Dirty Dozen: Ferris & Sylvester

Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester  make up a Folk/Americana duo called Ferris & Sylvester. They have just released the first single “Save Yourself” as part of their debut EP “The Yellow Line”, produced by Youth at his Space Mountain Studios, Spain. Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
We’re based in London and have been for the past few years. We were both part of the same music scene in Camden and played a lot in a great little place called Spiritual Bar until eventually we met and decided to start doing some writing together. Since then, we’ve spent most of our days locked away in Archie’s bedroom, writing and recording. Early last year, we took our scruffy demos and unpolished material over to see legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover (Paul McCartney, The Verve, Crowded House) and stumbled through a few new songs in his front room. A few months later, we were recording our debut EP with Youth and his amazing team in his studio in Sierra Nevada, Spain. It’s been a great year – touring Ireland, releasing our debut single/EP, and working with some incredible people.

How would you describe your music?
We tell stories about everyday life. Things that people can relate to. We would say our music fits somewhere between Folk, Americana, Blues and Country. Archie came from a blues background and Issy was a folk singer so we were able to create something that sounded quite fresh to our ears. We sing in close harmony, often as if it were one voice.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
We listen to a lot of music. We both grew up listening to our Dads’ album collections so some of our influences are pretty old school! As much as we love Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and other legends of our genre, we love D’Angelo, Prince, Jack White and Tom Waits. Our lyrics are inspired by our own experiences. It could be anything, even something seemingly insignificant.

What are you currently promoting?
We have just released our first single called “Save Yourself”, which you can find on Spotify and pretty much anywhere else! We have another single coming out on 26th May called “Berlin” before our debut EP “The Yellow Line” is released 23rd June, all of which were recorded with Youth in Spain.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
We’ve written a song called “Sometimes” which we hope will be released later in the year. It defines who we are – our frustrations, our relationship, our passion, our dreams. We’re really proud of it and hope you get to hear it soon.

What are you currently listening to?
Shakey Graves with Esme Patterson. We love their track ‘Dearly Departed’. Little Feat have been on the Spotify playlist a lot recently. Love their groove and Lowell George’s voice. His stuff with Bonnie Rait is also great! Laura Marling’s new album is brilliant. We saw her at the Roundhouse last month and she was sublime.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
OK…. This could cause an argument.. Issy? She says Archie go first… Hmmm…

Archie: Steely Dan – Aja

Issy: Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim

What are your hopes for your future career?
We’re ambitious. We want to take over the world (eventually). But in the meantime, we want to have released our first album by next summer and another EP sometime before. Most of all we want to make music we’re proud of and be able to do it for the rest of our lives. We want to keep on writing, keep on touring and keep on developing.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
We have 3…

1st We’d love to do an album in Nashville with Jack White.

2nd We’d love to perform with a full band and orchestra at The Royal Albert Hall.

3rd At some point we’d like to open our own music venue back in London. We want to create a place that champions good music regardless of its place in the industry – basically, cutting out all the bullshit!

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The adrenalin rush. And you don’t have to wear a suit to work.

And the worst?
It’s terrifying and can be very up and down. You put yourself (and in our case, each other) through a lot every day.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Hello, nice to meet you. Really hope you enjoy our music. Please follow us on our journey and we’ll do you proud. Love from Issy and Archie x.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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