Exclusive: Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz Debut New World Punx at MSG

Photo: VIBE’s senior editor Sarah Polonsky interviewing Ferry Corsten (left) and Markus Schulz (right) at Dream Downtown.

Madison Square Garden almost burst at the seams with spastic light shows and thumping beats, as people of all ages and colors joined together at the storied NYC arena on Saturday (March 30). If you missed our pre-show interview with the evening’s headliner, Armin van Buuren, check it out now; and here’s a photo history of Armin’s life, as well, for the uber fans.

Trance music mainstays Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz brought their callabo project, New World Punx, along to MSG for the big performance. The duo’s tripped-out set sent fans into a dizzy ‘state of trance’. Corsten and Schulz has much news to share with VIBE just before the spectacle.

VIBE: Tonight you two perform as New World Punx at Madison Square Garden. How does that feel? Not everyone gets to debut a new project at MSG.
Markus Schulz: The chemistry is already there. I think that part, we’ve got under control, but the crazy thing is we were just at Winter Music Conference and that’s where you do a lot of business, and a lot of labels that were down there. We’d be chatting with them about the New World Punx project and they’d ask, “Where can we see the show?” and it’s like, “Madison Square Garden.”
Ferry Corsten: It’s a nice venue to name as your debut venue. Luckily, we’ve done this already a couple of times before we decided to call it “New World Punx”. I think we’ve played back-to-back four times and we’ve done a couple of tracks together in the studio, so we’re pretty much used to the way the other one is playing.

How do you feel about DJs spinning at MSG in general? Do you feel like it’s a little bit strange?
FC: We definitely cater the set, because also in the venue like that—not just our set but the whole event—it’s a lot shorter than a whole daytime festival. Tonight we’re on 10pm ‘til 11:30, only 90 minutes. Normally we’re used to doing these five, six, seven hour-long stretches, and we’ve just sort of put everything together in 90 minutes.

So, you’re going to have to after-party it?
MS: Yeah. The after-party. The thing about the Madison Square Garden show is that it’s not the biggest show that we’ve ever played. We’ve played in front of 50,000, a hundred thousand people. The cool thing is that it’s such a legendary venue, growing up and seeing all of these amazing things that have happened at Madison Square Garden, and being able to debut this project there is what makes it really special. It’s Madison Square Garden, it doesn’t get any more famous than that.

How did you guys decide to pair up?
FC: We had a show in Birmingham and were both on the line up and it was just after Ibiza, where we were talking about doing stuff together. Then we came up with this first production that we did, and then we played in Birmingham, and it was sort of a toss-up between: “you play first, or I play first?” and “how are we going to go about it?” and then all of a sudden he said “we’ll just do doors open to close, the whole thing just back to back.”
MS: We’ve played lot of festivals and venues over the years but as separate acts. We’re both in a place where we just wanna have some fun and that’s where the whole “back-to-back concept” came from. We had so much fun and it was such a success that promoters started booking us specifically for this. So we decided to put an official project name to this.

Are you guys going to work on an album together? It’s a singles industry, but albums are popping up a lot in EDM.
MS: The thing is that working on an album—and we’ve separately done many albums—is really stressful, and the reason we launched this whole project is to have fun. I don’t think we’re ready to get into a whole album and the stress of it, but we’re definitely having fun in the studio, just having the freedom to make a track and then play it in the sets.

What can we expect from the new tracks? You have both the German and American influences between the two of you. How does that work?
MS: The funny thing is that it has some Belgian influences.
FC: The New World Punx sound, as you will hear tonight is very driving, very in your face. The regular trance genre is really long and stretched out, and the way we go about it is more catered to the attention span of today’s kids.
MS: We want to go from epic moment to epic moment without any let ups, without people standing still on the dance floor; people just going, going, going…. the whole set, all the tracks we make, will be a big crescendo.

How has trance music changed over the years? What do you do to keep up with it?
FC: That’s why we started this. We basically took the attitude of what the house guys do with the ‘one after the other’ constant bombardment of excitement in your face. We’ve adapted that into what we’re doing. Instead of trance, which becomes really holy almost at a certain point, with these long breaks, and everybody as if on command stands with their hands up in the air on a breakdown with no beats. For us, “it’s like skip all that and straight back to the party.”

So, are you guys going on a Tiësto route?
FC: No. That’s a very different sound.
MS: Let me tell you, no question, we are 100% trance. But I think it’s a different attitude, rather than the rainbows and unicorns attitude we’re a little bit punkish.

What rapper would you guys collaborate with?
MS: It’s something that with the right vibe it’s possible, but I always say this: every time a pop artist wants to work with me, what we would do is bring them in to our world as opposed to us going into their world. So, whoever the artist would be, they would have to come and hang out at Space or somewhere like that with us, and then go to the studio with us at seven or eight in the morning.

What about Lil Wayne?
MS: Probably not, that’s a bit of a stretch.
FC: I’m very open-minded but there’s a limit.