DJ, innovator, and pioneer Ferry Corsten has been revolutionizing the EDM scene for over two decades now. Luckily for AscenDance Radio, we got to meet up with him to talk about the WKND album, his latest tracks and remixes, upcoming projects and so much more!
Ferry Corsten Interview:
Dayanna Guerrero: We’re here with the man that needs no introduction, the dance music legend himself Ferry Corsten! Now, you just came in from Buffalo, NY, how did the north east treat you?
Ferry Corsten: Really good. It’s interesting to see because this is actually my second time there. So two years ago I played there and it was a good fun night. It’s really interesting to see where dance music is going; where EDM is going you know? It was mental last night, absolutely crazy. Yeah, smaller town..
Dayanna Guerrero: But lots of fun.
Ferry Corsten: Lots of fun! Absolutely I loved it.
Dayanna Guerrero: In our last interview about your WKND album, we spoke about the criticism you faced for “Feel It” and “Check It Out”, mainly because they weren’t “trance”. Since then, fans were once again up in arms when you remixed “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber. You’ve dealt with this kind of backlash throughout your career so you must have known that this was coming.
Ferry Corsten: Oh yeah..
Dayanna Guerrero: My question to you is, were you the least bit surprised by the reaction the track received and has it or will it ever stop you from doing similar projects in the future?
Ferry Corsten: Well, when the request came in from the label, you know – “do you want to remix the new single of Justin Bieber?” Of course I scratched my head, sort of like, should I do this or not? But two seconds later I was like hell yeah I’m doing this! I mean when I heard the track it was a very different sort of track that I’ve ever heard from him, a challenge all the way for me.
Listen, ten years ago if someone would have asked me this with a similar artist I would have done that as well. There wasn’t any sort of boohoo-yoo-hoo. It wasn’t anything like that, you just did it. So, there wasn’t really a second thought, it’s something that I want to do. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, switch the channel you know? Whatever. So I knew that specially (with) the name Justin Bieber in the dance scene people’s toes go like (makes cringing noise) in their shoes and I don’t know why. The kid is very talented if you can play so many instruments, you can dance, you can sing.. and no it will not stop me from doing things like this because it’s fun and as a producer you want to have fun in the studio. The last thing that should happen is that you should produce music according to rules that people put on you. Dance music is no boundaries, no rules and so that’s what I live by.
Dayanna Guerrero: Speaking of WKND, it’s been nearly 8 months since its release, how has the reaction been for it so far for it and what other projects are you currently working on?
Ferry Corsten: Well the reaction of WKND has been actually amazing, I must say. It’s a very diverse album with some housier tracks, some more trancy, more vocals than before, than my previous albums. So I was really curious to see how it was going to be picked up and so far so good. All the tracks have a great response, especially when I play them out. Right now, “Not Coming Down” is the new single with Betsie Larkin, (and) a video has just been put out last week. Yeah, I can only be very happy. What I’m working on right now is a compilation series called “Once Upon a Night”. We just released two volumes and I’m working on the next one, volume three.
Dayanna Guerrero: Awesome! Something to look forward to.
Ferry Corsten: Oh yeah!
Dayanna Guerrero: Many artists, including yourself, have used different aliases when going for different sounds. However, if you look at the discography for Ferry Corsten, you’ll find a lot of different sounding tracks under the “Ferry Corsten” name. When making tracks with different sounds, where do you draw the line between using a different persona or calling it a “Ferry Corsten” track?
Ferry Corsten: Right now everything is a Ferry Corsten track. The reason why I used different names was basically I was just a producer at that time. I wasn’t DJing yet, I was just producing music and I was [producing too much music for one label to handle. I mean the release(s) would back up like too quickly. Also, on the different styles of music, I produced from Drum & Bass to Hardcore, to ambient, to House, Techno, whatever, you name it.
Dayanna Guerrero: We love it.
Ferry Corsten & Dayanna Guerrero: (Laughs)
Ferry Corsten: So I just wanted to put my music out. So I came up with all these different names to be able to go around the exclusivity clause on a certain name that you sign with the label. So I came up with all these different names and then I started my own label, Tsunami Records, at the time and I had no artists so the same thing (happened), I just created all these different names to give the label content basically. So yeah, now Ferry Corsten was the man behind all of that so at some point it was getting really confusing. I was DJing under Ferry Corsten, I was remixing under Ferry Corsten, I was making mix compilations under Ferry Corsten and I was now producing my own music under Ferry Corsten. At some point “Punk” was actually the first track under my own name and since then whatever it is.
Dayanna Guerrero: There’s no going back.
Ferry Corsten: Yeah (Laughs)
Dayanna Guerrero: Now you’ve been putting together your own event called “Full On” since 2007 but 2012 marks the first year that “Full On” comes to the U.S.. What makes “Full On” different from other live shows like ASOT 550 or Group Therapy and does the explosion of EDM in America play any part as to why “Full On” has crossed the Atlantic?
Ferry Corsten: The “Full On” concept is giving the audience the feeling that they are part of one big family, that the DJ’s are one big family. By saying that I mean I have guest DJ’s on the lineup, they will all play their own set but I will play back to back with all of them. So I’m sort of like the host, like the glue that holds everything together.
