Dance Music's #1 Fan

By Ravi in DJ News, DJ's, EDM, EDM News
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:24pm. (Updated: 4/21/12 at 11:30am) Add comments

A Glow Exclusive with The Tiësto Tattoo Guy
Interview by Zoe Disselkoen
Photos courtesy of Doug van Sant, AJR Photos, Lello Arena

lello arena tiesto tattoo back
We’re proud to say, we have officially found Tiësto’s #1 fan. We recently sat down with Lello Arena, a full-body tattooed dance music aficionado.

Lello professes his devotion to the world’s best DJs and producers by having them sign his body and permanently inking their autographs. His largest and most impressive tat is a dedication to Tiësto (who has shouted Lello out via Twitter and in person) on his back, a vast tribute that took over two years to perfect.

DJs whose names are forever inked on his body include Tiësto, Axwell, Steve Angello, Afrojack, Laidback Luke, W&W, Rank 1, fedde le Grand, Hardwell, Alesso, Thomas Gold and Sander van Doorn.

At first sight, Lello is an intimidating presence. But beyond the die-hard tattoos and sunglasses is a person who loves to share his passion for EDM. He lives and radiates pure dance music energy. Here, he reveals a bit about himself.

Glow:

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

Lello:

I’m originally from Naples, Italy and moved to the US in 1981 with my family. I have five children and am engaged. I grew up with EDM my whole life. I got my first set of vinyls at the age of 13, but was never able to go further with it because I worked in my family’s restaurant. I’ve opened and sold several restaurants and am currently retired at the young age of 38.

DJ tattoo guy washington dc

Glow:

Who were your favorite musicians before you got into dance music? What did you listen to growing up and how did you get into EDM?

Lello:

There was never a before! When I was growing up, I always listened to dance music, which back then was called euro dance. I enjoyed listening to DJ Scooter, DJ Dido and DJ D’agostino. I also listened to vocal trance and progressive, which was really big when I grew up in Italy. Then I got into trance and deep house.

I guess you could say I was born into it!

Where I grew up, everyone listened to it, including my friends and I. We started going to clubs when we were about 14 years old. We also looked forward to the town summer “fiestas.” There were carnival rides, amazing food, and other fun stuff. There was also a DJ and we would rave while other people enjoyed other things.

Glow:

When did you get your first tattoo?

Lello:

I got my first tattoo at the age of 14. It was of the country of Italy, which is now covered up with a panther that was also an older tattoo I had redone to fit in with my EDM sleeve.

Glow:

Are all your tattoos EDM related?

Lello:

Not all my tattoos are EDM related. I have my children’s names; an older heart tattoo from the 80s; Mary and Jesus; praying hands with a rosary; a cross and banner that says “La Vita Continua” (Life Continues) on my stomach; and I have a pin-up girl designed to be my fiancé and her name on the forearm of my EDM Sleeve.

Glow:

What do your children think about your tattoos? Do they like dance music as well?

Lello:

They love my tattoos! My oldest son used to listen to rap but after I took him to Tiësto’s Kaleidoscope concert (tour) at the Hammerstein Ballroom, he’s converted to EDM and never looked back. He’s even gotten his friends into EDM! And I’m very proud to say that they are even going to school to learn music production.

My second youngest son has been listening to EDM since he was in the womb because I used to put my Pioneer headphones on my wife Jessica’s belly and she would feel him dance around when I did that. Now that he can read, he loves pointing to the DJ tattoos and saying their names. His favorite is Tiësto and I love when he points to it and says, “Daddy! Tiëstooooo!!!” When we drive in my truck, instead of asking to watch cartoons, he asks for Tiësto’s Copenhagen “Elements of Life”.

the guy with the tattoo of Tiësto on his back
the guy with the tiesto tattoo on his back

Glow:

How do you choose which artists deserve a spot on your body?

Lello:

If I go to a show it is normally a person I really like and support. That makes them worthy of being on my body.

Glow:

The most prominent tattoo on your body is dedicated to Tiësto. What was the process like?

Lello:

The largest tattoo on my body is dedicated to Tiësto because he’s the boss! He is my favorite DJ. Even through all the different genres he has played, he will always be number one in my book. His music touches my heart and soul. My Tiësto tattoo took over 2 years, with 5-6 hour sessions every 2 to 3 weeks, and cost $9,000. My tattoo artist, Scott Junkins, was a good friend from high school and he’s an amazing artist. I won’t go to any other artist than him.

