Ferris & Sylvester Q&A
1. As you’re about to head off on your first headline tour, what can fans that have never seen you play live before expect from the tour? Any surprises in store?
We’re over the moon to be heading out on our first headline tour. We did hundreds of shows last year and played alongside our heroes, and now we’re heading out on our own with a full set under our belts. Haven’t seen us play before? It’s just the two of us up there, but we make a big sound. We want to bring the roof down on this tour. There’s some blues, folk, rock ’n’ roll, soul, drums, bass, electric guitar and some awkward humour. Mostly, our live show is two people pouring their hearts out to you and giving it everything by telling you stories. Any surprises? We’re very excited to be playing some new songs that haven’t left the safety net of our South London flat.
2. What are you most looking forward to whilst touring? Any tour towns or venues you’re particularly excited to play?
It might sound like we’re lying but we’re genuinely looking forward to every show. Playing live and touring is the best bit for us, it’s where we feel most alive. The best part is playing our songs every night and having a totally different experience with each crowd. Each show is different and that’s what makes it so exciting and addictive. We cannot wait to meet the people who have supported our music and come down to the show – there really is nothing more rewarding. Also definitely looking forward to the late night McDonald’s run…
3. I’m sure this tour is going to be something you will never forget, but are there any previous shows that have always stuck with you?
There have been some very special shows that we hold close to us. Playing some of our dream stages this summer was incredible. We toured with our great friend Jade Bird end of last year and we all had so much fun. It really was the best of times. No matter how rewarding, touring can also be challenging and going out on the road with your friends makes such a difference. Often, the best shows are the ones we least expect. We’ve done some brilliant shows in tiny pubs and clubs where the energy is so strong and the fun goes on and on and on. There’s no better feeling than feeding off an audience – going from shredding a massive guitar solo and having everyone screaming, only to then bring it right down and share a quiet, intimate song. It’s just brilliant.
4. You have previously toured with some extremely prestigious artists, including the likes of Eric Clapton, Robert Plant and George Ezra. What did you take away from these experiences? Have they taught you anything that will translate into your live shows?
The experiences themselves were whirlwinds. It was an extraordinary thing to play our songs to a crowd, only to join the crowd ourselves and watch our heroes play in the same spot. It really did feel like a dream. We think more than anything it’s made us more hungry and determined to do it again. It’s all about the songs. Plant especially just has great songs and his show was spectacular. More than anything we want our shows to be real, honest and to have good songs at the core.
5. What do you think will be your biggest motivation whilst on tour?
Playing our new songs. We’ve really changed things up with our live set. Over the summer months, our set was short, punchy and loud in order to grab people’s attentions at busy festivals. But recently, we’ve stripped it back to just vocals and soft guitar for a couple of numbers and let it just be about the song. It’s scary and quite vulnerable but it’s a magical part to our set. Doing that every night will keep us motivated through the driving and soundchecks!
6. Who would be your dream collaboration, and who are some of your biggest inspirations?
We listen to and love so much music of all different styles. But our top dream collab would have to be guitarist/producer Blake Mills. He’s worked with some of our favourites including Alabama Shakes, Laura Marling and Vulfpeck and you can hear his influence in every project. We’d give our left arms to work with him. Hitlist of inspirations? Let’s go – Hendrix, Dylan, Mitchell, Cash, Simon & Garfunkel, Derek Trucks, D’Angelo, Jack White, Tom Waits, Nina Simone *breathes* Little Feat, Prince, First Aid Kit, The Beatles, Dawes, Flyte, Beyonce.
7. After recently visiting Iceland, you have been developing your sound a lot – how do you approach writing new material?
We’re writing a lot at the moment. Last year, we became consumed with releasing our music and playing so many shows and our writing habits took a back seat. It felt scary to come back to it – like we were afraid to get it wrong. This year, our aim is to write as much as possible. We have no formula and have never written one song the same. Often though, it’s the song that comes out easy that becomes something. When we can both see the magic in something then we roll with it. The key thing is to not be afraid at getting it wrong! We’ve been to Iceland every year since we’ve known each other and every time we’ve gone, it’s opened us up again. It’s a very powerful place.
8. Who will you be listening to in-between shows and whilst travelling? Any albums you are loving at the moment?
We love listening to albums, podcasts, Harry Potter audio book. (For Issy!)
But here’s our top album list to take on the road:
Sound & Colour – Alabama Shakes
Ruins – First Aid Kit
Boarding House Reach – Jack White
Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life
9. Your latest track ‘Burning River’ is the first single from an exciting new project! What can fans expect from your new music? Have you continued to experiment with your sound?
We’re so excited to release new music this year. There was definitely a shift into a different place with our writing last year and we’re itching to get it out there. Each new song is a sign of the direction our music is taking – deeper, darker and more real. We are so proud to announce our song ‘Sickness’ is out on January 18th and is our proudest piece of work to date. Stay tuned.
10. What is the one thing you want to achieve in 2019, and what can fans expect from Ferris & Sylvester this year?
We want to finish writing our album. Whether we feel it’s right to release it or not this year, we want to create a full body of work. In the mean time, you guys can expect a lot of touring from us. We’re so excited to show what this year will bring and cannot wait to share it with you all.
11. Any memories of playing in Manchester?
Our first sell out! It feels amazing to say that Manchester sold out a month before the show, we cannot thank you all enough. We’ve always had the best times with the best crowds and have always wanted to come back and play our own show. Now’s the time.
Author : Emily Fitzgibbons
Editor at The Glossy Magazine | Journalist & Office Manager at Salutions Limited