Ferry Corsten’s lustrous career is exemplified by a passion for music that began as a hobby and spiralled into a full-blown profession. From the outset, Corsten has been a prolific music-maker. With seven full-length studio albums under his belt and multiple Gold records to his name with songs that include ‘Punk,’ ‘Out Of The Blue,’ ‘Rock Your Body Rock,’ and other world-class hits like ‘Made Of Love’ featuring Betsie Larkin, ‘Hyper Love’ Feat. Nat Dunn and ‘Radio Crash’, the high-level output from Ferry Corsten has always been plentiful and diverse.
Boasting a plethora of alter-aliases, including the likes of System F, Gouryella and New World Punx project with fellow trance pioneer Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten is the epitome of diversity and variety. He has continued to push and excite the world with his live and DJ show experiences at some of the world’s biggest festivals.
Amidst a hectic ADE schedule, Ferry Corsten sat down with We Rave You to discuss his System F comeback show and the importance of maintaining a healthy work & life balance.
You’re set to appear at 2 events during ADE, one of which is the “Road Map for People on the Road” talk. Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in that?
“It was interesting! It was a panel about people working in this industry who are always on the road, but at the same time have a family life. It was all about how to manage those two extremes and how do you find time and how do you manage it? When do you say stop so you can be with your family and how all those components work together.”
Do many artists find it hard to maintain a balance between work and life?
“Yeah, I think it’s pretty hard, because most of us who are doing this career at this level, in a way, are thrillseekers. We’re always pushing for that next level, but when do we say stop? We always feel like the next day can bring that new easter egg and you want to go and chase it, but at some point, you just have to say stop. Listen to what your body says. You can have 20 managers telling you to do a show, but you need to say stop. It’s not easy for everyone.”
What does ADE mean to you? For those who have never attended, how would you compare it to other music conferences such as MMW?
“First of all, I love that Amsterdam is so confined! Everything is happening within the space to like, 2 canals. Miami is a lot bigger, everything feels further away. Also, I think the business side of things is a lot more present here than in Miami, which has become a party capital. Of course, there’s the one going on in Ibiza as well, it’s very business-minded, but compared to Amsterdam and Miami, it’s all about parties. Amsterdam has the right balance between the two because everything is so close.”
You’ve decided to bring back your System F alias with an appearance at Dreamstate SoCal in November this year. Can you tell us a bit about this decision and what you hope to achieve in the future?
“I have to be honest, it was a big request from Dreamstate. After having done Gouryella, I thought, ‘what do I do next?’ Bringing back the old-school sound was a big influence, but Dreamstate said ‘Hey, you did a System F show in Tokyo in 2015. How about doing the same for us?’ I was a little hesitant, but they made a good point when they said ‘it’s just another side of you that your new fans might not be familiar with’. It definitely resonates with Trance coming back again, so I thought ‘let’s have some fun with it, let’s do it’! This November, ‘Out Of The Blue’ turns 20 years old, so it was a bit of a coincidence when they said the show was in November. It all came together nicely.”
You’ve said in previous interviews that your goal with your UNITY project is to bring together all types of Trance together – to unify the Trance world. What impact do you believe this has had on the Trance community so far?
“Really good so far! It’s been quite good after a few releases. It almost sounds negative when I say I want to bring the Trance world together because it is a very unified scene already and it is very diverse as a genre. However, it’s gotten to the point where there’s almost a divide right now. You’ve got all the 140 stuff, including Psy-Trance and then you’ve got the vocal-based groovy stuff. These guys won’t play their records and vice versa. So I think, ‘why don’t we just bring people from opposite sides, together and just see what comes out?’ We’re all always at festivals hanging out together and we always say we’ll catch up or do a collab, but it never happens. I want to devote some time to this and see what happens.”
Do you think ego’s play a part in that separation?
“Yeah, I think it does to an extent. I also think it’s just that we’re so used to doing things our own way and not having to deal with another opinion. I like that very much because I’m used to doing things my own way too, but if I work with someone different with different ideas, we’ll have come up with something I’d have never thought of. I think the key to all this is to keep an open mind and not be locked in your own ways.”
At a young age, you’d listen to a radio show called “The Soulshow” which played Disco and Soul music. Given the rapid growth and expansion of music as a whole, do you believe Disco, Soul and Funk music’s importance and significance has been overlooked/underappreciated?
“Good question! Has it been pushed to the side, or has it been forgotten because of new generations? My daughter for example, always listens to the most awful pop music out there, so I played her ‘I Feel For You’ by Chaka Khan and she loved it! That’s the kind of stuff I listened to when I was a kid. I think it’s just radio in general not tapping into it anymore, the same way they’re not tapping into Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s just one of those things that has passed by, it’s a different era, unless of course, you find radio stations that play that specific genre. At the end of the day, they all left their marks on the scene. Remember, we owe the 4/4 beat to Disco!”
Also in your youth, you saved up money for a keyboard by washing cars. Given the easy access teens have to software such as Ableton or FL Studio, do you believe technology has washed away the need for hard-work to save for studio gear or does it merely make things easier for up-and-coming artists?
“It’s definitely easier, that’s why there’s so much music out there. Today, anyone can make music. Back in the day, either, you were able to somehow get your hands on equipment (which was very expensive) because your parents were rich or because you worked hard for it. Now, if it’s so easy, do you really value what you have? It’s a matter of perception I guess. Is it really better now than back then? It’s easier and more accessible.”
— Ferry Corsten (@FerryCorsten) November 3, 2018