DJ Ferry Corsten staying ahead of competitors – including Madonna

By now, you must be familiar with the name of Madonna’s new album “MDNA” – which stands for two things: A) Madonna’s name; B) and the chemical symbol for the drug ecstasy.

But since Madonna is a supreme copycat, her album concept (four blocky initials) was just done first by a competitor.

About two months before “MDNA” came out, legendary trance DJ Ferry Corsten released his latest album “WKND,” which obviously stands for “weekend” but not for ecstasy.

I should have known Corsten beat Madonna to the initial punch. But stupidly, I asked Corsten – who will DJ Saturday at Marquee nightclub – if he named “WKND” after Madonna’s idea.

“Ha ha, no,” Corsten said. “Mine came out two months before Madonna. It’s a coincidence. Mine is ‘Weekend.’ Hers says an illegal substance – or her name maybe?”

Then we both laughed. Corsten laughed at my question. I laughed at Madonna. She is Queen Silly Putty of multiple eras now: not an original thought in that Silly Putty head of hers.

But let’s get back to Corsten.

After he performs Saturday at Marquee, a day or two later, Corsten will head out into various Vegas landscapes to film a new music video with vocalist-muse Betsie Larkin.

“We’re gonna have her on a grand piano in the middle of nowhere in the desert. And we are going to use a portable remote helicopter with a steady cam – to take an image of her from really close up, and then whoop, up into the air!”

The Dutch DJ-producer is newish to Vegas, but around the world, he’s a hero in electronic dance music.

He was one of the first (if not the very first) electronic music producers to get a full-on trance song onto various European radio stations, more than two decades ago, when he was a kid.

Here’s the crazy part: Corsten, 38, has produced songs under 300 aliases, such as System F, Moonman and many more.

You read that number correctly. He wrote and recorded songs under hundreds of fake names during the 1990s. Why?

“I wasn’t DJing yet. I was producing music. And I was producing at such a fast rate, I was simply producing too much music for one record label to handle,” Corsten explains.

So he wanted to produce music at other record labels. And to do that, he had to write under different names to keep from getting in trouble with each label he was working with.

Eventually, he started his own record label – and yet he kept recording under different names, even though he was his own boss.

Again, the question is: Why?

“I came up with all these pseudonyms just to make it look like my label had content from different people,” he says.

But after a while, he found a lot of success with his recording projects, and (just as importantly) he exploded as a DJ. And he wanted to DJ under his real name, Ferry Corsten.

Here’s his problem. A lot of people enjoy old songs he recorded years ago under a fake name – but they may not even realize they’re listening to a Ferry Corsten song.

“It was really cool” to pull off the aliases trick, he says.

“But on the other hand, if I could turn back the wheels of time, I would have started straightaway with my own name, because still there are people who aren’t aware (certain hits) are mine.”

But it turned out all right. In the DJ-producer world, he’s famous, revered, and he looks younger than he should (probably because he’s not all tweaked out on Madonna).

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com.
He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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