NEW WORLD PUNX Q&A | DJMag.com Skip to main content

NEW WORLD PUNX Q&A

DJ Mag catches up with Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz, aka New World Punx...

Hey guys, how are you?
'We’re doing great! Together we had an incredible two weeks in Australia for the Stereosonic stretch of festivals and stopped off in Indonesia for the Djarkata Warehouse Project. We are currently speaking to you from Asia ahead of our final show of the year as NWP — at the Enchanted Valley Carnival in Mumbai."

So we are coming to the end of another year, what is your highlight of 2014?
"Impossible to pick just one, so we will highlight a few. The big festivals are always special, and we debuted the NWP concept at several high-profile ones this year — Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra and Stereosonic."

"Outside of that, we played at Governors Island in New York for the first time with an extended set, and ended the night in the intimate setting of Output. So it was a lot of fun to challenge ourselves and play two vastly different sets within the space of around 12 hours."

"For the UK fans, we were also able to play together at Global Gathering and South West Four. The fans there were instrumental towards our formation in the first place, so there was extra sentiment in those shows."

"And the night before Thanksgiving in the US, we had the opportunity to play for seven hours at Echostage in Washington DC, for Club Glow’s 15-year anniversary. We did the same thing two years ago, before New World Punx was formed, and it was that setting where we knew that the back-to-back concept had to become a reality for the world."

What are you up to in 2015?
"More of the same! We have a new vocal single coming out in the spring, and we’ll continue to make big instrumentals for the live sets in similar vein to 'Torque', which acted as the debut of the NWP label."

"Gig-wise, it’s early to give too much away, but we can confirm that we’ll be playing the Groove Cruise sailing from Miami at the end of January, and heading down to South America for Ultra in Buenos Aires and Palmahia in Medellin."

"And of course while all the NWP activity is going on, we’ll be continuing with our own respective careers, making new singles, remixes and playing big shows."

Would you say trance is in a good place at the moment?
"Everything goes in cycles in this scene, so even though the popularity of trance may be superseded by other genres currently, it will always be relevant in any year. The reason for that simply is down to the resonance and connection trance makes with the fans. People may debate this point in other genres, but trance fans are the most loyal, and because of that, it will always play a fundamental role in the entire electronic spectrum."

"Make no mistake about it, the melodies that have swept into house music in the last six years are because of trance, and the genre lines have become somewhat blurred as a result."

"But even today in 2014, some of the most amazing trance melodies are being written. Many of the young fans exposed to the EDM gateway layer will either tap out or begin to move into the next layer in order to seek more interesting music, likely gravitating towards trance, and the worldwide popularity will grow again as a result."

How did New World Punx come about?
"We had been friends for quite a while throughout our travels, but nothing quite like the day-to-day closeness between us now. We would always enjoy each other’s company when playing at the same festivals, but our opportunities to develop a friendship didn’t extend beyond that. Business-wise, there was no connection outside of a remix swap in 2009 (Ferry remixing Markus’ 'Do You Dream', Markus remixing Ferry’s 'Brain Box').

"In the summer of 2011, our families decided to rent a villa in Ibiza together for a week, coinciding with the season’s closing parties. We really bonded during that period, and learned that we were both at a point in our career where both of us could have done with an injection of fun. Both of us felt that the scene got a little too serious, and mentally it was very draining on top of all the usual demands of being on the road.

"So when Amsterdam Dance Event took place in October of that year, Ferry invited Markus to hang out in his studio in Rotterdam for a couple of days. We hadn’t intended on doing anything concrete, but a bit of a jam session in the studio led to what ended up being our tribute to Loops & Tings, which landed on Markus’ first 'Scream' album. We could tell there was a chemistry in the studio, and wondered if it could be translated to the clubs.

"Around six months later we were both booked to play a gig for Godskitchen in Birmingham, England. After talking to the promoters, they basically let us program the entire night. Originally it was going to be Markus opening for 90 minutes, Ferry doing 90 minutes, 90 minutes back-to-back, then two hours each. But after our own 90-minute sets, we went completely back to back for the rest of the night.

"We didn’t know it at the time, but New World Punx was happening a year before the name or the concept.

"Other promoters around the world caught wind about the gig, so more and more began to book us on the same line-up. During the Electric Daisy Carnival weekend in Las Vegas, we played a daytime event at TAO Beach in Las Vegas; which was supposed to be a two-hour set, and wound up DJing for over six! Then in November of that year at Echostage in Washington DC for Club Glow, we played for seven hours, and that was when we realized that we finally had to brand the concept of us playing back to back.

"The debut happened around three huge shows — Mansion in Miami for the Winter Music Conference closing party, A State of Trance 600 at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York, and the epic Bal en Blanc in Montreal."

Is the whole of New World Punx greater than the sum of its parts? 
"In terms of uniting our own fanbases, then for sure. And that’s a great thing, because it allows the fans to meet new people at gigs they would regularly attend and become friends.

"We have been very careful and selective regarding where and how many times we play together throughout the year. Ultimately, we still want to continue and develop our own individual careers, so New World Punx should be seen as a compliment to that and not a replacement. And because it means that there are only 15-20 NWP gigs a year, it makes them more special and anticipated."

How does a NWP show differ to your individual DJ shows? 
"There is probably a degree of more planning beforehand.

"When we are on tour individually and come back together for an NWP show, we’ll pick the tracks that have been getting the biggest reactions in our respective individual sets, put them all into a folder, and figure out which compliment each other.

"The visuals are unique, and the vibe is unique. And to be honest, there is something to be said about being able to share many wonderful experiences when you have a good friend standing beside you in the DJ booth.

"For us, our hope with the NWP shows is that they act as a throwback to the more innocent rave days — times when nothing mattered besides the vibe and the music."

How is playing a main stage festival set different from playing a lengthly set in a small club?
"Generally, when you are playing at a club, you are there as the headliner, and 90% of the audience are specifically there to see you, complimented by supporting acts. But with festivals, you are competing for attention with headlining DJs and performers.

"At festivals, the set times are much shorter, so you tend to play safer. If you have a long set in a club and make a programming mistake, you have time to correct it and get back into the flow; something you simply cannot afford to do at festivals. Another important factor to consider is that nearly all festivals are outdoors, and because of that, a lot of the beautiful intricacies found in tracks that blossom in the clubs are lost in the outside ambiance.

"But festivals have their advantage too — because there is the large catchment of fans who may primarily be there to see someone else, they can become a fan of your work simply by being there in the moment and enjoying what they hear."

Which do you prefer?
"Festivals are fun because of the gateway it provides for new and younger fans to embrace what you are about, but there is something special about the art of DJing, and the art of taking people on a journey throughout the entire duration of a club’s opening hours.

"The beauty of the back to back sets as New World Punx in the clubs is that the magic is based on improvisation — we are challenging each other in the DJ booth to surprise and come up with the next track that will get an even bigger reaction than the current one.

"So while the festivals are great to do, and very important in terms of profile, the legend is cemented through the long club sets."

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