The Trance “Punk” – An interview with Ferry Corsten
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Producer. DJ. Pioneer. Innovator. Visionary. He’s the man that singlehandedly initiated a revolution in a dance musicgenre -one that’s long since touched every corner of the globe. Having designed the Dutch trance sound, he propelled it into the clubbing consciousness and on further still into popular culture. From there he continues to innovate at every turn, working with vocalists as diverse as SimonLe Bon and Guru and has remixed music from some of the planet’s most enduring artists – U2, The Killers, Faithless, Moby and William Orbit among them.
Ferry marked 2 decades of working in electronic dance music in late 2011 with his 20 Years of Ferry Corsten mega-mix album. In releasing it in an App-only format, he became the first electronic dance artist to put out an album solely through this medium. Its multimedia release included 34 of his biggest hits, worked into the mix. On the singles front he released ‘Check It Out’, ‘Minack’, ‘Brute’ (co-produced with Armin) ‘Feel It’ and ‘So Good’ – the latter going out as a free-share track, as a ‘thank you’ in recognition of his fans loyalty. In October of 2011 Corsten joined forces with Olmeca Tequila, whose owners Pernod-Ricard launched a limited edition bottle, which Ferry himself designed. It was also the year that he became an ambassador for the Dutch World Wildlife Fund, where he has begun to leverage the exposure his events afford him to raise awareness for the Fund’s activities.
Recently, UthMag sat down with Ferry to talk about his concert on June 28th, his album, his inspirations, his fans and his concerts, oh Well, Read on!
UthMag: Since it is the weekend in the UAE, Do you plan on doing anything fun here?
Ferry Corsten: Depends upon my travel schedule, I have done it before and I’ll do it again, I hope I go to Ferrari World. You guys can praise yourself in having the world’s fastest rollercoaster. I’m a speed freak when it comes to that. So yeah, I really hope I make it.
UthMag: Considering this is your first SOLO act in the capital promoting the WKND album, what was the driving force behind it?
FC: Well WKND, in the end, it is the one thing we all have in common in the world. We work hard all week and want to let go of the stress, basically forget about our daily stuff that we do at work, We all live for it, whether you are in school, or office or even myself in this industry, we live for the weekend where we come together, so yeah that was the driving force for the albums well as the concert. The album is very positive, very upbeat. Lots of vocals which are quite positive as well and it’s a good reflection of what I am , what I am doing as an artist, as a DJ, as a performer, the music I play just like a House meets trance style of genre. So basically in a nutshell that’s what it is all about!
UthMag: Indeed, very well said. Now, talking about the positive and uplifting vocals, your album WKND has some fantastic ones, how did you select the singers?
FC: It’s a combination of circumstances where you run into people. For example Ben Hague from my album WKND, he was hosting a dance event few years ago and I was part of the panel and we started talking after the panel about music and him and me and that is how the idea of doing something together came up because he is very well known as a house person or like a vocalist in the house music scene you know and I’m a trance guy so nobody expected us to work together.
Also Betsie Larkin who I worked with for the 1st time in my previous album, we seemed to have this kind of magic going on, as soon as we met in the studio, something nice would happen so I wanted to have her as well for the album WKND.Another example is Sara Bettans, she has been on my wish list for the longest time. She is the vocalist for a Belgium rock band called K’s choice and she has an incredible deep voice that I really wanted to work with all the time. But She was never really into being something with electronic music until recently so when I had the chance to do this it was quite big.
UthMag: It is very enticing to see that your Radio Show – Corsten’s Countdown’s outcome is decided by the voters – How important do you think is the interaction with your fans?
FC: It’s what makes the show, It’s all important for me. At the start of the show, I wanted to do something where I could bring in the opinion of the listeners and then all the requests and all the social media was involved. So yeah, it’s for them it’s important to have voice, everyone has a voice but it vital to make your voice count. So the whole countdown is to vote for your favourite track that you like and hearing them back next week, this gives them a sense of being completely part of it.
UthMag: That is just beautiful, the way you engross your fans and involve them every step of the way, however Tell us a bit more about Full On Ferry? What is the concept behind it?
