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Getting To Know: Tiesto

By: Andréanne Sasseville

Tracking down one of the busiest DJs on the planet was not an easy task. UMM was determined and ready to jump through many hoops (really), if it meant getting a few answers out of the best and most fascinating beat creator around.

Let it be known, in August 2008, German born Tiësto became the first ever DJ to hold his own concert in a UK Arena. Yes, that’s 20,000 people dancing together for five hours to the sound of Tiësto’s amazing spinning.

He is wrapping up his In Search of Sunrise 7 Tour by playing the Roseland Ballroom in NYC for New Year’s Eve and plans to release a new album in 2009. Between two sets in two different countries (with an ocean in between!), Tiësto graciously took the time to answer some of our curiosity filled questions. Here we go…

UMM: When and why did you take interest in mixing music?

TIËSTO: When I was younger, I used to listen to the radio a lot and hear other DJs editing and mixing records, working acapella and mash up tracks. It was very inspiring and I started trying it out myself.

UMM: Your first gig ever (when, where and for whom!)?

TIËSTO: I was in Mallorca (Spain’s largest Island) on holiday with some friends. We went to a bar one night and the place was so busy that I offered the owner to help him out. So I played some music and my friends and I got free booze! That’s how it all started.

UMM: DJ 101: what are the differences between these styles: progressive, uplifting, techno trance and house?

TIËSTO: It must be hard for an outsider to understand the different genres. But it’s really the same as with other music genres: there is heavy metal, speed metal, etc...
So in electronic dance music, there are many sub-genres: Progressive is very underground, instrumental, uplifting, fast and high energy. Techno trance is an instrumental combo between industrial sounds and emotional melodies. House is mainly vocal driven with a lot of percussions.

UMM: How do you prepare for a set?

TIËSTO: I work on my set every day, not necessarily just before a gig. I collect all the tracks and practice and then soundcheck during the day.  At night, before the gig, I just relax, go for a nice dinner and hang out with my friends in the backstage area. Then I get to work! I usually play for 4-5 hours.

UMM: What is the next cornerstone in the evolution of dance music?

TIËSTO: That's hard to say. At the moment, it's a mixture of everything, which I like a lot. Anything is possible and DJs play all over the place. Music is becoming very free and liberated. The different styles are crossing and there are a lot less stereotypes.

UMM: Favourite track this year (2008)? One of yours and/or someone else’s?

TIËSTO: My remix of Maroon 5's 'Not Falling Apart'. I also like Kid Cudi 'Day 'N’ Night' (the crookers remix).  (Kid Cudi is an artist from Cleveland, Ohio who impressively fuses alternative rock, hip hop and occasionally R & B.)

UMM: Funkiest city to spin in and why?

TIËSTO: I love Montreal. It’s a beautiful scene with a very open-minded crowd and the parties go until noon at least! (That’s noon the next day, folks!)

UMM: Which city or country have you not visited and is next on your list?

TIËSTO: Well, I've been everywhere in the world already. I've been very lucky to see all those beautiful places all over the planet!

UMM: What is your next objective (album, tour, other project) for 2009?

TIËSTO: I am working on a new artist album at the moment; hopefully it will be finished at the end of summer 2009 (Sorry guys, you’ll have to keep checking his website for updates! That’s all we got out of him!).

UMM: If you were not creating, producing and mixing beats for a living, what would you be doing?

TIËSTO: I would probably work for a record company, be a tour manager or be a personal assistant for a DJ or a Rock band. Anything that has to do with being a part of the music scene. I always wanted to be close to artists.


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