It’s rare that DJ’s and producers put vinyl as their priority when performing nowadays.
Rare, but not unheard of.
And it’s certainly not unheard of for 21 year old producer and DJ, Ferris. Ferris (Sam Willings) has been producing for the last three years and is accustomed to pushing out synthy house beats and warm, chilled hip hop sounds.
Listen to the interview or read the article below.
When did you start DJ’ing and who were your early passions and influences?
Well I bought my little first controller, my Traktor S2, back in 2013. I started just mixing over the summer before I went to university. Then once I got to university that’s when I properly started to do it because everyone else there was DJ’ing so it was quite easy to get hooked.
What is the highest point in your career so far?
I suppose the biggest acclaim I’ve had is when I played Motion in Bristol on New Years Eve. That was with my Havana Breakfast Club boys and came as a bit of a surprise. It was a really, really good night, I couldn’t fault it at all. Everything went perfect. It was at my favourite venue in the country so I’m quite blessed with that one. From then on, it’s been going great. It got us in a good position and we’ve carried on from there.
So Sam, if I asked you what you would rather do for the rest of your life, DJ’ing or producing, what would it be?
That is quite a hard question. Like a really hard one. It’s so much fun to DJ. It’s something you could do every night. Producing is great but it takes its toll a little bit when you’re stressing out. But I reckon probably producing. Once you get the hang of it and once you find your sound, I imagine it’s quite easy and quite a good ride. Saying that, DJ’ing is such an under rated art form as well.
There’s a lot of new music that’s made every day. A lot of these tracks that are pigeon holed into certain genres and people get into arguments about what track fits in where. What is one sub genre that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves?
Disco house. Well, it depends which way you look at it. I don’t really know what you call it. It’s kind of like that Harvey Sutherland and Fook. They’re really chilled and really funky. You could listen to it in any kind of environment and it’s going to sound good. I don’t really know what you’d call it. I suppose it’s a spin off of deep house and disco house.
You’ve played on CDJ’s, on controllers and on vinyl, what’s the worst thing that’s happened to you whilst DJ’ing?
There was this one time where we were playing on vinyls and we link them up to Serato. So they’re the digital manipulative ones. It happens to everyone, but I lifted the needle on the wrong channel and the music stopped. I was like “Ahhhhhh fuck”. I put it back on and pretended nothing happened but the crowd is looking at you like what’s going on? In the same night, someone stole our little inflatable flamingo. He’s our mascot. So we were gutted. I suppose I’m lucky that nothing really bad has happened yet.
Actually, one time someone ate our fruit. People seem to have a thing with stealing all our props. One time, this guy took this pineapple from our decks and when I looked up this pineapple had a huge bite out of it. This guy had just gone in on it. He just bit through the skin, which was probably worse for him than it was for us!
If you could sum up your sound in three words, what would those words be?
It’s a bit cheesy. I try to make it funky. But I also like to make it a bit chilled as well. I try to make stuff that you could have a jam to but at the same time, you could chill to it as well. That’s why I like making hip hop because it’s so easy to chill out to.
In an ideal world, you can do a b2b set with any artist or DJ, who are they?
I tell you what, I don’t really listen to him that much anymore, but I think it would be Skream. He played in Bath recently and I didn’t get to catch him unfortunately. But he’s come from all the way back in 2006 with his dubstep thing, then in 2011 he played that famous Boiler Room set with Disclosure and it was proper funky. Now he’s playing real hard tech. The man is so versatile that if you got on the decks with him and played whatever, he’d probably be able to go with it. I really rate him.
What’s one track for you that never gets old no matter how many times you hear it?
I don’t normally play it out, but it would be Pizza Guy – Touch Sensitive. I listened to it when it came out back in 2012 and I still listen to it all the time. It’s only about 105 BPM but it’s a proper stomper.
Another one is probably Jai Paul – Genevieve. I play that one out sometimes. It isn’t necessarily a floor filler but it varies up the set a bit, rather than constant four to the floor.
On the flip side, what’s one track that you can stand at the moment?
I’ve really come to dislike Feed Em To The Lions – Solo 45. It’s a slammer. When you first hear, it’s sick, but there’s only so many times you can hear it before it gets old. Unfortunately for me, it’s definitely had its time.
Do you think that’s just because it’s over played?
Yeah, I think so. But that’s just what happens. It’s the same as a lot of the Disclosure stuff or even that ‘Fatima Yamaha – What’s a Girl To Do’ from last year. That’s a tune but it got played out so much. When you’ve got every man and his dog coming up and playing the same thing every night, it gets a bit boring. It’s just one of those things. I think if I heard it now, I’d probably quite like it, but in a club environment, not so much.
So what has Ferris got coming up with regards to EP’s & Tracks?
I have been trying to work on an EP. It’s quite hard. I’m not the kind of person that can slam out a track in a couple of days. I’m a bit of a perfectionist in the sense that, if one bit of it doesn’t sound right, I get a bit fed up of it and start to make new things.
I’m trying to knuckle down and write an EP. I’ve got one track that I think I want to have in there at the moment so I’m kind of getting there. Hopefully I’ll get to finish that before the end of summer so I can get it sent off to some places.
Other than that I’ve been working on a lot of hip hop beats. That’s kind of a side thing. My EP’s would be mainly house music, but it’s nice to do some hip hop beats on the side.
I’ve just got a load of vinyl sampling equipment, so once the EP is done I’m going to make a beat tape. I’ve got so many records that I need to hurry up and sample. One day it’s going to click and I’m going to be able to make a tape, but we’ll see how that goes.
If you like what you’ve heard from Ferris, check out his social media profiles below:
Soundcloud: Ferris UK
Facebook: Havana Breakfast Club