Ferry Corston Biography:
Last thursday Ferry Corsten played in Denver, Colorado at Beta Nightclub. With his new album out the anticipation was high and the crowd was energetic. Ferry came on at 12 and immediately began to show us why he has had such a prolific career as a DJ and producer. He played an incredible two hour, high energy set that kept the crowd wanting more the entire time. Lucky for us, before Ferry’s incredible set he was nice enough to sit down with us for an interview!
Techibeats: First of all, thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to do this interview for us.
Techibeats: You’ve been touring in Europe and the US for a long long time and now in the US, EDM has blown up. How are playing shows in the US and in Europe different?
Ferry: I would say the US in general is a bit more “housey” still. I think the whole, I don’t know if it’s the right word, but I call it the “hipster” sound. The typical Afrojack, Steve Aoki kinda sound is really really big here. It’s big in Europe as well, but I really feel that over here, it’s the sound of the US, I really call it. On the other hand, trance is still big, but that’s the main difference I think with Europe. Other than that, I can play here whenever I want, same thing as in Europe. It’s one to one really and I think it’s great. You know some people say it’s getting too commercial, this and that, but my take on it is that for a decade we’ve been complaining about R&B and Hip-Hop being so big here and there was no breakthrough, and dance was never given a chance, and here we are, it’s happening!
Techibeats: It’s at the Grammys and it’s all over the place out here.
Ferry: Exactly, Skrillex and you name em, it’s great. Even with Guetta being I guess the top dog on the commercial stuff; he opened the doors for this music on a large scale in the US. It’s great and for the purists who don’t like the commercial stuff, there’s plenty of other stuff out there now that has been given a chance, so it’s a great development, absolutely.
Techibeats: Based on current trends, where do you see electronic music going, it’s maintained such an underground level for so long, but now it’s sort of taken it’s place in the mainstream. What do you predict will happen with electronic music in the future?
Ferry: I think it will get even more mainstream honestly. I think big rock and pop acts will embrace it more and more because it’s just the new decade, it’s the new thing. For the last 10-15 years, all the big pop acts were teaming up with R&B artists; now it’s the other way around, so I think it will go even further into that direction. Like I said before, there will always be the pure stuff, and that’s going to get a wider and bigger audience as well, but it will still remain pure. So yeah it’s a good thing, I think it’s gonna be a great blend for the next decades to come really.
Techibeats: I think it’s here to stay.
Ferry: You know its how your parent’s generation talks about the Beatles, and every decade pretty much you get a new sort of thing that becomes the stair for the next many years, I think dance is right there now.
Techibeats: How do you view your current state of progression within the industry at this point in your career.
Ferry: I definitely don’t see myself being at the commercial end of things, but also not all the way in the underground. So with the new album WKND, there’s a couple of tracks on there that have big time crossover potential for radio, so I would like to see myself, if you have two groups to divide the whole scene into, The underground and the commercial group, I would like to be on almost the more mainstream end of the underground scene. Like the bridge for people who like commercial dance but are actually kinda curious to see what else is out there and don’t want to really go straight into the darkest of stuff. They will inevitably end up with me first.
Techibeats: Talking about your tracks, is there any kind of common denominator that you have with all of your tracks?
Ferry: Melody, Melody, Melody. Whenever I start with a track it’s always with melody. A lot of people start with beats first then groove, and I look for melody. I look for hook line first, and as soon as I have the hook line, I have the track. The beat and everything else comes together around it, I try to leave my audience with a catchy melody that everybody can remember. Now days you don’t go to the iTunes store and ask the guy behind the counter that you’re looking for this and this track. Back in the days with record stores, that’s what I refer too, you would go to a record store cause you heard the DJ the night before play this and this track and it kinda went like ‘Dan dan da nad dan’ and you would be able to hum it to the guy behind the counter and he would say, “oh yeah here this is it.” That’s basically how I always approach my tracks, there’s always very strong hook line. People can always sing along with melody, they cannot sing along to beats.
