GRAMMY Award nominated Dutch musician/DJ/Producer Tiësto (born Tijs Verwest) has been impacting and influencing electronic dance music for over 20+ years. On Friday, June 13th, 2014, Tiësto will perform on the mainstage at Spring Awakening Music Festival at Soldier Field Chicago. And, on Tuesday, June 17th, 2014, A Town Called Paradise, Tiësto's fifth studio album is scheduled for release. The initial singles, "Red Lights" [listen on SoundCloud here] and "Wasted" (feat. Matthew Koma) [listen on SoundCloud here] have enjoyed success on the Billboard Charts.
I recently had the honor and privilege of interviewing Tiësto via e-mail prior to his performance at Spring Awakening Music Festival 2014.
William Kelly Milionis: Welcome to Chicago! When you find yourself in our City of Big Shoulders, is there a certain food, tourist site or something out of the ordinary you absolutely must participate in during your stay, however short?
Tiësto: I love Chicago and have been coming for years. Of course, there’s such a huge connection to dance music on a historical level so it’s always exciting. As for some of the things I love – apart from the fans – the architecture is really unique in Chicago. The buildings are really cool and it’s a vibrant city. There are great restaurants and naturally I love the Pizza!
Kelly: Chicago has a well-educated EDM fanbase who provide tremendous support to many talented artists on the EDM scene. Of your many shows in Chicago over the years, is there one in particular that stands out as one of your best?
Tiësto: I’ve played in many different settings, from UIC Pavilion to Studio Paris and now at Spring Awakening. All three of these events bring a different energy and I love them equally so it’s hard to pick just one show.
Kelly: Chicago offers many popular venues for EDM. Does your show preparation (daily rituals) differ greatly whether it is a festival venue or a club venue in Chicago?
Tiësto: Not really. I often get to the venue with plenty of time before my set so I can unwind, have a drink and get myself revved up. It doesn’t really change at all regardless of venue.
Kelly: You are currently out supporting your fifth studio album entitled, A Town Called Paradise, which will be released on June 17th, 2014. It is a very strong pop dance 14-song outing (18-song Deluxe version) with tremendous potential. Your first single entitled "Red Lights" has enjoyed success on Billboard. How does it feel to chart on Billboard?
Tiësto: I wanted to make an album of music that I personally love so to have the results on the charts means that the fans are loving it as well and that feels great. However, I didn’t make an album catering to the charts. The music is what I’m all about. So the Billboard success is icing on the cake.
Kelly: You mentioned in your online press kit that you spent the last two and a half years putting A Town Called Paradise together, concentrating your time in Stockholm and Las Vegas. Did you collaborate in a studio, over the phone or by computer?
Tiësto: Many different situations, in studios, on the computer, over email, etc.
Kelly: Any 'happy accidents' musically that you could share?
Tiësto: I can’t think of one in particular, but so much of the album is based on trying new things and seeing how they sound. Some things work and others don’t.
Kelly: Regarding the new album A Town Called Paradise, how many more songs did you track that did not make the album?
Tiësto: Many more. There are some sketches that could lead to other new songs at some point but there were a bunch of tracks that simply didn’t meet the standard I set for this album.
Kelly: Congratulations on your GRAMMY Award nomination for your album, Elements Of Life! Was there a certain magic to that album or feel that you continue to carry with you on your current album?
Tiësto: Thanks, well it was certainly a special moment for me and it’s part of the journey that’s brought me where I am now. It’s part of the story but the new album is very much about my progression and evolution. This is where I’m at right now
Kelly: Looking at the length of time between solo albums, as one who has continually set-the-bar and raised-the-bar in your profession, have you ever found it difficult to make the music you want to make with the many distractions; constant attention, and demands of your time?
Tiësto: Time is certainly a consideration as I don’t have much to focus on huge projects like an album. However, this is why it took so long to make A Town Called Paradise. It had to be enough time where I could make the album I wanted to but that also was different from my previous album.