TiŽsto Interview
by Sterling McGarey

TiŽsto Does God normally create people as happy as TiŽsto? It's doubtful. The producer born as Tijs Verwest is known for making people do outlandish things to get his autograph. DJ Magazine picked him as their number one DJ in the world last year. All of his Atlanta dates have been packed solid. From "Silence" to "Nyana," his latest track and the title of his 2 CD set on Nettwerk, TiŽsto has skyrocketed to the forefront of superstar DJ status in a fraction of the time that it has taken other big jocks to slowly work their way into the limelight. In spite of his rapid rise to fame, he has spent many years honing his craft behind the decks. Lunar got a brief opportunity to chat with him.

Lunar: How strongly of a role did playing outdoors so much last summer with Area: 2 influence the double-disc idea for Nyana?

TiŽsto: I noticed that when I play outdoors I play a little bit tougher; a little bit harder. Part of it is because there's (eventually) limited lighting, so I have to show both sides. When I play indoors in clubs, I play a little bit warmer, a little more melodic, but when I'm outdoors, I play a bit tougher.

Lunar: It seems that a lot of people who wouldn't normally listen to dance music and who normally wouldn't go to raves have been exposed to your music through hearing your sets online. Do you feel that file-sharing programs have helped or hurt you as an artist?

TiŽsto: They've helped me as an artist a lot. It was good exposure because when I first started playing in the States, you couldn't even buy one of my CDs here. But everyone knew my music already. So I would say it's been very helpful.

Lunar: You seem to have a fondness for playing in America. What is it about crowds in the US that differentiates them from crowds you see around the rest of the world?

TiŽsto TiŽsto: They are more open-minded to what I play. They really listen to what I play and they're very enthusiastic. And they're like that around the rest of the world as well, but here, I can play anything; I can play progressive, techno, or whatever I want and not just the hit tunes, like in England.

Lunar: How did you end up choosing Atlanta as the first city to play on your Nyana Tour?

TiŽsto: I planned out a month to Paul (Morris of booking agency AM Only) and told him to go ahead and fill it up.

Lunar: In past interviews, you've cited New York, LA, and Miami as your favorite American cities to play. Since then, are there others you would add to that list?

TiŽsto: I like most of the cities. I can't remember a place where I didn't like. Even Atlanta I like!

Lunar: In the midst of your busy traveling schedule, are you working on your follow-up to In My Memory while on the road?

TiŽsto: Not that much, no. Not this month. When I'm at home and working on the weekends, like I do in the wintertime, I produce the tracks. When I'm on the road, there just isn't enough time. So, for the next three months, there won't be much new music from me! (laughs)

Lunar: With the popularity of your name, have any companies, especially Red Bull (he allegedly drank nearly three dozen cans in a 24 hour period once), asked you to promote their product?

TiŽsto: No, not yet. Maybe a clothing line or two where I got some free clothes, but nothing too major. I think the first one I've done is this PlayStation 2 Tour.

Lunar: What is the craziest thing that anyone in America has done to get your autograph?

TiŽsto: (thinking)... I've seen every body part—of girls, that is. Girls taking off their tops, pulling down their pants and asking me to sign their ass; ... yeah, people think you just stand there and play CDs and you have plenty of time to sign everything...

Lunar: Do you feel that part of your success is due to a stronger emphasis on playing records which you have either produced or remixed?

TiŽsto: That's how I had my breakthrough. After "Silence," everyone knew my name and started booking me. Once I started playing, I pulled the crowd. Then I killed the crowd. Then they wanted me back, so it's gone from there.

Lunar: A lot of people complained that 2003's Winter Music Conference didn't deliver any amazing tracks the way that past Conferences have. Did you get anything out of Miami?

TiŽsto: I'm not sure how it went musically, but for me personally, it was the best Conference ever. I play a night at Space, and then I played before Underworld at Ultra Fest. For me personally, it was a success, but musically, I did not hear anything particularly amazing come out of it. I think that (now, later) the music has gotten better. For some time, it didn't feel like anyone was making really good music.

Lunar: With your success and your shows playing to packed crowds, how do you feel about the statement that "trance is dead?"

TiŽsto TiŽsto: A lot of people say that trance is dead, and trance is dead, but (in) the way people know it. But what is trance? Some people say that DJ Sammy's "Heaven" is trance, but some people say that what Sasha is playing is trance. It's very difficult to say what is trance. I play a lot of trance music, but it's not that "trance that's already dead." I think I'm living proof that trance is not dead. What I play is a kind of trance that is harder to describe in magazines, the kinds of magazines that say that DJ Sammy is trance. It's kind of hard for me to talk about, actually; it's something I just feel.

Lunar: More than any other DJ I've ever seen play, you seem genuinely happy to be playing. No one could be taking a pill every day before getting on the decks and not commit suicide after six months. With a touring schedule as demanding as yours, what keeps you so happy and motivated on the decks?

TiŽsto: I think that first, the music keeps me alive for a big part. The second part is that I started up from nothing, and suddenly, you become a huge DJ at a moment where you didn't expect it to happen anymore. That made me very happy as well.

Special thanks goes to Jessica Ricci from Good Cop PR for her assistance in arranging this interview.

At Amazon.com

TiŽsto - In Concert
In Concert from Amazon.com DVD Features:

  • Extended Scene Innercity
  • Report From Atlanta
  • Behind The Scenes
  • Miami Interview 2002
  • Kritivibes 1999
  • Video Flight 643
  • Video Lethal Industry
  • Selected Discography
  • Widescreen anamorphic format

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