In just a few years, Ferro has established himself as one of Amsterdam super talents, and one of the most promising producers of his generation. With regular appearances on Hyte and Fuse events, and releases on Lessizmore and family imprint VBX, the whole scene is unanimous: Ferro has the future for himself.
We caught up with Ferro ahead of Infuse in London a couple months ago.
Electronic Grove: You’re playing Infuse today. And you’re one of the rare family members that isn’t from the UK – like the Dutch cousin. How did you get into the crew?
Ferro: It all started with Archie (Hamilton). He was preparing a release on the Fuse label, and we were already exchanging music over Skype. I asked him if he thought it would be good for me to release on Fuse. He said ‘”Of course!” (laughs). And we took it from there! Then I got to play 3 or 4 times for them at Village Underground, also for their events in Amsterdam and Ibiza.
EG: What’s your experience so far with the London scene?
Ferro: Well it’s actually not related to the Fuse family. The first gig I had in London was in a Strip club in Bethnal Green where everybody ended up fighting so I had to put the needle off the record and stop the music. That was my first experience in London, quite funny actually. And it makes a good story now. Most of the people in the club had come from that sort of Boxing competition that was taking place just next door. The room was full of boxers so I guess that’s what those guys do!
EG: Now what about your experience with Fuse so far?
Ferro: From the beginning it’s been like a family. We’ve been inviting each other constantly. If I think of Fuse I think of proper partying.
EG: Tell us about the last Fuse party in Amsterdam with VBX at ADE. How was it?
Ferro: That was definitely special. The music, the crowd both from the Fuse and the VBX families connecting. There was a great vibe. Really sums up the relationship we have and how our crews connect. I think that day was the start of something new in Amsterdam as well. With VBX we’ve been doing parties in Amsterdam for about 5 years now. The last couple parties have been really taking off. Without having to push too much for it. It’s been happening naturally. We’re living really exciting times.
Electronic Grove: VBX has a new home now since the opening of Shelter?
Ferro: Yes. moving to Shelter has nailed it. It’s nice to be able to work with good friends and the club is very well-thought of. It has a sick sound system and it is improving by the month, they really listen to what the DJs and visitors think about the club. Besides that venue we also have BRET as a location for our VBX events.
EG: Can you tell us more about VBX and how you joined them?
Ferro: When they started parties I was only 17. I would only go to the parties, not to play. I joined the events and the label later. It happened naturally. It really is my crew before anything more formal. But overall we’ve all grown together, and there’s more to come.
“In Amsterdam we have a new Mayor who appointed a night Mayor”
EG: It became a high profile event in Amsterdam. Can you tell us more about the scene there in general?
Ferro: It’s been growing a lot as well. We have a new Mayor who appointed a night mayor. Things started to kick off and get wild from then on. All the licenses were only until 5 am before. Now they’re started to give 24 hours licenses, and to make it easier for venues to get a license. That has really planted the seed for a stronger, healthier scene. The authorities understood that when people had until 5 am to party, they would get much more wasted much faster. Which can’t be good. Now the culture is shifting. People take their time and ease into it naturally. Everyone at parties became more reasonable, so the vibe could only get better.
EG: So big up to the Mayor of Amsterdam!
Ferro: Big up to the Mayor! And to everybody around him who makes this possible.
EG: I hope the Mayor of London will read this interview…
Ferro: Ah man yes, hope so too!
EG: Now back to your own news. You have just had two big releases on Lessizmore and VBX. How would you describe your approach to music in general?
Ferro: It’s always changing. But in general I’m very inspired by notions that are abstract to music, like space. It’s something spiritual as well I think. You’re always trying to find answers to questions. I’ve always been into exploring the relation between light and dark. A little bit like in Star Wars. It’s a common story of course. The good and evil. It’s been inspiring all my music in general.
EG: You also mentioned Jazz having an influence on your music?
Ferro: It certainly was back in the day. And it still does nowadays, but more under the shape of the jamming philosophy. Starting with something and then kicking in with another line answering, again this opposition between two sides within the same piece. Talking to each other.
EG: More spontaneous too? I guess that has an impact on your approach in the studio as well.
Ferro: Exactly. The way of making music like Jazz artists do really inspires me. I press play, things start to move and I try to alter the movement. Something sounds nice, I record it. Start again, repeat. It really is like messing around, having fun in the studio. In the end it comes down to making a lot of tracks. A lot of tracks are shit as well. But that’s my approach. Explore and jam, then pick the good cherries. Waiting for the right one to pop out. I don’t spend days or weeks on a track. It’s very spontaneous. Pretty much all in one take.
