Even if you’re not into electronic dance music, chances are you know who Tiësto is—and with good reason. The Dutchman has spent nearly two decades churning out hit house and electro tracks; three times he’s been No. 1 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list (clocking in at No. 2 this year); and in October 2011 he played to 26,000 fans at LA’s Home Depot Center, marking the largest solo DJ show in history.
The artist devoted this year to Las Vegas, taking up residencies at MGM’s party pool Wet Republic and new nightclub Hakkasan. He returns this weekend, supplying sound at both venues and playing his third Electric Daisy Carnival set. We caught up with the superstar to discuss his new album and why he thinks EDC belongs here.
You’re playing at EDC, Wet Republic and Hakkasan this week. What’s more fun, the massives or the smaller club shows?I like the variety of it ... Friday night I play at the club; Saturday I play at EDC for 60,000 people; and then Sunday I play Wet Republic, the pool party. So it’s three different audiences. It’s never the same, so it gets never boring.
How will your sets differ from EDC to the club shows? Well, in EDC, it’s such an open area and it’s so many people, I play a lot harder. And it’s a short set, so I pump out all my best tracks. It’s a very short journey.
Will you have time to experience other DJs’ sets at the festival? I always love to hear other DJs play, because I love the music and I love DJs. … I haven’t seen the lineup yet, actually, but I would love to check out some different DJs for sure.
Who are some up-and-comers we should watch for? Well, there are great DJs coming out of Holland. ... I’m not sure if he’s still up-and-coming or already there, but DJ Danny Avila is doing really good at the moment. He’s going to be big, I think. ... And I think Hardwell, as well. There’s a difference between up-and-coming and [the] next superstars. They’re going to be the next mega-superstars.
With your longevity, do you have any advice for aspiring DJs? Play what you feel. Don’t try to be something else that you’re not.
This is EDC’s third year in Las Vegas. Do you think Vegas fits the festival? I think it’s even better than Los Angeles, because it’s so convenient. Everyone can stay at the Strip; there’s so many great hotels. And the location is perfect—in the desert at the racetrack.
There’s been talk of Las Vegas rivaling Ibiza in terms of EDM popularity. Are we there yet? I think that it’s really growing fast. It just started, so I think we’ll be like Ibiza in the next few years. Because there’s new clubs opening up and new nights and also the variety of music is getting bigger.
Anything left on your to-do list? Yeah, there’s plenty of stuff on the to-do list. Not just touring as a DJ but also as a producer. You know, I want to make a new album; I’m working on that at the moment. And I like to find the … right sounds. I like to be original. I try to innovate every time, so that’s the more challenging thing that I’m dealing with at the moment. It never gets boring to play EDC or play Las Vegas or play New York, so it’s not like I don’t want to do it again. I want to do it again and again and again!
Will EDC attendees hear some of that new album at the festival? Yeah. I’ve already put out some tracks. I made a new track, like, two weeks ago … I’m going to play that at EDC for sure.
How do you go about choosing who you work with? I like to look for people who bring to the track [what] I haven’t thought of yet, whether it’s a great song or melody or a great sound. It could be anything. I don’t really care if they’re famous or not.
You have two decades of experience in the industry. How do you think it has evolved? It’s just a very interesting time nowadays, because with the technology it’s so easy to make EDM. So you get an overload of tracks and new DJs and producers from all around the world trying to compete, so the competition is a lot harder.
Any other projects you’re working on right now? I have a new fashion line at Guess. So I designed a new collection for them, and it just came out this week.
How involved were you in that process? They designed a lot of different things, and I went back to the office and we went through the whole collection, and I approved some stuff and some stuff I didn’t like. I had to change some stuff, so yeah, definitely interaction between me and the designers. I didn’t do the whole thing myself, but it was a great thing to work with.
Tiësto EDC: June 22, 1:30 a.m., Kinetic Field. Hakkasan: June 21, doors at 10 p.m., $50+ men, $30+ women, local ladies free. Wet Republic: June 23, doors at 11 a.m., $50+ men, $30+ women. MGM Grand, 891-1111.