Exclusive Interview: Ferry Corsten Returns to Webster Hall with Blueprint Tour
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Exclusive Interview: Ferry Corsten Returns to Webster Hall with Blueprint Tour

Exploring storytelling with his new album, the digital age and Gouryella's comeback

Exclusive Interview: Ferry Corsten Returns to Webster Hall with Blueprint Tour
Ferry Corsten Facebook Page

This month marks the release of trance legend Ferry Corsten's new album Blueprintand the start of a subsequent tour. Ferry Corsten is no stranger to electronic music, having pioneered the trance genre since the early '90s, creating under several aliases including Gouryella with Tiësto, and performing regularly at world-renowned festivals. He has never allowed his music to be defined by anything other than sheer, melodic emotion, gaining him love from fans and respect from industry peers. Now, he rediscovers his beginnings in trance, carefully curating an intersection of art, story-telling and music which sparks the impeccable emotion that pulsates throughout his latest work. Out May 26, Blueprint brings a new meaning to the term concept album.

Equipped with good humor, magnetic energy and an undeniable passion for music, Ferry sat down before his set at Webster Hall to give us the details behind making Blueprint, Gouryella's comeback and his thoughts on trance.

For more updates on Blueprint, visit http://blueprint.ferrycorsten.com

How does it feel to be back in New York?

It’s always great to be back. There’s a very welcoming feeling here, but the best welcoming from New York today is my bed. We played D.C. last night which was a great show.

You just embarked on your Blueprint Tour.

I had a rehearsal type of weekend for the U.S. leg last weekend in London which was great for testing out new tracks and seeing if we had to make edits and changes. I mean, yesterday at D.C. was amazing. Some tracks are already out as previews and even with a little preview from that, I saw some people singing along to it already. I was blown away. Super cool.

When was the last time you played at Webster?

I played it once before, around 2008 or 2007.

Webster’s a little more intimate and you get to connect with the crowd. How do you like these types of shows?

I love it. At big festivals, you get the big collective energy from like 10,000-15,000 people, but everything is kind of distant and faraway and unpersonal. Over at these places, you see the people and you see their faces. Yesterday, at D.C. I played a soundcheck and it’s even smaller, right in front of you and I really like that. It’s great to have both options though.

A lot of fans were asking for Gouryella to come back so you focused on that in the past two years. Do you think it’s time to shift back to Ferry?

Yes. Hence Blueprint, but the new Gouryella is already out on Blueprint. I’m slowly channeling it all back to Ferry Corsten and Gouryella is under Ferry Corsten anyways. To bring back Gouryella the way I did was actually a call -- a longing from the trance scene for that type of trance.

Trance went from trance to a type of EDM-big-room-trance minus the “put your fucking hands up”. I'm partly at fault for that. It’s missing that type of real emotion and sophisticatedness. I’ve been working around with the idea of bringing back Gouryella for a couple of years, but being in that EDM-big-room-trance type of environment...my head was never really in the right space to come up with the melodies. Two years ago, I got so sick and tired of the music I heard that I just thought, "what did the young Ferry do back in '98, '99?"

Trying to revamp old inspiration.

Old inspiration, old sound and the vibes that came with it. But make it all now.

Let’s talk about Blueprint. When did the inspiration come and how long has it been in the making for?

I was with my dad watching some of the Gouryella videos. He was like, "why wouldn’t you go the next step? Gouryella is very story-telling." From a generation like that, they think very different from what we’re thinking and we’re thinking, "yeah but the fans this and that." We’re stuck in our own bubble. But he said, "how would that be? If you actually tell a story?"

I decided to take that to heart. I wanted to make an album that’s a hybrid between a music album and an audiobook with a fully narrative story where the lyrics of the songs would take over from where the story ends and so on.

How did you conceive the two protagonists, Lukas and Vee?

All the credits really go to David Miller for that. I met up with him in L.A. and I briefed him on what I was looking for. We both soon found out that we had an interest in Sci-Fi, and he was like, "let me just draft something up, you shoot at it." We went back and forth a few times and came up with an initial story. It was good enough for me to portray Vee and Lukas and write lyrics with HALIENE and Eric Lumiere. Once I had the lyrics, I went back to David and then he rewrote the story to make it completely fit. In the narrative, besides Campell Scott who did an amazing job, I wanted Lukas and Vee to have their own personalities so I asked Eric and HAILIENE if they would want to voice them.

They’ve never done anything like it before. HALIENE had a bit of experience doing commercials, but not voice acting. So hats off to them.

How do you intend for people to listen to the album? It’s pretty lengthy at 17 tracks.

A lot of music actually shows its brains in a 6-7 minute version and it’s not being showing justice when cut down to a 2-3 minute version. I know that the Spotify environment is one end of the spectrum. I know that today that’s the norm; Spotify, radio, click click fast, but where does that leave the art of an album? I wanted to be really stupid and ignorant and headstrong and go completely the other way. It’s almost like being very stubborn, saying no. I just want to do something where people are forced to sit down, chill out and take a listen. A listening experience.

You can’t get the full experience without listening to the whole album.

It’s hard to skip through, unless you don’t wanna hear the narrative. That's fine, the album will be released without the narrative as well, just the music. I know there’s people who will not appreciate that, but for first round of releasing, I wanted to release it the way I intended it to be. That’s what we’re doing now.

Be in a car for an hour and half, put it on, listen to it. Nowadays, you listen to a track and you don’t even finish it because you skip to the next one. By building a story into it, if you’re attracted to the story, you want to know what’s going on. You’re basically forced to listen to it.

Let’s talk about trance. Being a pioneer in the genre, what is trance to you?

One word. Emotion. I love the whole debate that I see on my social sometimes. The 138 bpm vs. 140 bpm. "No trance should be under 140 bpm.” That’s the biggest bullshit I’ve heard in my life. A deep techno track that has a beautiful melody on it and is 122 bpm -- that’s still a trance track. The bpm does’t matter, but what does matter is the emotion, the goosebumps effect. Trance is built around melody, and melody is the only part with chords and depth that create that type of goosebumps. Other than that, beats and grooves don’t do that.

Why do you think female vocals tend to be featured more in trance?

I think trance is catering to an escapism. I may get really deep right now. [Laughs]

Go for it.

It’s heavenly and this and that. What is most people's projection of heaven and angels? It would be that angelic female voice. At the same time, a really amazing male voice could do the same thing. It’s not the norm though.

It’s harder to find that male voice.

Yeah, there’s a lot of females out there that have that beautiful angelic voice and maybe one guy who has that super grainy voice that is not too rough and not too light.

Let’s do three rapid fire questions. Do you believe in karma?

[Laughs] I should say I do. But the stuff I’ve done in my life wouldn’t give me good karma so I don’t know. I’m torn.

Have you heard of SantaCon? It’s like Oktoberfest, but New Yorkers dress up as Santa and Reindeer and they drink beer. Would you do it?

Yes, I’d love to do that one day. Like how Carl Cox went to Oktoberfest and poured beer for everyone.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Touring with Blueprint and at the same time, Blueprint being done. That means a lot more time for family, being with my kids and my wife. I’m looking forward to that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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