The annual pilgrimage to the far away land is now over. You may or may not have found your lost luggage, paid for that over priced hotel or gotten over the $20 martinis. Yes, The Winter Music Conference may be over but the fun has just begun.
I caught up with Tiesto for an afternoon chat in the midst of the chaos. His sharp new artist album called "Elements of Life" features a new musical direction he likes to call "rocktronica." Our talk ranged from what it's like having The Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as his opening acts, letting his mom listen to his unreleased tracks, and what its like not being on the list at parties in Miami. Read on for the 411 on Tiesto.
Wolfie: You seem well rested for being at the Conference.
Tiesto: I am.
How many CDs have you been given at the conference so far?
Its crazy, every night and day you walk around you get at least seven or eight CDs. I already have 23 discs.
That’s it? How many days have you been in Miami?
Digweed has you beat. He has eighty so far.
Does he already? Wow.
Well, he has the label and all that, so you're a little behind. Maybe you need to hang out by the pool more.
Most people know where to find me. They send it to my MySpace page. Most of the people I see here, I already have their tracks from an email.
So you're already onto the next level. CDs are so 2005. Take that, Diggers.
It's all wav files.
How many times has someone sent you a song that you've actually dropped in a set?
Quite a lot. I have people send me referral tracks once a week. Some of them are bedrooms DJs, and they send me links to good tracks, but they analyze everything.
Do you have special terms when you describe tracks to each other, like "glitchy sub-minimal tech house?”
Not glitchy. BT learned me the word glitchy. We say "melodic" or "euphoric.”
How was it working with BT?
I spent a month with him in LA. He's inspirational on the musical level and on the personal level.
I hear he has a beautiful wife and daughter. When you sit down to write, are you hands on, like BT is, or do you work with an engineer?
I don't think there is anyone in the world who is as hands on as BT is. (laughs). In general I work with engineers. I’m a bit hands down, but not as much as the big freaks. I use Nuendo.
So have you ever been bounced by security going into a club?
Yeah. Not this year. Five years ago, I was on the guest list for Deep Dish at Club Mint. I came at the door, they said, you're not on the list.
Did you burst out laughing?
I was a bit shocked. I tried the "Do you know who I am? I'm on the list..." (laughs) but you know, the bouncers don't know who you are. They were like "wait here." After ten minutes, it was obvious I wasn't getting in, so I left. The owners called me later to apologize.
How man have times have you had to pull the "I'm Tiesto" line?
Well, It definitely opens doors.
So, you describe the sound of your new album as "rocktronic.
It's my new direction. I'm floating with it. My favorite rock bands are Muse, Snow Patrol, and the old school Iron Maiden. I'm just a musical lover. I have diverse tastes.
What are the words that would describe all of those diverse bands to you? What unifies them?
Melodic and energetic music.
Speaking of melodic, you’re playing with the Cure. Are they playing first, or are you?
They go first.
So now you're to the place where huge rock bands are opening up for you. You've got the Red Hot Chili Peppers opening up for you at Coachella.
Yeah, it's quite flattering to be in that company now. I think that's because people see that I'm taking this new direction. A lot of people like it. It's a new way forward for me.
Are you going to be a gracious headliner, and let Robert Smith sing over your tracks while you're spinning?
Yeah, yeah. If he would come up and say "lets do something together" I would be up for that.
I'm trying to imagine Robert Smith singing to a DJ. What's your favorite Cure song?
It's the one that goes (sings)"deeewwn neeewn ne- neeeeew..." you know, with the guitars. (humming pictures of you)
Pictures of You.
Yeah! that one!
Tell me what you love about your new album.
The new album reflects me where I am at the moment. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It's a combination of the old and the new Tiesto. Like the old trance ravy Tiesto and the new more influenced by house and minimal and all sorts of style. There's a couple tracks for everybody on the album.
I was surprised at how well you blended a return to your roots with modern elements. I think you pulled that off very well.
Thanks a lot. I see this album as a phase in between. I'm heading for a new route. As soon as your album is finished and out there, its the first time you can step outside and look at it, like a painting. Before that, you don't know what you've done. The vibe at the music conference has been very positive about the album.
Who do you play your tracks for before they are released, to get feedback?
I play them to my mom, my old friends. I think it's interesting to hear what they have to say. When you're deep into dance music, you can't see the whole picture anymore. So I take people who aren’t into dance music, and then some people that are really into dance music. If both groups like it, you're really on to something.
These are people that are totally brutally honest with you?
Of course. Sometimes they're like "What's this?!?!"
What’s the meanest thing your tour manager has said?
They're not rude, they say things like "its not my cup of tea."
It sounds like you have nicer friends than me, or you write better music than me, or maybe both. My friends are hardly polite reviewing my music.
(laughs) I think it’s very interesting putting the layers of the sound together. I love the first time I play a song out. It’s hard for me to judge my own stuff. Back in the day I knew something would be big. Now, it’s hard to stay original when there is so much that has already been done.
You have one of the best reputations for interacting with the crowd. What goes through your head when you're spinning?
When I’m behind the decks, I feel the sense of the crowd. What are they up to? How are they reacting? I think things like "they need stronger now... and... now less strong." I can play the same tracks on different nights, the playlist could look the same, but its really different. The crowd always decides which way I’m going.
Do you have any rituals before you play a set,