Electronic powerhouse DJ/producer Tiësto is gearing up to release his first artist album since 2009, titled A Town Called Paradise. Vegas Seven spoke with Tiësto before a recent Hakkasan performance to see what inspired him to put down some roots here and pen his new album about this desert gem of a city.
What about Las Vegas inspired you to write your new record?
Meeting all the different people from all over the world who come here every weekend. All the parties and the music and how it effects people when they’re here. The whole experience of being in Las Vegas is what inspired the new album.
You feature a number of great producers and vocalists on the new album. Who were you really excited to work with on this project?
I worked with people from every corner of the world pretty much, and that was really new for me. Matthew Koma is an amazing songwriter; he wrote so much stuff on my album with “Wasted,” “A Town Called Paradise” and “Written in Reverse.” I think he’s on four or five different songs on the album. He doesn’t sing on all of them, but we co-wrote the songs together. He had a huge influence on my album.
The big difference between the last album and this album is with the last album I was more producing tracks, and now it’s a lot more like songwriting. Everything is really thought out, from the lyrics, the vocalists, the songs and the melodies.
If you have to do everything yourself, you can only get to a certain point, but if you get different people to work with, you get so much different inspiration and ideas, and when you put it all together it goes to the next level.
The music video for “Red Lights” was filmed here. What was the vibe you were trying to capture?
Las Vegas is a place where people can escape from their own lives and do something crazy. And that’s the point of the video and also the track. You know, break the boundaries or bend the rules a little bit and don’t think always in the same box; think out of the box sometimes. The two girls in the video escape from their regular lives, they’re a little bored so they make the road trip to Vegas, and they get there and all the exciting stuff is happening: the clubbing and the people you meet on the road. It’s based on what happens in Vegas.
Now that you’ve spent enough time to see Las Vegas from a local’s point of view, what are your favorite things about the city?
A lot of people come here for three days, party like crazy and go home exhausted. But it’s a beautiful city. Everything you want is so close, and I was so surprised when I started to spend more time here how relaxing it actually is. I like to drive to the desert or go to Lake Mead on a boat. There are also amazing Thai restaurants off the Strip. My favorite Thai restaurant is, of course, Lotus of Siam. There are great clothing stores like Knyew, for example. I love to be on the Strip, but it’s also great that you can shut off and do something else sometimes.
You’ve spent the last year being one of the main faces of Hakkasan Nightclub. Was it difficult to make Las Vegas your primary summer spot instead of Ibiza?
It was actually a pretty easy decision. I love Ibiza, but when they showed me the plans for Hakkasan—where it was located and all the effort they were going to put in to make it the best club in the world—I was like, “Wow, I want to be part of this.”
I was looking for a new challenge; I’d played 10 years in Ibiza, I’d seen and done it all there. For me it was a no-brainer. I love Ibiza and I have a house there, but I’m very happy here.
What role did Las Vegas play in getting electronic music to be at the forefront of commercial popularity?
Las Vegas is the Ibiza of North America. The tracks that get played here, the DJs that play here, the people that come here—they take that home to wherever they live. It has a big influence, huge.
Your record label Musical Freedom has helped break many artists who are now mainstays in the electronic-music world. Who are the next artists to watch coming out on your label?
I’ve got a couple of really good ones coming. First, from Holland: DJ MOTi. He could be almost like the new Avicii or Afrojack; he has that talent where he can make really soulful, powerful tracks, but he can also make very hard Dutch bangers. So he’s one to watch, and he’s coming out with a couple of new tracks. He just had a big track with DVVBS called “This Is Dirty” that’s been in the Beatport Top 10 for a couple weeks now.
Also: Kaaze from Sweden; he has one track with me on my new album. Then Dzeko and Torres, who are from Canada. Two very talented producers. I think they can be big as well.
You’ve worked with a lot of great brands such as Guess and AKG headphones. You’ve also recently partnered with 7-Up for the “7×7 Bubbling Up” campaign. What does that entail?
I have always been known—especially in the last five or six years—for spotting new talent and being more like a mentor to younger DJs. The project is called “Bubbling Up”: I try to find new talent around the world and try to push them, make them better producers. And hopefully they become the new Tiëstos.
A Town Called Paradise comes out June 16 and features collaborations with Hardwell, Sultan & Ned Shepard, Matthew Koma, Icona Pop, Krewella and more. See Tiësto at Hakkasan on June 20, and July 4, 10 and 11.