[INTERVIEW] Ferry Corsten Discusses His What The F! Tour, 2022 Hit Tracks, + More After EDC Orlando 2022

| December 15, 2022

With over 20 years of dominating the realm of EDM, Ferry Corsten has become an iconic performer and producer for music fans. Hailing from the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Ferry exploded onto the scene in the late 1990s with his mesmerizing trance tracks. Throughout his career, this revolutionary artist has put out timeless electronic hits under multiple aliases. Also an extremely gifted and experienced DJ, Ferry has blessed massive crowds across the world, from EDC to Tomorrowland to many other festivals and clubs.

As Ferry evolves as a sound engineer and renowned mixer, he continues to launch innovative projects like his captivating weekly show, Resonation Radio. Additionally, he has collaborated with other top-tier artists, such as Paul Oakenfold, Ilan bluestone, and Trance Wax, to support his philanthropic charity initiative known as UNITY. One of Ferry's most recent venture is his What The F! Tour, which features hypnotic extended sets that showcase Ferry's immense library of original dance anthems. Taking a look at all of Ferry's prestigious accomplishments throughout his musical journey, it is no surprise that this house veteran has held a spot in Top 100 DJs Poll for nearly two decades.


Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with Ferry Corsten below.


iEDM: How did growing up in The Netherlands influence your passion for music and what moment initially sparked that passion? Which artists did you look up to as role models and why?

Ferry Corsten: When I grew up, The Netherlands was a very open minded and forward-thinking country in terms of music. Always looking outward for new music. We used to have a radio show back then called ‘The Soul Show’ which featured the latest ‘disco’ music from the US, and it also had this item called ‘De Bond Van Doorstarters’. Here, listeners could send in mixes to be aired on the show. The thing was, however, it needed to be a 15 minute mix with as many records in there, in the most creative way possible. Not a DJ mix as we know them today but done with cutting and pasting on reel-to-reel tape. This, and the sound of an era is what sparked my interest to do what I do now. Not necessarily an artist.


iEDM: What fueled your motivation as a teenager to work different jobs in order to save up for a keyboard? How did you gain a following when first starting out and was the toughest part of production to learn? 

Ferry Corsten: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to do something in music. First mixing records like a DJ and later creating the music itself that I was playing as a DJ. It all started as a hobby which I took very seriously. I felt by working different jobs and earning money I could invest it in buying equipment to bring my hobby to a higher level. My following came over the years just through releasing music. I learned producing through trial and error. All self-taught since Youtube didn’t exist yet back then.




iEDM: What was the atmosphere like at the parties you would DJ when you were in high school? What kind of music did you play?

Ferry Corsten: There was always a very curious kind of atmosphere. One where people were out to have a great time and discover new music. Playing just the hits was frowned upon, so I always went for the more underground stuff. The more obscure, the better.


iEDM: You have multiple aliases as an artist, such as Gouryella, System F, and Moonman. What do each of these personas symbolize and why do you choose to release certain tracks under your birth name?

Ferry Corsten: The alias thing stems from when I wasn't DJing yet and I was simply putting out too much music for one label to handle. So, I came up with all these different names to be able to release my music through various labels.Then, when I started my own label Tsunami, I created all these ‘different artists’ to make it look like we had a roster on the label. Ultimately it was all me. Each alias had a slightly different sound but after a while I wanted the world to know that all those sounds came from the same brain. That’s when I decided to continue under my own name.


iEDM: How did you come up with the concept for your What The F! Tour? What have been the top highlights from the tour so far?

Ferry Corsten: The idea for What The F! came from my fans asking me to do an open to close set. But as much as I liked the idea, I wanted to do something special. Over the years I had also done a number of producer sets where I only played my own music. Those always had the best atmosphere. Now, seeing how much music I have produced over the past decades and all the different genres I have produced, I thought why not combine the two and do an open to close producer set. I have an enormous catalog of music filled with many different genres, so I can easily do my own warm up set and peak time set just with my own music. And, since a lot of those tracks were under one of my aliases, there are still many tracks out there that people know but never realized it was me. So, I could just imagine the look on their faces when it clicked like… What The F*ck… he made that as well? That is how the name What The F! came about. What The Ferry. The highlights are definitely when the whole room sings along from the top of their lungs.



iEDM: Your What The F! Tour provides an exclusive experience that features only music that you have created. How are you able to blend or transition between music that you made during different phases of your career and under different aliases? What techniques do you use to give each crowd a new and exciting performance?

