>> The blues-influenced folk duo Ferris & Sylvester are a dynamic artistic team creating rich and ambitious tracks for their listeners. In their latest single "Sickness," the band expands on their sound and brings their robust melodies to the next level by working with the revered producer Michael Rendall (Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Echo & the Bunnymen).
Could you delve into the story and meaning behind your latest single “Sickness”?
Sickness is about human relationships. It’s about the power struggles, the frustrations and the temptation to throw it all away. There’s also a sense of satisfaction coming from the younger, self-destructive voice. Humans aren’t two- dimensional; there isn’t just light and darkness in us, there are so many shades and that’s what ‘Sickness’ explores.
Could you point out the respective elements of the blues and folk genres in your latest single?
It begins as a folk song, with acoustic guitar and vocals. It then builds into something bigger with the blues elements stemming from Archie’s slide guitar. When we recorded the song, we wanted the elements to be raw and real - the guitar solo and vocals are all done in one take.
On this latest release, you worked with a producer to embolden your sound. What have been the most prominent differences that you've noticed in the sound of this release versus your kitchen recorded self-produced EP 'Made in Streatham’?
We asked Michael Rendall to produce our latest tracks Sickness and Burning River. We had already worked on these songs extensively just the two of us, and we wanted someone creative to take them that bit further. To put it simply, Michael blew the bloody doors off. He saw our vision behind the songs and made something wonderful. He works at the speed of light and is always keen to try new things, so nothing felt stale in the studio. We’re very proud to have produced our ‘Made In Streatham’ EP, but working with Michael unlocked something bigger and bolder in us.
"Sickness" was one of the first songs that the two of you wrote together. Could you explain the writing process behind this single?
Sickness has had an interesting lifespan. It started as a poem; every song we write is different, but for this one the lyrics came first. We originally wrote it as a haunting, dark folk song on acoustic guitar, which you can still hear referenced in the final version. But back when we first wrote it, we parked it as we felt it didn’t fit with our set up. As we developed our sound, we brought the song back and built it up from there; new verses, guitar sections, bigger choruses. We recorded five demos before taking it to the studio. Because it felt so big, we were determined to try everything until we got it right.
What has been the most exciting and exhilarating show that you played in 2018-- and what made it that way?
We played over 150 shows last year, and honestly had the best time. Playing live is the best part. One of the most exhilarating shows was at The Union Chapel in London with the amazing blues artist Jerron Paxton. Just before we went on stage, Archie’s guitar broke and we had to think on our feet and come up with something.
We ended up doing an acoustic set and having to improvise certain songs in front of hundreds of people. It was a very intense experience and we’ll remember it forever. It was magic.
Do you have any pre-show rituals or superstitions?
We try not to put too much pressure on a routine. Anything to keep calm, relaxed and confident! We try to warm up and we make sure we’ve had a good meal beforehand.
What has been one of the most important lessons that you've learned about gaining success and finding fulfillment in your musical career?
It’s a real roller coaster, writing, performing and running our own label. It’s a lot and can sometimes feel overwhelming. The biggest lesson we’ve learned is it’s ok to make mistakes. There’s a lot of pressure to always get it right and we used to drown in that pressure. All we can do is write the best songs we can, give it everything on stage and respect and value everyone we’re lucky enough to work with. Secondly, it’s okay to do things differently… in fact that makes the experience more fulfilling.
You have an exciting tour schedule coming up! How do you try and practice self-care during a busy month of touring?
We are so excited to be heading out on our first headline tour! We are by no means your stereotypical old-school rockstars off stage… we try and get as much sleep as we can on the road and try and eat good, wholesome food (with the occasional late night McDonald’s). We’re also very lucky to have our families. We try and stay with them as much as we can on tour and it makes the biggest difference.
What should listeners be expecting from your upcoming LP?
This year, we’re focused on writing the album. We don’t want to rush the process and we want to reflect exactly who and what we are in this moment in time. We want elements of all our influences; blues, folk, soul, rock ’n’ roll. We want it to be colourful, we want it to move, we want it to feel powerful. Stay tuned.