Tiësto Talks Grammys, Girls, and Getting in the Groove
Whether you’re an EDM fanatic that has been streaming Ultra online this weekend, or someone who doesn’t even know what EDM actually stands for, you’re sure to have heard of Tiësto. Dubbed “the godfather of EDM” by other DJs, he has been rocking the dance music scene since the late 90s. Unlike other 90s musicians that have dropped off the scene since (hello, Backstreet Boys?), Tiësto continues to grow hotter than ever with a recent Grammy win for his remix of John Legend’s “All of Me”. We caught up with Tiësto in Miami last week to get the real details on how he’s stayed so successful, how to win his heart, and which track is his mom’s favorite. See what he had to say, below!
Martin Garrix and other young DJs have called you the Godfather of EDM, has that come with any negative aspects or has it all been good?
I think maybe the godfather is not the right word, it sounds so gangster, but I think a mentor for sure. I’m proud of that they call me that because I feel like that too. They’re all my buddies you know? I have a lot more experience then them and it’s really nice to help everyone in a more organic way.
Are there any particular up and coming DJs that you see blowing up?
There are a lot of them, in the last 3-4 years, millions of DJs showed up from every living room in the world. There’s a couple of really good young ones, Oliver Heldens of course, but besides him, because he’s already kind of blown up, I would say Zaxx– I expect a lot from him. He’s only 17, he’s always in the studio all the time and he’s very original in what he tries to make.
You recently won a grammy, how did you celebrate?
I celebrated in style of course, I was in L.A. and I went to Sam Smith’s after party.
How do you go about selecting which songs to remix?
I have to have a feel for the song, with the John Legend one I just picked it myself. It was very spontaneous, I just did it for fun and put it on my Facebook and people loved it so much. It was very weird because usually I get asked for remixes and I listen to the track first and if I like it, I will do it. I need to be able to play it myself in my set, because otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.
Do you think that’s one of the reasons it was so successful? Because you did it on your own?
That definitely helped, but still I always pick the tracks that I really want to remix. I receive requests for remixes practically every day. Especially after that Grammy, I must say the remix requests were through the roof! Everyone wants a Tiësto remix, it’s great.
You’ve collaborated with so many amazing artists, are there any you would like to work with that you haven’t yet?
I like to work with people that can bring something extra to the table. I really like Sia, she has a great voice, and Ellie Goulding. Those are the types of people I would like to collaborate with because they have a special voice and special lyrics. Not necessarily them, but girls or guys that have that kind of talent.
Have there ever been sparks flying between you and a female artist while collaborating?
Yeah sometimes, but I try to remain very professional with that. You can mess so much stuff up. I had a couple times where I’ve worked with a female singer and thought “Wow, she’s really hot,” but I have to not think about it. I always try to keep that separate.
Have you ever hooked up with a fan before?
Not that I know of.
No, I don’t think so. I mean I love my fans of course, but I feel they don’t see me as who I am as a person. They look at you differently, a fan looks at you like you’re not a human, like you’re an alien or something.
Why are chicks that listen to EDM better than chicks that don’t listen to EDM?
I don’t think they’re necessarily better, I like girls who listen to hip hop or indie music as well. Maybe it’s the same thing, for the fans I love it. But when I go out I don’t care, I’m very inclined to all kinds of music.
We saw that you tweeted Drake lyrics the other day, are you a big Drake fan?
Yeah, I love Drake. I’m going to post another video later today, it’s so funny- it’s the best ever.
(Check out the video on Tiesto’s Facebook Page)
What’s something a girl can say to you to immediately win your interest?
If she really asks questions, I like when somebody is interested in what you do. Not necessarily just a DJ, but real questions instead of the “hey what do you do? where are you from?” Not small talk, but something like “how do you feel when you fight…” or I don’t know, something- real questions that show real interest. Also lots of humor, lots of jokes in a good way- smart jokes.
You were engaged in 2008 and broke it off, do you see yourself getting married in the future?
Yeah, hopefully one day. It was just not the right timing for me and us. I’m glad that I didn’t go through with it because I have developed myself so much more since. I was not that young , but back then I was not ready for it. In my mind it was more like the thing you have to do because you grow up like that, you have to get married after a while. It wasn’t really a organic and passionate thing, but hopefully one day yes- I would love that.
How does your family feel about your career? Do they understand the whole EDM thing?
