Q&A: Tiesto’s local DJ residencies influence his new album

Return to paradise: Tiësto will be busy in Las Vegas this weekend with sets at Hakkasan, Wet Republic and EDC.

With Tiësto acknowledging our city in the title (and title track) of his recently released album, A Town Called Paradise, we thought we’d check in with the superstar DJ and investigate just how much he connects with Las Vegas. This weekend, he celebrates his new record with gigs at Hakkasan, Wet Republic and Electric Daisy Carnival—his fourth year in a row at the festival.

When you began making A Town Called Paradise, were you already thinking about Las Vegas as a source of inspiration? I don’t think it was necessarily a conscious decision at first. I’m inspired by a lot of things that I see and that are around me on a daily basis, but being that I’m in Vegas so often, I realized that the city was helping to shape the album.

Given your busy DJ schedule, when and where did you work on this album? Was any of it done in Las Vegas? I worked on the album in a lot of different places around the world, but primarily Las Vegas, New York and Stockholm. It was a combination of studios, hotel rooms, etc.

Do you think Vegas is a paradise town? I think it depends on one’s idea of paradise. For me, I spend so much time there and have driven into the desert where it’s a massive space of complete isolation and you can’t hear anything. Then, when I drive back, you see the glow of the lights and it’s like finding an oasis where everything you want is possible. So to me, that’s a town called paradise.

When do you feel comfortable enough to play “deeper”songs in your live DJ sets? It’s tough because, while I’m a huge fan of deep house and even set up an afterhours show on my Sirius XM channel, many of my fans have a certain expectation of the energy and style for my sets. I actually do play a lot of different styles in my sets now, so you never know what you might hear.

Do you think it’s important to introduce different kinds of sounds and electronic dance styles to a crowd as mainstream as Hakkasan’s? I think so. As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of many different styles, so you will often find them in my set. Of course, there are some of my older classics [and] newer songs, but also some favorites that represent genres like trap, for example.

Why did you come back to Angel Management Group in 2013? Simply, I saw the idea for Hakkasan and knew right then that this was the place for me.

Have your Las Vegas residencies affected how you DJ in any way? Not at all. I play so many different situations, from small clubs and large clubs to festivals, so I’m at home playing at Hakkasan. It’s spectacular.

As a DJ, have you noticed producers making too many copycat songs, especially now that EDM has exploded? Well, there are a fair amount of songs that sound similar, but I guess you can say that about any dance genre and not just “EDM.” I do think that we all need to work to push things forward and keep evolving so we’re all excited by the music. It can’t be the same thing over and over.

Conversely, how are producers starting to tweak the big-room song? I think that fan tastes are expanding and perhaps some sounds that wouldn’t have reached the mainstream a short time ago are now breaking through on a wider level.

Have you ever played another festival four years in a row? Sure, I’ve played the Ultra Music Festival for many years as well!

You are here almost every other weekend. Have you thought about moving here? Hmm, well, I’m never really in one spot for that long, so the idea of moving anywhere is probably different for me than other people.

Tiësto June 20, doors at 10 p.m., $100+ men, $40+ women. Hakkasan, 702-891-3838. June 22, doors at 11 a.m., $125+ men, $50+ women. Wet Republic, 702-891-3715.

Tags: Nightlife
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