LOOK BACK lets us feature some of the great features from Tilllate Magazine from previous editions. Here’s an interview with NEW WORLD PUNX from last autumn…
Trance’s ‘most wanted’ and Ferry Corsten – aka New World Punx are set to release their first official single, the incredible Torque –on 13 October through ‘New World Punx Records’ via Black Hole Recordings. Gregg Kelly asked the guys some questions about the New World Punx project…
Can you tell the readers a little about the new track Torque?
Ferry: Torque is the first official single of New World Punx (NWP). It represents many styles but with one big festival mindset and that is what Torque is all about.
Where did the influences for the track come from?
Ferry: Pretty much our previous answer answers it all… The track has a lot different styles … there’s a bit of hardstyle, big room and trance in it.
What about working as a duo, have there been any disagreements in regards to the sound both of you expect from your music?
Ferry: No, we don’t really have disagreements. It’s always a very natural flow of how things end up. We are often very surprised about each other’s input. Many people out there think that the stuff that sounds like Ferry is done by Ferry and vice versa but often it’s the other way around.
Is it hard when working together, to initially let go of the ego of being a solo superstar and learn to work together?
Ferry: Not at all. This whole thing started without any ego and as a fun project…and it still is. We want to keep it that way.
I had a quick look on the website http://newworldpunx.com/ and there seems to be a mugshot of both of you looking the worse for where after a bit of fisticuffs. I hope that wasn’t after one to many disagreements in the studio?
Ferry: Hahaha yeah it was our first meeting! Just kidding.
When appearing as NWP on stage, do you feel that as a duo you are in unison with each other, with both of you moving in harmony while tearing the decks up? How long did it take before you felt comfortable in each other’s shoes?
Ferry: When we are performing we are definitely one. We feed off each other’s energy and vibe. When one of us is lost, the other throws a radical idea that keeps the vibe exciting and fresh. Funnily enough it didn’t take long to get comfortable. There was never any pressure as it started as a fun project so it’s always been great.
Ferry: Never say never but as for now we both see it as a side project.
How was the subject approached initially? Did one of you invite each other over for dinner and gradually bring up the subject or was it one night after an epic gig and you’s simply bumped into each other and thought. What a great F**””@@ idea, lets do it!!!
Markus: When thinking back, the road towards New World Punx becoming a reality happened quite organically. We had been friends for a while and we would enjoy each other’s company when playing at the same festivals, but outside of a remix swap in 2010 (Ferry remixing Markus’ Do You Dream, Markus remixing Ferry’s Brain Box) there was no real connection beyond that.
In the summer of 2011, our festival schedules were almost identical, and we’d be on the same flights to the likes of Ibiza, and it was those times where we began to bond. We were both at a point in our career where we had established our names individually, but with the day-to-day grind of the business, an injection of fun would be welcomed. Both of us talked about the demands of travelling, especially when you are on your own, which isn’t enjoyable.
So when Amsterdam Dance Event took place in October of that year, Ferry invited me 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 of course landed on my Scream album. We could tell there was a chemistry in the studio, and wondered if it could be translated to the clubs. But even then, there was no real masterplan in motion to create New World Punx.
Were the fans gobsmacked when your partnership was announced, have they been very perceptive of your collaborations?
Markus: For our regular followers, there was probably no surprise at all, because of the events that catalysed the project.
Around six months after ADE, we were both booked to play a gig for Godskitchen in Birmingham, which was billed as a “versus” night. After talking to the promoters, they basically let us program the entire evening. Originally it was going to be me opening for 90 minutes, Ferry doing 90 minutes, 90 minutes back to back, followed by two hours each. But after our own 90 minute sets, we went completely back-2-back for six hours, taking us through the rest of the night. So in a sense, New World Punx was happening a year before the name or the concept, but we didn’t know it at the time. The vibe in the club was magical.
Other promoters around the world caught wind about the gig, so more and more began to book us on the same lineup. During the Electric Daisy Carnival weekend in Las Vegas, we played a daytime event at TAOBeach 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 when combining the experiences of those three gigs together, we realised that there was an appeal and unique fusion compared to our own shows. At that point, we realised that we finally had to brand the concept of us playing back-2-back.
Fast forward to March of 2013, and we had three huge shows together in the space of a week – Mansion in Miami for the WMC closing party, Madison Square Garden in New York for A State of Trance 600, and Bal en Blanc in Montreal. It provided the perfect opportunity to introduce the brand name for the project, the New World Punx name. It meant that when people saw New World Punx, they were getting both of us together, back-2-back.
How do you decide who works on what in the studio, do you sit in the studio together or do you send the track back and forth with both of you adding to the track?
