We sat down with the celebrated Dutch producer and DJ for a chat about his journey, progression of the trance sound, his What The F tour and lots more.
Every major genre has stalwarts who have built its infrastructure since its foundations and kept innovating it as the genre entered different eras. When it comes to trance music, Dutch producer and DJ Ferry Corsten is one of them.
Pioneering trance for nearly three decades, Ferry Corsten is one of the most prolific artists in electronic music as a whole. After delivering his mid-’90s UK hit ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ under his Moonman pseudonym, Ferry Corsten’s music has become synonymous with the euphoric, throbbing, and rich trance sound that has made the genre a giant of electronic music. Having released music under a whopping 30 aliases, Ferry Corsten’s earliest came under System F and Gouryella (initially a collaboration with fellow Dutch trance legend Tiësto) before making his current his standout alias.
A regular in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJ listing, Ferry Corsten has an extensive tour schedule ranging from North America to Australia while hitting the biggest clubs and festivals. With over a dozen critically acclaimed albums under his name, Ferry Corsten is one of the most important artists in electronic music. The Dutchman’s contributions to music were awarded with a knighthood from the Dutch king early this year.
Taking the next step into his pioneering journey, Ferry Corsten announced his ‘What The F’ project which he says is a journey into his sound in all its splendor and diversity. “It is where the classic me meets my future self. It is a culmination of my work rehashed, remixed, reinvented with a futuristic approach“.
The project was also followed by an extensive tour, and as the legendary artist embarks on the second phase of his tour, we sat down with him to know more about his What The F project, his journey, innovation of the trance sound and lots more.
Hey legend, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How has the summer been for you so far?
Ferry Corsten: Thank you for the interview. Summer has been great so far. I have been able to spend some great quality time with my family and I have done several festivals and other shows. It’s been a great balance so far.
Your illustrious career is now in its fourth decade. How do you look back at the Ferry Corsten journey?
Ferry Corsten: It’s been quite the ride I must say, and I am super grateful for all that’s happened. It’s just amazing to be able to make people happy with the thing you love doing the most. In my case, making and playing music.
Having been a pivotal figure in the global trance movement to its modern-day reinvigoration. How do you think the trance sound has progressed over the years?
Ferry Corsten: Trance has developed into different forms. There will always be the pure 140bpm uplifting stuff, but where it has become really inspiring and interesting for me personally, is in the slower ranges of trance. I just call it what it is, and all the ‘melodic deep house’ out there is just slower trance in my book. But that sound really pushes the needle in terms of creativity.
The way those producers use the combination of emotional melodies, suspense, grooves and cool vibes, is what really catches my ear, and it seems it’s doing the same for the more underground house and techno crowd as well. I think it is safe to say that the one element that defines a trance track, an emotional hook, is now being used across the board. Let’s say that trance has become the salt and pepper on the dining table, the taste maker.
You mentioned that your ‘What The F’ project is a journey into your sound in all its splendor and diversity. How did the project come about?
Ferry Corsten: I was never sure if I wanted to do an open to close set. I didn’t just want to do a long set with random music. I have done quite a few producer sets in the past and those were always amazing. At some point I thought what if I could combine the two and do an open to close producer set? Over the last two decades I’ve produced a lot of music, including big club hits as well as more underground tracks under different names, and often where people never even realized it was me.
I imagined some people would go like ‘Did Ferry make this track as well? What the F**k’. And that’s the concept and the name came to me.
‘What The F’….what the Ferry!
Your ‘What The F’ project also sees you travel the lengths of Australia, USA and Europe. How has the experience been so far and what are you looking forward to as you approach the next phase of the tour?
Ferry Corsten: It’s been an amazing experience so far. This show is really for my fans and everyone who is interested in the journey of Ferry Corsten. With so many like-minded people in one place who are really getting the experience they expected to get, the vibe is just amazing. Like one big happy family. The thing I am really looking forward to with each show is to see which one of all my tracks resonates the most in that market.
You were recently knighted by the Dutch king for your contributions to music. Massive congratulations!! How would you like to describe the feeling?
Ferry Corsten: I’m just proud. Simple. It’s one of the highest forms of recognition one can receive. And getting that with doing something you love is beautiful.
The influence of Dutch artists on electronic music, in general, has been seminal. What are your thoughts?
Ferry Corsten: I agree. So many elements of early Dutch dance music are still being heard in today’s music. The beautiful thing is, that those influences transcend genre. For example, some elements that were typical for early Dutch trance are now almost staple food in techno or deep house.
We’d also like to know more about your FERR alias which you brought back after 8 years. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Ferry Corsten: I have always been a fan of ambient and cinematic music. I brought FERR back because that was the first alias I ever used and those tracks back in the day were already very experimental. With regards to the most recent album, I had been making lots of ambient tracks while flying between shows and when I was tired of listening to 4×4 dance tracks. Before I knew it, I had an album worth of tracks. The next FERR album is in the works 😉
If you had to choose 1 track to close all your upcoming ‘What The F’ shows, what would it be?
Ferry Corsten: That would be my track Eternity from my Blueprint album. It is one of my personal favorites and probably the best closing tracks I have ever made because I made it as the closing track of an amazing story on the album. So, it yet again serves that same purpose.
How do you see the ‘What The F’ expedition unfold in the future?
Ferry Corsten: There will definitely be a bunch more shows and as I am releasing new tracks at the same time, the show will see these tracks added as well. Really looking forward to what’s to come.
For more information about Ferry Corsten’s music and his What The F – visit his website.