“Anyone who has experienced a great DJ set will know there’s so much more than pushing a button”: An interview with Tiesto

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Grammy Award winning Tiesto is a Dutch DJ, music producer and founder of Black Hole Recordings. Ahead of the Electronic Daisy Carnival coming to the UK next week, we spoke to the headliner and genre-definer about inspirations, the rise of EDM and playing again in the United Kingdom.

Which artists inspired you to want to become a DJ when you were younger?

There were a lot of local DJs in Holland that I was really into. Nobody that has a huge profile these days but when I saw them DJ it definitely inspired me to want to do this. 

What is the most random location you’ve played a set at?

Well playing the opening ceremonies of the Athens Olympics is pretty random and pretty awesome!

Who would you most like to collaborate with, of which you haven’t done so with already?

I really like what Oliver Heldens is doing. My label released his first, ‘Gecko’, and he exploded from there. I love his sound. 

Would you say that new (and young) faces such as Martin Garrix and Oliver Heldens have contributed to the huge rise in the EDM genre recently?

Absolutely. They are both extremely talented and the fans really relate to them

Your music has developed and changed considerably over the years, do you prefer ‘old Tiesto’ or the new music?

The older stuff is a part of who I am but what you hear now is where I’m at musically and that’s what I love to play. 

How do you respond to some critics that say DJing is just getting paid to push a button?

Anyone who has experienced a great set will know there’s so much more than pushing a button. It’s so much more complex and there’s a certain charisma that every great DJ has that allows him/her to connect with the audience. 

Obviously ‘Red Lights’ was your first radio hit, how did it feel to finally hear your music being played on radio stations across the globe?

It’s a fantastic feeling. Radio has always been so important to me as a fan and an artist so it’s special. 

Which is the highlight of the summer festival calendar for you?

I gotta say, I’m really interested to see what EDC London has in store. I just played at EDC New York and EDC Vegas and they’re both awesome. Hard to beat those.

Looking forward to your headline slot at the Electronic Daisy Carnival, the festival has been massive in the US so it’s great to see more EDM festivals in the UK – to go along with Creamfields. Do you enjoy your UK gigs as much as the glamourous US venues, Ibiza etc? 

Oh yes, I love playing in the UK. There’s amazing dance music history there and some of the best artists ever are from the UK. So it’s extra special to play there. 

Buy remaining tickets for the EDC, Milton Keynes, here.

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