Markus: Around 90% of it is done remotely, because of our own respective careers and tour schedules. We will bounce projects back and forth and work on the mixdowns together when we are in the same room, either at Ferry’s place in Rotterdam or at my studio in Miami. It’s great to have technology and communication means so advanced, because if either of us have an idea, we can fire up Skype and start the creative process.
There is no rigid structure in terms of who does what to be honest. Every track or remix we do is started as a demo melody bed by one or the other, and if we both feel it can blossom, then that becomes the next track to focus on. When we are together in the same room getting towards the finish line, and if there are high fives in enjoyment, then we know we are getting there.
We knew that if our back-2-back sets were to work as a concept, we would need to understand everything that we would want to feature in a set that would showcase both our sounds. So the productions and remixes under the NWP name need to embody that ethos too.
Are there any plans to work on a full album and if so, what can the fans expect of the sound?
Markus: When we began to flesh out the New World Punx concept, the most important thing for both of us was that it wasn’t going to be at the expense of our solo careers. We get so many requests for NWP gigs, but we want to restrict them to around 10-15 a year, because it means that the less often they occur, the more special they are for fans.
It’s one of the reasons why we have been hesitant to say that we would ever do a full New World Punx album, because we still want to produce albums under our own name. When we are producing together, they are all stress free situations, and what comes out of it is as a result of fun. If you started doing that in an album process, it could get incredibly stressful. So it’s fun to just take the production work on a track-by-track basis.
The key aspect of our work together is compromise, simply because you are not the only driver in the studio. Plus it’s cool to present a unique sound for NWP compared to Ferry Corsten individually or Markus Schulz individually.
Do you believe you’ve set a precedent with the team up and the new sound? Can you see other DJs following suit and teaming up to make some new sharp music?
Markus: The NWP productions are a throwback to the more innocent times of raves and hedonism, and as long as people don’t micro-analyse every single detail of the tracks and enjoy them for what they are, simple, fun dancefloor tracks to party, then they will gravitate towards the New World Punx project in general because it is built on one simple word – fun.
Both of us would agree that it’s always interesting to collaborate with others, because you can take inspiration from each other and learn new ideas to inject into your own individual work. So for other DJs and producers out there, who like the idea of collaborating, it’s definitely something to be encouraged.
For example, one of my favorite tracks to play in my livesets is Radio Slave’s track Grindhouse, especially when I get into the afterhours portion of my solo sets. So I took the idea to Ferry about doing an updated New World Punx mix to play in the livesets, and brought KhoMha on board to collaborate. And the three of us had such a great time in the studio together.
What’s the most superstar thing you have done as a duo, do you think that as a duo there’s more room for mischief on tour?
Markus: Haha! You know the old saying, what happens backstage stays backstage (and hopefully doesn’t end up on Facebook or Twitter).
Nothing too outrageous to report on that front really, because when the tour schedules are as extensive as ours, you can’t really afford to go over the top with drinks or anything else really, because you have to be at your best when performing anywhere around the world.
What we would say though is that you cannot put a price on having enjoyable company on the road and in the DJ booth. Being able to perform for the fans is amazing, but to be able to share those moments with a good friend makes it even better.
What about the fans, do you think that because of NWP, fans of both your music are more accepting of both your distinctive sound? Do you think that fans who might prefer one or the other of you two are now having a second look at both your solo stuff and giving it another chance?
Markus: It would be foolish for us to think that 100% of our respective fan-bases would embrace the New World Punx concept, because we come to the table with different influences – Ferry takes a lot of influence from the electro side of things, and I love the basslines and percussion of modern day techno.
Because of our respective Global DJ Broadcast (Markus) and Corsten’s Countdown (Ferry) radio shows, there is the ability to cross promote each other’s work, and introduce them to our respective audiences. So perhaps there is more of an incentive for the respective fans to look into the current productions of the other DJ.
We think though that the magic of the project is that the respective fans are now mixing together at the live events, and it means making more new friends in the process. With the longer club sets we are afforded, at the likes of Echostage in Washington DC for instance, they feel like family gatherings, and because we have the opportunity to play longer, the element of surprise and unpredictability means that the vibe can be incredible.
Finally. NWP- you have the platform, have you anything to say to your millions of fans around the world?
Markus: A huge deal of thanks to everyone who has supported the project to date, and hopefully there are many more moments of enjoyment for us to share in the future.
And for the UK readers of course, we were so happy to see so many of you enjoying our debut shows as NWP at Global Gathering and SW4 during the summer season. Hopefully there’s more to come in 2015.