My dad passed away, but my mother loves it. She listens to the music, she collects little articles. She knows all the tracks, she really loves it. She’s very proud of course.
Is there a particular track that is close to your heart?
It’s one of my famous old school tracks called ‘Adagio For Strings’ and my mom really loves that track. She has said that if she passes away she wants it played at her funeral, so when I play that track I think about that sometimes. When she comes to shows I always make sure I play it.
Where are the craziest fans?
Well, they’re everywhere, but I think all of Latin America is crazy. Also Mexico, Ireland, pretty much everywhere, but definitely Argentina is up there as well- the crowd is so into it. No matter what genre, you can talk to Coldplay or U2 and everyone always says the best crowds are in Argentina. I would say Mexico as well, America is pretty crazy too- Las Vegas, a different crazy, but crazy.
Where are the hottest fans?
New York, it’s the model capital of the world. You walk on the street and every girl is hot. Even if they’re not in the modeling industry they’re still hot, you’ve got girls in the financial industry and everywhere that are hot.
Craziest thing a fan has done for you?
I’ll show you on my Instagram, I put it up yesterday actually.
How does it make you feel seeing something like that?
I’m honored, I’ve never met her. There’s also a guy in Washington with a whole stage on his back. It’s crazy, the whole stage with me and everything. I would love to meet her one day because it’s kind of cool, it’s crazy- I wouldn’t do it myself, but I’m honored.
Who’s your next #WCW?
I always pick last minute, I think it could be Charlotte McKinney, she might be next.
Who would you invite to your dream threesome?
If there’s a time that you’re in the studio and you’re not feeling it, how do you get back into the groove?
I have to leave the studio for a bit, just go for a walk or just shut off for a bit, play video games. The same thing can happen when I’m playing a show, I have to shut off. I’ll go to the toilet for a few minutes and return with a new mindset.
What video games do you like?
I like FIFA… that’s basically it actually.
What’s the difference between American girls and girls from Holland?
American girls are a little bit more outgoing, so they’re a little bit more fun. Dutch girls are awesome, but they’r more reserved and they’re a little bit colder. I think it’s easy to make a connection with an American girl, you can go up to her and say “hey what’s up” and she’ll say “how are you doing?” because it’s polite. In Holland, they’ll just turn around or say “why are you talking to me?” But, when they’e drunk they get more open. During the day you can’t really make a connection with them.
What country do you think has the most outgoing girls?
I would say the Swedish girls, the Swedish girls are crazy when they drink. They’re super outgoing. Canadian girls are also really nice, they’re very open minded to different things. They’re never shocked, whatever you tell them.
What’s your biggest turn off?
One of my biggest turn offs is when you meet someone and she’s pretty cocky and just turns away, and then five minutes later she hears “oh, that’s Tiesto” and then she’s all over me.
How do you think you’ve managed to not become too cocky amongst all your success?
I think that because I’m so open minded and easy to approach that I get a lot of good things in my path. I’ll get spontaneous messages from DJs that aren’t well known who will say “hey, I’ve got this track, do you have time?” I listen to everything, it really helps me to stay relevant as well and to always find new talent. Oliver Heldens, I didn’t even know him and I just ran into him in Amsterdam and he asked “can I come over and play some tracks for you?” and I said “yeah.” And then he played ‘Gecko’ and I was like “I’ll take it!” It’s the same with Martin Garrix, we met very spontaneously on Skype, I helped him with the track ‘Animals’ and gave some advice and we became very close friends. You meet a lot of celebrities and they seem so miserable. They sit in the corner with their hat on and what fun is that? I might be a little overwhelmed sometimes, but I have a lot of fun.
When you’re hanging out with another DJ and not talking music, what are you doing?
We talk about girls…a lot, what else is there? We talk clothes and fashion sometimes.
What are your favorite brands?
It always changes, but I love Balmain. I love their jeans, the new jackets that are coming out are great. I love all the brands, but I like to pick pieces. It’s not one brand that kills it in everything.
What’s your secret to staying in such good shape while constantly being on the road?
I think that’s the answer there! Because I’m always on the road and working hard, I have to make sure I take care of myself, eating healthy. I drink a lot, but I make up for it by eating lots of salads.
What’s your drink of choice?
Anything with alcohol! I like shots…mostly vodka though. I can drink one glass of champagne to get in the mood, but I can’t drink champagne all night.