Despite what your tastes might be, there’s no way that you haven’t heard of Tiesto. He’s been a facet of the industry for more than 20 years and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. He recently sat down to talk with Philly about a variety of topics, including how he feels about falling behind Calvin Harris on Forbes list of wealthiest DJs.
I think my perspective on money is everything above $10 million, you’re so rich it doesn’t really matter. What are you going to buy? A golden car? I don’t care if I’m number one or number 10 on that list. I’d rather have a Grammy instead.
And if they gave Grammy’s for endurance while performing, I don’t think it would be a contest. According to Philly, “[Tiesto] is 45, and has averaged 150 gigs a year for the last 20 years [sic]. (In March, he smashed his head on a light screen running on stage in San Jose, Calif., turning himself into a bloody mess. He had to be rushed to the hospital, but was back on stage in Miami two days later.)” He attributes part of his success to EDM becoming more mainstream, but he has some thoughts on that, too.
It’s become more and more mainstream because vocals were added to the tracks and pop producers got involved. Those are the guys responsible for it. The basic EDM is still not radio-friendly … Everything is in your face, and EDM is more accessible than ever through social media and Spotify. That really helped, blowing it up a lot. It’s always been big, but now it’s more accessible. Now, everyone has their phone with them, and their favorite tracks, everywhere they go.
And of course, when talking about mainstream DJs and how much money they make, people will always be skeptical about the actual skill involved behind-the-scenes. The best way to think about it is, they had to get there for a reason, right? Skill was at least involved at the beginning, even if not now, but still, Tiesto responds.
I prepare my sets a lot in advance with mashups and vocals and a cappella and just mix it together on the spot. So every two or three minutes, I make a couple of transitions, put some sound effects on it, and yeah, just mix it up in a nice way. And then look at how the crowd reacts, and from that, change the course of the set. Because if you have a prerecorded set and you push one button, you can’t change anything.
EDM Tunes actually puts it quite nicely, “DJing is an art that is the epitome of ‘the greatest at it make it look easy,’ since it often can appear that they are just hitting buttons and hitting play.” Tiesto is certainly one of the greats, even if, like I said before, you never listen to him.