Tisto in 2007.
Also known as
DJ Tisto, Allure, Da Joker, Drumfire, Handover Circuit, Paradise In Dubs, Passenger, Roze, Steve Forte Rio, Stray Dog, Tom Ace, Wild Bunch
January 17, 1969 (1969-01-17) (age 39)Breda, North Brabant, Netherlands
Electronica, trance, dance, progressive trance
Disc jockey, record producer
Black Hole Recordings/Koch Entertainment, Magik Muzik, SongBird
Current: Jedidja, Clear View, TaxigirlFormer: Gouryella, Kamaya Painters (more)
Life and musical career
1985–2000: Early years
2000–2002: Rise to fame
2003–2004: Solo In Concert
2004: Olympics opening ceremony
2005: Worldwide popularity
2006: In Search of Sunrise 5 Asia Tour
2007: Elements of Life era
2008: In Search of Sunrise Summer Tour
Philanthropy and other activities
Tisto (pronounced /tiɛsto/; born Tijs Verwest (pronounced /tɛɪs vɛɹʋɛst/) on January 17, 1969) is a Grammy-nominated Dutch trance DJ and record producer. He has become one of the world's most famous people in the trance and electronic dance music scenes. Although he has used many aliases in the past, he is best known for his work as DJ Tisto. On his latest productions, however, he has dropped the "DJ" label and is now known simply as "Tisto", an alias which is a twist on his childhood nickname.
In 1997 he founded the label Black Hole Recordings with Arny Bink, where he released the famous Magik and In Search of Sunrise CD series. In 1999 he collaborated with Ferry Corsten to create Gouryella. The act released songs that are regarded in the club circuit as all time classic trance songs. In 2001 he released his first solo album In My Memory which gave him several major hits that launched his career as well as his remix of Delerium's "Silence" featuring Sarah McLachlan which exposed him to more mainstream audiences. As his popularity rose in the early 2000s he became the first DJ to perform to a large crowd without any other DJs or opening acts. He was crowned the "World's No.1 DJ" 3 consecutive times by DJ Magazine from 2002 through 2004.
Just after releasing his second studio album Just Be in 2004, at the Summer Olympics he performed live at the opening ceremony in Athens, Greece becoming the first DJ to play live on stage at an Olympics Games. The live performance was released as the mix-CD Parade of the Athletes later that year. He was chosen as the official ambassador for the Dance4Life foundation in May 2006, and released the song "Dance4Life" with Maxi Jazz to help spread the awareness of HIV/AIDS. In April 2007 he released his fourth studio album entitled Elements Of Life. The album reached no. 1 on the Dutch album chart as well on "Billboard Top Electronic Albums" in the U.S. and received a nomination for a Grammy Award in 2008. Also in 2007 Tisto launched his radio show "Club Life" on Radio 538 in The Netherlands.
Life and musical career
1985–2000: Early years
Tijs Verwest had an interest for music since the age of twelve. When he was twenty he decided to dedicate more time to it and began DJing professionally at school parties and then moved on to become a resident DJ between 1985 and 1994 at several clubs in the Netherlands after his manager and friend Wilfred encouraged him. During these years, he produced hardcore/gabber tracks under aliases such as Da Joker and DJ Limited. However, it was at The Spock, a small club in Breda, where he was able to fine-tune his own style by playing in a separate room from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. on weekends. In the beginning of his career as DJ he mostly played new beat and acid house, and many Madonna songs because her music shows that she likes to dance. Before the release of her album there were already dancemixes like "Vogue" which was one of the songs of Spock. He was discovered by the general manager of Rotterdam-based Basic Beat Recordings. Tisto released his first of five mix CDs as a part of the label's Forbidden Paradise series.
