Grab ahold of something buoyant, Madison – Tiesto is coming to Madison Thursday night, and the trance waves are going to drown your face and turn you into a flounder all floppin’ around on the cement floor of the Alliant Energy Center.
Dutch producer Tiesto chose Madison as the kickoff to his Club Life College Invasion Tour: an aggressive 20 shows at college campuses across America in 24 days. In an interview with The Badger Herald, he said he had been following college students’ remarks through his social networks and decided to go directly to his younger fans.
“There’s a new generation of electronic music fans growing in the United States, and a lot of those fans are in college,” Tiesto said in an email. “I’ve never been able to reach this crowd before, and I’m hoping this tour allows me to do that.”
He added he was expecting energy from Madison, which has been experiencing an influx of electronic music ever since Skrillex played his filthy-crunch and Deadmau5 got behind his cube for the city’s fans last year.
“I’d heard that Madison had a great college-town energy to it, and I know from messages online that they’re a town just waiting to have an epic time with me,” Tiesto said. “I’ve seen so much feedback on my social networks from college kids looking for me to play at their schools, so how could I say no”?
The producer amassed a huge following since he began playing and recording mixes in 1997 and released his last studio album, Kaleidoscope, in 2009. The album was a departure from his often lengthy earlier productions like “Traffic” and “Flight 643” – the latter remixed into a white noise induced thumper by fellow Dutch compatriot Laidback Luke in 2010.
The new album features shorter, pop-influenced tracks featuring indie singers like Tegan and Sara, Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke and Tilly and the Wall lead singer Kianna Alarid. It also nods to dance music staples Calvin Harris and Sneaky Sound System.
“I’m playing around with a variety of different genres now instead of just sticking to any one genre, and it has led to some amazing music,” Tiesto said. “It’s been more of a natural progression for me. … I don’t know where things will progress to, but I always leave myself open to inspiration, and I will see where it takes me.”
Supporting oneself as an eclectic top DJ is not easy, especially with the rigorous regimen of shows Tiesto maintains, spanning across many continents.
“I generally look after myself really well on tour to make sure I survive,” he said. “There’s no denying it is exhausting, but at the same time it is so rewarding. … My production team and I work hard to make each show I play better than the next.”
After releasing Kaleidoscope, Tiesto opened concerts with the album’s self-titled track featuring Icelandic band Sigur Ros’ Jonsi’s soaring vocals. The breakdown toward the end of the song can cause foot stomping that is largely uncredited; some sources say it was the No. 1 reason the Eyjafjallaj?kull volcano erupted in March 2010, just after Tiesto played in nearby England.
Tiesto will be performing at the Alliant Energy Center’s Exhibition Hall tonight at 8 p.m. His opener, who just released an EP called “Spitfire,” is American electro-house DJ Porter Robinson.