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Producer. DJ. Pioneer. Innovator. Visionary. He’s the man that singlehandedly initiated a revolution in a dance musicgenre -one that’s long since touched everycorner of the globe. Having designed the Dutch trance sound, he propelled it into the clubbing consciousness and on further still into popular culture. From there he continues to innovate at every turn, working with vocalists as diverse as SimonLe Bon and Guru and has remixed music from some of the planet’s most enduring artists - U2, The Killers, Faithless, Moby and William Orbit among them. For 20 years he’s foreseen what club citizens want to dance to and as an artisan DJ/producer, delivered it. He’s released three artist albums under his own name (with a fourth ‘WKND’ scheduled for February 2012)and in doing so has captured the hearts and minds of legions of fans and scooped some of the world’s most prestigious music prizes along the way. He’s regularly ranked as one of the top 10DJs in the world, and of late has turned to charitable activities, working with the World Wildlife Fund.Yet through all this he’s still one of the most down-to-earth, two-feet-on-the-floor DJs you’ll find. He’s Ferry Corsten.
How It All Began: Corsten started his career performing self-composed music live in his native country Holland. His first studio music arrived in 1991 when he produced the embryonic rave track ‘Spirit of Adventure’. In 1995, under the name Hole In One and aged just 21 years old, he won the prestigious De Grote Prijs van Nederland award, which recognized his outstanding contribution to Holland’s electronic dance music scene.
Reinventing Trance: In the early 90s Ferry’s head was turned by the music streaming in from Germany. By 1996, with original trancesound beginning to contract, he set about creating a new, more accessible and ebullient principle for it. With a strong reception to his early tracks(Moonman’s ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ and Discodroids ‘Interspace’ among them), he launched Tsunami Records in ‘97 and a year later, under the alias System F, split the genre’s atom. A veritable EDM milestone, ‘Out Of The Blue’ formed spear tip of Corsten’s trance sound - one that was quickly galvanized by co-productions like Gouryella’s ‘Gouryella’(with Tiësto) and Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’. Within 6 short months The Dutch Trance Sound(as it had become known) had seized control of Europe’s dancefloors and national charts. Ferry’sremix of William Orbit’s ‘Barber's Adagio For Strings’ became a top 5 in the UK, where his achievements were reflected by Muzik Magazine who named him as Producer of the Year at their 1999 Ericsson Muzik awards.
Superstar Producer Becomes SuperstarDJ: Demand to see the man behind the music had quickly placed Corsten behind turntables. He fast established a reputation for impassioned floor-igniting sets, which engaged and delighted an ever-expanding group of fans. From smashing the earliest trance scene events (inc. Innercity,Trance Energy and Dance Valley), there’s now not a metropolis on Earth that Corsten’s not rocked and re-rocked. He entered DJ Magazine’s Top 100 poll in the first year of voting and, as of 2011 has enjoyed an incredible unbroken 12-year run in the chart.He won Best Trance DJ at both the 2005 and 2007 Ibiza Awards and in the same year was named DJ of the Year by Dutch national radio station Slam!FM.
Right Of Way to L.E.F. In 2002, with the euphoric sound he’d engineered continuing to hold sway over dance airwaves, Corsten refused to play safe. Having changed the face of trance once,he ripped up his own rulebook and set out to do it again. Evolving it at speed, 2002 saw the release of ‘Punk’ and the following year ‘Rock Your Body, Rock’ (tracks which for the first time spliced an electro gene intotrance). Both exploded, with the latter hitting #11 in the UK national chart and were featured on his 2004 debutalbum, ‘Right Of Way’. That was followed by ‘L.E.F.’ in 2006 and (delivering on its ‘Loud Electronic Ferocious’ mandate) it saw Ferry begin to integrate some of his own earliest musical influences back into his music. Released on his new Flashover label, Corsten drafted 80s legends like Simon Le Bon, Howard Jones and Gangstarr founder, Guru into collaborate on the album, balancing them with trancier material like ‘Galaxia’ and floor-smash ‘Beautiful’.
Corsten’s Countdown: Midway through 2007 Ferry launched Corsten’s Countdown, his radio show platform. Each week, for the last five years, listeners have ranked the 10 tracks Ferry plays via the show’s website and his Facebook Fan Page. This in turn has created the most interactive radio show in the world, with its listeners determining a chart of the show’s music. To celebrate its 150th episode Ferry introduced the world to the Cue Play App, a mobile digital DJ application, which was pre-loaded with tracks from his Flashover label. Corsten’s Countdown is now aired in over 50 countries.