Tisto (left) and Ferry Corsten together in 1999 as Gouryella
In the mid-1990s, he started to produce trance, which led to his breakthrough in 1995 when he started building mixed compilations, something nobody else did at that time. Tisto describes his Magik series as part of his breakthrough, but since the labels only want their own songs in the deejay mixes, in 1997 he and Arny Bink co-founded Black Hole Recordings to support his work releasing a series of singles under various aliases. Black Hole Recordings and its sub-label Magik Muzik continue to sign Tisto's vision of trance – producing musicians and DJs such as Cor Fijneman, Ton TB, Mark Norman and Joe Cheang. During this period, DJ Tisto had been releasing the Magik series, which has had seven instalments starting in 1997 and ending in 2001, after this Tisto began releasing the In Search of Sunrise series, that is a compilation of Tisto's mixes with tracks from other DJs. In 1999, Tisto joined forces with fellow Dutch deejay Ferry Corsten to create the trance based duo of Gouryella. To highlight the importance in the expansion of the trance environment at the time, there were 20 different CD releases of the 4 Gouryella tracks from 9 different labels. Since November 1999 he performed monthly as a resident in Gatecrasher at Leeds, one of the most popular clubs in England. In 1999 he also played in a 12-hour set, being his longest lasting concert in Amsterdam.
2000–2002: Rise to fame
Late in 2000, Tisto decided to concentrate on his personal work and left Corsten by himself to write and produce Gouryella's next single with John Ewbank, the record company was demanding more tracks and neither Tisto or Ferry could work together at the time. Tisto introduced Armin van Buuren, Johan Gielen and Ferry Corsten to the mainstream with his first compilations and the In Trance We Trust series. Summerbreeze became Tisto's debut DJ mix album in the United States with the help of a contract signed to Nettwerk. Summerbreeze featured his remix of Delerium's "Silence", it spent four weeks in the United Kingdom's Top Ten chart, it reached number three in the Billboard dance chart. In Search of Sunrise 2 was released in 2000. There has been a legendary anecdote amongst dance music fans that Tisto broke a world record by drinking "31 cans of Red Bull in 24 hours" in 2001, and he admitted he would never try and break it again. Tisto decided to create a sub-label, known as Magik Muzik. The label began releasing Tisto's own releases, but it has also released tracks for The Filterheadz, Oliver Lieb, Mark Norman, Mojado, Phynn and Jes Brieden. The label became a trademark which stands for high quality electronic dance music which was due to the release of Tisto's classic dance anthem "Flight 643" in 2001.
Tisto's fame started to rise in the early 2000s after his set at the first ID&T Innercity party (Live at Innercity: Amsterdam RAI), and the release of In My Memory, his first solo album released in 2001 which contained 10 singles and 5 major hits; The singles from the album were: "Lethal Industry" which was actually produced in 1999 and had only 3 copies released at that time, the track was officially released in 2001 which was remixed by Richard Durand in 2006 along with "Flight 643" which was another leading single that was later adapted with vocals by Suzanne Palmer and released as "643 (Love's on Fire)". Other tracks were "Obsession" in which Tisto worked along Junkie XL also known as Tom Holkenborg, the instrumental tracks "Dallas 4PM" and "Suburban Train" with "Urban Train" as it's B-Side which contained some vocals. The last singles to be released were "In My Memory" which is the title track for the album as it only received high ratings in the United States and the opening track "Magik Journey" which opened Tisto in Concert (2003). On February 2, 2002 Tisto played nine consecutive hours during the second edition of the Dutch Dimension festival. On February 27 he was awarded a Zilveren ('Silver') Harp music award. The same year he also received a Lucky Strike Dance Award in the category Best DJ Trance/Progressive. In August he became part of Moby's Area2 Tour. For eighteen days he travelled through the United States with artists such as Moby himself, but also David Bowie and Busta Rhymes. After Junkie XL's chart topping success with the Elvis Presley remix "A Little Less Conversation", Tisto releases a remix of the Elvis track "Burning Love", he was then nominated for a Dance Award by the UK's Muzik Magazine in the category Best Radio 1 Essential Mix. In January 2003 Tisto received the annual Dutch Popprijs ('Pop Award') during the Noorderslag festival. After touring with Moby, Tisto remixed two songs from him, "We Are All Made of Stars" and "Extreme Ways" in the same year, having "We Are All Made of Stars" reach #13 in the Hot Dance Club Play. In 2002 he released his first In Search of Sunrise mix to feature a place on its name, In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama. On March 28, 2003; Tisto, Dieselboy, Bad Boy Bill, and Noel Sanger joined the PlayStation2 Dual Play tour. Tisto and Noel's appearance began on April 13 and ended on June 6.