Hailing from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Ferry Corsten’s lustrous career is exemplified by a passion for music that began as a hobby and spiraled into a full-blown profession.
Today, as it was in the beginning, Corsten’s skills lie in his ability to coax the maximum emotional impact from electronic dance music of all genres, not just trance, but also progressive-house and electro. He remains and has always been ahead-of-his-time, making music that becomes a template for others to follow.
We chat with Ferry to discuss his ‘UNITY’ concept, and the impact of technology on the dance music scene.
Shivani – Hi Ferry, it’s great to be speaking to you again! Firstly, before we begin, congratulations on having such a brilliant 2018! We saw a lot of collaborations and new work out in 2018! How was the year for you overall?
Ferry Corsten – Hey there! 2018 was a great year. I had a lot of fun collaborations for my Unity project and of course, revisiting System F was great.
Shivani – We absolutely love the concept of “Unity”. From where did the concept of “Unity” stem? Was there any particular incidents or moment that made you kick off the project?
Ferry Corsten – Well, I noticed how my scene, the trance scene, despite being a niche market is a fragmented market at that. There are groups that only will play 140bpm, another 128… yet all claim to be in the same scene. I thought at this point that it would be great to work on a number of collaborations with various artists in my genre and come up with a group concept unifying our sound regardless of bpm’s…and that is how Unity was born.
Shivani – How do you usually decide who you are collaborating with for Unity?
Ferry Corsten – Well me and my team really just look around and see artists that have the same vision and feel for what we do and reach out to them. We’re lucky that we do get a lot of positive feedback about working on the project!
Shivani – Who is the next artist you are collaborating with for “Unity”? Could you give us some hints, if you can’t reveal the name? J
Ferry Corsten – I can’t reveal the name yet exactly but I can say that he is a great guy and a very very talented music producer…and probably the biggest tech nerd in the scene.
Shivani – If you had the opportunity to branch out into another genre, which genre would you choose and which artist would you collaborate with? And why would you pick that specific genre and artist?
Ferry Corsten – I think I would branch out to a couple of genres. Being a producer, I always need various creative outlets to keep me busy and innovative. As you know I just recently finished my first music film score and really enjoy tripping out on ambient and chill out music. I also have a Spotify chill out playlist called Stillpoint by Ferry Corsten that I enjoy making and using. I guess you could call this my passion project. I would love to work with John Hopkins, Olafur Arnalds, to name a few.
Shivani – We see a lot of artists coming up these days in the underground music space or music in general. Do you think that advancement in technology has made it easier for upcoming artists to produce music these days?
Ferry Corsten – Oh definitely! In the early days, it would cost a lot of money to buy equipment so it would take a real music head to take the plunge and spend a lot of money to make music as a hobby. Nowadays, there are so many software-based programs that will allow you to produce easily from a laptop with not too much equipment. Internet and easy to learn video tutorials make it easy for you to do this as well.
Shivani – You also recently produced the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for “Don’t Go”. Congratulations on that! How was the experience working on it and can we see you producing more for films in the future?
Ferry Corsten – It was an amazing experience. I loved the entire process and the putting music to the video instead of the other way around was a fresh and exciting experience for me. I would definitely love more opportunities to do this.
Shivani – In the current age of streaming, everyone has access and exposure to so much music, that if one doesn’t particularly like a track as much, they move on to the next immediately. A few tracks are such that you probably won’t enjoy it as much the first time you listen to it, but a couple of more listens and you begin to like it. But since there is so much music out there, not a lot of people are really willing to give that particular track a second chance. Do you think that the new age listeners are too spoilt for choice, to an extent, when it comes to consuming music?
Ferry Corsten – Definitely! I think in general due to technology and therefore the speed of how people receive and digest things a lot faster, people, in general, are easily distracted. This is why I am appreciative of my fans and the people who take the time to understand my music. I had a fan a few weeks ago that sent me the most amazing fan letter saying how he loved my last album Blueprint and understood the entire album. I know this person listened to the album numerous times to understand the various dimensions of it. I was sincerely touched. Nowadays, people won’t do that as quickly as before.
Shivani – You are someone who has always been very tech savvy and intrigued by space on the whole. If you had to predict an advancement that we will see around 20 years down the line, what would it be in your opinion?
Ferry Corsten – I’m absolutely a space nut. To infinity and beyond hahaha, but to be honest with you things are going so quick, my guess is just as good as looking into a crystal ball.
Shivani – Blueprint was revolutionary, and it changed the way the world perceived an album that also can narrate a story. Will we see the albums that you work on in the future tread similar lines or are you experimenting with a new concept?
Ferry Corsten – That is a good question. I’m not sure. Although I enjoyed making blueprint, as an artist I love being able to create new concepts and ideas. Having said that, I also say never say never…so… who knows… I should be working on a new album soon so we shall see!
Shivani – As an artist who tours constantly, how important is it to find the balance between getting time out for taking care of your health, spending time with your family and handling your professional commitments as well? Has the pressure increased over the years or has it always been this way for you?
Ferry Corsten – I definitely believe balance is key and everything you do. I think this mantra has been able to allow me to do what I do for quite some time now. Whereas I know I am lucky and blessed to be able to make a career out of a hobby and passion that I have, I also know that health and family are also key to a balanced lifestyle. There are so many artists in the industry that have fallen. You can easily get caught up in the lifestyle when going down the rabbit hole. I do make it a point to travel at most for up to 2 weeks max each time and come home for at least a few days in order to recharge and spend time with my family. I also make sure I get proper rest before every show as they can go on for long hours!
Shivani – Finally, what does 2019 hold in store for you?
Ferry Corsten – As you have noticed, I just released my new Gouryella single ‘Surga’. I’m currently working on the new Ferry Corsten single. There is a new Unity single on the horizon. This year we will also be hosting a number of Unity stages at various festivals around the world as well as System F. Last but not least, there is the usual touring. All in all, it should be a busy year!