Ferry Corsten: During What The F! I don’t play my music in a chronological order, so it’s really more a journey through genre and vibes rather than through time. Some of the really ‘old’ sounding tracks I reproduced for the show. They sound exactly like the originals, just a lot tighter as if they were literally produced today. I also made a lot of mashups of my tracks which really adds to the surprise factor of the night. During the show, I am playing music out of a folder that contains all the ‘sure-shots’ and tracks I personally want to play. This is easily good for a 7-hour show, but I have another folder with ‘extra’ tracks of which I know my fans may request. So, each show takes on its own form depending on the crowd.


iEDM: Earlier this year, you were knighted as an Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau by the Dutch king and mayor. What does this accomplishment mean to you and what was your initial reaction to receiving it?

Ferry Corsten: It’s a great honor to receive this. It means recognition up to the highest level to me. When you are just following your passion and ultimately that passion reaches far beyond the borders of The Netherlands and therefore you get this acknowledgement, it’s just amazing.


iEDM: What was the process behind creating the main piano progression in your 2022 disco single “Timeout”? What was your favorite part about working with Dustin Husain on the track?

Ferry Corsten: Actually, Dustin came up with a very good demo for this track, but I felt it could use a lot more energy and punch, so we decided to work on it together. I grew up clubbing in the 90s, so for me this piano type of house sound was great to do again. The great thing about working with Dustin was how open minded he is. Most people know him from his trance stuff, but he has a lot more under the hood than just trance.



iEDM: Over the years your style has shifted from trance to progressive house and most recently tech house. What factors caused these shifts in sound design and what were some of the most important things you learned while adapting your sound?

Ferry Corsten: For me, all of those styles have one thing in common and that is melody and emotion. I have always had a soft spot for this, so shifting between those sounds has never been that hard for me. My personal taste in music has changed over the years and slower BPMs are just what’s doing it for me. 


iEDM: In your recent release “You Can’t Stop Me”, how did you layer the instrumental with vocals during the build-up so that either one wasn’t too overbearing?

Ferry Corsten: I must say that it was a bit of a struggle, but ultimately it comes down to choice. I feel that when you decide to make a vocal track, let the vocal take the spotlight. So, in order to have both the build-up, and vocal, doing maximum damage, I would make the elements in the track that fight with the vocal, duck in volume when the vocal came in, and come back up when there is no vocal.


iEDM: What inspired the bassline and overall idea behind “You Can’t Stop Me”? Why did you choose those specific lyrics to sample?

Ferry Corsten: The bassline is a ‘wink’ to Lil Louis - Blackout. This track has always been one of my favorite tracks since my early clubbing days. The main synth has family ties to my tracks Punk and Brainbox and the vocal I found on Splice. I hardly use Splice to be honest, but this one was just too good to let go. The message is one of motivation and self belief which I love.



iEDM: Throughout your music career, you have been known to put on mesmerizing extended sets, like your 8-hour set at Heineken Music Hall to celebrate your debut album. What strategies in mixing and song choice do you utilize to keep your audience engaged for the entirety of an extended set?

Ferry Corsten: I strongly feel that too much of one thing is never good. So, for those long sets I give, and I take. This means that I would play a certain sound for a while and then switch slowly to another sound. The same goes for energy throughout the night. It’s okay to give everyone a breather after you have just been pounding them. By doing this it stays interesting, and it gives everyone a sense of wonder to see where we will go next.


iEDM: What future projects can you hint at for fans to get excited about in 2023?

Ferry Corsten: I am currently working on a new Ferry Corsten album as well as a new album for my FERR by Ferry Corsten ambient project. So, plenty of new music is coming up.


Photos courtesy of Ferry Corsten


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