Techibeats: So you have your new album WKND out now, how would you say that it differs from what you’ve done before?
Ferry: It’s a bit more of a cross between the sounds of today, everything has a more house vibe to it, tempos are a lot slower, and the days of 140 BPM are fading. I don’t want to say that that aspect of trance is done, because it’s still there, but for me it’s done. Personally, I also noticed that in my DJ sets, I also play borderline house tracks and so the album sort of matches with everything that I’m able to play in my set as a DJ. So first of all the tempo is a lot slower than in previous albums, it’s a bit more housey here and there, still has those big, hands in the air, trance vibes but also I think that most people will instantly recognize that it’s a lot more vocal than my previous albums. Of the 14 tracks I think there’s like 9 vocal tracks. In my previous albums I had about 2 or 3 vocal tracks on them, and this summer I really wanted to add more because I noticed all the vocal tracks on my previous albums were always the really popular ones. Everybody singing along in the clubs, Made of Love for example, everybody from the top of the scene sung to it and it was beautiful. So I decided I was going to do an album that is full of that, so yeah as a bit of a personal challenge.
Techibeats: On that note, do you write your own lyrics or do you have people that give you a hand with that?
Ferry: You can give me a week, you give me a pen, I put it on paper and after a week it’s still there where I put it (laughs). Nothing will come. Give me melodies and I’ll write the melody/vocal lines of the lyrics, no problem at all. Just with the actual words, it’s not that I don’t speak English well enough, I’m not really in touch with my poetic side, let’s put it that way.
Techibeats: Let’s talk about your fans and the set your playing tonight, I’ve see two of your sets before and was blown away each time. I’m curious though, do you feel the vibe off the crowd and go with that or is there a specific set you already have in mind that you try and stick too?
Ferry: Well it’s a bit of a combination because I can think that I’m gonna play this, but if the crown wants to go take a right from here and I’m going left then it’s not gonna work out for the night. So what I usually do is I section together a bunch of tracks that people really want to hear, some of the ‘Corsten classics’ as I call them, and also some of the new tracks that I really want to play and see how the crowd reacts too. You know sometimes when you work with a set that has worked the night before, why really would you want to invent the wheel again? If it really works, it works and you add a few tracks or you change a few tracks. You know when you play every week, a few days out of the week, your set keeps evolving slowly, and you keep perfecting and adding to that. It has this sort of a rotation over time with new tracks that come in and tracks that go out. Sometimes when I am just going through all my stuff I think, ‘ok I’ve been playing this and this classic of mine for a while now, but I haven’t played this track in ages, let’s put this in.’ It’s a bit like that.
Techibeats: There are so many kids that are coming up, is there anyone that is really standing out to you?
Ferry: I think it’s really the guys you’re seeing now, I’m really amazed with the success of Skrillex obviously, Porter Robinson as well, and also someone like Arty who comes from the other side of the world, Russia, who has very different side and a very different sound. But the stuff he’s doing as well is amazing, those are definitely guys to look out for.
Techibeats: In terms of where you see yourself in the future, let’s say 10 years from now, talk me through what you think you’re going to be doing then. Are you still gonna be doing more club shows, or are you thinking about taking your label further, or any of those things?
Ferry: Well you know I come from a producer background, so I’m 38 now, do I really see myself being a DJ when I hit 50? Not really sure. I’m not sure if I’ll be going more towards the production that people are used to hearing from me as Ferry Corsten and also how they relate to me as a DJ as well. But maybe I’ll do more behind the scenes stuff, being the guy behind a rock band or a pop artist or something like that, more like completely on the production side, not anywhere in the spotlight, just behind. So I think that will be the case but it will take a while, and there’s still lot of time, too much.
Techibeats: Well on behalf of Techibeats.com we’d like to say thank you, and now let’s roll to the show and thanks again for your time!
Ferry: Yeah, let’s do it! Thanks a lot guys.