Flashover Recordings and Premier Recordings: In 2005, after 8 years at the helm, Ferry left Tsunami Recordings to launch a new label enterprise, Flashover Recordings. In addition to becoming his new musical base, it’s fostered new talent, signing the likes of Rafaël Frost, Arty, Tritonal, Yuri Kane and many more to its roster. Its releases proved such a hit with fans that it quickly spun off the imprints Flashover Progressive, Flashover Tech, Levare Recordings, Flashover Chill Out and Flashback (which houses Ferry's complete backcatalogue and also includes previously unreleased material). Expanding his label portfolio further, he launched Premier, a joint-venture label with Black Hole Recordings in 2010. Established as a platform for crossover dance music, Premier has subsequently released music from artists including Betsie Larkin, Chris Lake, Robbie Rivera, Radio Killer and Kris Menace.
Full On Ferry: Embarking ona new show concept In October of 2007, Full On Ferry saw him lynchpin the arena-sized events, handpicking other DJs for unique back-to-back sets. Notably, at the first two events, Ferry wowed the audience in his home city of Rotterdam by DJing whilst suspended above the crowd in a ‘floating’ booth. Full On Ferry: Ibiza saw him embark on a season-long White Isle takeover at the newly opened Sankeys club in 2011. The end of that year saw him bring the show to Brixton’s O2 Academy in London on New Years Eve for the first UK edition of the event. Various Full on Ferry events have already been scheduled for 2012.
Once Upon A Night / Twice In A Blue Moon: Ferry’s 3rd album under his own name was heralded by the single ‘Radio Crash’ and was unveiled to fans at 2008’s Full On Ferry event at the Ahoy in Rotterdam. ‘Twice In A Blue Moon’ carried the club hits ‘We Belong’, the Betsie Larkin-sung ‘Made of Love’ and in typical fashion more experimental material like the techno-edged ‘Brain Box’. It was released in the same year as Corsten’s first child was born and the title (and certain tracks, including ‘Gabriella’s Sky’) were inspired by events in Ferry’s life at the time. T.I.A.B.M.went on to spawn a major 40-date world release tour and the following year a remix edition and the ‘Backstage’ DVD.
It was whilst being interviewed for the ‘Backstage’ that Ferry announced plans for ‘Once Upon A Night’. Having enjoyed a long mix-comphistory (one that’s included 6 editions of the mega-selling Trance Nation series and his own Passport albums) Ferry entered a new mix era. Centred on material collated from his Flashover labeland exclusive to the ‘Once Upon a Night’ albums, in 2010 alone it spawned two volumes and a supporting world tour.
Aliases, In-Groups And Co-productions: Having now released tracks under more than 30 different artist names, Corsten has probably made greater use of aliases than any other producer working in the scene. Their impact has been felt far and wide, with some of his best known becoming next to synonymous with his own name. Chief among them have been System F, Moonman, Eon, Albion and Pulp Victim.
Co-producing on tracks like Gouryella’s ‘Gouryella’ and Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’ he helped launch the careers of artists like Tiësto and Armin van Buuren. It is a studio dynamic he enjoys to this day… Having previously collaborated with artists as contrasting as Public Enemy and Simon Le Bon, he most recently re-teamed with Armin van Buuren (after System F’s ‘Exhale’) for the 2011 club smash ‘Brute’.
The Here-And-Now: Ferry marked 2 decades of working in electronic dance music in late 2011 with his 20 Years of Ferry Corsten mega-mix album. In releasing it in an App-only format, he became the first electronic dance artist to put out an album solely through this medium. Its multimedia release included 34 of his biggest hits, worked into the mix. On the singles front he released ‘Check It Out’, ‘Minack’, ‘Brute’ (co-produced with Armin) ‘Feel It’ and ‘So Good’ - the latter going out as a free-share track, as a ‘thank you’ in recognition of his fans loyalty. In October of 2011 Corsten joined forces with Olmeca Tequila, whose owners Pernod-Ricard launched a limited edition bottle, which Ferry himself designed. It was also the year that he became an ambassador for the Dutch World Wildlife Fund, where he has begun to leverage the exposure his events afford him to raise awareness for the Fund’s activities.
Early 2012 will see the release of Ferry’s fourth studio album ‘WKND’. The album was prefaced in late 2011 by the launch of Ferry’s new YouTube-based WKNDR webisodes, which take fans behind the scenes of his gigs and keeps them up to date with his production work.
More on Ferry Corsten: