transport the equipment. The mere knowledge that Tiësto, as one DJ with two turntables, is entertaining audiences up to 25,000 people or more has silenced even the worst critic. But that his performances can compete with even the largest stadium concerts of the known world artists is something that the industry never held possible.
The amounts of energy the DJ invests for the world tour have not kept him away from the one thing everybody was waiting for: the new ‘In Search of Sunrise 6’. In between the mayhem of touring and insane flight schedules, Tiësto still found the time to deliver a double CD compilation for the highly successful series also known as ‘ISOS’. The live mix, made without electronic or computerized gadgets, is titled ‘Ibiza’ and for a reason: ‘I haven’t been in Ibiza for two years. The island is known for its large discotheques, the crazy parties, the best DJs and of course the party people’, he says. ‘Ibiza still is a magical place for me, with beautiful secret spots to discover and an atmosphere that can only be found there. So to make sure that I would capture the love and dedication I feel for the island, I actually returned to Ibiza for the proper inspiration.’ He grins: ‘Now I know for sure that ‘ISOS 6’ earned it to be called ‘Ibiza’.’
Knowing that Tiësto’s opportunities go beyond his own music, and the world tour, one might ask what will come up next. His answer is clear: ‘As I said earlier, the internet is the medium of choice for modern day music. I now host my own radio show called ‘Tiesto’s Club Life’, which is available as PodCast directly after it aired on radio. Through those blessings of the internet, fans can listen to me and the music I love whenever they feel like, wherever they feel like. And at the same time, radio stations all over the world broadcast the weekly shows within their own national programming. It’s just a fantastic idea knowing that my fans are now listening to the radio as I used to do when I was just a kid!’
One of the last things we haven’t mentioned is Tiësto’s work on the music of other artists. ‘I’m more open to doing remixes again. I like to hear a track and right away know what I want to do with it, what I can make different, and whether it’ll work for me in my sets – all my remixes have to be tried and tested.’ His most recent remix, already featured in one of his ‘Club Life’ radio shows, was one of particular interest, he says. ‘The best producer in the world of the moment, Timbaland, approached me to do a remix of ‘Love Stoned’ by Justin Timberlake. That means a lot to me, you know? It actually shows that I’ve grown not only as a DJ, but also as a producer.’
Recently the DJ became one of the share holders of Cineac in Amsterdam. The club presents a combination of Chinese high cuisine, dance music and live-entertainment and can be considered a personal side project. ‘It is something I’m now able to do you know?, he says. ‘The fact that I could be into having my own club, realizing my own ideas about decoration and the music, meant enough to me to make sure I’d be a part of the Cineac from the very beginning. It’s so nice to do this next to the ‘business as usual’ for me as an artist. I want it to become the place to be in Amsterdam.’
The future for Tiësto promises yet further success, both as the solo artist he’s become and the DJ we know him to be. ‘The long anticipated ‘In Search of Sunrise 6′ has been released and there will be more remixes, definitely,’ he agrees.
And then there’s the Grammy nomination for his album ‘Elements Of Life’. The news came as a beautiful surprise. ‘I am incredibly happy about this. And that’s an understatement. The nomination itself already is a fantastic honor.’ He genuinely enjoys his achievements, but Tiësto keeps both feet on the ground: ‘It’s hard to look too far into the future. Every couple of months it seems that something new, unexpected and exciting is happening!