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Interview: Ferry Corsten

We chat with trance legend Ferry Corsten before his upcoming stint on It’s the Ship 2015

Even before EDM became an inescapable force, Ferry Corsten was taking trance, electro and house to star-consuming heights. Long a consummate A-lister in the world of contemporary dance music, the Dutch DJ/producer recently sent yet another jolt of freshness into the global clubscape with his Hello World series of Golden Age-referencing trance EPs.

Those looking to receive his transportive gifts live will be glad to know that Corsten is onboard the party liner for It's the Ship 2015, Asia's largest festival at sea. Before joining the seafaring revellers, we checked in with Corsten to pick his brain on all things trance.

'I'm very tired of everything sounding the same.'

Big ups for your recent Hello World project. What made you want to do three separate EPs instead of an album?

I didn't want to make an album because, typically, you work on it for so long, say a year or a year and a half, and at its release, you have 12 tracks that are already that old.

The industry moves so fast that a song released today is considered old tomorrow. So, I came up with this idea, which is a different way of releasing an album. It's an album that's chopped up into three parts that are fresh and current at the time of their release.

At the same time, the EPs have a lighter, melodic sound – like your earlier work.

Absolutely. I just became very drawn to that sound again. I feel like it’s time to go lighter again. Melodic trance will make a comeback, not that it’s ever been totally out of it. After all of today’s put-yo' – hands-up EDM thinking, I wanted to go back to good old melodies that give you goosebumps.

Would you say that your new big room track 'Back to Paradise' is a response to contemporary EDM?

Yes, I think so. I'm very tired of everything sounding the same. There are so many big-name DJs who are playing on main stages and sounding indistinguishable from one another.

Ten, maybe 15 years ago, you could walk by any stage and realise that the DJs had their own sonic identity. You could pick out Carl Cox or DJ Sasha just by listening to them. That's why I incorporated very recognisable melodies into this song. I wanted people to feel a sense of nostalgia.

And speaking of the new dynamics of the scene, would you consider social media to be a blessing or curse for DJs? 

There are two sides to it. On one hand, it's amazing because it gives fans a slice-of-life look at their idols. But it gets slapstick-y when DJs use it to sling mud at one another. It becomes childish then, and we don’t really need to have any of it.

For me, the spontaneity it affords really allows me to connect with my fans in a very pleasant way. I was in Singapore, not too long ago, and I had some free time, so I started an impromptu Q&A with my fans on Twitter where they could ask me anything. It was fun.

You were the pioneer of the LEF ('Loud, Electronic and Ferocious') sound. How do you feel about producers imitating it? 

I never really looked at it that way. I look at dance music as one collective style of music where, when one person comes up with a new idea, everyone sort of borrows it and does his or her own thing with it.

So, when I first brought that electro sound into trance, I never really thought that people would copy it. It was just something that I felt I needed for my own sound. It's great that people are inspired by it.

Lastly, what are you looking forward to the most about playing on It's the Ship 2015?

I've played on a few cruises before, so I know what to expect. I've also played to the Singapore crowd many times before. I'd say I'm looking forward to having a crazy, crazy time with them for four days.

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