Glow:

Whose signature do you think you’ll get next?

Lello:

I’m looking forward to meeting and getting Sebastian Ingrosso’s signature to complete my Swedish House Mafia set.

tiesto tattoo guy

Glow:

What does dance music mean to you?

Lello:

Music is everything to me. I could not imagine a world without music. I would have to say between that and my family and friends, it is my life. Music is my passion. I love this entire scene: the amazing people, the great memories, the talented DJs and of course the music.

Glow:

How far will you take it? Dance music is constantly evolving. What will happen in five years when you are tattooed-out but there are new DJs who you think deserve to be on your body?

Lello:

It’s a lifetime work-in-progress so I guess I’ll keep getting ink until I die. I only get tattoos of DJs that move my soul so I am picky about who I choose. I don’t think I’ll run out of space.

Glow:

What is the craziest reaction someone has had to your tattoos?

Lello:

The craziest reaction happened during Super Glow with Avicii and Armin’s 6 hour set at DC Armory. This guy came up to me and said, “No homo, but if you were a girl right now with all those tattoos, I’d f*** you with that tatoo on your back.”
lello arena tiesto tattoo

Glow:

LOL! So we gotta ask… What do you say to the haters? To the people who think you’re nuts? To those who wonder how anyone in their right mind could spend that much time and money on giving their body to DJs?

Lello:

it’s EDM. It’s all about the love and the music. I’ve met so many amazing people because of it. Don’t hate! I’m from Italy, was born with it and will die with it!

Tattoos are permanent. If I was gonna regret, I wouldn’t have gotten it. I’ve already had it 4 years and don’t regret it. I’ve got to do a lot of sh*t and meet amazing people because of my ink. I’ll never regret the memories it has made for me! EDM for me is for life! No regrets ever!!!

Don’t u just love haters? Hahahahahaha!!!!!
tiesto back tattoo
tiesto back tattoo

Glow:

What is the coolest reaction a DJ has had to your tattoos?

Lello:

All of their reactions have been amazing because generally they ask “Do you really want me on your body for life?” And I say that they’re already in my heart and soul, so why not my body? When Tiësto’s management saw my ink they took me backstage to meet him as a surprise because he didn’t know anything about it until he saw it. He was pleasantly shocked and amazed!

Steve Angello took me up to the stage and asked me earnestly if I really wanted his signature. When I said yes, he said he was humbled to meet a true EDM fan.

With Laidback Luke, he and I had been tweeting back and forth about it and he wound up inviting me back stage at a Winter Music Conference pool party just so he could sign.

lello arena laidback luke dj tattoo

Fedde le Grand was simply humbled and shocked! He was so nervous that he was worried he would mess up his signature. That truly humbled me.

So, if I can sum up their reaction in one word, it would be “humbled.” And that’s why EDM is so different than any other genre of music… there is humility and love in everyone’s heart.
lelle arena fedde le grand tattoo

Glow:

Best Glow memory?
DJ house music tattoos

Lello:

My favorite Glow memory is a really tough decision because there are so many. I would have to say meeting all of the DJs I’ve met and just sharing memories with great friends. So hard to pick one specific memory, to me Glow is my home! They made this whole thing possible for me and I appreciate it more than anything!

Glow:

Do you have a favorite song of the moment?

Lello:

In EDM it is so hard to pick a favorite song, but favorite song of the moment I would have to say “In My Mind” (Axwell Remix) by Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl ft. Georgi Kay. It speaks for this whole genre of music and the people in it. Like the Swedish House Mafia would say, we come, we rave, we love!

Editors Note: We’ve clubbed all around the world and in all our years, we’ve never met a fan as respectful, down to earth and yes, humble as Lello. The guy never oversteps his bounds, is accepting when situations don’t work in his favor and is always wearing a smile. It’s a great thing to see a guy who has made dance music such a huge part of his life. We’re extremely proud to have Lello as a fan and grateful to call him our friend. Thanks buddy!
 

6 Responses to “Dance Music’s #1 Fan”

Comments (4) Pingbacks (2)
  1. micky rush says:

    Totally awersome fella

  2. Johan S. says:

    i was wondering with you being retired and having five kids how do you afford all this bull shit ? seriously.

    -Johan (;

  3. Melecio vital says:

    Thos guy deserves nothing but respect.this is what reallysomething of what music does.

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