I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Ferris, a singer-songwriter along the folk/rock spectrum who hails from England. Described as a “Decide-It-Yourself musician,” in his biostatement, Andrew is an ardent proponent of music that is independent. He recently released his first LP, “Yellow Lorry,” which was subsequent to the “Red Lorry EP” from two years ago. When performing in concert, Andrew is with his backing band, The Fallen Men, comprised of Matt Kibble, who plays double bass, and Matt Stradling on drums and backing vocals.
Consistent with Andrew’s support of indie music, his music is quite accessible. You can obtain a free Album Sampler download at http://www.andrewferris.com, listen on bandcamp, iTunes or soundcloud. For more information about Andrew, follow him on Twitter and read the interview below!
Please describe your path to becoming a musician.
I started putting on shows in my kitchen when I was 2 years old. I had catchphrases, a hat and a cheeky grin. I’ve always loved to perform but I didn’t actually “discover music” until I was about 12 and a friend lent me a Nirvana cassette. Until then, music had always just been something in the background but I then realised that instead of being the one listening to the music, I wanted to be the one MAKING the music.
I’ve been in rock bands, punk bands, indie bands, cover bands and A short 20 years later, I’m now a solo Indie-Folk Singer-Writer. I finally have some stuff to write about and the songs I’m writing now are better than ever.
What was it like busking throughout Europe?
This was the most fun I’ve EVER had. Every day was different and I met so many people. It was great to break down some communication barriers too. I could speak very little of the native languages I encountered but it’s amazing how far you can get with a smile and a song.
How does a sense of geography and place influence your work?
I think geography has become less important in today’s music scene as I have a growing following online. I do like to get out an play live and I still believe that the UK is the best country for this. Germany comes a close second but here in Austria, it’s a great place for writing. It’s so beautiful here that it’s very easy to just get lost in the scenery.
You have described your songs as “life-stories set to music.” What particular life experiences have recently been inspirational for your music?
My song “The Fall of Man” documents all the things I could have done with my life and the rocky path to how I got where I am now. There’s a song on my album called “Something Changed” and that’s heavily influenced by the french jazz-pop I kept hearing on the radio. I had no idea what the words were about but I was pretty sure it was something to do with love so I tried my own adaption. “Lost At Sea” is probably the song closest to my heart as it documents what it was like to leave everything you know behind and go off on an adventure into the unknown.
There has been a recent resurgence of popularity of English solo artists and bands such as Jake Bugg, Daughter, and Mumford & Sons the U.S. What do you make of this minor British invasion? 🙂
I’m all for it! I think mainstream America is responsible for a lot of the mindless pop we hear on radio stations and the notion that the image is more important than the music. I think British musicians tend to be down to earth and maybe this is what America needs?
How did the name of your backing band, “The Fallen Men” come about?
They are both called “Matt” so we were Andrew Ferris and The Matt’s for a while. didn’t really sound right so we took the name from my song “The Fall of Man”. A little more enigmatic and quite honestly just sounded better.
I really enjoy your album, “Yellow Lorry”, especially the song, “The Fall of Man” How did the idea arise for this track?
I think I’ve touched on the answer to that earlier but to clarify, it’s quite a mind game being a musician. I often wonder what would have happen had I chose something else and then I remember that it was more a case of the music choosing me. The song was originally called “I Wish I’d Never Learned To Play Guitar” (try singing it as the first line of the chorus) and it was a lot darker. I realised that making music is in fact the brightest part of my life so I went back to it and made sure that the song reflected this.
In what ways is your music feminist?
I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to it is feminist. In fact I’d say it’s Equalist. If you understand this as including feminism then that’s fine with me. Bob Marley is a huge influence on me and although my music isn’t reggae I think people could learn a lot from his simple wisdoms. One Love.
I quite like your cover of Rihanna and Shakira’s song, “Can’t Remember to Forget You.” What inspired this song and the videosong project?
I’ve made videosongs in the past and interpreted some of my favourite songs. I wanted to start the new 10 songs in 10 weeks project with a bang and I couldn’t think bigger than covering a song by one of my favourite female pop artists – Shakira! I’m not very keen on Rihanna which is why I was happy to work with Tom Browning on the song so he could take her parts.
The video has been very well received and I urge everyone to go and have a laugh at my slightly silly but honest dancing HERE.
What and who have been your stylistic influences?
I’ve already mentioned Nirvana and Bob Marley but I need to add Queen and the Beatles to the list. I love the diversity of music and I most certainly don’t have a favourite band. I enjoy and am inspired by artists who really mean what they say. The ones that live the life they are singing about and give the listener either somewhere safe to escape to or something to challenge them and make a change for the better. I’ve recently rediscovered Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel and I think is will become apparent in my next release.
On what projects are you currently working?
I’m releasing 10 VideoSongs in 10 weeks on YouTube and people can support this by visiting my Patreon link – http://www.patreon.com/andrewferris
I’m also putting together a 2014 tour which will include some festivals in the UK and Europe. 2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for many and I hope more people get to discover what I have to sing about!
What feedback do you have for aspiring musicians?
Don’t stop, Don’t doubt yourself but don’t dismiss the opinion of others. Surround yourself with people with whom your share a mutual respect and you’ll grow in a positive way. If you’re just starting out, play with other musicians who are better than you and you’ll have to up your game. No good being a big fish in a small pond!