Editor’s Note: In his recent DJ Times cover story, Ferry Corsten detailed his latest “Full On” series of big-venue shows—and we’ve been parceling them out as part of a four-part series of exclusive blog entries. In them, the Dutch DJ explains the “Full On” shows’ production, content and concept.
In Part 1, he discussed his “Full On” show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom this past Aug. 31, one of six official Electric Zoo after-parties. In Part 2, he tackled concept and production. In Part 3, he discussed visual content for the shows.
And now we look at how it all works in practice, at his recently completed Ibiza residency (Full On at Judgement Sundays at Eden) and during Amsterdam Dance Event, where he’ll present “Full On” this Thursday, Oct. 18 at Undercurrent, along with Guiseppe Ottaviani and John “00” Fleming among others. Enjoy.
So, what about my Ibiza residency?
My night, Full On at Judgement Sundays at Eden in San Antonio, is a great club-sized concept. Eden is a club and not a concert hall venue, so we are limited to what can be built. However, I was there during the setup of the show on the first day and it was fantastic! The reviews from clubbers and promoters alike have been amazing.
What’s the process like for setting up my Full On shows? Well, [tour lighting/video tech] Bert Kelchtermans has to be there 10 hours beforehand for setup and to check the production. The promoter will build the production and Bert will follow up via email, and we have a very long discussion with the promoter. We have a very detailed tech rider that shows the promoter how to do the setup. The promoter loads-in and breaks down the set; we don’t do that. All the materials used in the show have to be available locally, so all the promoters can already have it built and done, and then we just make sure it’s built correctly. Bert will go in early that day and double-check everything. We have a tech rider where we suggest different screens that are locally available to promoters, for example. Then, the promoter comes back to us with, “I don’t have those lights. Can I use this one?” and things like that. Then my production team will see if that’s a good substitute to use and we give them suggestions in this or that direction. It’s about 100 emails back-and-forth with each promoter to get each show done.
How has the reaction been from promoters, you wonder? Very good, actually, because promoters like the idea that we don’t have one-size-only, so they can basically fit the setup into any venue! Promoters like this so they can see how a show performs before committing to a bigger room, for instance, or how many tickets they can sell on a given night, how big the venue has got to be, etc.
It’s a very affordable, efficient thing for promoters, something that still looks very cool and expensive. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from technology companies, too—we did a show in Poland recently—and people came back saying it was the coolest production they had seen in that venue, ever. And that’s a venue that’s had Tiësto years ago…
So why don’t other DJs do this if it’s so efficient, high-impact and scalable? Well, it depends on how much the DJ wants to invest. I have to bring my whole production crew and VJ, and there are concept costs, as well. Bert flies with a Macbook Pro and an Akai APC40 MIDI controller, and I think that’s it for him at the moment. You have to understand that I’ve invested a huge amount of money into creating the visuals. Every visual is unique to my show; they’re not used for anyone else’s shows. I paid for those visuals and nobody else in the world has these specific visuals. I invested a lot of time and money and everything you see on the screen is mine, so to speak.
Have I set the bar high for myself? Yeah, definitely. You do a lot more than what DJs did before. Today, you’re promoting yourself as an artist, which is an extra thing. The Full On shows are spectacular shows, but the price is very doable for promoters. The main thing is, it’s scalable!
By the start of the summer, we had 300 video clips. Over the summer, Prismax made some new stuff so we have a huge amount of visual content to last us through the summer and beyond. It’s all new to the U.S. market. I wanna make sure the crowds are really, really entertained and that the promoters are happy. I’m working hard to deliver the most high-impact show possible. We want audiences to feel like they’re getting the best possible show for their dollar and we want to exceed the crowd’s expectations.
For more information, please visit www.FerryCorsten.com.