Dutch DJ Tiesto Traffics in Hits on ‘Paradise’

A consistent presence near the top of Forbes’ rankings of the most fiscally successful DJs, and a tireless performer at fests and residencies, Dutch veteran Tiesto released “A Town Called Paradise” this summer, his first proper album since 2009’s “Kaleidoscope.”

On the importance of albums: An artist album five or 10 years ago had a lot more impact than nowadays. Nowadays I feel most people just do one-off singles all the time. No one really seems to be making real albums anymore, and people don’t take the time to listen to them either. That’s hard to fight against, when you have people who are surrounded with music all the time now. I just try to make the album as interesting as possible, to make every song the best song I can. When I think of this album, there’s 14 hits on there. It’s not a journey like the old albums used to be, it’s more like every song can be, or should be a hit.

On audience expectations: Some people are surprised when I don’t play “Adagio for Strings” in my set, and some other people are surprised when I do, like, “what the hell is this hard, fast techno sound” that they had no idea I did. That song is 11 years old; if you’re 20 years old and going to a festival now, you’ve probably never heard it. It’s a tricky one. I think that’s the beauty of being in that position as a DJ. I change my style, change my sound, and if I play things nowadays, it has the same surprise reaction as 10 years ago when I first made it. It’s a great position to be in.

It all depends on what kind of gig it is. When I play Las Vegas, people just want to party, they just want to hear great happy music. And I’m fine with that, of course. And then a lot of festivals like Outside Lands … it’s a very indie-based audience, and I feel like there I can go a lot deeper and play some really weird stuff. But I’m not sure where I can go super deep anymore, because people expect Tiesto to play the sound of Tiesto. So even when I play a deep festival — a deep house festival in Germany or something — people still want me to play my own style. So you’re kind of stuck in that world.

On mentorship: I’ve worked with a lot of people over the past few years; the biggest would be Avicii, who used to open for me in Ibiza. The problem with a lot of the other guys is that they have their own agenda. A lot of DJs are not in the situation I’m in. For me, it doesn’t really matter if someone (I mentor) gets big or not. But there are a lot of DJs out there that want themselves to be the biggest, and the younger guy has to be the warm-up act and that’s it. That’s what I see sometimes, and that’s the problem with DJs fighting other DJs. I don’t really have any ego in that sort of way, so I just like to help these guys and if I might see one of them turn even bigger than me, I wouldn’t really care about that, I would only be proud.

More Music

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

  • Justin Bieber

    Justin Bieber's 'Cupid' Movie Adds 'Greatest Showman' Director Michael Gracey as Exec Producer

    “The Greatest Showman” director Michael Gracey is joining the production team of Justin Bieber’s animated film “Cupid.” The pop superstar will voice the titular Roman god and executive produce the Mythos Studios movie, directed by Pete Candeland. Black List writer Mike Vukadinovich (Hulu’s “The Runaways”) has also been hired to write the script. “Cupid” marks [...]

  • Deborah Dugan

    Recording Academy in Mediation with Ousted CEO Deborah Dugan

    The Recording Academy and its ousted president and CEO Deborah Dugan have officially entered mediation, just over a month after their dispute broke into the open, sources confirm to Variety. While a report in Billboard states that mediation began today, a source tells Variety that the two parties have been in communication for at least [...]

  • Reba McEntire Announces Re-Signing With Original

    Reba McEntire Announces Re-Signing With MCA Nashville at Surprise Ryman Gig

    At the end of a Universal Music Group Nashville showcase Thursday for attendees of Country Radio Seminar, a duet by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood of their hit “The Fighter” appeared to be the climax. But UMG had a surprise in store: an announcement that country superstar Reba McEntire was re-joining her original label home, [...]

  • Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore on Why She's Returning to Music, 20 Years After Hitting It Big

    Mandy Moore, of “This Is Us” fame, seemed to have said “that’s not me” when it came to making music anymore. But she was just biding her time, waiting for the right moment — and, she says, the right supportive relationship — to resume recording after dropping out in the late 2000s. The 35-year-old actress, [...]

  • Spotify and Resident Advisor Announce Ticketing

    Spotify Unveils Ticketing Partnership With Dance Music Platform Resident Advisor

    Spotify today announced a ticketing partnership with influential dance-music website Resident Advisor with the goal of “supporting music communities around the world by increasing attendance to thousands of local venues and parties.” The program will connect Spotify users to events by artists via localized event listings promoted within the application. The program is similar to [...]

  • The Weeknd Reveals Dates for Massive

    The Weeknd Reveals Dates for Massive ‘After Hours’ Tour

    With his new album “After Hours” due next month, the Weeknd has revealed dates for a massive tour in support of the album, which kicks off in Vancouver in June and continues across North America until early September, then moves to Europe in the fall. THE AFTER HOURS TOUR : https://t.co/89YAhPTd9g pic.twitter.com/BOEemiDI85 — The Weeknd [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content