At the start of 2015, Ferry Corsten set himself quite a challenge: to write, produce, and release three separate EPs, each of which would contain five or six tracks, and all of which could come together as one album. Not his usual way of working, he admits. This became the Hello World series, and just a couple of weeks ago, he announced the release of the compilation, complete with some seriously big remixes as bonus material. Job done, then. So take us through the process, Ferry...
"Your whole attitude towards production and decision-making changes, as all of a sudden, there's a deadline that you have to meet! it was pretty daring, I guess," Corsten smiles, adding that 'with a regular album, you can sometimes sit on a track for a month and still change it'. "The first release was in February 2015, and all three EPs were released during the year. But the whole reason behind it was because of the way people consume music today; an album might take a year to make, so the first track you make might be a year old before it's released... So the album would be at least half dated when it was completed! So this process eliminated that. I decided to give it a different spin, basically, instead of releasing it at once."
A real lover (and master) of trance music, what are Corsten's views on big room EDM, house, deep house... And any other houses, for that matter..?
"[laughs] Well, for a long time, I have been a multi-genre producer of electronic music, but lately I have narrowed that window. I still feel trance the most, because I still have a soft spot for melodies, and trance is all about that," Corsten reveals. "It starts with the right melody and the right emotion - that is trance. And if I do want to try a techno track or an EDM type track, I always go back to that melodic thing. A real one with a front and an end that tells a story. I do also like to take elements from deep house, just to add a little twist, from time to time."
Trance's real hay-day was around the turn of the century, but its popularity wained somewhat after 'that whole progressive movement' came up, Corsten explains:
"A lot of the genres felt the weight of big room EDM, and then the American scene burst through with the fist pump element, and then the pop collaborations (Skrillex/Diplo and Bieber; Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift etc.). But as I see things now, I think the big days of EDM are sort of done. At least it's evolving into something else, though - what they call 'future house' now. It's a lot groovier, and female-friendly as well, which is a positive thing. There's a lot more room for melodies, and a lot more air in the music. Eventually, trance will make a big comeback because of that."
And when it does, what kind of trance will it be... If that makes any sense?
"[smiles] Over the last two years, a lot of the trance guys have diverted to borderline EDM from the real trance sound; and from the fan side of things, I have seen a real longing for that good old trance - that turn of the century stuff I was talking about. I am heading that way, and I have seen a lot of people miss it. So with EDM bang over the hill [laughs], I really hope that trance becomes trance again, and house becomes house again, and we start seeing our own icons again - and I don't mean those guys spraying champagne on stage! I remember 10 years ago, at a festival, you would hear a few seconds of music come out of a tent and you would know it was Erick Morillo playing; in the next tent, you would know it's Sasha... And that has almost gone. You walk past main stages now and you have no clue who it is, because they all play the same music. It'd be really nice to see that change, and would definitely help the scene."
Look out for the full interview in the next issue of Headliner, where Ferry discusses the pros of musical collaboration, and walks us through his go-tos in the recording studio.