For the casual electronic music fan, Dutch trance DJ/producer Ferry Corsten might not have the name recognition of Paul van Dyk or Tiesto, but he's quietly sneaked into the superstar realm, being ranked at No. 7 in DJ Magazine's annual Top 100 DJs poll last year. He's also recorded under the alias System F, which released the trance standard "Out of the Blue." Catch his weekly radio show on Sirius XM, and check him out at Ice Palace West (formerly known as Karu & Y) Saturday night, where he'll unveil plenty of tracks from his latest compilation CD "Once Upon a Night."
Is it true that all the tracks on your new album "Once Upon a Night" are previously unreleased?
Yes, it's a mix compilation of tracks produced by myself and other people, but they are unreleased. Most of the tracks have been exclusively produced for this record, and it's pretty exciting to work with new material. It's a bit of a challenge as well, to see what people will think of it, because you're not working with big hit records - it's all brand new stuff.
So it's almost like an artist album?
Yeah, in a way, like an artist album with Ferry and friends.
What kind of mood were you going for?
It's a really warm, sort of lush sound. I would definitely still say it's on the trance-y side of things - with that, I mean on the melodic tip. I would easily say it's something for the summer - Disc One is a bit more on the house-y side, the groovy side, very melodic, though. And Disc Two is sort of the extension of that, but it's a bit more peak-time of the night.
You're not playing at Ultra this year - do you usually perform there?
I've done it a couple times - I didn't play there last year, and this year it's very important for me to focus on doing an event that I based around the album, which is due around the end of this month. Ultra would have been great, but you've got to be part of a multi-lineup, and the focus would not be as strong as now. And with the compilation, I'm also launching a tour concept that is the "Once Upon a Night" experience. It's sort of like the next step for me in doing production shows, with visuals based around the album tracks. And I would not be able to do that at Ultra.
What's your radio show like, and how can fans access it?
It's called Corsten's Countdown, a one-hour show, and basically what I do is every week I present 10 new tracks, in my opinion, 10 of the best tracks that have come out that week. Listeners can go to the website after the show and vote for their favorite track of that particular episode. And at the end of each month, I will play the top 10 most-voted tracks of the last month. It's kind of interactive: I make the initial selection, and then my listeners make the final selections. The best thing to do if you want to know more about the show is to go to my website, www.ferrycorsten.com, and there's a link to the radio show that explains everything, with the Sirius XM broadcasting times - it's all there.
You're also known as System F. Are there stylistic differences between you and your alter ego?
Yeah, I think System F is a bit more full-on trance. The history of System F is a bit different - I started with System F before I started producing under my own name, and that was in 1999 when I came out with "Out of the Blue," the first single. And that was one of those tracks that was a blueprint for the modern-day trance sound, I would say. And so after 10 years, we decided to do a re-release of the first album, and that's why the name System F is visible again.