FC: The concept is where I host a show and I invite DJs who are my friends to be part of the night to play for the crowd and play with them back to back. I introduce them to the crowd by saying this : Hey, this is so and so guy but I’m playing back to back, and I’ll be there back to back with them for about 15-20 minutes, and then introduce the next guy playing back to back, and once his set is done, I’ll come back and play with all of them.
UthMag: THAT, is a wonderful, never seen before concept in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) industry. No wonder, you are very well known as one of the forefathers of Trance. What would you say to people who can’t adapt to the evolution of Trance music? Some might say it sounds more electro while some say it sounds more like House?
FC: Trance was once a puristic form of music but has become the salt and pepper on the table. That’s the easiest way to say it. Trance still has its puristic forms but trance has adapted to many influences from House, Electro which is great because by doing that, it will keep the genre alive.
It will keep it progressing into something interesting and new again. But at the same time it being the salt and pepper, the spice is basically for other genres, you see that it is working that way as well. House music nowadays is like Swedish House Mafia style for example. Without trance, that wouldn’t exist.
It almost sounds like old school trance records but in a modified way but definitely based on those principles from few years ago. You see the same thing happening with Dubstep as well, it is beginning to become very melodic. And that is all thanks to Trance, because the only thing that makes trance, TRANCE are the big melodic synths, drops and that is what trance is. Whether you listen to it at 140BPM or 128BPM but it’s the emotions and melody that counts.
UthMag: I don’t think anyone could have put it in a better way, I mean that was simply astounding. But with the advent of EDM, a global success now with various genres becoming mainstream, how do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
FC: I’m not sure yet, I definitely see myself working with other people from other genres as I’ve always done. Not sure if I should embrace the more commercial pop scene that is embracing dance music, I’d rather waiting for Rock to open up as well try to inculcate electronic music into that scene or the other way around.
I think it’s great what is happening because for the longest time, Dance music has been like this little kid in class who never gets taken seriously and all of sudden it’s the moment and now everyone wants to be a DJ and dance music being put into the records.
Right now it is the time for dance music to be the leader of the pack and its upto you as a dance music lover to see how puristic you are and can engage into liking the pop influence or you just want to keep it aside and like the old stuff, that is up to you but the fact that the music is being given a chance right now to be so big, THAT is really cool and that is what we are all working for!
UthMag: You said in the future you would be working with other artists Can we expect any collaborations in the near future?
FC: No, not in the near future atleast. I have to start working on the next album again and start doing something.
UthMag: Could you fill us up a bit on the upcoming album?
FC: Not yet No! I’ll start soon I haven’t done anything yet. I’ve got a little sketch on the table but nothing major yet but I hope to be able to work with some interesting people.
UthMag: Good to hear that, now name me one record that you could just play over and over?
FC: There is one record that I can……….If I wouldn’t play it, I would get punished. That’s the track that has been coming back for years everytime and again and its one of my tracks PUNK.
UthMag: Yes, it’s an anthem in itself and you should know that better when the dancefloor goes wild when you play it.
FC: Absolutely, and you know last year the ARTY Remix of PUNK has sort of gotten a whole new facelift and it works again and still people from its release in March upto now play it. It’s been played in all the big festivals in the US and still people are playing that mix and not just me and definitely its one of those most loved tracks.
UthMag: Lastly, what advice do you have for your fans? Aspiring DJs and producers
FC: Well, it’s the advice I always live by you know, do your own thing but do it with the best skills possible and also try to be original.Don’t try to be the next Arty or Swedish House Mafia or Armin van Buuren because those guys are already here. Be the new guy that everybody wants.
For 20 years he’s foreseen what club citizens want to dance to and as an artisan DJ/producer, delivered it. He’s released three artist albums under his own name with a fourth ‘WKND’ recently and in doing so has captured the hearts and minds of legions of fans and scooped some of the world’s most prestigious music prizes along the way. He’s regularly ranked as one of the top 10DJs in the world, and of late has turned to charitable activities, working with the World Wildlife Fund. Yet through all this he’s still one of the most down-to-earth, two-feet-on-the-floor DJs you’ll find. He’s Ferry Corsten.
Just before the show, we managed to catch up with Ferry.. Check it out… another Exclusive from Uth Mag!