It’s sad when one of the greats of the electronic dance scene has to resort to disingenuous comments to build up and market a self-interest related product. Tijs Michiel Verwest, aka DJ Tiesto, needs no introduction – even my Grandmother knows who Tiesto is. In a recent live interview at the excellent Amsterdam Dance Event, Tiesto felt it was a good time to tell the world a new reason for his decision to leave Ibiza and take up a residency in Las Vegas. He stated “If you go to Ibiza the clubs look the same as 20 years ago and I think that’s the biggest reason why I left“. The inference I would take from that comment is that he feels Ibiza is stale. Apart from the fact that Tiesto was a big player for well over a decade on the scene he is now criticising, lets examine the authenticity of his statement. In the past 20 years there have been big changes in Ibiza clubland. The foundation of DC10, Ushuaia, Sankeys, Booom and all the many Beach clubs including the iconic Bora Bora with DJ Gee in 97. There has been huge development at Space from what it was in 1993, the emergence of the Terrace and flight area, the most notable. Pacha has changed much from the club it was twenty years ago and this seasons dramatic overhaul of their music program was ground breaking. Eden is a totally different club after a multi-million refit by a Dutch investor last year. Privilege has incorporated the Vista Club which now plays host to one of the islands best parties, Elrow – so the only two clubs that could support Tiesto’s argument are Es Paradis and Amnesia. This season in Ibiza, Amnesia was regarded as the islands best club musically with a great mix of parties. His statement also contradicts an earlier interview where he said the reason why he couldn’t do another Ibiza residency was because “it takes a lot out of me to play there from the end of May till the end of September…..I just cant do it anymore”
Change is not always good and Tiesto of all people should know this. His decision to leave the Trance genre where he was the undisputed King of all he surveyed was a very questionable move that was made more for commercial reasons, than musical ones. His new EDM sound was a failure in Pacha and his Ibiza trance fans voted with their feet by not turning up for the gig with a 3000 person capacity. Pacha were quick to end the costly relationship which lasted just one season. Past glories and a celebrity name were ideal conditions to trade in Las Vegas and that’s where Tiesto’s “new sound” found its home. Even in Las Vegas, Tiesto’s new direction was not as popular as his distinctly original trance roots. This led Tiesto to a prostitution of his “brand” when he conditionally announced on Twitter, that he would record a “Trance Album” if fans voted him #1 in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll in 2013. The sad ploy didn’t work and Tiesto dropped two places to #4 – his lowest position in over ten years, reflecting his waning popularity after his enlightenment to EDM. Luckily the industry gave him a get of jail card and awarded him the “DJ Legend” prize so he could go off an record new trance material without the embarrassment of his failed twitter campaign to influence the #1 accolade.
It’s that “industry element” that is now driving the anti-Ibiza propaganda which Tiesto and others are associating with. When Ibiza and namely Pacha, stood up to them last year and kicked out their overpaid cushioned, and well manicured arses out of its club, a campaign to discredit Ibiza in favour of Las Vegas began. We are now witnessing the campaign stepping up a notch as the celebrity “brand” managers fight to protect their relevance. They know very little about Djing but they do have a marketing degree and some well connected friends who love telling each other how brilliant they all are. Ibiza saw through this layer of bullshit as Ibicencos are very good at spotting fake people. What sickened me most about the Tiesto interview was the patronising way he talked about the “clubbers” as if he was in touch with their everyday reality. The guy lives in a different world, he travels by private jet and enjoys a privileged and well paid lifestyle. To hear him say “Las Vegas is very easy to reach now and is very cheap, hotels are cheap and its a better party experience for the real party clubbers” smacks of smugness. What does the word “cheap” mean to Tiesto? A bottle of Dom Perignon instead of Cristal? A first class seat instead of a Private Jet? Simple fact for the majority of real clubbers in Europe, is that Ryanair don’t fly to Las Vegas, so the €80 or less return flight to Ibiza, is always going to be more relevant to their lives.
What was most untasteful about the Tiesto interview was his generalised swipe at the people and Government of Ibiza. His statement “The Government and people there are trying to make it more and more like St Tropez a destination for rich people“. To the majority of the people of Ibiza this is an insult. Only a small oligarchy of individuals want the island to turn into a new St Tropez. The vast majority of the real people of Ibiza, the ones that live and work there and who truly love the island, don’t want the development and direction that Tiesto refers to. The Government of Ibiza is elected by the people and it represents a unique structure that is far from conventional. If it was not for the local Government of Ibiza, who fought and continue to fight the demands and business interests of Palma, then Ibiza would be in a worse place today. People are not happy with what is happening in Ibiza and they will have their say on the matter. So another mis-representation of the facts by Tiesto, which only shows his comments were agenda driven. That agenda is to pump up and market Las Vegas instead of Ibiza in Europe. To try and replace Ibiza as the most relevant music brand in the World – Las Vegas can be controlled by the marketeers and managers – Ibiza is independent. The real people and clubbers that go to Ibiza and love it for what it is (something Tiesto is ignorant of as he would not make said comments if he loved the place) will not care much for the opinion of a man who sold out long ago. They will continue to enjoy and love Ibiza for what it is and for being exactly the opposite of Las Vegas. Ibiza, its Government and her people, will carry on in their own unique style and do what they have always done – be true to themselves and the islands real personality. They may make mistakes along the way as to err is human, but they will always be true to their independent opinion and unconventional direction, which always makes life much more interesting. Below is a recording of the interview.