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Ferry Corsten: A Glass Half FULL ON

Trance titan talks Oz, electro-pop and the evolution of Ibiza.

Ferry Corsten is a big deal. The international Ibiza resident, globe-trotting, party-throwing, club-packing, beat-producing, radio-show-presenting superstar DJ has achieved a lot since he first marched on to the dance music scene a little under two decades ago. Hailing from Rotterdam City, The Netherlands, a mini Corsten showed an interest in music from a young age as he tactically saved up money to buy his first keyboard by washing cars and selling mixed tapes to kids in his neighbourhood. At the age of sixteen he released a record with a couple of pals, sparking the beginning of a long line of self-made productions to come. Fast forward a number of years and the fact that Corsten produces and engineers all his musical productions and compilations himself has become his signature style.

Aside from many chart topping hits over the span of his music career and working with A-list names like Amnesia heavyweight Markus Schulz and fellow trance prince Armin van Buuren, Corsten is also a busy bee in the radio studio with his show, Corsten's Countdown, which he launched in 2007. Credited as the first ever interactive electro music radio chart show, Corsten's Countdown debuts the freshest releases and future hits from across the EDM soundscape including trance, house and progressive, with listeners voting for their favourites for the month's final chart.

Basically, when it comes to EDM this guy knows exactly what he's talking about. So it's no surprise that his hugely popular live shows, FULL ON (Hosted By Ferry Corsten), have been an unmissable staple in Space Ibiza's calendar every Friday from the beginning of the season. Who said a DJ's life was all play and no work? The aptly titled FULL ON concept started in 2012 in New York before the live spectacles toured extensively across the continents of Asia and Europe and finally found a place on the White Isle last summer. Cue a switch in venues for this season's parties and the project continues to evolve. Corsten says of his brainchild “The concept has changed from me doing an 8 hour set with my guest DJs appearing with me from time to time into a night with a multi-line up where every DJ plays his own set and I appear during the changeovers for a 20 minute back to back sets.” It is this willingness to progress and grow as an artist that has helped Corsten enjoy such longevity in the music industry. With a successful string of Space events under his belt as we move towards the end of the summer, Corsten looks back at the 2014 season with nostalgic eyes. “It's hard to say which line-up worked as it was so diverse,” he muses. “What I did see is that a line-up with a house DJ, then myself and then a pure trance DJ worked best!”

PLAYLIST | Corsten's Countdown is Ferry's official podcast series. Stream them all here.

As the island prepares to wind down after the annual closing parties, it won't be a time for the trance tyrant to rest on his laurels as he's packing his sun-cream and making the long haul flight to Australia in November. Corsten is excited for his two month stint across the ocean as he commends our Oz cousins. “There were definitely a lot of Australians this year in Ibiza, but to be very honest it's hard to beat an all Aussie crowd. They're a riot!” In light of the Sydney lock out laws which were the big news in the Australian clubbing scene this year, Corsten wades in on the debate. Here's a bit of background info on these laws that have ruffled the feathers of many Australian party-goers. The premier of New South Wales, Barry O'Farrel (who has since resigned for other reasons) introduced limiting laws that have had a detrimental effect on the nightlife scene. Alcohol service in venues is banned after 3am and lock-out laws were introduced, meaning you have to be wherever you are going to party at by 1:30am otherwise no one will let you in. These laws were enforced in reaction to a spate of “alcohol fuelled violence” which actually happened mostly around 9/10pm, making the laws, some may argue, irrelevant. “There are pros and cons,” Corsten comments. “With this growing scene unfortunately a lot more nutcases come out as well. If this means that this will be controlled, I'm all for it.” Does Corsten feel that these new rules will affect his parties? “It will definitely affect parties for the better and for the worse…but it will be temporarily as people will get used to new rules.”

Limiting laws and Space shows aside, Corsten has even found time in his jam-packed schedule to work on new material. Challenging music fundamentals with his flair and talent, he has remained dedicated in delivering his unique sound to music lovers. He is the only EDM artist to achieve the highest number of dance singles in the UK charts and currently has a whopping ten gold singles in his studio. However his latest track, Hyper Love, is evidently more electro pop than his previous trance helpings. “I'm always very open-minded when working on new tracks,” Corsten explains. “I've always been a huge fan of the UK piano break beat sound, and when working on ‘Hyper Love' I could hear how this would fit the song. When Nat Dunn came up with the lyrics I immediately knew I wanted to take it in a more radio friendly direction.”

Corsten also applies the same liberal mind-set to his Ibiza parties. As more trance events invade Isla Blanca this year, he is quick not to pigeon-hole his Space nights. “Competition is healthy but I don't want to put ‘Full On' in a trance category as it a multi-genre concept and not just a trance night.” Whatever direction Corsten decides to steer his music, one thing is for sure, he has the Midas touch. A pioneer and a dynamic force in the music industry, Corsten is a true prodigy of the dance scene and widely recognised for opening the floodgates for Dutch producers and DJs to the international music scene. Shooting to fame in the 90s, Corsten has seen Ibiza evolve over the decades. With the new wave of electronic superstars gracing the turntables and filling up the residencies where does that leave Corsten's primary genre in years to come? “Trance is there to stay,” he concludes. “It will change form over time but it will never go away.” And if trance is a solid part of island life and his successes of this year are anything to go by will he be making a return in 2015? “I hope so!” He smiles, “It's looking good!”

WORDS | Francesca Evans

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