Tell us about yourself…
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.
What does a day in the life of Ferris and Sylvester look like?
Every day is different. We write as much as we can, so often we’ll spend the whole day writing and recording in our studio. Some days we’ll spend rehearsing, other days touring. We like to finish long days whenever possible with a bar of chocolate and Breaking Bad.
When did you first realise you wanted to make music?
For both of us it was from an early age. For Archie it was hearing Jimi Hendrix at the age of about 7. “After hearing it I became obsessed with making my guitar sound like Jimi’s. Never got close but still trying…”. For Issy, it was a similar story. “I was always writing short stories, novels and poetry growing up and I became really passionate about traditional folk music when I was 8 as I used to sing it at school. Ever since, I wanted to write music.” Two birds of the same feather.
How would you describe your sound?
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.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
The Sugar Club in Dublin, our first gig on tour in Ireland with Aine Cahill. It was a sold out night in a beautiful venue and we couldn’t believe how attentive the audience was. Definitely one to remember.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
Johnny Cash and June Carter… if they were alive. Since they’re not, we’ll go with Jack White. We love his sound and he always brings something different; he can make an old genre sound fresh. We’d love to hear what he could do with our music.
Who did you listen to growing up?
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.
Who’s your biggest musical inspiration?
I guess we’d have to say Simon & Garfunkel for our kind of stuff. Paul Simon is such an incredible writer and the way those two can deliver a song is something we really aspire to.
What’s your guilty pleasure track?
Issy: Dolly Parton, ‘Do I Ever Cross Your Mind’ – all day everyday…
Archie: Britney Spears ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’
What’s the last album you listened to all the way through?
That’s a big thing for us. We think that it’s a shame that everyone releases singles these days and that nobody ever listens to albums all the way through. We do it all the time! Most recently it would have been ‘You Want It Darker’ by Leonard Cohen or we’re completely in love with an album called ‘Nothing is Wrong’ by Dawes.
What’s been your career highlight/proudest moment?
Our recent Ireland tour supporting Aine Cahill was an amazing highlight. So many great venues and Ireland is a wonderful place. Also up there has to be recording the EP at Youth’s Space Mountain studios in Spain. We worked with some insanely talented people and were able to enjoy views of Sierra Nevada after recording. It was a real milestone to be invited out there to work with him.
Who’s the coolest person you’ve worked with so far?
Following on from the last question it would have to be the producer Youth (The Verve, Crowded House, Paul McCartney). He sees things differently to others and really pushed us to come out with something we couldn’t have done on our own.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
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.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists trying to break into the industry?
Make sure you’re as good as can be and keep trying to get better – keep wrting and performing. But also, be clever whenever you can. It’s not just about the grind, you have to spot opportunities.
You can only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what is it?
Very tough question… Archie you go first…
Archie: It’ll have to be Steely Dan – Aja
Issy: Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim, to honour my 14 year old self.
Where can we see you perform next?
The upcoming shows are:
8th June – The Green Note, Camden
12th July – The Half Moon, Putney
What’s on the agenda for the rest of 2017?
Our EP comes out in June, which we’re very excited for. We’re also planning to be recording our next EP this summer so keep your eyes peeled!
Wanna know more? Follow Ferris & Sylvester on Insta @ferrisandsylvestermusic
…and listen to their tracks on Soundcloud: