Tiësto in Dubai

World’s richest DJ prepares to play Peppermint Experience's Sunburn Festival

Interview

Having played Dubai’s Festival City back in 2009, in recent years Tiësto has been favouring gigs down the road in Abu Dhabi, with a cancelled show in 2010 and a headline slot at Creamfields in 2011 – which is why it's great to have him heading back to Dubai turf. One of the first DJs to pioneer a stadium-sized light show, the Dutch decksmith is still a commercial smash – he was ranked by Forbes last year as the richest DJ in the world with a Dhs80 million fortune. Keeping in the charts with one of last year’s most memorable remixes of Gotye’s ‘Somebody I Used to Know’, Tiësto is also a critical favourite, having held a spot within the top three of DJ Mag’s influential annual charts for the past 11 years. As he prepares to play for Peppermint Experience’s new Sunburn Festival, we found out more.

Your country has produced so many huge DJs – Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Chuckie, Laidback Luke… – why does the Netherlands produce so many world class dance names?

I think it has a lot to do with the weather and the history of dance music. There are so many great producers and DJs from Holland, so kids look up to them. With the weather being so bad instead of going out and playing sports a lot of kids and young adults head to the studio or the nightclub and are really able to learn the craft of DJing and producing.

What percentage of your set varies from night to night?

My set is different every night, there is no set list.

What do you think of playing Dubai? Many DJs play more commercial sets here. Do you?

I play to the crowd, but keep try to my sound. I have played in Dubai a lot and know what works and what doesn't, I wouldn't call it commercial.

Of all the many musicians you have collaborated with, who has impressed or surprised you the most?

I recently worked with Bono of U2, I was very impressed with him, he is a legend.

Playing the Olympics opening in Athens 2004 must have been one of the biggest highlights of your career.

It's definitely up there along with a lot of other amazing performances. I played on the beach in Rio de Janeiro for over 250,000 people.

You pioneered the idea of a DJ arena ‘gig’. Do you see your influence in the big players today?

Well a lot of big DJs are doing arena shows, and if I pioneered that concept then yes, there is an influence.

Surely something is lost with such a large audience, compared to say, a smaller club?
The shows are different in some ways and the same in other ways. It all comes down to the music whether it’s a stadium show or a club.

Do you find touring more gruelling as you get older? How long do you think you’ll stay on the road?
I love to tour, when it become gruelling I won't tour anymore. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Do you ever think about retiring completely?
Not yet, I am having fun.
Tiësto plays Peppermint Experience’s Sunburn Dubai at Dubai World Trade Centre on Thursday March 28, 9pm-3am. Tickets Dhs250.
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