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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Ferry Corsten's fascinating new project, Blueprint

Trance innovator Ferry Corsten found a new way of working on his new album, aided by House of Cards and Spider-Man talent

DJ Ferry Corsten. Thomas Niedermueller / Getty Images
DJ Ferry Corsten. Thomas Niedermueller / Getty Images

The dance-music scene’s obsession with being at the forefront of the latest musical trends has come at a price, according to Dutch star producer Ferry Corsten.

The trance veteran says the growth of music-streaming sites has resulted in a lack of appeal for the album format within EDM circles – a feature he hopes to bring back into fashion with his fascinating new project Blueprint.

Released earlier this year, it is as much an evocative instrumental album as an audiobook. Based around an intergalactic love story, the plot is driven as much by the drama of the propulsive music as small pieces of narration penned by House of Cards and Rosewood screenwriter David H Miller and performed by Campbell Scott of The Amazing Spider-Man fame.

With almost two decades in the industry and a seasoned international performer, the 43-year-old Corsten admits some lethargy eventually creeps into a DJ’s career. He explains that the ambitious Blueprint is as much about making a statement to the industry as to himself.

“I just needed to get shake my way out of it because it is every easy to be comfortable in the industry. You make one song that becomes a big hit in the club and festivals and you then end up keep repeating the same formula,” he says from Amsterdam Dance Event. “When I get that way,

I have to find a way to step out of it. Doing a big project such as Blueprint helped

get me inspired for now and the future.”

With Corsten constantly on tour, he rarely had the chance to achieve that dream of scoring a major film. He explains that Blueprint is the next best thing – a film score without the film – and that the creative process was relatively similar to film work, in that the story came first.

“Miller and I first worked together in fleshing out the story and where we wanted to go with,” Corsten recalls. “Then he would throw me some words that he wrote and I would send back some of the music. We would go on until we had 70 per cent of how the story will be, then I would work alone and focus on getting the music to reflect that.”

With Miller in charge of the writing, Corsten says he was free to focus his attention on the compositions. It shows: to even the most casual dance-music listener, Blueprint sounds grand and meticulous. The synths are both sweeping and carefully layered, while deeply embedded counter melodies sound intricate.

“It was a different way of working in that the script provided me with some guidance,” he says. “In a way, I felt more free because I can zero in the soundscapes. It was like doing a deep dive and focusing on the minor details, and that was when the process got really intense.”

Despite the project’s grand nature, don’t expect a special tour dedicated to Blueprint. Corsten says he always viewed the album as a studio project and that Ibiza crowds wouldn’t know how to react to live narration coming from the DJ decks.

“I was considering that idea for a little bit, to bring actors and perform the script in my shows,” he says. “But in the end I decided against it and played some of the songs in the show. I realised that people come to dance and not visit the theatre.”

Corsten says his team are presently in talks with UAE promoters for a possible return to the UAE. In the meantime, he is happy that Creamfields Abu Dhabi is back on the touring calendar.

“The UAE is becoming a big part of touring for us and we always enjoy coming there,” he says. “It is perfect in a way; it is in the middle if you want to tour in Asia or Australia. DJs don’t like direct flights, I find. They love to stop over and play, and in that sense, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are great.”

Blueprint is out now on Sony

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