EG: Who would you say have inspired your productions?
Ferro: I’ve always been inspired by other DJs of course. It was already there when I grew up and started making music. But lately I’ve been really inspired by the artists around me. And I also inspire them in return. We’re a close circle of producers and all inspire each other. That’s something I really enjoy. Again back to this idea of jamming, making something together. Then we all release EPs or tracks here and there and it’s like a conversation. I try to combine everything from my old influences to the more recent ones, and that’s how I come up with my own sauce.
EG: What artists are you referring to?
Ferro: The guys from Oscillat for example – Malin Genie, Lazare Hoche, SAM. The guys from Fuse. Or closer to me, Makcim from VBX. My friend Reiss, with who I share our studio and started a new project called Spokenn. Also this new influence in the Electronic movement with Binh and Onur in Berlin. They opened up new doors and that’s definitely an inspiration too. Otherwise I’ve listened to Depeche Mode a lot lately, I’ve never been that excited about an upcoming album! It’s not only their music but also what they talk about in their songs. Again this duality of dark and light. Angels and Demons. The stories that always come back through human history. How we balance both sides. I’m actually realizing this now as I’m telling you! (laughs)
EG: Tell us more about Spokenn and your relationship with Reiss?
Ferro: It started a few years back. I was still a student at SAE and we decided to take a studio together. He bought the machines and I would teach him how to use them. Now it’s the other way around! We just complete each other in that sense. That’s how we started and because we shared interests for the same kind of music, we’ve always been close and supported each other. So starting Spokenn together came naturally. We’ve started to play together when Raresh came to play for VBX at Shelter. It’s not just doing a regular B2B because we know each other’s music so well. I’ve played with Enzo (Siragusa), Seb (Zito), Archie (Hamilton) or Ross (Rossko), and it’s been great. But with Maurits (Reiss), it’s another level. We can be playing 10 tracks without having to say anything to each other. He knows what I’m going to play and I know what his next move will be. Like an unspoken language… Tadaaa!
EG: Where does the Spokenn name come from?
Ferro: Spokenn means ghost in Dutch. We made a track that we call ‘Spokenn’, and then thought it would sound good for our project. Simple as that.
Electronic Grove: About the Fuse boys, is there any of them you’re closer to behind the decks?
Ferro: Not really, they’re all different and I enjoy playing with each of them for different reasons. It goes beyond just DJing as well. At the Fuse x VBX after party at ADE, it kicked off early morning. I was supposed to play later in the afternoon but didn’t feel so well. I asked Enzo if I could play earlier so I could go and rest afterwards. Somehow I ended up being really energized by the crowd and they let me play all day! (Laughs)
EG: Seb Zito mentioned a memorable B2B with you at Sisyphos in Berlin?
Ferro: Yes we were both playing at Ritter Butzke that night, then went to Sisyphos just to relax. We ended up filling up for a DJ that had dropped out and played for hours. We were playing outside. It was like 35 degrees and the sound was really good. Everyone was dancing bare feet… it was like Disneyland in there. Really magical gig.
“Before I used to preselect tracks and prepare my set, but it turned out to be the best gigs I played were not prepared”
EG: And it’s going to be summer soon, you have a really busy schedule. Any gig you’re looking forward to?
Ferro: I’m lucky to be playing all over the world, but seriously what I’m looking the most forward to are all the Dutch festivals. I used to go as a kid, like Awakenings, standing there in the crowd right in front of the DJ. For me it was like a crazy dream that I would ever be on that stage. Like the W stage where Ricardo Villalobos played. Now I’m up there playing as well. It’s a dream come true. And it’s home. Also the Dutch festivals are such amazing productions, and the spirit really is free. People party hard but they feel safe. And you feel it from the crowd when you’re behind the decks. Really can’t wait for those gigs.
EG: Any releases coming up that you want to mention?
Ferro: Yes, the release with Reiss as Spokenn which will come out sometime this year on VBX. We already have enough tracks to make a release, but until the deadline comes we just keep on making more music. So not sure what the final version will be yet.
EG: You’re about to jump in behind the decks and take over after Seb Zito at the Infuse series. What shall we expect?
Ferro: Before I used to preselect tracks and prepare my set, but it turned out the best gigs I played were not prepared. Also, it’s more and more frequent that I have new material, my own productions that I want to try out on the dance floor and that I just throw in the USB last minute. I still take into consideration what time I play etc of course, but I do more improvisation. I enjoy it much more like that and I get a better reaction from the crowd as well. Again like a conversation, like jamming with the audience. Let’s how it goes…!