Netherlands export Ferry Corsten has nearly 30 aliases and produced everything from trance and house music to drum and bass, hardcore, gabber and ambient. Today, he’s one of the top-ranking DJs in the world and hosts his own weekly radio show. Tens of thousands of people regularly journey to see him as they will this weekend for the 15th annual Nocturnal Festival in San Bernardino, including hundreds from Las Vegas. Recently, Corsten left his laptop on an airplane. Corsten chatted while he was en route to attempt to retrieve it…
Wow. Your laptop is MIA. That’s got to be nerve-wracking for a producer. What’s on it?
It’s basically equipment. I produce on my laptop, I use it a lot for listening to new stuff and downloading tracks. I record my radio show on it—it’s my lifeline on the road. This sucks, to say the least.
You still spin with CDJs though, right?
Definitely. I’ve got my music, that’s not the problem. But I use it a lot to make demos or edits of certain things … it’s nice to have your equipment with you.
Hopefully you’ll get your laptop back. On a different note, last time we talked you were in Vegas at Wet Republic. Why should Vegas partiers consider taking a road trip to California for Nocturnal where you’re headlining September 26?
What I love about parties like [Nocturnal] is you have the big sort of collective feel of all these people together going there for the same reason. An event like that is so different from a club night. The DJs that play there play their most energetic tracks because it’s a large crowd and the energy that comes with that is just really, really crazy. Plus, the whole production that comes with it. In my case, I’m going to be doing Twice in a Blue Moon: The Experience—my concert that revolves around the [Twice in a Blue Moon] album, so with that comes lots of extra production like a whole visual experience, live performances during my set. It’s a real show, which you will never get in a club.
How does TIABM: The Experience that you’ll be doing at Nocturnal differ from a regular set you’d spin at a massive festival?
I will highlight every track of my album plus I will play a lot of the classics. It’s a three-hour set that I’m going to be doing at Nocturnal, which is longer than a usual set at a big event. It’s really like a Ferry Corsten concert. When I play, everything is in sync and telling a real story by itself.
Since the music and visuals are coordinated, does that allow any room for improvising when it comes to your set?
It’s kind of structured because of the album tracks will have to play as part of the concert, but in between—it’s not like one album track after the other—I need other tracks to glue the album tracks together and that’s improvisation. I’ll see what’s new stuff around that time or what is the current big record that needs to be played, as well. There’s a little room, but since all the album tracks are key in the whole concept that’s pretty much set in stone already.
Would you ever consider bringing something like TIABM to Vegas?
I would love to, yeah. It really depends on the venue and the time if it works out in the agenda. I never say never.
What about bringing the Full on Ferry event to the States?
As a concept, yes. I definitely think so. The concept is me playing for so long—eight hours—and having a masquerade ball and guest DJs with me on stage and doing back-to-back sets. What makes Full on Ferry stand out over the last few years was that flying DJ booth over the heads of the crowd, 10,000 people, and landing in the middle. That is one thing I will never see happen in America because of all the liability stuff. That’s just impossible.
How do you make it through marathon eight-hour sets?
It starts with not drinking too much. Otherwise, I’d keep running to the bathroom! (Laughing.) That’s hard when you’re on stage for eight hours. Also, just bring enough music and make sure you really get into the vibe, and the vibe will definitely carry you through. It’s simple as that, really.
You have more aliases than I can remember. What’s the purpose in producing under so many names and does each pseudonym have a different persona or vibe in regards to production?
When I did that, I was basically not DJing yet. I was producing at such a fast rate that no record label could release all my stuff. I had to come up with different pseudonyms to be able to release my stuff with other labels. Then I started my own label and I didn’t have any content, didn’t have any artists yet, so I made them up to give the label the look and feel as if it had a lot of artists.
Well, that’s about it for me. Good luck with getting your laptop back.
Thank you. I need all the luck in the world (laughing).
Checking back in after the interview, Corsten’s laptop sadly was never located. Jokes his manager: “Somewhere a Delta cleaning crew person is re-mixing the Killers.”
(Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly and at LasVegasWeekly.com.)