10 Questions with ... Ferry Corsten
February 10, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) Where are you from?
I'm from Holland, from Rotterdam [the Netherlands]
2) Did you ever think years ago that Amsterdam and Rotterdam would be such a hot bed for music? It seems like so much of today's EDM music, or music in general, is coming from there.
Yeah, I don't know what is in the water with us! We've had a very strong scene for a long time already. It's funny how you see DJs grow up, in a way, in Holland. As soon as they get popular, they leave the country, and go all over the world. I really think it's because it's such a tight-knit community in that sense. Everybody knows each other. I also know that a lot of the DJs, especially the new generation is very active on [social media] all kinds of blogs, sharing information about on how to produce music, and this and that altogether. There's this whole sort of bubble going on. It's really bubbling there.
3) So basically, what you're saying is, you're not missing the days of having to drag around record crates or the CDs?
Actually. I do miss that. I don't want to sound all sentimental, or that it was all better back in the day, that's not the case. What I do miss is going into a record store and waiting for a shipment to come in because you saw the weekend before, this DJ playing this track, record, the vinyl that had a sticker on it but you couldn't figure it out what it was. Coz that was the cool thing, if you have an exclusive track, you put a sticker on it so no one would know what you were playing but when you were able to figure it out then you could order it at the record store. So Thursday night, or Friday afternoon you get there, and there's so many people in the store, its busy, and the shipment comes in as you wait there for the track, the track is there. There's 3 of them but 7 people waiting for same track, and the battle is on! You know the whole anticipation! Also, releasing music...you had your track, your white label, being shipped to all the DJs. Then this DJ is playing it and that DJ is playing it, and its still another 4 months till its released and you feel like that elastic band is being stretched further and further to the release date. Then Bang!, you know, it was OUT! That was the anticipation that was killing you, you know? That's sort of gone right now. Now, you just have a track, you play it once, it's out on all social [media] and (blowing up sound) that's the one thing that I miss.
4) How did you get into DJing, then producing and remixing?
I was just a kid, and it was a hobby just listening to music. Listening to this Radio show in Holland that was playing Dance music, not just Top 40 stuff, but real Dance music from the Discotheques from the days then. One of the items in the show was you could send in a mix, but not just a DJ mix, you know, on reels that you [literally] cut and past it into an edited [version] mixes for 15 minutes. The challenge was to put as many mixes into that 15 minutes. And there was this one thing that at 10-11 years old I was so amazed by that whole thing that I was able to figure out that you needed two turntables and a mixer and tape and whatever [else]. I taught myself how to mix. Eventually I started going out and met these guys that had a tiny studio and from there, you know Boom! I started to learn how to produce music right away. The rest is history!
5) Speaking of history, your current single is with Nat Dunn, "Hyper Love" is starting to blow up here.
It was a sort very cool process. I got this a cappella from Nat asking what did I think of it? It wasn't, initially, my sort of thing that I would go for straight away, but I heard something in it. It's fun, you know. Counting down from ten to one with a sort of catchy phrase. But at the same time I could already hear what I would do with it. I could hear an old school piano, house, UK break-beat kind of thing with it, and mix it up with today's high energy stuff. So it was a real fun process and as soon as I did the track and sent it back to Nat, she was like, oh my God I love this!
6) You've got an EP getting ready to drop and a new single, "Back To Paradise" can you tell us a little about both of those?
"Back To Paradise" features Harris on vocals. I love tracks that have a very positive message. It's always amazing when you're on the dance floor and you get hopeful lyrics thrown at you instead of break-up stories. This is definitely one of them. It's just a feel-good vibe. Yea, I really wanted to come up with a new single that has very uplifting feel sort of good vibe in the melody as well. The EP, 'HELLO WORLD EP PART 1' has "Back To Paradise" and "Hyper Love" on there, "Make It Ours" with Chris Jones is also on there, another sort of hopeful track, motivating lyrics. I've been a big fan of Chris for a long time. I think he has a very strong voice. Chris actually sent me this track as a demo and asked what do you think of this? I said, "Hey, let's go for it coz its' amazing and I know what to do with this!" So, that's exciting. There's another track on there that's an instrumental. It's called "Tonka". I don't know why I called it "Tonka" for some reason. There's something simplistic to it; almost kiddy.
