NEVERSEA Festival, Sunday around 2:30 am, the press center – Ferry Corsten is giving a press conference just before he goes on stage, but Radio DEEA is getting ready for an EXCLUSIVE interview with the man that has practically revolutionized the entire trance sound with his brand new concept album – Blueprint.
The first feeling that we get is that he’s abounding of positive energy and he’s so eager to share it with all the people around him. Passionate about his work, thrilled to bits with his latest project, with the reborn of Gouryella and with everything that he’s doing at the moment. He’s beyond motivated to carry on.
“I’ve been in the business for a long time it’s true, and I’ve just released my new album Blueprint which is … after all I’ve done in the last 20 years … is my most rewarding project, it’s not just music, it’s an actual story, it’s like a movie without the actual picture and it’s such a different approach on a music album.”
“Normally you just create a bunch of tracks and you call that an album. This one has a story that came from and then based on the story we created the album and the songs around it. It just opened a new avenue for me, thinking about music, thinking about an album. I know is sounds cheesy but I think this is my blueprint of the next years to come – the way I produce music.”
He’s a perfectionist and he’s not afraid to show it. He carefully picks out his tracks when creating his sets and with all the years of experience he knows how not to disappoint the public. Ferry Corsten he’s more than your regular DJ because he brings so much more than music to his audience: he brings a message, a meaning and induces the public into an emotional state.
“If there’s a festival, it usually means shorter sets and you also know that everyone before you had shorter sets and just bangs it up, so I try to keep the same energy, but since everyone else has been banging it up, I always try to do something that’s opposite to that. I try to keep in mind that the crowd needs the same energy, but at the same time they have been bombarded with banging tracks all night.”
“So I try to find the balance between energetic tracks and tracks that give the public a bit of a breather as well, so especially for the last sets, the sunrise sets if you like, I’ll go for “just close your eyes and enjoy the music” type of thing. I don’t know, that’s really what goes around in my mind, there’re always tracks that I know the crowd wants to hear which I select, and I piece it together with tracks that I feel are needed for this set time.”
And what do you know? We did experience a sunrise set with Ferry Corsten at NEVERSEA, because the legend carried on with his set way pass his allocated time. Not that anyone was upset by that, because to salute the sun along with Ferry’s mesmerizing trance tracks? Well, that’s something you don’t experience every day.
Asked if trance music is a dying breed, the Dutch artist answered:
“I think that’s definitely been a truth to trance music losing ground but right now? I think that’s a statement from 2-3 years ago. Right now the trance music is a crowd-winner, you see that events like Dreamstate from the United States, or Tomorrowland are bringing back TranceEnergy. I think trance is actually on a massive comeback in terms of popularity and it’s actually EDM that is losing ground right now.”
“There a turning point at the moment, where “put your fucking hands up” type of thing is finished and you see a lot more room not just for trance, but also for techno, house, groovy house and you see more shifts and changes on these scenes today, changes for the better; and trance is benefiting from the same shift. I think is a very healthy scene right now.”
Radio DEEA: Ferry, your friend Tiesto was here at NEVERSEA two days ago. Any chance for the Gouryella guys to get back?
Ferry Corsten: “I brought back Gouryella that I started with Tiesto like 15 years ago now and I’ve had numerous discussion with Tijs if he wants to start working on this again and he’s been very, very clear that he doesn’t wanna go back to trance anymore, in fact he doesn’t see himself as a trance DJ anymore and wants to forget that part of his life.”
“I don’t know why, it’s a shame really, it’s a name that’s missing right now on the trance scene. But that’s his decision and we gotta respect that.”
Radio DEEA: What changed with Gouryella from when you started it with Tiesto. What’s different now?
Ferry Corsten: “Well, the start was with Tiesto and the big difference now is that there’s no Tiesto (laughs). It also means that at the time we started the project just out of fun, we were just two guys liking music, Tiesto being a DJ, me being a producer and being in the studio together and seeing where this would go, where this will take us.”