I’m looking for a lineup that has a housier side and a more trancy side. It becomes sort of a challenge for me to play back to back with my house guests, or my trance guests. So it can easily happen that there is a bigger lineup of five or six DJ’s, for example Dance Valley Festival in Holland (where we) had our own stage or with Brixston Academy in New Years Eve in London last New Year’s Eve. I was paying back to back with Richard Durand and Dash Berlin was supposed to come on later but he just felt like playing and he showed up while we were already there so it was sort of like a back to back to back. For the crowd it’s just like “what’s going on”? its back to the good old jam session days instead of being like everyone has their own little set time and don’t you dare go a minute over into my set time. It’s not like that. If I’m playing back to back, or in my set even and one of my guest that has played already feels like “Ohh I have this track I really need to play this! Ferry move aside, boom! I need to play this right now.” That’s what “Full On” is. It’s full on, in your face, party night.
Dayanna Guerrero: You have a special live broadcast for your radio mixshow, “Corsten’s Countdown” , coming up on New Year’s Eve. Similar to how “Full On” is different to other live shows, “Corsten’s Countdown” is also different from other radio shows. For those who have been living under a rock, how is “Corsten’s Countdown” different and what can we look forward to on the New Year’s Eve broadcast?
Ferry Corsten: Corsten’s Countdown is a one hour show which is already different form all the two hour shows. So we keep the momentum of the one hour and people have been begging me like “make it two hours” and I’m never going to do that. One hour is like bang! All the energy is right there! Also, I’m asking you the listener to vote for your favorite track. I am presenting six new tracks every week, plus a listener’s choice which you can submit your request on Monday via Twitter and Facebook. It could be an old track as well. Plus the top three most voted tracks of the last week so that’s ten tracks in one hour. That’s what I’m presenting and it’s up to you to vote for your favorite tracks, including the listener’s choice of last week. It’s your say really, as the audience. So I can only present like “okay this is the great stuff that I think is really cool that I should let you hear” and it’s up to you to decide what the top three of next week is going to be.
Dayanna Guerrero: Sounds like a lot of work for you.
Ferry Corsten: It is. The back end is got a lot of work but its real good fun because I really get to get a good idea of what the listeners like to hear. You as a listener can really be part of the growing process of a certain track. It happens that a certain record is in there for several weeks, I’m playing it for seven weeks, or nine weeks, I’ve had it once! So that’s basically Corsten’s Countdown. What we’re going to do with the New Year’s Eve special is based on the same thing, all requests, there’s going to be a lot more about this episode coming up from my end soon with exactly what it’s going to be about. It’s mainly about your New Years, what tracks do you want to hear, it’s your New Year’s track. Your favorite tracks and then we fill eight hours with that.
Dayanna Guerrero: Your “Loops N Tings” co-creator Markus Schulz is playing Mansion tonight at the same time you’ll be taking the Terrace at Space. Knowing full well we’re heading to Mansion to interview Markus right after this, and there’s a good chance he’ll stop by Space after his set, who did you enjoy working with most, him or Armin van Buuren?
Ferry Corsten: Its two different people really, it’s hard to say. What do you like pears or oranges? It’s really different. First of all I’ve known Armin for years; I’ve known Armin for about fifteen years maybe? So that’s a different history. I’ve known Markus for quite a while as well. Obviously Armin is Dutch. He lives about twenty five minutes away from me…you know everybody does because it’s a small country.
Ferry Corsten & Dayanna Guerrero: (Laughs)
Ferry Corsten: The big difference is, there’s no difference, there’s really no difference.
Ferry Corsten & Dayanna Guerrero: (Laughs)
Ferry Corsten: I mean I’m in the studio and for “Loops N Tings” Markus came over to my studio. For “Brute” Armin came over to my studio as well.
Dayanna Guerrero: They like your studio!
Ferry Corsten: (Laughs) I love my studio, it’s a nice studio so everybody else will probably like it too! The cool thing with Armin is while I’m working on the track itself Armin is already on the laptop creating sound effects and loops and other things and when he’s done with it, we turn into complete geeks, absolute nerds in the studio! If we weren’t nerds already! Markus – he’s from here (Miami) so he had just limited time, it was about four hours in the studio with me physically. So we put the basics of “Loops N Tings” together in four hours and I bounced this- (very technical terms) but I made these audio stems for Markus to take with him on the road, and put in his laptop and play around with it. After about two weeks, Markus sent me a structure back and since I had the projects in my studio, I can do more with it.
Dayanna Guerrero: In your amazing studio..
Ferry Corsten: (Laughs) In my amazing studio that everybody likes! I recreated the audio stems that Markus sent back to me again. So it was more of an internet sending back and forth kind of thing and I’m in Miami right now and I’m staying an extra day.. and Markus is in Mansion tonight, but I’m going to be in his studio tomorrow. So I’m revealing something here. This is why I’m staying an extra day!
Ferry Corsten & Dayanna Guerrero: (Laughs)
Dayanna Guerrero: For someone who has achieved so much in his career, what do you have left to accomplish in the dance world before you can be completely satisfied when you look back at the legacy you leave behind?
Ferry Corsten: I don’t know. I think you should always have dreams you know? So if you have dreams there’s something you can work towards. One of my all time favorites, and I guess idols, is Bono. So if you see where EDM is going (how) pop and rock is opening up to influences from the outside, if that could ever happen again. I mean I’ve done the remix for “New Year’s Day” but to do an original piece of work, then I would be pretty satisfied. Then I would be like “okay, that’s cool”
Dayanna Guerrero: Thank you for sitting down with us and we hope you enjoy your first solo gig at Space!
Ferry Corsten: Absolutely, thank you!
Dayanna Guerrero: Thank you!
Be sure to also buy your copy of “WKND“, out now!