Tijs Verwest is easily the world’s most notable DJ. He’s coming out with a line of headphones, starting his own recording label, Musical Freedom, and just launched a new Sirius XM channel called Club Life Radio during Ultra Music Festival. Tiësto, as the Dutchman is best known, has also just dropped his follow-up to his Las Vegas-inspired Club Life. Volume Two is clearly all about Miami, and though the sound is designed to transport you to South Beach’s uber-club LIV, Verwest gives Vegas Seven the dish on why this Wynn Resorts resident loves to play XS (next on July 6, Encore Beach Club July 7), his creative process and how a three-time world’s best DJ kicks back a little.
You really have nothing left to prove. What’s next?
There’s always more that I’d like to achieve in my career! Right now I’m focused on a few things: working on my new artist album, which I’d like to get out early next year; my new headphone line with AKG, which should be hitting stores at the end of the summer; and I’m also working on plans for a new tour.
Does anything shock or surprise you anymore?
I’ve seen some pretty crazy things in the music industry over the years, but right now I’m amazed how big electronic dance music is getting in the U.S. If you’d told me it would get so big five years ago I would have laughed at you!
Do you prefer to spend your time in the studio producing or playing live?
I love them both for different reasons so I really don’t have a preference. Making a track that you think your fans will go crazy for can be as exhilarating as playing to a huge crowd.
Where is your favorite place to play?
Right now it has to be LIV in Miami, but I really love playing in many of the places I go to regularly, whether it is XS in Vegas or perhaps Lavo in New York. It is really hard to pick an absolute favorite. I’ve got a feeling playing in Pacha in Ibiza is going to be pretty special for me.
Tell me about Club Life: Volume Two Miami. Why the follow up to One rather than a different album?
Club Life: Volume One was a huge success for me, and it felt like the right time, one year on, to release the follow-up—Club Life: Volume Two Miami. I was very keen to develop the Club Life concept further, and Miami felt like the perfect focus at this time.
Does it parallel your tour?
This CD doesn’t directly parallel the tour, but many of the tracks included have been big for me on a live level recently and I’ve been playing regularly in Miami at LIV.
What inspired you when you were in the studio?
Miami itself was a huge inspiration for me. I’ve been playing there for years and even when dance music wasn’t that popular in the U.S., Miami remained a place that always supported the scene. In recent years, it has been a huge center for dance music, with Ultra [Music] Festival and so many incredible clubs. It is a really inspiring city—the glamour, architecture and attitude are all really individual. In terms of direct inspiration, I really wanted to give my fans the experience of hearing one of my sets at LIV even if they’d never been to Miami.
Miami schmiami. Favorite track on the new CD?
That’s a tough one, as there are a lot of amazing tracks on there. I’d have to go for one of my collaborations on there, perhaps “We Own the Night” or “Make Some Noise.” They have been huge records for me in the last few months.
Your remix of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” is getting some major attention. How do you select songs to remix?
It really comes down to whether I’m into the track itself and feel that my style of production could work well with it. With the Gotye track, I really loved the vocal on the track, especially the combination of the male and female vocals. This is an unusual structure for pop music, and really drew me to it.
Is there anyone you want to work with right now?
There are always lots of people I want to work with. I really enjoy the creative process of working with other artists, particularly when they come from a totally different genre outside EDM. I have some interesting collaborations that I’m working on at the moment, but you’ll have to wait and see!
Last year you played at The Joint for Angel Management Group. Can you tell me what drew you to Wynn Resorts?
Without a doubt, the Wynn has the most exciting clubs in Las Vegas. There are few better places in the world to DJ than XS. The lineups there are amazing, and they’ve got an awesome team behind the scenes, too.
How is playing XS different than Electric Daisy Carnival?
It is a much more intimate setting, playing to a crowd which is perhaps 5 percent of the size of EDC, so when I put my sets together this will always be in my mind. I enjoy playing at both a lot.
Is there any new DJ talent that you think we should be watching right now?
There are a lot of awesome producers coming through right now. Tommy Trash [profiled in Vegas Seven, June 7] is blowing up. He’s the real deal, an incredible producer, great DJ and a very nice guy, too! I’m looking forward to putting tracks by him out on my label.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Lots! Catching up with friends, follow my favorite sports teams, listen to new music and look after myself, of course, so I’m in good shape to go out on the road again!
Did the Swedes even have a chance at your Winter Music Conference DJ-on-DJ soccer match?
Of course they did [laughing]; the Dutch are just better at football, I guess! Joking aside, it was an awesome day, and we raised a lot of money for [Belvedere] (RED)’s fight against AIDS in Africa, so we were all very happy.