It was back to the drawing board for veteran DJ and producer Ferry Corsten, who set out for a different approach with his latest studio album, Blueprint. Seeing its release this summer through Flashover Recordings, the full-length artist album is Corsten’s fifth since first starting his career in the late 1990s.
From Right of Way (2003), L.E.F (2006), Twice In A Blue Moon (2008), and WKND (2012), Blueprint is the newest addition to Ferry’s diverse discography. Corsten has also spent his time in the spotlight by performing under numerous notable aliases, including System F and Gouryella, which was recently resurrected—and welcomed back by trance music fans with open arms.
When we caught up with Ferry during Ultra Music Festival in Miami, he spoke out about the international vibes at the festival and having a chance to perform at the A State of Trance Megastructure with Armin van Buuren and friends under his Gouryella alias. Corsten also took the time to further discuss his Blueprint album and tour concept and what sets it apart from his previous works. Find out all about the concept behind Blueprint in our Nocturnal Times exclusive interview with Ferry Corsten.
The Nocturnal Times: This year you had the chance to play as Gouryella at the A State of Trance Megastructure during Ultra Music Festival, where you’ve performed solo and as New World Punx with Markus Schulz in years prior. What are some of the differences and advantages you find in being able to play as Gouryella?
Ferry Corsten: When Markus and I did New World Punx, that sound had a real grainy and pumping, high-energy sound. When I play as Ferry it’s going to be trance with sidesteps to techno, electro, and this or that. When I play as Gouryella it’s very pure and emotional trance. Trance is emotional, but I’m talking emotion in the sense that you really feel it in your gut. The thing that Gouryella stands for—the very word that it stands for is Heaven. And that is exactly what I’m trying to bring to the crowd with Gouryella—a little piece of heaven. In a Ferry Corsten set I will play a Gouryella track, but in a Gouryella set I will never play a Ferry Corsten track. The Gouryella set is completely time coded with the visuals, which is great because you know that you’re really bringing a show.
The Nocturnal Times: What can you share with us about the rebirth of Gouryella and your experience since resurrecting your alias (which was once alongside Tiesto)?
Ferry Corsten: It has been amazing! It really showed me that my fans are fans of trance and they’ve really been waiting for this sound to come back. There’s something to that turn of the century type trance—the chords, the melodies, the story it tells within the track. It really has been missing for a while and that’s the one thing that I’ve been noticing. Some of the comments after the Gouryella live shows have let me know that some people have left crying or crying the entire time and really heartfelt stuff. I think that’s definitely one of the major differences from the usual stuff.
The Nocturnal Times: What can you share with us about your new album, Blueprint?
Ferry Corsten: Well, the new album I’m working on now, Blueprint, should hopefully be released by the end of may or early June. Blueprint will have the new Gouryella track included, “Venera (Vee’s Theme),” which was premiered during his Ultra 2017 performance.
The Nocturnal Times: How long have you been working on Blueprint?
Ferry Corsten: I’ve been working on it for a bit over a year. What I’m most excited about is that Blueprint is not an album.
The Nocturnal Times: What is Blueprint?
Ferry Corsten: It’s an audio book. It’s a fully narrated story throughout the album. Every track corresponds with its part within the story. Every track, whether an instrumental track or a vocal track, will play its own role with the narrative within the story. So, when you get to a point in the story where the narrative brings you to this emotion, the music will carry over and will also convey this story into the music or into the lyrics of the next song. It’s going to be something very, very new in electronic music.
The Nocturnal Times: What are your plans to tour in lieu of the album release?
Ferry Corsten: I’ll definitely be touring with the album soon!
The Nocturnal Times: After briefly talking about your aliases, have you ever considered bringing another new alias or resurrecting old alias? Or do you think you’ve covered all the sounds you’ve wanted to thus far in your career?
Ferry Corsten: Yes, I think at this point maybe enough is enough, right? (laughs)
The Nocturnal Times: Some DJs like to release different material under different aliases too just in effort to please their fans or not confuse audiences.
Ferry Corsten: Well, I think it’s really important to know where the aliases are coming from and the reason behind releasing certain material under certain aliases. It’s important to know the history of the aliases. When I was not DJing yet and I was just producing music, I was producing too much music, too quick. Because of the high production rate, there was too much for one label. So, I then found out soon after, I would put out this track on one label, and then this on another, etc. But at that time it was different from now. At that time, a lot of labels would claim with the named artist. For example, say System F was with a certain label, and then I would make a track by Gouryella, which was claimed by another label. Nowadays, you’ll see a release by an artist on one label and then you’ll see that same artist release another track on that same label just one or two months later. That was almost unheard of when I was first starting out. At the time, because of my high velocity of output, I just had to come up with different names and release on different labels. This was until I had my own label and I could just release everything under one umbrella. At that time I didn’t have any other artists on my label so I would do the same thing. So, that’s actually where all of my aliases actually came from and why they were started.
The Nocturnal Times: You were producing a while before you started DJing? How long were you producing before you began DJing and how did you get into it?
Ferry Corsten: It’s always been a hobby of mine since I was about 9 or 10 years old. It was a hobby playing with music, whether a double cassette recorder or making tape mixes. Once I hit 16 and 17 and I was going out for the first time I met these guys with a little studio and that’s when I started making the music. So I did that for the longest time and I never really had the ambition to DJ. I always figured that if I was to go DJ, I wouldn’t be able to go out on the weekend’s and I’d lose my weekends—I didn’t want to work, I wanted to party! But once System F “Out Of The Blue” happened, it just took the world by storm and I was being invited by the biggest super clubs in the world. What was I going to say, “No?” (laughs)
The Nocturnal Times: So when was that, once you made the decision to DJ with System F?
Ferry Corsten: Wow, that was back in 1999. So, it’s a long time ago now.
The Nocturnal Times: What’s happening for you currently with your Flashover Recordings label? What do you hope to bring with its future?
Ferry Corsten: Aside from myself, we have a few really cool artists. We have Spain’s new trance talent on Flashover, his name is Dimension. He’s really amazing and he’s got that almost old-school Gouryella sound in his veins, you know? It’s very melodic and emotional stuff that he’s doing, yet at the same time it’s very groovy. We’ve also got Stoneface & Terminal, a bunch of guys from Germany that have been around for a while now and release a ton of great stuff. Solis & Sean Truby, two guys from the UK with some super high-energy trance stuff. Every once in a while we have this wildcard track that we’ll release, but for the most part we’ve been focusing on those guys and myself. While it used to be a little left and right, maybe some EDM and this and that, we always come back to trance.
People should keep their eyes (and ears) out for Blueprint. It’s really going to be different, and I’m really excited about it!