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This year, Chicago’s Spring Awakening Music Festival, the largest dance music fest in the Midwest, will return to Addams/Medill Park with another packed, meticulously curated lineup, including Tchami, Virtual Self, Tiësto, Alison Wonderland, and more across its three-day span. Dancing Astronaut has teamed up with the fest to get to know its standout acts a little better, just before SAMF arrives to bid spring adieu June 8-10.
If there was ever a single artist in dance music who truly needed no introduction, it would be Tiësto. His universal status echoes far beyond the dance circuit, into the far corners of the music industry at large. He’s been dubbed “Greatest DJ of All Time” and the “Godfather of EDM” by a number of publications, and helped to solidify dance music’s place in mainstream music in Athens in 2004 by becoming the first DJ to ever perform at the Olympics.
Tiësto’s epochal trance hooks will likely reverberate through dance floors for countless future generations. At 49, Tiësto has been wielding his now ubiquitous dance floor weapons for decades, founding Black Hole Recordings in 1997, wherein he released his earliest albums. He was nominated for a Grammy for his fiercely ambitious trance album, Elements Of Life, in 2007, and was vindicated in 2015 when his remix of John Legend’s “All Of Me” won the Grammy for Best Non-Classical Remix.
His more recent delve into mainstream territory — bringing with it another world tour and his rowdy, heavily collaborated I Like It Loud EP — has shown he has no plans of hanging up his DJ or production hats anytime soon. Before Tiësto heads back to the Windy City for another headlining performance at Spring Awakening, he sat down with DA to talk about his new collaboration with Post Malone, Preme, Dzeko, and Louis Bell, the legacy he hopes to leave behind, his recommendations for must-see acts at Spring Awakening this year, and more.
You can still buy tickets to Spring Awakening here, and the full lineup is here.
You have a new track coming out this month. What can you tell us about that?
It started with a group of friends hanging out: Preme, Post Malone, Louis Bell, Dzeko and me. Preme played the verse of what became “Jackie Chan.” Dzeko and I were like “Man, we can make something really cool and different out of this.” It took a lot of hard work to get it to a place where all of us were satisfied with it, but once it got there, we knew we had something special.
How have you seen U.S. electronic music scene evolve since your earlier days?
It went from super rave and off the radar to mainstream relevant and more popular than ever.
What is your favorite part of being on tour? least favorite?
My favorite part is entertaining thousands of people every night. It is an amazing feeling. My least favorite part is the traveling, airports, and airport food.
Who’s someone outside the EDM arena you would most want to collaborate with and why?
I just did with Post Malone! He’s so talented and fun to hang out with. Not to mention his voice is amazing.
What has been your most memorable performance thus far and why?
I have so many.. And that’s the beauty about being a DJ, every night is different and that’s what keeps me interested and keeps it fun for me.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave for the music world at large?
I hope people think of me as the man that gave people incredible and unforgettable nights, an inspiration to aspiring new DJs and producers, and a mentor to many.
How does it feel to be returning to Chicago for Spring Awakening?
Chicago is one of my favorite cities to play, and I love the vibes this festival brings.
Which three sets would you recommend from the Spring Awakening lineup this year?
First, Dubfire – he’s a great techno act. Also, Seven Lions – he’s on his own planet and has incredible music. And finally, Mercer – he makes great dance music with a lot of variety.
Featured photo: Jordan Loyd