Editor’s Note: In anticipation of his upcoming DJ Times cover story, Ferry Corsten is offering a series of four exclusive entries for the magazine’s blog. In them, he details his “Full On” series of shows, including discussion on its production, content and concept. In the coming weeks, look for these informative blogposts from one of the world’s favorite DJ/producers.
Hey guys. Ferry Corsten, here. I’ve been a DJ, producer and artist for over 20 years now. You might’ve heard of me…
Anyway, I have a live show concept that’s been called “Full On Ferry,” which has been re-branded as “Full On” (Hosted by Ferry Corsten), and I’d like to discuss that with you.
What I wanted to do with my “Full On” live show concept is give audiences a fully immersive experience that’s unlike the typical nightclub fare. DJ shows have gotten incredibly more complex with today’s technology and this has allowed me to give fans an experience that’s completely unique. One important aspect of “Full On” shows is that the stage setup is fully scalable, and it’s set up in such a way as to have a much bigger (aka “expensive looking”) impact than it actually costs the promoter. That makes it worthwhile for the promoter to book these shows, and everybody wins in the end.
What are my “Full On” shows about? It’s a concert show, basically, where I invite guest DJs to play with me in various back-to-back sets and where everyone gets their own set time, as well. I’m sort of the host of the night. It’s not just DJs playing tracks at a festival, but a family that enjoys what it’s really all about—having fun!
When you go to see a Madonna or U2 concert, you see the same concept around the world. What we try to do with the “Full On” shows is to give you the same experience and the same production everywhere you go. Wherever the “Full On” logo shows up, you’ll know what to expect.
I produce bi-weekly “WKNDR” movies on my YouTube channel, and each episode is professionally filmed at a different location around the world based on where I am every few weeks. You can search several episodes shot at “Full On” live shows to see what a “Full On” show looks like.
The first “Full On” show was basically when we did a tryout show in Moscow when it was still called WKND (the title of my current studio album) in November of 2011. It was a tryout for 13,000 people, kind of a big rehearsal. [laughs] That was the biggest it can get production-wise. What we did was make it affordable for promoters where we can have the same look, but we can resize it to suit 2,000 people to 10,000 people. We really found that to be important, because not every promoter can sell out a venue for 5,000 people. When your production costs are that high, nobody will book you, or it will be charged to the customers through the ticket price, and that’s not what I want. So, that’s basically the main idea behind the “Full On” design, which is that it should be resizable and doable in any club that has a stage. So, every club that has a normal, small stage, that’s a location where a “Full On” show can be given.
What’s the need for a stage, you ask? Well, I’m playing in a huge cube built with LEDs, so every club with a regular DJ booth—like Pacha in New York City, which has a fixed DJ booth—that’s not possible. But if you look at Ruby Skye in San Francisco, a club that has a small stage, that’s got the perfect setup.
What does the cube look like, you ask? It’s actually a very simple “diamond-shaped cube” setup which allows me to stand in the middle of the video and not just have a screen behind me. The screen is behind me and in front of me at the same time. For the bigger shows, like Moscow, you can sometimes not see me onstage, but you can see me through the screen. It’s more like the video will take over the show and I’m playing from behind the screen. I can still see the audience through the screen because we use a see-through screen. I can also look into the camera and it projects my face onto the screen. So, the audience sees me through silhouette, like 50-percent.
For the bigger shows, the top part of the screen is moving; the LED comes down and moves up above me for the bigger shows. That’s not possible for all of the venues because there are weight restrictions. We try to do that as much as possible, though. The show doesn’t suffer when the screen is not moving, but it’s a cool extra element. It’s not just the structure of the cube or the production of the show that makes the show so cool. It’s the marriage between the production and the video content projected onto it that makes it such a cool experience.
What about content? Stay tuned to this space for our next “Full On” entry.
Ferry Corsten will play New York’s Electric Zoo festival Friday, Aug. 31, and he’ll bring his “Full On” show—with Gabriel & Dresden, Audien and Michael Woods—to NYC’s Roseland Ballroom later that evening.