“Doing three tracks together, having fun, then Tijs said “You know I want to do different music”, I did one more release on my own and then I gave it a rest as well up until 2-3 years ago when I brought back Gouryella with “Anahera“.”
“Overtime as a person, you grow right? You start having different ideas about things and I felt that if I bring back Gouryella it needs to be all over … at least that’s the sentiment I’ve always had with Gouryella, it’s always been very storytelling, since the first releases, now bringing it back, it felt like it needs to be 100%.
That’s why Anahera came with a whole story, visuals and it’s some sort of like music ties in with nature. I tried to create a message basically. That’s definitely a big change from when it started and it was just music.”
Radio DEEA: So this time is has a message that you wanna convey to the public?
Ferry Corsten: “In a way, yeah. The big difference is that it has meaning. I think it touches people deeper than in ears.”
Radio DEEA: You resealed Blueprint this May. How’s the promotion tour going and how’s the album received by the public? Did you receive a positive response?
Ferry Corsten: “Yeah, yeah! The album it’s been received with a lot of surprise and I got a very positive response. Nowadays when the people say that the album is dead I come with a full concept album, so a lot of the media was pleasantly surprised, like “Oh, finally!”.
“But that’s not the reason why I did it, the reason why I did it is because I’ve always wanted to do it, you know? But I never knew where to start it until some time ago when I thought that if I combine an audio book with music and I bring like a sense of imagination to a musical album which immediately creates this whole thing like a movie, without the motion pictures.”
“The motion pictures happen in your head, so when you listen to the album and you listen to the narratives, the songs, the lyrics that are part of the story, you get the story and the music that conveys some sort of emotion and you inevitable put these images in your head. That’s was my whole point.”
Interestingly enough, Corsten had a very productive chit-chat with the one and only David H. Miller before creating Blueprint, David being the screenwriter for “House of Cards”, and since the two of them are huge SCI-FI fans, we wanted to know more about their meeting.
Ferry Corsten: “It was great!” (says a visibly excited Corsten)
“I’ve always been interested in alien life, artificial inteligence, of what else is out there and all that. The big questions. That’s what Gouryella is all about. David, I didn’t know that, was a longtime friend of my manager and they lost each other out of sight, but they used to be class mates. So, my manager introduced me to him and I was like “This is the idea that I have. I want to have like a story as a base for a music album”.”
“And then David was “Wow!”, because he’s also a SCI-FI fan, so let’s just brainstorm. We brought up all kind of movies like “Contact” and “Ex Machina” and that was some sort of inspiration for what we did. Then he wrote something and he sent it to me and then we went back and forth a few times.”
“We did decide that OK, we are both big SCI-FI fans, but not everyone is, so in terms of music and of song writing SCI-FI is a bit weird, so we thought of a love story initially and gave it a bit of SCI-FI twist.”
Radio DEEA: How was Ferry Corsten 20 years ago and how is Ferry Corsten now. If you were to have the chance to go back in time, would you change something? Or are you happy?
Ferry Corsten: “I am very happy honestly, but if I could change something … Ferry Corsten 20 years ago was producing under many, many different names, so the one thing that I would change is Ferry Corsten producing as Ferry Corsten, not under other names.”
“The spirit of the days it wasn’t like today, it was this trend to produce under other names, alias, and then events started happening and I had my own label, but no artists so I took on different names so that it looked like my label had all these different artists, but it was all me.”
“Back in the day Ferry Corsten did whatever he felt like, now there’s as a lot more. Over the time you get all this knowledge about music and production, you know what you’re doing. That’s definitely a big difference, but in the end it’s still the same kid inside of me.”
We left this amazing artist after the interview in awe of what we’ve just experienced: meeting a person that is inspiring people through his work. A person that touches your soul through sound and music and who’s aiming for even greater things in the future.
Needless to say that his set was out of this world. It was an unearthly experience that carried us through time and space and made us feel like one. Music does connect people at a higher level, but Corsten managed to add that extra something to all of this: a part of his soul.