Whether it’s creating soundscapes for up Sci-Fi fueled day dreams, or rocking stadiums across the world, Ferry Corsten has long held the reputation as being one of the hardest working artists in the trance music scene.
The guys over at EDM.com had the chance to catch up with Ferry Corsten ahead of the release of his upcoming genre-versatile concept album Blueprint, coming out May 26th on Flashover Recordings.
So in the development of an album of this originality, how does the creative process differ from your previous studio albums, how do you go about creating a structure and narrative and do you look at it differently, track wise, album-length etc?
Ferry: The creative process was definitely different for me with this album than other albums as the album concept itself is multi-faceted. There was a storyline and a theme which I was part of creating aside from producing the music as well. Normally with creating a music album, you put your focus and effort on creating the best tracks possible and bundle that together as your own. You may here and there produced tracks in such a way that they fit together. But there is overall no leading guideline to follow it. Essentially it is a collection of music. However with this concept, everything you do stems from the narrative and a storyline in terms of songwriting, lyrics and even when it comes to producing music in terms of emotion.
Have you any plans to create and release progressive narrative based music videos for the album, almost in the fashion of a movie with music at the heart of it?
Well, we haven’t done it yet as such but it is something I would exclude in the future. At the moment, I’m concentrating on the audio and the audio book aspect. We have specially created visuals during my Blueprint shows. All these visuals are inspired by Oska’s artwork that he created for this album.
What were your inspirations for the album? What were some of the ideas that helped you develop Blueprint’s sound and narrative?
I’ve always been intrigued with sci fi, space and numbers. I guess I am music tech geek at heart. For this project I wanted to create a hybrid between a music album and audio book so a chance to work on both my favourite interest was a no brainer. I wanted to approach this more like a listening album/experience with the occasional high energy track. Therefore spend a lot of time in soundscaping to create a richer experience.
The storyline, style and melody seems to touch on the beauty of spirituality and mortality, enjoying life instead of worrying about things we can’t control, similar to how someone feels at a trance event, does this play a big part in your creative process? Do you try and imagine how a fan might react to hearing these songs at a Ferry event?
I look at the events I play at in a large way as an escape from the daily grind for myself and my fans as I guess you could say the same from this artist album. I’m just releasing this album now and don’t want to preempt my fans and listeners to my analysis of the album. I would love to hear their interpretation.
I started making this music because of my passion for my melodies. I hope this continues through people with the same passion.
Does an album such as Blueprint change how you view your life as a DJ? Did you feel a sense of relief after putting the finishing touches on the album? After completing Blueprint, did it feel different to finishing your previous studio albums? Can you explain how you feel the first few moments after you are absolutely certain an album is completed?
This has definitely been a whole different process in the first place. Essentially it is more of a listening experience rather than a collection of banging tracks which you are inclined to produce for a pure DJ stand. The creation of the album was such a mind bender in that sense that I am relieve that it is finished. But since it was such an adventure and so much fun. I now wonder if I could ever go back to producing a non themed album.
How do you know when an album such as Blueprint is completely finished? Do you ever go back to your earlier back catalogue and critique it? Is it ever possible to be completely happy with all your previous work?
If you don’t watch out, you really do keep telling yourself it’s never finished. I think the most difficult part is finding that moment to let go and be at piece with what you have. But in my case, this came after a thousand plus listens or so hahaha. Of course go back and listen my old work with a good sense of criticism. But in fairness, you are eventually listening to a lesser developed version of yourself.
In my opinion, there should not be an industry norm. People should be thinking outside the box a bit more often.
Being an icon and one of the original founders of the trance scene, do you think it would have been possible to create an album of the originality of Blueprint earlier in your career, how do you feel your decades of experience influences each new album and each new release? With the album being centered around the theme of time and space, if you could go back what advice/guidance would you bestow on your younger self?
Music wise perhaps it would have been possible for me to create an album similar to Blueprint earlier in my career but taking into consideration music combined and inspired by the artwork, storyline, narrative , etc… and vice versa I don’t think I was ready to embark on such a project then
There are a real mixture of musical styles on this album (vocal, progressive, tech, euphoric etc), did you feel that because you were creating a concept album you had more freedom of expression to develop something that strayed away from the current industry norm? Did this album inspire your creative juices and give you the strength to perhaps develop more original musical ideas in the future?
No, if you listen to all my previous albums, I’ve always produced various genres and across the board. I gotta be honest with you, hearing you say the industry norm…hearing industry norm really irked me. In my opinion, there should not be an industry norm. People should be thinking outside the box a bit more often.
I think Gouryella was already a foreshadowing of what was to come with blueprint and therefore blends seamlessly to blueprint.
What are the plans (if any) tour wise, have you any plans to take Blueprint on the road, and will you be playing the album narrative included in its entirety? Listening to this album whilst traveling through the cosmos in a planetarium would be (excuse the phrase) ‘out of this world’.
I have been thinking about using the narrative in the live show but I’m still considered to be a DJ that brings energy to a dancefloor, focusing on the narrative on it’s entirety would take away that energy. I therefore decided to use small parts of the narrative only, and focus on the visuals and the music. Who knows where we will be going with this concept, planetariums, readings. Etc… 😉
You’ve recently been releasing tracks under your Gouryella guise, how does this intertwine with the new concept album? Will we be seeing you take a new direction with the style of trance you’re producing and releasing?
Gouryella is part of the new album, it’s actually an homage to Vee, one of the main characters of the story. “Is this a new style of trance that I’m producing and releasing?” I think Gouryella was already a foreshadowing of what was to come with blueprint and therefore blends seamlessly to blueprint. If you have seen a Gouryella live shows you’ll understand.
What does the future hold for Ferry Corsten and trance music? What does the future hold for the trance music industry?
I started making this music because of my passion for my melodies. I hope this continues through people with the same passion. It took me quite a few years before I released a full fledged artist album and at that it has 17 tracks that I worked hard on for a year and a half. I’ll see first where this takes me. I’m happy where I am now.