Tiësto: Bringing Down the House

Dutch DJ blurs musical borders, pushes electronic envelope

Although it may not seem like it, with these constant biting winds and sporadic showers of late, the Las Vegas pool season is upon us. And regardless of what the weatherman says is going to go down, the lush adults-only oasis that is Liquid pool at Aria is going to be packed with party people April 8.

After all, nobody wants to miss Tiësto—even if means trading swimwear for snowsuits.

The Holland-hailing DJ is a key factor in the fast-growing popularity of electronic music on this side of the pond. Speaking over the phone from his Sky Villa at Aria, he is quick to point out that, “In Europe, the dance scene has been there for years; the U.S. is catching up fast. It’s building at the moment.”

This trend is evident to anyone who has cut a rug in a Las Vegas nightclub in the last two years, where brave and forward-thinking disc jockeys have been inserting electronic tracks into the potpourri of hip-hop, pop and rock.

“I notice the DJs drop a lot more dance music than they used to,” Tiësto says. “People respond to it a little more energetically. It’s more uplifting than having hip-hop all the time.”

This very influence has ushered in an era in which Lil Jon can perform a Dirty Dutch house set, Pitbull can commandeer a dance track and Tiësto might find himself referenced in Shwayze and Cisco Adler lyrics.

“I think artists have seen the reaction of people in clubs,” Tiësto says. “They go clubbing themselves. The DJ plays the house beats and they see the crowd going off.”

The international DJ sensation recently collaborated with pop music stars Sean Kingston, Flo Rida and Three 6 Mafia on the single “Feel It.” The track is a true manifestation of ongoing efforts to mesh genres, complete with a flashy and frenetic music video that captures the very essence of a wild night out in Sin City. Or, more specifically, a wild night out at The Bank, Haze, or any other Light Group property that Tiësto tends to play. (He may be a single man, but when he’s in Las Vegas, he tends to be faithful to the Light Group and plays its venues almost exclusively.) Tiësto says more genre-splicing collaborations are on the horizon, including pairings with artists who require no last name, such as Justin or Britney. “Lately I have been approached to collaborate by everybody in the pop world,” he explains. “They want to make dance music now or at least get some dance influence in their tracks.”

While there are certainly other American cities with an appetite for dance music—such as Miami, Chicago, New York and San Francisco—nobody quite does it like Las Vegas. And while the majority of our nightclubs must cater to a predominantly Top 40 crowd, there is no ignoring the buzz nor energy present when Tiësto comes to town. Or David Guetta. Or Erick Morillo.

Yet Tiësto—whose non-DJ, human name is Tijs Verwest—says there’s no secret behind the phenomenon. “In Vegas, you play for people from all over the country—all over the world!” he says. “Everybody comes together; there are many nationalities present in the night. You feel that atmosphere; it’s a very global atmosphere inside the club.”

And like the DJ himself, the Vegas crowd consistently brings it.

“They are always up for a party,” he says. “And they aren’t going anywhere.”

Tiësto performs at Liquid April 8. Doors at 11 a.m.; the Dutch-born DJ begins his set at 3 p.m. Pray for sun!