Tiesto as part of Ultra Music Festival 2012 at Bayfront Park March 23
Who leads a sexy life of million-dollar beats, limitless bottles, sweaty groupies, massive megaclubs, rooftop condos, famous friends, and international travel aboard personally branded private jets?
Well, we certainly don't. But Tiësto does. And as usual, the Dutch electronic dance music superstar will return to his second home — Miami — for the second-to-last week of March. He'll shack up at his SoBe residence. Take a nap. Sip some champagne. Practice his epic arm raises. Then he'll get to work, dropping beats, popping bottles, and playing with the Magic City's most beautiful people.
Tiësto recently chatted with New Times about Ultra Music Festival 2012, the likelihood of retirement, living in Miami, and partying on a plane with Swedish House Mafia.
New Times: Last year, you were officially named the Greatest DJ of All Time by a poll of dance music fans. Is there even anything left for Tiësto to accomplish?
Tiësto: Yes, there is plenty of work for Tiësto to do. [Laughs.] There are always new challenges in life. At the moment, my newest challenge is to make a new artist album and to find the right focus to create great songs.
So you don't have a retirement plan yet?
No. [Laughs.] Not really.
Can you imagine a day when you'd leave the electronic dance music game?
No. I think I'll always stay involved with electronic music. Maybe not as a DJ. But for now, I really enjoy it. I love performing at Ultra and all those big parties. So why would I quit?
What could push you out of the DJ booth? Would it be age?
It wouldn't even be getting older. It'd just be when I don't enjoy it anymore. I could never perform or play when I don't enjoy it. As soon as I have a stretch where I'm like, "This is no fun," that'd push me out of the DJ booth.
If you ever got to that point, what would you do instead?
Well, I have so much experience in dance music and DJing. I know so much about it. And I think I'd set something up to help other DJs break through.
Aside from your impending artist album, you've also put together a new compilation inspired by Miami, right? There have been rumors about it, but nothing too concrete.
Yes, your information is pretty much correct. [Laughs.] It's true that my next compilation is going to be called Club Life. It's going to be released in the first week of April. And it's dedicated to the city of Miami because I spend so much time there. I basically live in Miami when I'm in the U.S. The clubs are my favorite, the crowds are inspiring, and I really love to play there.
So is it a collection of live material?
Not really. It's based on my sets, though. It's stuff I play at the club. There are remixes that I've done, and I did a lot of exclusive stuff for the CD.
How exactly is the comp inspired by Miami? Are there a lot of Miami-centric references?
There's nothing literal, except maybe some art in the booklet. But basically, when I do a Club Life compilation, there are a lot of vocals. So it's a very sexy CD, and Miami is a very sexy city. It's a warm, groovy album that's nice and mellow to play in the car or the club.
You mentioned spending so much time in Miami. Do you consider this city to be a second home?
Yeah. There are several cities that I really like in America — L.A., Chicago, New York, and Miami. But I spend the most time in Miami because the weather is amazing in the wintertime. I know so many people there, and it's just a lovely place to relax.
As a constantly touring dance music superstar, how much time do you spend traveling per year? Do you basically live out of the Tiësto jet?
Yeah, I spend a lot of time on the road, especially last year. But for the first couple of months in 2012, I've taken it pretty easy. There were barely any bookings in January and February. So I've been in the studio. In general, though, I spend at least 150 days per year on the road.
Does that get exhausting? Or do you love it?
Like I said, if it gets exhausting, it's time to do something else. [Laughs.]
The Tiësto jet is fascinating. It's awesome that you have a private plane with your personal logo slapped on the fuselage. Have you ever hosted a full-blown party aboard the jet? Or is it usually naptime on the plane?
Oh, we've had some very wild parties on the plane. Just last year, I flew to Ibiza with my friends from Swedish House Mafia, and there was a big rave. We were drinking a lot. We had so much fun. And then we totally crashed the plane. Well, not literally [laughs] — like, inside. There was champagne on the walls. We were shooting corks at the pilots. It was insane. And we passed out before we even landed.
So the jet must come equipped with a killer sound system.
Of course. The sound system is pretty good on the plane. It's purely for partying.
Your next trip to Miami will be for Miami Music Week. And you'll be throwing a club bash at the Fontainebleau, right?
Yes, we're having a special label party at Arkadia, a small, intimate place. Expect some artists from my label and maybe some special guests. There's also a good chance that I'll show up, even though I can't confirm it. It's going to be all about musical freedom and hanging out with the people who released tracks on my label last year. We'll have a little celebration. Everybody will play a few records. And it'll be a fun night. But there won't be a headline billing or anything. Just low-key and casual.
And obviously you'll also be hitting up the 2012 edition of Ultra Music Festival. What's so great about Ultra? Why do you keep coming back?
Well, Ultra has become America's flagship electronic music festival. And it's become a tradition for me to play the fest. I've been there since the beginning, and it just keeps growing. But only the last three years have been really to the max. Especially 2011, when I did three nights in a row for 60,000 people.
Plus, Ultra is the only festival in the world that I can play every year. It's always different. There's always a new crowd. The production is always bigger. And the fest is always pushing boundaries. The Ultra Music Festival is constantly trying to improve itself. And that's why we get along so well. [Laughs.] I'm the same way. Every year, I try to improve myself, my music, DJ sets, everything.
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