7) Here we have Tonka toys. Did you have them there?
Yea that's why I called it like that. I don't know why when I made that track I saw those little cars and it has something kiddy to it. I've been playing it since the summer last year. I think one of the first places I tested it was at, Tomorrowland [Belgium]. It was almost a sort of instant vibe that I got from the crowd. So I knew this needed to be on the EP. Plus the Flashover remixes. Flashover is my label.
8) How'd you come up with the name Flashover?
Flashover is a follow-up name to my previous label called, Tsunami. I chose the name Tsunami at the time because it was like a wall of sound, like a wall of water that comes at you. All the releases were sort of in your face. And when I started Flashover, I wanted to have a name as powerful. A flashover is like a small flame that all of a sudden, Boom! goes into this huge fire, that's a flashover. So it's the same thing like you have a small idea of a track and Boom! all of a sudden it becomes this huge track! So you know, it's a powerful name for a label.
So Flashover Remix when I say that is a particular style that caters to my more traditional trance sort of mix.
9) Speaking of your fans, since 2007 you've been hosting the weekly show, Corsten's Countdown, what do your fans get from that?
What they get is, participation. It has to start with me, and I have to pick and make a selection of picks I want to play & present to them. At the end of the show you can actually vote for the ones that I've played in the show. The next show I'll play the top three tracks from the previous show. Also, there's a listeners choice where you can go to #CorstensCountdown or CorstensCountdown.com and actually put in a suggestion. It can be a very old track or brand new track and I'll pick one of the listener's choices to put in the show as well. You can vote for that. It could well be that like a Listener's Choice of a very old track that people have forgotten and I play it that it will be No. 1 in the next 3 weeks, you know! It's up to you as the listener. I like that interaction between me and fans, and the feedback that I get from them.
10) Early in your career, you created some remixes...William Orbits' [version of Samuel Barber's] "Adagio for Strings", U2's "New Years Day", any remix over the years that stood out to you, one that you truly love more than another?
Honestly, the William Orbits "Adagio for Strings" is the strangest one. And for a simple fact that when I was asked by Tony McGuinness, who is now a part of Above & Beyond, he used to work for Warner's [Bros. Records] as a marketing guy, and he actually asked me, 'Hey, do you want to take a listen to this new Willie Orbits song, which was "Adagio For String's". I knew it was the theme song from, [the movie] Platoon. I knew I really wanted to do something with this because it's such a moving piece. To take a classical piece like that and turn it into a big, sort of trance anthem was a challenge and at the same time worked out really well. Also because of the piece of music, I am still so very proud of it.
Early on you were known as System F?
Yea! You know early I was known by different names I used to produce under for the simple reason that back in the day, I wasn't really DJing yet. I was pumping out tracks three, four, five tracks a week. I was like a machine in that sense. And it was too much music for one record label to handle, so I went to different labels with different names because every label had some sort of exclusivity on an artist, pseudo name, or a name. Eventually I started my own label and I needed content under different names making tracks for my own label, Tsunami, at the time was one of them, and basically System F was because I was producing like a system, it was all very rigid, and so "Out Of The Blue" was the first track under System F. It paved the path for me and what I do now.
In recent years, you've teamed up with Markus Schulz to form New World Punx. How did you guys first meet?
Well, I know Markus for like 12 years or so. I know him as the resident DJ at Space, in Miami. Each time I've played there Markus was the resident guy. A couple of years ago we were in Ibiza, at a mutual friend's place, and we were just hanging out for a couple of days and then we started talking about music and what inspired us, and one thing lead to the next and we decided to do something in the studio together, let's produce something. Not long after that we had a show where we were both playing individually, and we decided to just take over the night and we played back to back for seven hours! That worked out so well, the fun that we had and every thing, that we decided to put the whole thing into an act. "The New World", Markus' biggest song, and "Punk" my biggest track, we put the two names together and came up with New World Punx.
In 2015, You're going to be doing COACHELLA, and a world wide tour, can you tell us about some of the places you'll be touring?
I need my agenda for that, ha ha ha! What I do know is that for 20 weeks I'll be in Ibiza [Spain] every weekend! I'll be in Australia and lots of stuff in Asia and of course here in the States.