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By Andy Argyrakis
Tearing up the turntables with Tiesto
"One on One"
Oct. 13, 2009
He's often referred to as the "biggest DJ in the world" and that isn't just record label hype or personal ego getting in the way, but a genuine fact backed up by plenty of evidence. Known just as Tiesto these days (no "DJ" introduction required), his resume includes a smash hit remix of the Delerium/Sarah McLachlan single "Silence," a performance at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, a Grammy nomination, along with sold out tours across the entire globe. The beat genius can also add another critical triumph to the cap as his fourth studio CD Kaleidoscope (Ultra) just hit streets, accompanied by a slew of special guests including Jónsi from Sigur Rós, Nelly Furtado, Tegan and Sara, Kele Okereke from Bloc Party and Emily Haines from Metric. Here's more from the wildly diverse genre-bouncing wizard, who checked in from New York to talk about the new tunes, the Windy City and his lauded legacy.
What inspired you to call the record Kaleidoscope and how does that word apply to the sounds inside?
Tiesto: The reason I called it that is because when you look into a kaleidoscope, you can turn it, twist it and make all sorts of different figures with the light on the other side. And that's how the album came up as well. I worked with a lot of different artists to make something special and I couldn't make these songs without these collaborations. There's a concept behind it and that's to work with a lot of different artists who could bring something extra to the songs.
How did you get hooked up with your all-star list of fellow artists?
Tiesto: For the most people, I went to their live shows and hung out backstage, but management also helped. I had a wish list of all the people I wanted to work with and got in touch with them one by one.
Let's start chatting about your list of collaborators with Jónsi from Sigur Rós.
Tiesto: I saw them at the Chicago Theatre last year and the show was just amazing. I actually saw them three times that year, but Chicago was the best time I saw them and the atmosphere was amazing. His voice is very pure and so crispy clear, plus he's easy to work with. I think his voice adds an extra instrument on my music.
What's your take on tag teaming with Tegan and Sara?
Tiesto: I already worked with them before on a remix and they're such natural singer/songwriters, which actually translates well to dance music. The energy totally came over and I think they should go all dance. They're very powerful vocalists and artistically have a lot of flavors. I think they should totally switch!
How about hooking up with Nelly Furtado?
Tiesto: I met her in Miami at a music conference and we got to hang out. She's really into dance music and it's such a natural collaboration.
What can we expect from your live show when these songs hit the stage?
Tiesto: I have amazing production on tour that's the biggest we've ever had in the U.S. after always being a little smaller than Europe because the venues [in America] are smaller. But this tour is different and I've stepped up my game a lot. There are amazing effects, visuals, screens and sound.
Why do you think your audiences overseas are especially so enormous?
Tiesto: In Europe, dance music is huge already and has been for almost ten years now. In the U.S., it's just started, sort of like how it took awhile for hip-hop to be accepted.
Do you prefer traveling on the road or setting up in a club for a long running residency?
Tiesto: When I'm on the road it's a lot of fun, like a crazy fun road trip. But when I'm in one place, I get more work done and I have more time to myself to relax during the day. It's easier to be in one place, but I like the diversity of being in a club one day, a stadium the next and then the beach. That's what makes this so amazing!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Tiesto: If I have any, I'm just like everybody else. I like to hit a movie or the beach or not do much at all. But it's a pretty 24/7 party kind of lifestyle. When you want to be top DJ, you have to sacrifice a lot during the day so you can be on top of your game at night. But I don't mind it. I'll sleep when I'm old!
What's your take on being called "the biggest DJ in the world" by so many critics?
Tiesto: Well, it's flattering. It's a nice title, but I don't know if it's true. I know my shows are always good and I give it my best, plus they're packed and people care, which is the most important part.
What do you like most about Chicago?
Tiesto: There are a lot of things I really like about it. I really like the city and I always stay at a nice hotel in the center. It's cool walking around there- shopping and the lake are always nice. The restaurants are amazing- a lot of great sushi- and the people are nice and beautiful. The women in Chicago are some of the most beautiful in the whole country.
Looking back on your career so far, what do you consider the top highlight?
Tiesto: There are so many highlights it's been crazy. One is, of course, the opening ceremony to the Olympic Games, but also the fact that the music's been so successful it's allowed me to travel around the world.
Who would you like to work with that you haven't already?
Tiesto: Basically I don't really care if you're famous or not. I just want to work with people I can learn something from. If they're cool and can do something with a track I couldn't do myself, then that's my wish list right there!
Tiesto performs at the Congress Theater on Saturday, October 31 with additional details at www.ticketmaster.com.