Throughout the years, Ferry Corsten has been a permanent fixture on the EDM scene, because of one simple reason: his music kills. Before EDM came into full bloom in recent years, Corsten had already been planting seeds of club bangers and trance-music-triumphs since the late nineties. Because of his intuitive knack for being able to push the boundaries of trance music, his collaborations with acclaimed DJs such as Armin Van Buuren and Markus Schulz, audiences agree he is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable artists to see live or blast through the car stereo.
Before his performance at Sutra Lounge in Orange County, CA, I got to talk to Ferry about his creative process and his innovative radio show, Corsten’s Countdown on SiriusXM. Check out the interview below!
E. Nusgart: What does music mean to you?
F. Corsten: It’s my life; my passion for it started when I was a little kid and it never ended. Everything I ever did and everything I have right now is because of what I've accomplished through music. Since I was really young I had always known I wanted to do something with music, even when there wasn't even such a thing as a DJ.
E. Nusgart: How did you first start to make music?
F. Corsten: I was playing with tape machines and making mixes, cutting tapes and pasting them instead of mixing records. When I started producing music it was that hunger for that melody and the synthesizer driven stuff which was always on the forefront. I tried everything from Drum and Bass to Hardstyle music. Also, I was inspired by the Frankfurt Trance of the early nineties.
E. Nusgart: Who was the first artist to inspire you to head into the subgenre of trance and techno music?
F. Corsten: It wasn’t a specific artist. I grew up in the eighties listening to the music thatwhat was really popular in Europe and in Holland at the time. It was called Italo dance, which was synthesizer driven music. They played it in the discothèques which was a combination of some cheesy and some underground stuff. I also grew up listening to different kinds of electronic hip-hop like Afrika Bambaataa. But the first couple of DJs that had me thinking that techno music was really cool were Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox.
E. Nusgart: How does your sound differ from your early material to your most recent music?
F. Corsten: I guess I was looking for something then; I was searching which is how I found all of these different styles. Then I found out that I really loved the melodic sound and that I who I was as an artist. Melody is emotion. Beats and rhythm are the groove. There is no emotion to beats. And I've always loved music with emotion which is why I try for the more melodic sound in my music.
I can never stay with one thing for too long. People know me as a trance guy but my understanding of trance goes a little further. I like to take this one genre that I am apart of and see what the boundaries are. Even now I am still searching again, and always looking for something new. It has evolved because of my understanding of how a track can really work and what it does to the dance floor.
E. Nusgart: I am a big fan of your radio show. Tell me about how you started on doing Corsten’s Countdown?
F. Corsten: I never really wanted a radio show. I was invited to come to XM radio to be a co-host for an hour and then they thought I should have my own show. They thought I was fun to do it with and would do well. However, I didn't want to spend a whole week putting together a radio show but they convinced me to just try it.
I decided if I did a radio show I wanted it to be a concept show. So I pick six new tracks, have a listeners choice and the top three tracks of the week prior. After the show, you can vote for the top ten tracks that I have played and then the top three voted tracks will be played the next week. That is how you keep everyone involved; it is up to the audience to decide who will be number one on the countdown. I think the interaction is the number one selling point of Corsten’s Countdown.
E. Nusgart: How do you pick out which songs you are going to play live?
F. Corsten: Well, there are always certain songs that your fans want you to play. There are never enough songs that will make everyone happy so you have to pick a few. Then, there are the tracks that I want to push, it could be something on my label or some of my new tracks that are coming up and then there a bunch of the big favorites. I put everything together and try to come up with a good story.
E. Nusgart: Tell me about your future projects and endeavors…
F. Corsten: I’ve been songwriting a lot lately and have been in the studio with numerous people writing various songs. I don’t even know if it’s going to be songs for myself or other people yet. There is definitely a lot of new stuff coming up with a lot of strong vocal tracks.